In 1915, Bestiality, Sex With The Dead And Homosexuality Could Get You The Same Prison Sentence

In 1915 “Crimes Against Nature” In New York City Included Sex With The Dead, Bestiality & Homosexuality

If Convicted Of Crimes Against Nature, You Could Receive A 20 Year Prison Sentence

What has transpired in the last 100 years when it comes to sexual permissiveness in society?

Looking at New York City sex laws from 1915, the world today seems to have done a complete 180 at least in terms of same sex coupling.

While copulating with a corpse or any animal is still considered off limits, the laws relating to homosexuality have evaporated.

Here is the statute that was on the books in New York City in 1915.

Crimes Against Nature.

These crimes, which include sodomy, bestiality, and buggery, are the carnal intercourse against the order of nature by woman with woman, or man with man, or in the same unnatural way with woman; or by man or woman in any manner with an animal.

The New York statute is as follows :

A person who carnally knows in any manner any animal or bird; or carnally knows any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth; or voluntarily submits to such carnal
knowledge; or attempts sexual intercourse with a dead body is guilty of sodomy and is punishable with imprisonment for not more than twenty years.

Any sexual penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the crime specified in the last section.

Buggery, a British word not often used today in American vernacular means anal intercourse or sodomy. A 20 year prison sentence may seem harsh, but there were vice control advocates who proposed sterilizing and tattooing those convicted of violating sodomy laws.

How many people were prosecuted with crimes against nature? Checking the records that are available the answer is not as many as you may think. During the mid to late 1800s less than a dozen people per year in New York City were charged with the crime.

In 1915, 91 males and 4 females were arrested on sodomy charges. 53 of the males and one of the females were convicted.

No one was charged with bestiality or sex with the dead.

It wasn’t until 2003 when the United States Supreme Court struck down “crimes against nature” as being unconstitutional. Crimes against nature had come to mean sodomy and consensual sex between men. Necrophilia and bestiality had been removed from the crimes against nature laws. Necrophilia and bestiality are for the moment still illegal.

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