Thursday, October 16, 2008

No Sex on the Beach - We're British

I don't understand the fuss about the British couple who were jailed for having sex on a public beach in Dubai. They were warned about their conduct and when they persisted they were arrested and charged.

From the way this is being reported you'd think that if the same thing happened here it would have been perfectly acceptable. It wouldn't be. It is against the law to have sex in public on a British beach too. Or anywhere else for that matter. OK, you probably wouldn't go to jail for it, but that's hardly the point.

If you are in someone else's country, you play by their rules, whether you like it or not.

Did I tell you I tell you I am going to Israel in ten days' time? Perhaps I should find out what their rules are. My hotel is on the beach... Ahem. Shall I stop digging?

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Probably because journalists are all into "dogging".

Anonymous said...

I thought this post was going to be about the ridiculous 'New Labour' legislation proposing that cocktails such as 'Sex On The Beach' be named as something which doesn't make the link between alcohol and sexual performance.

Anonymous said...

Iain I could not agree more. We so often preach 'When in Rome etc...' to our immigrants. We should abide by the mores of others when in their country and they in ours.

Unsworth said...

What annoyed me about all the news reports was the fact that the man had his picture plastered all over the media - but the woman did not.

Why?

Noelinho said...

I don't disagree with your general point, Iain, but I think it got the news coverage it did because they claim they were only kissing and that they weren't actually engaging in sex. So then, you just have to weigh up who you believe...

canvas said...

Iain, you're wrong -

• The Sexual Offences Act (2003) doesn’t legislate specifically against outdoor sex but you could get busted for outraging public ­decency. So no stripping off in the aisles of your supermarket, but it’s OK to have sex in an isolated place as long as there’s some privacy.

• The exception is if you’re caught in a public loo. You could receive a fine – the value of which depends on your income – and/or a prison sentence of up to six months, according to the Sexual Offences Act (2003).

But I can't understand people who disregard other countries laws and culture. Dumb move by this couple.

roman said...

They were drunk and they were, even if not actively engaged in sex, doing everything but .....

in a country that (commendably in my view) finds that kind of public behaviour offensive.

They were warned, they didn't stop, they're banged up. Good.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it they got off lightly.

Old Holborn said...

50 miles up the coast in Saudi and they'd be swinging from lamp posts.

100 miles north of there in Iran and YOU'D be swinging from a lamp post Iain.

Still I'm sure you respect the culture of Iran as much as you respect the culture of Dubai.

Paul said...

"Shall I stop digging?"

Did you not not mean dogging Iain?

Anonymous said...

"WE'RE British"? With the West Lothian Question, the Barnett Formula, health apartheid and a PM elected by constituents whio are unaffected by around 70% of his government's legislation, you can stick the BRITISH thing. I'M English!

Auntie Flo' said...

Aw, come on, you're kidding me. Never?

If you've never had sex in the outdoors, you've never lived, Iain. And most outdoor places are surely technically public places

Auntie Flo' said...

Anon said:

"you can stick the BRITISH thing. I'M English!"


Me too, well said, anon.

Paul Linford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

Sky News reporting that the police are being told to ignore sexual acts in public. What a disgusting country we live in. I am moving to Dubai.

wonkotsane said...

I'm English, not British, too.

Didn't someone get into trouble for this not long ago somewhere out there?

Speyside Charlie said...

"Shall I stop digging" That only applies if you are in a hole.
This is like your other headline" saved by 12 inches"...is it just me that can see a double meaning in everything here? Good to have a smile as Gordon thinks he is Canute.But the tide will come in.

Ann said...

They deserve all they get and more...

dicky said...

Yup - fortnately had to jack the Sun when Rebbekkkkkah Wade took over - 1st day - nice bit of xenophobia. They were warned - err.. gonna diss the rozzers without being polite & political.

Some dude put on a you tube thing about mums being treated as problematic by the 50 pre Iraq and the WPC was quite upset with herself. Rozzers are cool - better than bouncers etc.

Harry T. said...

If you are flying El Al to Israel be prepared for a very in-depth interview before they let you board the flight! And the security on the way back from Ben Gurion takes yonks so you need to be there about 3-4 hours before your plane leaves. If you can get an Israeli to accompany you to the security queue at Ben Gurion it makes a big difference time-wise.

Anonymous said...

Interesting perspective from a man who could be arrested in Iran if he had any gay sex.

Sometimes laws are just wrong and you shouldnt have to observe them.

Schleppy MacFleppy said...

Yeah, that's fine. Just don't try anything like that on the Gaza strip.

