Naked in Your Own Pool
Backyard skinny-dippers are likely legal
Advice Column – Southern Oregon Mail-Tribune
December 7, 2005
My wife and I like to skinny-dip in the pool. We live in the woods, and the pool cannot be seen from off the property, except from the air. Could we get in trouble because we can be seen from the air?
— Will O., Grants Pass
Only if you do something that causes the pilot to crash, Will.
Seriously, it’s OK to go in the buff on your own turf, so long as you do not do it with the intent to arouse someone else’s sexual desire. That means people who clean house au naturel or sunbathe or take a dip in their backyard pool in a state of nature are fully within their legal rights.
Nudity has to be indecent to draw a visit from the police, says Lt. Mike Moran of the Medford Police Department. There’s public indecency, when a person exposes his or her genitals in a public place for the purpose of sexually arousing another person; and private indecency, which would include acts such as answering the doorbell unclothed with the intent of shocking or annoying the stranger on the other side.
Crimes of indecency are misdemeanors, unless you have a prior conviction. You could be charged with felony public indecency if you have already been convicted on a misdemeanor charge.
Whether the police get involved when flesh is bared often depends on the setting and the circumstances. A few years back two high school girls ran across the field during a football game at Medford’s Spiegelberg Stadium dressed only in their underwear. They were cited for disorderly conduct, since their skimpy wardrobe disqualified them from a public indecency charge.
Disorderly conduct is behavior that causes public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm or an action that creates a risk to the public.
Like public indecency, disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor. You can do some dopey things, such as baring your bottom ("mooning") and some surprising things (like having sex in a car) as long as you don’t create a public disturbance.