In a 2019 survey, 84% of New Yorkers admit they’ve hooked up with someone in a car. Two other things in that survey worth noting: Ford sedans had the highest percentage of amorous activity and Lincolns had the lowest, BUT Lincoln also had the highest participant satisfaction score of any car maker. Really puts those McConaughey ads in a way different light.

Having sex in a car is definitely risky because of the inherent danger of getting caught. But what happens if you do? Jail? Fines? Some registry somewhere? You’ll probably be surprised to find out exactly how criminal it is to get frisky in your car.

First, check out the NY law about “Public Lewdness”

New York Penal Code 245 says this about public lewdness:

A person is guilty of public lewdness when he or she intentionally exposes the private or intimate parts of his or her body in a lewd manner or commits any other lewd act: (a) in a public place, or (b) (i) in private premises under circumstances in which he or she may readily be observed from either a public place or from other private premises, and with intent that he or she be so observed, or (ii) while trespassing.

The key words are “intentionally exposes.” Unless you’re actively trying to be seen, getting biz-zay in a parked automobile is actually completely legal in New York. So, if you’re under cover of night, not pressing anything against a window, on your own property, etc., its essentially unpunishable by law – except in possibly one circumstance.

When Is Car Sex Illegal In New York?

Car windows fogged up

If you’re doing the ole horizontal tango in a car on private property (that's not yours) and the owner sees you they could call the police and press charges. This falls under the public lewdness law, and would be prosecuted as a Class B Misdemeanor. You’re not likely to get jailtime for that, but you could get up to a $500 fine and embarrassed if the arrest gets printed.

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New York does have a precedent for legally allowing parked car sex – three women in Buffalo got off after the State Court of Appeals dismissed their public lewdness charges in the late ‘80s. Now, if a police officer happens across you and your partner, it’s undoubtedly going to be awkward because they likely won’t let you continue. They’ll also probably run your IDs to confirm ages and determine that no *ahem* pay-for-play is going on.

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Gallery Credit: Cameron Coats

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