EXT/ OUTSIDE THE GAZA STRIP BEACH CLUB MOSQUE

Mohammed: Hey! sex-on-the-beach! We don't take kindly to your types around here!

Mosque-keep: Now, now Mohammed, we don't want no trouble...

Albert M. Bankment said...

Well, maybe. It would, of course, be completely unheard of for a foreign (or, indeed, British) victim to be stitched up by a vindictive, jealous, stupid and/or quota-hungry British cop, and sent down by a ditto magistrate.

Maybe they were guilty, and maybe they were not. I was struck by the woman's distraught denials of wrongdoing.

Incidentally, I find it strange that, when people in situations like this are 'forced' to sign a confession in a language that they cannot read, they don't simply scribble a false signature. You, Iain, might write 'Inez Dildo'.

The foreign inquisitors are unlikely to be able to spot the deliberate error. When it comes up in court, however, the defendant's lawyer could have a field-day with the foreign plod.

Alternatively, you could incorporate 'untranslated' into the signature. Bear it mind on your Israeli trip!

Anonymous said...

Quite timely your article.
Tonight the BBC are reporting a new police "arrest as last resort" proposed approach to sex in public in the UK.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lancashire/7674874.stm

I thought the quote "He said officers should avoid a "knee jerk" reaction to incidents of dogging, must have been given with tongue firmly in cheek!

John Pickworth said...

Mr Iain said: Did I tell you I tell you I am going to Israel in ten days' time? ... Ahem. Shall I stop digging?

No don't.

Gaza tunnels 'become an industry'

Seems to be the big thing out that way... take your spade, the locals will love ya ;-)

Paul said...

Totally off topic, but I am delighted to see Buff Hoon getting hammered on the comms database idea.

not that mr smith said...

this story just highlights the typical experience with Brits abroad

1. alcohol and drunkedness
2. lack of decency
3. contempt for other peoples laws
4. hypocrisy of the British media

Anonymous said...

"If you are in someone else's country, you play by their rules, whether you like it or not"
Why don't you try telling this to some of the visitors to Our Country

Michael J said...

Well said Anonymous 4.13 am and 6.51 am
We all know that one behaves properly in other peoples houses or countries.

Respect for other countries cultures etc is something the Americans need to learn too.

Why not arrest them at the airport on their return and confiscate their passports. Then write about it in the press. Surely the police etc could be a little "creative" with this one!!!

Anonymous said...

This behavior would be unacceptable on a beach in the UK let alone in a Muslim Country but it also shows that either the two people concerned were arrogant beyond belief, having been warned once by a local police officer on his patrol to desist(in Muslim Countries even kissing a friend or hugging in public is considered offensive as is a unmarried woman being seen with a man alone) but also totally ignorant of the laws of the country.

They obviously thought as "foreigners" they'd get off with a caution or a slap over the knuckles or even have their behaviour excused as it would be in the UK no doubt - well they found out to their cost the different standards of behaviour expected in Dubai.

The sentence of 3 months was extremely lenient in my opinion - they could have received 6 years apiece under the law . They'd be better to stop whinging and saying but we weren't "having sex" but just "kissing and hugging"( Sorry no different under the law in Dubai still guilty of Moral Indecency) and serve the sentence and in future when in a Muslim Country abide by the rules of the society you're in

wonkotsane said...

What a bunch of prudes you people are!

Michael J said...

Wonkotsane has typically missed the point.
It is not about sex, it is about respect for other peoples laws and customs.
I ask Wonko.. if someone "misbehaved" in his house in any way... What would he do..? next question "misbehaved" in this country...What would he do?

Anonymous said...

wonkostane:

Not pruddish - just using a modicum of common sense and having respect for the laws and customs of the country that you are a guest in.

I realise that that's regrettably something that a lot of our citizens seem to think doesn't apply to them when they are abroad whether it be it getting drunk and throwing up or passing out in the gutter;abusive behaviour or having casual sex in public

wonkotsane said...

No, you've missed my point. Read back through the comments and see how many people not only think it's wrong to disobey another country's laws (which I agree with) but think that shagging outdoors is generally unacceptable. They must be a barrel of laughs in the bedroom (or lack thereof) department.

Anonymous said...

I'm suprised the evidence stood up in court

Anonymous said...

wonkastone


Of course "shagging " as you put it is unacceptable in a public place whether in this country or any other. It's got nothing to do with being prudish or "lack of excitement in the bedroom department" its common decent adult behaviour.

