Crime against nature

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This article is about types of sex act. For other uses, see Crime against nature (disambiguation).

The crime against nature or unnatural act has been a legal term in English-speaking states for forms of sexual behavior not considered natural and seen as punishable offenses.[1] Sexual practices that have historically been considered to be "crimes against nature" include anal sex[2] and bestiality.[3]

Current use[edit]

Currently, the term crime against nature is still used in the statutes of the following American states. However, these laws are unconstitutional to enforce for sexual conduct between consenting adults in light of Lawrence v. Texas (2003). The crime against nature statutes are however still used to criminalize sexual conduct involving minors, public sex, prostitution and bestiality.

Repeal and unconstitutionality[edit]

Except for the above nine states, all other states in the United States have repealed their "crimes against nature" laws. Furthermore, in 2003, in Lawrence v. Texas, the US Supreme Court held that nonremunerative sex between consenting adults in private was protected by the Constitution and could not be criminalized under "crimes against nature" laws. Thus, fellatio, cunnilingus and homosexual sex can no longer fall within the scope of such laws.

Similar laws[edit]

See also Sodomy laws.

  • Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code prohibits any form of male to male sexual conduct.
  • Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code (since 1860) calls for a maximum punishment, being life imprisonment, for all sexual acts against human nature.
  • Paragraph 175 in the imperial penal code of the German Empire

See also[edit]


  1. ^ William Blackstone (1753), Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book 4, Chapter 15, Section 4
  2. ^ See Rose v. Locke, 1975, 96 S.Ct. 243, 423 U.S. 48, 46 L.Ed.2d 185.
  3. ^ Andrews v. Vanduzer, N.Y.Sup. 1814 (January Term, 1814)(Vanduzer accused Andrews of having had connection with a cow and then a mare and the court understood this to mean that Vanduzer was going around telling others that Andrews had been guilty of the crime against nature with a beast.
  4. ^ "Sodomy law revisions are upheld on appeal, Times-Picayune". Retrieved 2012-03-18. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]