Skinny dipping is a term used to describe the act of swimming naked in a body of water. This idiomatic expression was first coined in 1947.
Although ‘swimming naked’ was previously used, ‘skinny dipping’ has to do with being stark naked while swimming in a hot tub, pool, or any body of water, either individually or with a group of people. On the flip side, ‘swimming naked’ involves some thin fabric that dries easily. This term was used in the olden days and to tell one term from the other.
Being intimate in public is illegal, which comes down to the same as being butt naked in public. Hence, skinny dipping is illegal in most U.S. states.
Most people opt for a safer option — skinny dipping in their backyards — as it seems like a loophole government bodies forgot about. However, and I’m sorry to break it to you, skinny dipping in your backyard can also get you in trouble. Find out why below.
Is Skinny Dipping in Your Backyard Illegal?
The illegality of skinny dipping does not stop people from adding it to their bucket list. It is a self-liberating experience that those who have tried recommend to others. As a result, people now skinny dip in their backyards to make it private and escape the peering eyes of the law. However, the question remains: If done in the privacy of somebody’s backyard, does skinny dipping still pass as illegal?
The answer is yes, it is illegal in a few states.
Although done in your backyard, it is considered illegal as you are butt naked in your backyard (private property), which is visually accessible to your neighbors (public eyes). Indeed, if spotted skinny dipping in your neighborhood, your neighbors can turn you in.
The U.S. States that Consider Skinny Dipping in Your Backyard Illegal
Unlike some European cities known for their lax laws on nudity, most states in America have zero tolerance for it. Indeed, in most parts of the U.S., public nudity is considered illegal. Thus, if you intend to skinny dip in the United States, you need to pick an area that is termed a clothing-optional beach, nude-tolerant, or to take your dipping to a private pool or any private water form.
Before you embark on that adventure to skinny dip, you should check whether it is prohibited or tolerated in the region. A private pool at home, away from the peering eyes of your neighbors, is the safest bet. This way, you are not committing any crime.
So do well, confirm with your local laws before you indulge in skinny dipping. You cannot have a fun skinny dipping experience when there is confinement involved or if you risk getting fined. You want to do it for the exhilarating feeling you get afterward. Thus, one’s pool may be the safest place, although it is most exciting when done out in the open.
Just make sure that it is a complaint with the region or state you intend to skinny dip in. Here, we’ll look at the U.S. states that consider skinny dipping in one’s backyard illegal.
The state of Alabama, according to the Alabama Code Title 13A. Criminal Code § 13A-12-200.1, states that “genital nudity which is the showing of the human male or female genitals or pubic area” is prohibited.
This is not something that Alabamans take lightly due to their being very traditional in their dealing. Therefore, the sight of someone skinny dipping in their backyards is considered offensive and a case that should be treated by the law.
There is no set law against skinny dipping in Alaska, but the law that negates the exposure of one’s genitals is even more severe than that of Alabama. Indeed, in Alaska, the punishment for the indecent display of one’s privates comes in two degrees.
The first degree refers to when a person exposes their genitals to a person under the age of 16, or when this person has previously committed this act or has intentionally masturbated in the presence of a minor.
Indecent exposure in the second degree is when the accused intentionally takes off their skivvies and knowingly exposes their genitals, without considering how offensive this is to a person of any age.
The penalties for these are as follows.
It is a class A misdemeanor if the victim is younger than 17 years old. Alaska law finds this punishable with up to one year of incarceration, a fine of 10,000 dollars, or both.
In addition, if the victim is 15 years and above, the crime is rated a class B misdemeanor. A class B misdemeanor of this sort is punishable by both a fine of 2,000 dollars and 90 days in prison, or one of the two. Therefore, although skinny dipping is not stated as a crime per se, it becomes one due to the nudity involved.
In Arizona, the law does not entertain nudity in public places, including your backyard. That is because any indecent exposure of one’s body to a person below the age of 15 is a misdemeanor considered a class 6 felony, which leads to a minimum of a few months to two years in confinement.
If the person is above the age of 15, it is considered a class 1 felony. Then, the judge can sentence the defendant to a six-month jail term, a fine of 2,500 dollars, or up to three years of probation, which may come with counseling.
