Saturday, 9 August 2014

'kissing' and 'no-kissing' zones when travelling

It's a good idea when travelling to a new country to check the local laws. One sensitive area is that of public displays of affection. Below are some of the rules about kissing etc etc around the globe.

The Western World
It is an ordinary occurrence to see people holding hands or kissing in public but it wasn't always so. The intent of a kiss had previously been under scrutiny of cultural moralists and subject to changing fashions.

'A kiss which in Turkey, and Spain is the beginning of adultery at Paris is only a mere civility and if that Persian who made so many mysterious voyages to get three kisses off the fair Cyrus had been in Paris, he would not have valued that pleasure so much as he did.'
Bayle, Peter A Historical and Critical Dictionary Hunt and Clarke, 1826


Kissing was the main cause of congestion at Warrington Bank Quay train station. In 2009 'no kissing' signs were installed as part of a £1m refurbishment of the station. Both the car park and taxi rank have been divided into 'kissing' and 'no-kissing' zones.


New morality laws have criminalised kissing in public. Offenders caught kissing in public can be jailed for up to a decade and fined as much as 300 million rupiah. Travellers, on the other hand, who are caught kissing in public can face five years in gaol. Any DOA of any kind between unmarried men and women are forbidden and often deemed as criminal activity. A new anti-pornography bill proposed a ban on 'kissing on the mouth in public' and on 'public nudity, erotic dances and sex parties'.


Couples kissing in India is still regarded as largely taboo and is a fine-able offence although holding hands (also between male friends) is acceptable. In a place where future spouses often do not meet until the wedding, the notion of courtship, for many, is still a novelty. 
'The kiss is the threshold marker. It represents the more Western notion of sexual behaviour'
Shiv Visvanathan, Sociologist

In 2005 a newly wed Israeli couple found themselves in court in Rajasthan for kissing during their traditional Hindu wedding ceremony. They were fined c. £16. A year later in 2006 political opponents called upon the chief minister of the state of Rajasthan to resign as she offered a ceremonial kiss of welcome to a business woman at the World Economic Forum. In 2007, Richard Gere sparked protests and the burning of effigies in India after he kissed the Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty at an Aids awareness rally in Delhi. Protesters claimed Gere had insulted Indian culture by kissing the hand and face of the actress.

Middle East

Public DOA of any kind between unmarried men and women are forbidden and often deemed as criminal activity, although more westernised Muslim states like Lebanon and Turkey are more tolerant toward such activity.
In Dubai the punishment for being found performing any sexual activity is at the discretion of the judge and can include lashes as well as 4-5 months gaol sentence, dependent on where you are and what you were up to.


In Moscow a kissing ban was considered for the Moscow metro. This was in a vain attempt to raise levels of public morality of kissing couples. Under the new regulations couples caught kissing could be fined and those who go too far could even face jail. 
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