A court ruling in Sweden has set a new legal precedent that means it is acceptable to masturbate in public, as long as the act is not specifically directed at anyone.
The landmark judgment came after a 65-year-old man was caught touching himself on a beach in Stockholm.
He was initially charged with sexual assault, but was surprisingly acquitted by the Sodertorn District Court.
While the judgement stated that it, “may be proven that the man exposed himself and masturbated on this occasion,” it ruled that no offence had been committed.
Prosecutors pointed out that the law calls for the act to be directed at another person for it to count as a crime.
“For this to be a criminal offence it’s required that the sexual molestation was directed towards one or more people. I think the court’s judgement is reasonable,” public prosecutor Olof Vrethammar told Swedish news Web site “the Local.”
“We can conclude that it is okay to masturbate on the beach, although the act may be considered to be disorderly conduct,” he said.
Scandinavians are known for their progressive thinking when it comes to social issues — maybe this is just a case of the Swedes trying to be more tolerant