In Arkansas, it is important that you do not get so carried away by the number of people skinny dipping discreetly that you begin to see it as a norm. This so-called ‘norm’ by risk-takers is highly prohibited, and if caught, is accessorized with monetary compensation to the law or some jail term.
In Arkansas, the Code §5-14-112: Indecent Exposure states that anyone who displays their sexual organ in a public place and knows that this is likely to cause affront or discomfort to another person is violating the Arkansas indecent exposure laws.
It is important to note that a woman who exposes her breast for breastfeeding is not a violation of this law, whether in a public place or anywhere where other individuals are present.
The penalty for this indecent act is a class A misdemeanor, which attracts a one-year jail term and a fine of 2,500 dollars. Besides, if a person has committed multiple offends to this law, they can be jailed for up to six years and pay a 10,000-dollar fine, or one of each.
This kind of offender’s crime moves up to a class D felony and is not one to be taken lightly by the state.
California is not taking the back seat on this one as it has made any form of nudity illegal in the state.
Indeed, swimming in the buff in California is not permissible in an ocean, lake, hot tub, or pool as it goes against the state’s law of inappropriate exposure of one’s private parts, which may provoke or cause discomfort to another person. Therefore, skinny dipping in your backyard is illegal and will attract charges if your neighbor calls the police.
However, in California, it does not hold much ground if you have taken certain measures to prevent being seen, for instance, if you have built a fence tall enough to prevent the neighbors from viewing into your privacy. In this case, even if a neighbor trespasses, you are within your right, unless a minor is involved, in which case the constitutional jurisprudence under the Miller doctrine (Miller v. California cf. New York v. Ferber) comes to play. Hence the need to be cautious whenever you want to skinny dip in your backyard in California.
This state is proud to display its beautiful sceneries unwaveringly but does not tolerate the display of your body parts, no matter how “scenic” that is.
Indeed, in the state of Colorado, you can get on the state’s sex offenders registry if you violate the laws on nudity and may also bag some jail time.
The law in Colorado states, in section 18-7-301 of public indecency, that a person who exposes their private parts to another person in a way that may offend or distraught them has defaulted the public indecency law. This person may therefore receive a punishment, such as an imprisonment for up to six months and a fine of 500 dollars.
If the offender is not a first-timer, then it becomes more severe. They then commit a class 1 misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 5,000 dollars and an 18-month incarceration. If a person in California is found guilty of public indecency and indecent exposure, that person is immediately registered as a sex offender. They may not be visible on the registry, but getting a job will become harder for them.
The state of Delaware divides its section 765 code on Indecent Exposure into two: first degree and second degree. These apply to both men and women, but in peculiar ways.
If men show their penis or buttocks to a person younger than 16 years old, in a way it causes alarm, they have committed an indecent exposure of the first degree. If a woman exposes her vulva, breasts, or buttocks to a person younger than 16 years old, in a way that causes alarm, they have committed an indecent exposure of the first degree. Besides, if charged with a first-degree offense, the offender will be automatically added to the state’s sex offenders registry.
Hence, the need to avoid skinny dipping in your backyard because if seen by your neighbor, you will be reported and charged for this crime.
As it applies to other states in America, Delaware penalizes by a fine of 2,300 dollars or a year in prison. Sometimes, an offender can also be penalized with both. This, however, is if you have been accused of the crime in the first degree.
Just like the first-degree code on indecent Delaware, the code 764 of the Indecent Exposure in the second degree states that any man or woman who exposes their genitals or buttocks to another person, in a way that causes alarm or startles the person, has committed a crime of the Delaware code section 764.
If found guilty, a second-degree offender is punishable by up to a month in jail or a fine of 500 dollars or more. Even worse, if the offender has had a history of sex crimes in the past five years, they will be added to the state’s sex offenders registry.
In the District of Columbia, skinny dipping in your backyard can get you into trouble. Their law prohibits any form of indecent exposure by both males and females. Just like Delaware, these offenses carry a lot of weight based on the degree to which one is found guilty.
