Legal term referring to a form of sexual behavior that is legally considered to be unacceptable, or at odds with the accepted sexual practices of society.



Legal definition of sexual behavior that goes against the society's acceptable norms or patterns. Mainly for use in legal terms, to list a variety of sexual behavior that goes against the morals, values, of the community.

It includes what society terms 'punishable' acts that violates the laws of nature, which includes 'cloning' and other medical / scientific fields.

This includes acts against animals, such as animal abuse, as well as acts that endanger the environment.


Since about 1814, it has been a term used to define criminal behavior, mainly sexual in nature, in various forms in Society. This included masturbation, that was considered inappropriate behavior during that time period.

Mostly noted for defining Homosexual Behavior, it remains on the books in some states, despite the 2003 Supreme Court Ruling in the case of Lawrence V. Texas which dealt with same sex among consenting adults.

While it is on the books, and carries various penalties, including lengthy prison terms, most consider it no longer enforceable due to the 2003 ruling.


Due to it's vagueness, the laws were punitive, rather than corrective. They failed to define the actions sufficiently, so as to make them more subjective to interpretation. It was based on morals that constantly are in a state of change, refinement.

In some instances, it could be used to charge someone who engaged in sex for hire, or who performed oral sex on another. Sexual orientation was not considered a factor in many instances of the law.

Practice (Associated Acts): The abuse of animals, by engaging in sexual acts, has been considered a form of 'crimes against nature' in that the animal is unable to grant consent. These acts are not to be confused with Animal Husbandry practices, that are used to propagate the particular animal species, or line.

Noteworthy: The biggest controversy today exists between purists and the Medical / Scientific communities, as cloning and stem cell research advances. It also pits many conservative religious groups against the changing laws, and definitions, such as in the case of Homosexuality.

Medical Authorities declared 'homosexuality' to be natural in the seventies, yet it took society until 2003 to finally accept, legally, that acts of homosexuality were not illegal, or criminal.

A handful of US States still have laws on the books, that define homosexual acts as being Crimes Against Nature. Stiff financial penalties, and even prison time, are applicable, though considered un-enforceable.

Iran and other nations continue to define various practices, like homosexuality, as Crimes Against Nature, due to strict religious interpretations.

Other meanings

It has been used by many to define or describe what they may feel violates their morals, values, such as the Religious Right who are of the opinion that Homosexuality is a 'crime against nature' due to it being (in their opinion) a sin against God.

It has also been used to charge polluters who have endangered fragile eco systems, where other environmental laws were either non existent, or considered to have a minimal penalty.

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