How Loud Sex Can Land You in Gaol

Occasionally, there are news stories that at first sight seem  so ridiculous, that on first impressions you just laugh. But then, on closer inspection, they send chills down your spine and really make you wonder, just how far can the state now go. What, if anything, is left sacred.

This is one of those stories.

At the end of April, Caroline Cartwright, a 48-year-old housewife from Wearside in the north east of England, was remanded in custody for having “excessively noisy sex.” The cops took her in after neighbors complained of hearing her “shouting and groaning” and her “bed banging against the wall of her home.” Cartwright has, quite reasonably, defended her inalienable right to be a howler: “I can’t stop making noise during sex. It’s unnatural to not make any noises and I don’t think that I am particularly loud.”

So how did Cartwright’s expressions of noisy joy become a police case, which later this month will be ruled on at Newcastle Crown Court, one of the biggest courts in the north of England?

Because, unbelievably, Cartwright had previously been served with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO)—a civil order that is used to control the minutiae of British people’s behaviour—that forbade her from making “excessive noise during sex” anywhere in England.

That’s right, going even further than Orwell’s imagined authoritarian hellhole, where at least there was a wood or two where people could indulge their sexual impulses, the local authorities in Wearside made all of England a no-go zone for Cartwright’s noisy shenanigans. If she wanted to howl with abandon, she would have to nip over the border to Scotland or maybe catch a ferry to France. It was because she breached the conditions of her Anti-Social Behaviour Order, the civil ruling about how much noise she can make while making love in England, that Cartwright was arrested.

Welcome to 1984.

Read the full article at Reason Magazine.

Update: I should also probably add the following quote, in case you weren’t horrified enough: “The ASBO system has turned much of Britain into a curtain-twitching, neighbor-watching, noise-policing gang of spies. The relative ease with which one can apply to the authorities for an ASBO positively invites people to use the system to punish their foes or the irritants who live in their neighborhoods. ASBOs have been used to prevent young people in certain areas from wearing hoods or hats (they look “threatening”), to ban a middle-aged couple from playing gangsta rap (the expletives offended workers and children at a nearby kindergarten), and to prevent a 10-year-old boy from having contact with matches until he turns 16, after he was found to have started a fire.”

15 thoughts on “How Loud Sex Can Land You in Gaol

  1. Pingback: How Loud Sex Can Land You In Gaol « The musings of an Australian classical liberal in Washington DC

  2. More Bad News! In The Australian, a British writer, writing about a new law before Westminster, points out that it will be even worse than this! Read Hal Colebatch on page 10!
    To summarise, an ‘equality’ bill before a parliamentary committee would ban discrimination, even for private associations and churches. Harassment in the workplace is also punishable- but harassment has new scope. A hypothetical example is that an atheist cleaner in a church, whom they’ve been told to employ because s/he was first in line, could claim that the religious symbols on the walls of a christian care center are ‘harassment’.
    Before you think, ‘That sounds unlikely’, just remember that a nurse was suspended for offering to pray for a patient, quite recently, in Britain.
    As Hal says, Britain appears to be evolving into the first modern soft totalitarian state.

  3. For those of us who don’t currently have access to the Oz in paper form, you able to provide a link?

    But yes, Hal’s article on soft totalitarianism (as previously posted on this blog) is certainly very, very sobering.

  4. I don’t use html links, so NO can do, sorry. But wouldn’t the Aus have a website?
    Or you could (this is too radical) BUY a newspaper! Mindblowing, I know!

    [JOHN: nicholas — Tim lives in America]

  5. ASBOs were another New Labour invention to appeal to the large number of Britons who see anything they don’t like and think that there should be a law against it. Picture a Monty Python drag character repeating “it shouldn’t be allowed, it shouldn’t, they should put a stop to it” – I believe there’s something like that inside every Briton, though in those of us with Libertarian leanings it’s buried very deep inside with a shovel in its head. Anyway, ASBOs were a sop to such people for when the police either couldn’t find enough evidence to charge someone with a real offence or knew damn well that no real laws had been broken. The expectation was that ASBOs would be used to deal with teenage troublemakers etc., but like many laws introduced over the past decade or so there’s been a bit of legislative mission creep and all sorts of people are getting ASBOs now. All very Niemöller-like I’m afraid, except of course for the troublemakers that ASBOs were supposed to deal with in the first place. Anecdotal evidence suggests that getting an ASBO is actually desirable because it’s good for their street cred.

    Don’t even get me started on Harriet bloody Harperson’s Equality Bill.

  6. The more the years pass, the more I am reminded of the profound insights into the political class offered by the likes of “Yes Minister” and the even earlier Peter Cook cult film – ‘The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer’, which in hindsight appears to have been the text book for the likes of Blair, Rudd and BHO.

    A precis:

    ‘With chicanery, manipulation, and relentless abuse of opinion polls, the Machiavellian Rimmer becomes MP for Budleigh Moor (an obvious pun) and acquires a trophy wife before rapidly working his way up, with charismatic deception, to murder and the even greater heights of a newly-created presidency.’

    What the mind of insightful Anglophone comedic writers can conceive, the mind of relentless political animals can achieve.

    Be afraid.

  7. Why doesn’t someone take out an ASBO on those perfidious beings called Parliamentarians? Or are they immune?

  8. Why doesn’t someone take out an ASBO on those perfidious beings called Parliamentarians? Or are they immune?

    Probably. They exempted themselves from being taxed on benefits in kind like everyone else in the UK, so why not?

  9. Why not ASBO a campaign van, in an election? They’re clearly very anti-social! And stop all that electioneering stuff- very noisy! It might frighten the petunias!

  10. FFS. You need to read the WHOLE thing…

    “Using an interpreter, Hana Saad, 23, said he had degraded them “maybe because we are Muslim”.

    You can get charged for a “hate crime” on a maybe?

    “You might be racist. Perhaps I should take you to court”


    “But off-duty Chief Inspector Eoin Jenkins thought he was targeting Muslim Isam Maigel and his wife Hana Saad.

    And when Jenkins, now retired, confronted Ronnie he was told to “f*** off”.”

    Pretty bloody normal. Considering the circumstances, perhaps the off duty officer should be investigated for harassment.

  11. Pingback: Britain Officially Orwellian State « Thoughts on Freedom

Comments are closed.