What"consenting adults" do in the privacy of their bedroom is no concern of me or anyone else providing they're not engaged in an illegal act but I sure as hell wouldn't want my 8 year old daughter to be on the beach whilst a couple are going at it like hammer and tongs on an adjacent sun louger and neither would I expect to see it on a beach in public view at anytime of day in this country or elsewhere.

This couple got off lightly in the circumstances and if it acts as a deterrant to other "ex-pats" who feel like indulging themselves in public after swilling too much booze when in a Muslim Country then so much the better

Torymory said...

I get very angry when people get drunk and dress and behave in a very sexual way in a Muslim country, where women are very much 2nd class citizens.

How can you persuade these countries that women should be allowed the freedom to mix with men,dress how they like etc? They only need to say - look what happens when you give women 'freedom' - they behave like tarts.

Expatriats - men and women - should show that you can drink and mix with the other sex in a responsible and measured manner.

They should act as ambassadors for Western liberal values - not confirm illiberal countries prejudices about us.

(The same goes for the debauched behaviour of many of our compatriots in Med. resorts).

Pete from Hull said...

I agree with the sentiments At October 17, 2008 7:20 AM , Anonymous - you have to be careful living and working in Muslim country.
The Media here have given little coverage to the case and have expressed little comment on the leniency or otherwise of the sentencing
I have just stared a new job in Sharjah ( next emirate to Dubai & more conservative) and realise you have to go up a fairly steep learning curve of do and don'ts - I will start blogging my experiences soon.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Iain on the point of "When in Rome do as the Romans do".

It is simple respect for the customs of another Nation. I'm not saying that you have to like those customs, but if you voluntarily go overseas then you should have no complaint.

Anonymous said...

Pete from Hull said...
'I will start blogging my experiences soon'.

Oh please don't

Is that the NHS yacht you're on?

T England said...

Islam mets & our decadent society!
It's a good job were not expecting religious people to make allowences for us isn't it!!!!!

Jilted John said...

1. Sex in a public place is not illegal in this country unless someone sees you and complains. Or unless it happens in a public lavatory. (Which is, if you think about it, ridiculous. Because you're not allowed to have a crap in public, but you can in a public loo, so surely it is, in law, a private place?)

2. They deny it. They are appealing against the verdict. Without wanting to get all blimpish about it, it is not unknown for countries to want to 'make examples' of foreign tourists, precisely because they don't want to look like they're 'soft on foreigners.'

3. Yes, it is an islamic country. Yes that means they were stupid to engage in a public display of affection. And no, I wouldn't do the same thing, because I'm not stupid. Doesn't mean that the Dubai attitude is right. "when in Rome" is pragmatic advice, but cultural relativism is pernicious.

4. Sky News reporting that the police are being told to ignore sexual acts in public. What a disgusting country we live in. Why? There's a very high likelihood that you were brought into this world by a sexual act; why does it offend you so much? If I chanced upon a couple getting frisky - and I have in the past - I'd be slightly embarrassed (tho' presumably nowhere near as embarassed as they) but unless they were abusive I'd mostly find it quite funny. One has to wonder about people who think that consensual sex can be 'disgusting'. It's just sex. It happens every day. There is a possibility you've done it.

troymolloy said...

I wonder if everyone would be so gleeful about the incarceration if it had been, say, the result of a tourist in North Korea making a sarcastic comment about the great leader, or photographing the natives. After all, when in Rome...

By the way, isn't it great to live in what seems to be one of the few countries in the world where policeman don't routinely patrol beaches throughout the night looking for people on whom to exercise their authority?

Anonymous said...

I suspect we don't know all the facts here. The couple themselves claim that they were just kissing. Knowing some countries police behaviour in that region, it may be the case that their "crime" was not to move on when told to by a policeman, quite without reason. The chances of a proper fair trial and adequate defence can be limited in the Arab world, in Dubai as elsewhere. In general, westerners are not as safe as they sometimes feel in those countries. The authorities can and do exert arbitrary legal powers without defence. My advice would be not to holiday or work in any Arab-world country as they are not safe places.

Anonymous said...

Only problem is the places the sand sticks...

Ed said...

Comparisons with Iran are ridiculous, Old Holborn. Three months for public sex is acceptable to British values, hanging people for homosexuality is not. he's not advocating sharia law just for saying they should have shown some respect while abroad

Anonymous said...

"Shall I stop digging?"

There's an 'o' in 'dogging'!

Anonymous said...

It's the right of all English people to shag wherever and whenever they feel like it in Abroadland.