Where You Can Be Jailed For Kissing

Published On July 15, 2016 | By Jacob Ander | Travel

Places To Avoid Public Displays Of Affection

Holidays can bring out the romantic in all of us, but before you pucker up, make sure you are aware of the local laws and customs – or you could end up in hot water!

With warm summer nights, beautiful scenery and an escape from everyday stresses, holidays can bring out the romantic in all of us. But before you start getting affectionate with your other half, make sure you know where it is safe to kiss in public.

In many countries and cultures, public displays of affectionare not tolerated. In fact, in some areas, kissing in public is against the law and if you’re not careful you could find yourself on the wrong end of a fine, jail time or even a flogging. Here are some of the places you should avoid public kisses.

Jailed For Kissing

The Middle East

When it comes to public displays of affection, some of the harshest laws can be found in Middle Eastern countries such as Dubai, Qatar and Iran, which all forbid kissing in public. If you break the rules it’s not uncommon to be reported to the police by a member of the public, and possible punishments include deportation and imprisonment.

In 2013, a couple fell foul of the law and were jailed for a year after being caught kissing on a public beach in Dubai – despite the man’s claim that he was administering CPR. In the same year, a British couple were imprisoned for a month after a local woman complained about seeing the two kiss in public.

In Iran, the punishment for kissing is flogging, with offenders generally sentenced to between 10 and 100 lashes.

safe to kiss in public


India is another country that prefers people to keep their kissing behind closed doors – as Hollywood star Richard Gere knows all too well. In 2007, a warrant was issued for the actor’s arrest after he kissed Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty several times on the cheek at a public function. India has strict public obscenity laws in place, and people who transgress the rules can expect to find themselves with a fine and / or a prison term of up to three months. The term ‘obscenity’ isn’t strictly defined and the law is open to interpretation but, as Richard Gere discovered, it’s better to be safe than sorry.


Despite its reputation as a popular honeymoon destination, Indonesia does not take kindly to public displays of affection. Since the Indonesian government passed the controversial Anti-Pornography Law in 2008, kissing somebody on the lips in public is illegal in some parts of the country and is punishable by imprisonment and a hefty fine. What’s more, a law recently adopted by Indonesia’s sharia-ruled province of Aceh will see unmarried couples who are caught kissing punished with 30 lashes or imprisonment for up to 30 months.

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As well as the countries listed above, there are lots of other destinations where, while not strictly illegal, public affection displays are certainly frowned upon. Areas of Southeast Asia, such as China, Japan and Vietnam for example, can be quite conservative (particularly in rural districts), and kissing in public is taboo and likely to cause offence.

When travelling to foreign countries it’s important to do your research and familiarise yourself with local laws and customs. When holidaying in more conservative regions, keep your kissing behind closed doors or you could find yourself in hot water.

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