Whilst at first glance, it may seem that swinger parties and clubs are perfectly legal in Britain, a little deeper digging reveals Acts of Parliament that can easily be used to prosecute the owners of clubs and others hosting swinger parties.
Most people assume that swinger clubs are completely legal in 21st century Britain. They certainly should be in a modern, liberated democracy. In Holland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, France and Spain there is absolutely no question about it. When people in those countries attend a swinger party in a swinger club they are attending a legal event in a legal establishment.
In Britain, the water is actually quite murky. There is certainly no act of Parliament that directly defines swinging as being illegal. There are none that define a swinger party as being an illegal event. Neither are there any that specifically forbid the setting up of premises for the purpose of holding such events. So if neither swinging itself nor the setting up of swinging clubs is unlawful, how can there possibly be any question about the legality of swinger clubs and parties?
Well first of all, let us turn our attention to a very old act of parliament which is still on the statute books: the Disorderly Houses Act of 1751. The purpose of this act is stated as being; for the better preventing Thefts and Robberies, and for regulating places of public entertainment, and punishing persons keeping disorderly houses.?
If that all sounds very archaic and quite irrelevant to the topic of this article,
think again. In fact, the Disorderly House Act was used as recently as 2006 against people
holding S&M parties. It was more famously used in the mid 1990s against Club Whiplash.
The charge of keeping a disorderly house can be applied to both men and women. In order to break the law you simply need to be in charge of an area where activities take place which can deprave or corrupt.
In the cases described above, the depravity referred to the sado-masochistic activities
that went on in the house but it can also be defined so as to include situations where
More than two couples are engaged in sexual intercourse in the same room.
In the case of Club Whiplash a two week trial resulted in a not-guilty verdict because it was decided that members of the public could not be depraved or corrupted by what went on as they were private members of the club. It is the private members get-out that owners of swinger party venues will most often gleefully quote as evidence that they are running a perfectly legal activity.
However, if there is a home or club which might be conceivably used by a member of the public then the owners or managers of the club are still at risk. Even when, as in the Whiplash case, the members are NOT paying any kind of fee.
Even more worrying for the owners of clubs or anyone hosting swinger parties is the Meetings and Public Entertainment Act. Any regular gathering for the purposes of ?entertainment? can find itself subject to the requirements this act. It requires the meetings to take place in an approved place and to be in accordance with a licence issued by the Licensing Officer. Any sort of get together in a party spirit would be defined as entertainment.
So is there anything to stop a swinger club or other regular organiser of swinger parties to
apply for the necessary, Public entertainment licence? No there isn't but what do you
imagine the chances of getting one granted when the express activity of the club or parties
is outlawed by the Disorderly House Act?
The answer is perhaps not quite as slim as you might imagine because there are at least two swinger clubs in the U.K. that have been successful in obtaining the necessary licence. One is La Chambre in Sheffield and the other is Caesers in Basal Common, near Coventry. The vast majority have either never realised they need to apply, or decided that the chances of the law being used against them was too small to worry about.
They may well be right but there are always influential people in every local community who
might sometimes use their power and influence to bring the weight of the law down upon those
they disapprove of.
It would therefore seem wise to remember that Britain is in the 21st century is less liberally minded than many other European countries and that the law can still be used against activities, especially sexual ones like swinging that some people still strongly disapprove of.