Skinny dipping may be considered old school by some people, but if you are considering doing it in your backyard in D.C, then you must endeavor that you are alone. If you do not take precautions not to be seen, you may be charged according to the laws that guide indecent exposure in the District of Columbia.
Skinny dipping is not exactly considered an offense but it has been coded to adhere to maintaining the peace and order of a state as indecent exposure.
Under the code of the District of Columbia Official Code §22-1312 of Lewd, Indecent, or Obscene Acts, anyone who makes a lewd scene by the exposure of their private parts to engage in a sexual act in public violates the law. The law also states that it is unlawful to make an indecent scene or sexual advances to a minor.
Skinny dipping has nothing to do with the above, especially if you really are just skinny dipping in your backyard without doing anything inappropriate. However, ensure that your property is well guarded to avoid any breach of peace in the state.
As a penalty, a violator of this law will be found guilty of a misdemeanor and will be convicted. The violator will then be fined 500 dollars or imprisoned for three months or more.
In Idaho, skinny dipping in your backyard is no offense until you or a group of friends are caught doing it without a care to the public eyes. By this, you and your friends or whoever encouraged you to display your body to the public will be convicted of indecent exposure.
If you are a first-time offender, you may be punished with just a misdemeanor. However, if you are not a first-timer, you will be getting a tougher verdict. The Idaho Statutes §18-4116: Indecent Exposure prohibits any exposure of one’s genitals in public, or anywhere another person who can be offended or disturbed by the act is found.
Also, as mentioned earlier, if you aid anyone who exposes their genitals in public, you are as guilty as the person who commits the crime.
In Idaho, the penalty for this states that whoever is found guilty is charged with a misdemeanor. This attracts imprisonment, preferable in a county jail for up to six months, a fine of 1,000 dollars, or both, depending on the judge’s verdict. To add to this, you will be jailed for no more than 10 years if you have already been found guilty of this crime in Idaho or another state within the past five years.
In this state, you may be able to get away with skinny dipping whether you are seen by passers-by or a neighbor since the state of Vermont does not have a law that prohibits the act of skinny dipping or nudity in general. However, its cities have certain regulations against being in the buff.
Nonetheless, when you are nude and decide to act perversely or lasciviously, then the peace of the state is disrupted and you can be fined, sentenced, or both. Vermont’s peace officers will arrest you if you are seen skinny dipping while engaging in sexual activity or any activity that arouses another’s sexual urges or offends them. If you violate this crime, you can be incarcerated or asked to compensate the law with a fine. If such an act is done in the presence of a minor, it becomes worse, and you may face an increase in both jail time and fines.
In sections 13 V.S.A. §2601: Lewd and lascivious Conduct of the Vermont law states that “open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior is a punishable crime.” If found guilty, an offender can spend up to five years in prison or pay a fine of over 300 dollars. Depending on the judge presiding, an offender may be sentenced to do both.
So, if skinny dipping in your backyard in Vermont is that important:
- Make sure you are well fenced.
- Do not engage in sexual activities while at it.
- Do not do it in the presence of a minor.
Skinny dipping in Nebraska is considered an act of “public indecency,” as per state law. Even worse is when you engage in sexual activities while skinny dipping in any water form, including your backyard.
The Nebraska section 28 – 806 on Public indecency states that a person who is aged 18 years and above found guilty of the act of exposing their genitals to startle or leave another distraught, having sex, or any other sexual activity. They may be penalized by a fine of 1,000 dollars and may spend six months in jail.
On the flip side, states like and cities in Washington, Oregon, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, and more are lenient when it comes to body exposure. In these U.S. states, nudity is tolerated, especially on the days that are set aside to celebrate nudity around the world. In these states, nudity that involves inappropriate behavior is renounced, but activities like skinny dipping in one’s backyard will not be seen as a breach of these states’ laws.
It is advisable to acquaint yourself with the laws of your state, but also of the city you are in to avoid issues with law enforcement.
We trust that this has been helpful to you if you are on the verge of skinny dipping in your backyard. If you have already been indicted with a case of skinny dipping in your backyard that turned sour, do well to contact a lawyer who has experience with such cases.