How Bare Can You Dare?: Missouri Laws on Public Nudity (NSFW)

by

World Naked Bike Ride started at Grand St. on Saturday night. - STEVE TRUESDELL
  • Steve Truesdell
  • World Naked Bike Ride started at Grand St. on Saturday night.

See also:

  • WNBR 2012 slideshow part 1
  • WNBR 2012 slideshow part 2
  • WNBR 2012 part 3 (the thrilling conclusion! hint: everyone's still naked).

    Ah, to feel the wind in your pubic hair. It is a rare treat many enjoyed this weekend at World Naked Bike Ride St. Louis. At least those among us who still have public hair, anyway.

    Wouldn't it be great to bike in the buff all the time? Huh, Mayor Slay? Can we? Please? Laws governing public nudity in Missouri can be pretty hairy. Below, we do our best to give you the basic quick and dirty.

    Boobs According to Missouri's booby laws, "the showing of the female breast below a horizontal line across the top of the areola and extending across the width of the breast at such point," is not okay in public.

    Questionable boob apparel here, according to Missouri law. - STEVE TRUESDELL
    • Steve Truesdell
    • Questionable boob apparel here, according to Missouri law.

    "Such definition includes the lower portion of the human female breast, but shall not include any portion of the cleavage of the female breasts exhibited by a bikini, dress, blouse, shirt, leotard, or similar wearing apparel provided the areola is not exposed in whole or in part." --Missouri Revised Statutes 573.528, Section 12
    Our best translation: regular cleave is fine, but anything south of the nips is not. Side boob is ambiguous. It also seems that if you just wanna show off your lady parts in a bra, fig leaves, or pasties you might not be covered enough for Missouri.

    Special exemption for breast-feeding mothers:

    Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a mother may, with as much discretion as possible, breast-feed her child in any public or private location where the mother is otherwise authorized to be. --Mo. Rev. Stat. 191.918

    Before you whip 'em out moms, know that Missouri is one of just five states that has not actually exempted breastfeeding from public indecency laws, as one STL county mom learned in 1995.

    Both of these men are okay to appear in public. - STEVE TRUESDELL
    • Steve Truesdell
    • Both of these men are okay to appear in public.

    Penises Just keep telling yourself: don't get an erection in public, don't get an erection in public.

    "Human male genitals in a discernibly turgid state, even if completely and opaquely covered..." ---Mo Rev. Stat. 573.528.16b.

    "Discernibly turgid," eh? Maybe police officers should just visit a high school every time they need to fill their monthly quotas.

    Our best translation: if you have a problem, tuck it into your waist band or run to a bathroom in shame before someone arrests your sick ass.

    There does not appear to be a legal distinction here between balls and shaft. Aw, nuts.

    If Missouri did distinguish between balls and shaft, this guy might also be good to go. - STEVE TRUESDELL
    • Steve Truesdell
    • If Missouri did distinguish between balls and shaft, this guy might also be good to go.

    Beavers

    We were hoping to find some city ordinances on camel toe, but nothin'. Score for the ladies? Lawmakers don't mind getting down and dirty with specific boob measurements, but not surprisingly no one wants to go near vaginas. We hear they're quite scary. Missouri law basically slaps a big "off limits" sticker over the whole shabang.

    The French painter Ingres knew a thing or two about artfully concealing "anal cleavage."
    • The French painter Ingres knew a thing or two about artfully concealing "anal cleavage."

    Booty

    But don't say Missouri lawmakers don't have a poetic side.

    "Nudity" or a "state of nudity", the showing of the human male or female genitals, pubic area, vulva, anus, anal cleft or anal cleavage with less than a fully opaque covering..." --Mo. Rev. Stat. 67.2540.3
    "Anal cleft" is one of those beautiful expressions that could only come from convoluted, awkward pieces of legislation. It is of course a very fancy word for ass crack.

    These folks were a little less subtle... - JON GITCHOFF
    • Jon Gitchoff
    • These folks were a little less subtle...

    Organizers behind World Naked Bike Ride said that St. Louis Police Department cooperates in traffic control and don't make arrests because the event is a political protest. When nudity isn't used in public for sexual or lewd reasons, it may be permissible. According to 573.010.14c, a demonstration can only be considered pornographic if:

    The material or performance, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

    in 110 years, this city has come a ways. According to the St Louis municipal code of 1901, cross-dressing and swimming (specifically in the Mississippi) during daylight hours were offenses against public decency, finable by up to $300. Ladies best keep their pantaloons tucked under their petticoats, if you know I'm sayin'.

    Distributing educational materials about venereal diseases was also illegal at the time... go figure.

  • comment