You’ve got to love a country that prohibits the sale of breast-themed pillows on one hand and sanctions liquor-drenched live sex shows on the other. Here in America, our wild pioneer spirit continues to clash with our Puritan paranoia; we’ve lurched into a 21st century that offers unlimited hardcore pornography at our fingertips but by and large grants only one sex the right to go shirtless in public, and with movements such as #FreeTheNipple making their way into the national discussion, it’s a good time to get the lay of the land. Here, then, is a map of the totally schizophrenic, often inspiring and always entertaining laws governing how, when and where we can be naked in America. 


PORTLAND, OR
NUDES AGAINST THE MACHINE
Public nudity is illegal, but courts have made exceptions for naked protestors.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA
OF ALL PLACES
A law banning public nudity went into effect in 2013, at a time of soaring real-estate prices. Coincidence?

CALIFORNIA
LEGAL NAKED HIKING
In 2006, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department wrote a letter to a California attorney stating that “simply hiking in the forest, in the nude, is not a violation of the law.” 

OREGON
STRIP-CLUB PARADISE
Oregon has the most liberal strip-club laws in the country, allowing alcohol, fully nude performers and live sex shows. 

BAKERSFIELD, CA
WAIT—BOOBIE PILLOWS?
An ordinance states that “no vendor shall vend stuffed articles depicting the female breasts (sold as ‘boobie pillows’) within one thousand (1,000) feet of any county highway.”

GARDEN GROVE, CA
CURSE THIS STIFLING LINGERIE
In 2011, Garden Grove was home to lingerie coffeehouses whose waitresses worked in the buff—until the city voted unanimously to shut them down. 

SPANISH FORK, UT
BE ADVISED
A sign at Diamond Fork hot springs warns, “Although nudity is not prohibited on Forest Service land, discretion is advised.” Yes, and try not to think about snakes.

HAWAII
MARRIED AND NUDE
The law explicitly (get it?) states that public indecency is illegal if the parties involved are not married. Otherwise, game on. 

WILLIAMS COUNTY, ND
FEAR OF MILK
Dancers have been asked to cover their nipples with a non-porous material to ensure against unwanted lactation dripping onto clients. Lest you find this unreasonable, dancers’ areolae may remain exposed. 

IOWA
MANDATORY THONGS
There are no legal all-nude establishments in the entire state. Thank God for the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library.

HARRIS COUNTY, TX
STRIPPER NAME TAGS
Licensed sex-oriented business workers “shall wear a clearly visible badge issued by the Sheriff.” Where?

MANY STATES
PUBLIC PISSER = SEX OFFENDER?
In at least 12 states you can be put on the sex-offender list for peeing in public. There must be a Starbucks around here somewhere.

CHICAGO, IL
PRIVATES IN PRIVATE
Here and elsewhere, nudity in the privacy of your home can be illegal if you intentionally put on a show for unwitting passersby. 

LOUISIANA
NO SEXY STREAKING
You will be fined for appearing naked in public “with the intent of arousing sexual desire.”

FLINT, MI
ILLEGAL BUTT CLEAVAGE
In 2008, a Flint police chief decreed that sagging was a form of indecent exposure.

KENTUCKY
BIKINI BODYGUARDS
Until 1975, appearing on the highway in bathing garb without an escort was a crime for women—unless they were armed with clubs.

TAMPA, FL
“TOPLESS” WITH A TOP ON
Women must cover up “while performing customary ‘barroom’ type of nude dancing commonly referred to as ‘topless’ and/or ‘bottomless’ dancing.” So…no topless “topless” dancing? Go figure.

OHIO
ILLEGAL UNDERBOOB
The state forbids showing a “female breast with less than a full, opaque covering of any portion thereof below the top of the nipple.”

CAMBRIDGE, MA
FREEDOM TO DANCE NAKED
Nude dancing is protected under the First Amendment except when “imposed on an unsuspecting or unwilling audience.” God bless America! 

SEMINOLE COUNTY, FL
HIGHBROW NUDITY
Women must wear pasties and G-strings onstage unless they’re involved in a “bona fide” theatrical production—a definition three strippers tested in 1999 by mounting a nude production of Macbeth

NY, OH, ME, TX, HI
NIPPLE FREEDOM!
Each of these states has laws that expressly allow women to go topless in any location where men can do so legally. May their example light the way.