Health Sex Cruising Cruising, Cottageing and the law If you go cruising in open public spaces, such as parks or lay-bys, you need to be aware of the law around sex in these areas. Here is some information from Galop, the LGBT organisation against hate crime. There is no specific law against cruising. Sex in public places is not illegal as long as other people who might be offended cannot see you and are unaware that you are having sex. According to police guidelines, the police should only respond to complaints from the public and should not go to an area to proactively try to catch people cruising. However, there are times when the police may investigate an area, for example if there are reports of homophobic attacks or robberies. It is not against the law for people to loiter, engage in conversation or walk around a cruising ground with the purpose of meeting others. In other words, you cannot be arrested simply for going cruising. If you engage in sexual activity or behaviour that may cause alarm or distress to others, such as indecent exposure or voyeurism, you could be arrested or prosecuted under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 or the Public Order Act 1986. Therefore it is advisable to be as discreet as possible to avoid attracting attention. For example, use secluded areas, and not anywhere you might be seen from a public road, path or houses, particularly during daylight hours. Remember to stay close to other cruisers though, in case of any trouble. If you feel that you have been unfairly treated by the police (or others) while cruising, you should contact Galop for more advice. You can call their helpline on 020 7704 2040 or report an incident at their website, www.galop.org.uk. Cottaging is looking for or having sex in a toilet available for use by members of the public, including toilets in the street, shops, leisure centres and other public transport venues such as train stations. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes it illegal to procure or engage in sex in a public toilet and it is against the law for both gay and straight people. You can risk being arrested for cottaging regardless of whether you are being discreet or not. For example, having sex in a cubicle behind closed doors is still illegal.