A Look at Denmark’s Public Sex Rules

Want to know more about public sex rules in Europe?

Sex in public is a fantasy for a lot of people. The idea of being ‘caught’ or being watched is enough of a turn on to flout the rules irrespective of where you are. However, in most countries, public sex is not only considered a public nuisance but can also land you with anything from a fine to a spell behind bars. In some parts of the world, you face a very different prospect. In ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, for example, a man was punished with 1,000 lashes and five years in jail simply for talking about sex on the television. Fortunately, most of Europe has reasonably moderate views on public sex with some, including Denmark, even allowing it in certain places.

In this feature, we take a look at the public sex rules of Denmark as well as those in other European countries and find out just why the Danes like their sex al fresco.

Public Sex in Denmark

Public sex is a crime in most European countries under sexual offences acts or indecency laws. In the UK, for example, sex in a public place (or where it takes place in private but can be seen by the public) is governed by laws on exhibitionism and voyeurism or public displays of sexual behaviour. Enforcement is often pretty lax and ‘dogging’ (a British term for the act of sex in public) has become a common pastime for swingers and the curious. The ‘craze’ was perpetuated in online media and has reportedly spread to other parts of Europe, notably in Ireland.

dogging in europe
Popular in the UK, ‘dogging’ has become more common across Europe. Image via Wikipedia.

In other parts of Europe, however, the act of public sex has not only been common for some time but is also legal (in designated areas). One such country is Denmark; or, more specifically, in one park in Copenhagen, the Ørstedsparken .

Park rules are on display and state:

“Sex in the park is allowed but show some consideration. Many children institutions use the park.

Therefore, please avoid:

  • Sex in the playground and visible places between 9 am and 4 pm.
  • Loud sex in hiding between 9 am and 4 pm.

Remember to:

  • Remove semen from the benches after the act.
  • Leave condoms and used napkins in the bin.

The city hall of Copenhagen calls for safe sex.


It is important to note here that public sex in Denmark is not legal, only in this one park.

So, why has the city of Copenhagen taken the decision to allow sex in this park?

Well, as you can see from the data below, two in five Danes are thought to have engaged in public sex and there is an obvious appetite for outdoor sexual activity. Added to this is the fact that prostitution is also common in Denmark’s capital. Though there are plenty of legal brothels in the city, the number of street prostitutes is high and many punters are happy to get a service in the open air.

The other side of the debate in support of the regulations is to offer a safe space for gay men to cruise in the evenings.


How Common is Public Sex in Denmark?

Danes are well known for being a liberal bunch and the country has long had a reputation for relaxed laws on prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and age of consent. They have one of the most tolerant and permissive societies and legal systems in the world and public nudity (as is the case in most Nordic countries) is common (communal showers and leisure facilities plus plentiful nudist beaches).

public sex in europe
Public sex; okay for some….not for others. Image via PxHere.

According to a European-wide survey conducted by YouGov in 2013, Denmark topped the list with the percentage of people who had had sex in public with 41% of Danes admitting to having done so.

The rest of Europe recorded the following results:

  • Austria – 38%
  • UK – 34%
  • Norway – 33%
  • Sweden – 33%
  • Spain – 32%
  • Switzerland – 32%
  • Belgium- 30%
  • Germany – 30%
  • Netherlands – 29%
  • Finland – 27%
  • France – 19%
  • Italy – 18%

At the time of the survey, Danish sexologist, Joan Ørting, spoke to the Metro Express newspaper:

“Dogging is definitely becoming accepted by the general public, but it is something that we have always done. In the old days we did it all the time in the open, so it is more natural for us to lie in the grass rather than on a bed. That’s something we are discovering now and which is making us return to our roots.”

Where, in Europe, is Public Sex Legal?

Other than in Denmark, the only place in Europe where it is fully legal to have sex in public is in the Netherlands where a park in Amsterdam (the Vondelpark) also permits sexual activity to take place.

Rules in the Vondelpark allow visitors to engage in sexual intercourse but, bizarrely, nude sunbathing is out of the question!

vondelpark amsterdam public sex
Participants in  nocturnal movements must also pick up their condoms. Image via Flickr.

Signs request that anyone wishing to do the dirty in the park consider other park users and that the space is used by children during the day; activity of this kind is therefore restricted to the evenings and during the night. Police also have the power to arrest people who have sex in the park who can be considered to be purposefully trying to cause offence.

The designation of the park for this kind of activity in Amsterdam can be seen as a practical one to tackle the fact that prostitution is legal here and, like in Copenhagen, street hookers will happily take their clients for a quickie in local parks.

In other European countries, public sex is dealt with under different laws and varying degrees of tolerance.

In Germany, it is legal to have sex in public as long as you are covered up. According to the German Press, 2013 was a bumper year for sex en plein air and more than 200 Berliners were issued with fines of €150.  This figure was double that recorded in 2010 and most offenders were caught in the act in the city’s most famous park, the Tiergarten.

However, being nude in Germany is legal in designated ‘naked zones’ and nudity is legal in many European countries. In fact, it is considered a fundamental right by some (Spain).

So, if you are considering having sex outdoors or in a public place, it is recommended that you make yourself aware of the local laws. Failure to do so could result in a criminal offence being committed and may land you with a sizeable fine or, worse, facing time in jail.

Featured image via Wikipedia.