Sweden: Where Masturbating in Public is Totally Okay!

Some people go to the beach to sunbathe. Some people go to catch sick waves. Some people go to get in touch with nature. And some? To get in touch with themselves — literally. In June, a 65-year-old Swedish man was arrested for publicly masturbating at a Stockholm beach. This week, a Swedish court effectively said 'Meh. We're cool with that.'

Weird, right? In America, few places even allow beach-goers to go topless (do they not realize they're causing a national tan-line crisis?). Meanwhile, Swedes are allowed to go jacking-off on jellyfish and sand dollars all willy-nilly.

I'm not quite sure why you would want to do this — call me old fashioned, but I prefer to take care of that sort of thing in my own bedroom. And I think I'd also prefer not to see others getting themselves off while I'm just trying to eat a PB&J and read a bad paperback.

But because the man in question wasn't masturbating at anybody, the Swedish court found that his actions couldn't be construed as a crime. "For this to be a criminal offence it's required that the sexual molestation was directed towards one or more people," said public prosecutor Olof Vrethammahe, according to Swedish newspaper The Local. "I think the court's judgement is reasonable ... With that we can conclude that it is okay to masturbate on the beach."

The publicly masturbating man was initially charged with sexual assault. The lack of a victim is what cleared him of these charges — but beach masturbation could still be considered disorderly conduct, Vrethammahe noted.

In the United States, dropping your pants in public would most likely get you charged with indecent exposure, lewdness or simply "public masturbation." In some parts of the country, however, it may be okay if there's no reasonable chance passersby could see you.