In this question I asked about parents taking children to strip clubs, answer showed what the law has to say in the case of sexually oriented businesses in general.

But what about non-businesses, like sexually oriented events, like private or open to public parties, carnivals or any type of events where it has act(s) that might be considered sexual. Is it also illegal for parents to take children to them?


1 Answer 1


I would think that at that point, it would fall under federal obscenity laws.


Specifically from that page: "visual depictions, spoken words, or written text". If a minor was at a private event and exposed to either materials or live acts of a sexual nature, that seems like it would be a "visual depiction". Officially, the courts apply the Miller Test of Obscenity, but I would think a live sexual act would count just as much as a video.

Per the same page: "Federal law strictly prohibits the distribution of obscene matter to minors. Any transfer or attempt to transfer such material to a minor under the age of 16, including over the Internet, is punishable under federal law."

There may be specific case law that defines whether a live act qualifies as "matter" and/or whether viewing constitutes "transfer", but at the surface level, I don't see why they wouldn't.

  • Thank you for the answer. Do you know if this was ever tested in court?
    – Mocas
    Jul 7, 2023 at 20:22
  • I don't, sorry. There is one additional factor. The obscenity law is federal. However, child endangerment/abuse laws are all state-specific. It's also entirely possible that this situation has come up under those circumstances, but would not apply to the entire country. Jul 7, 2023 at 20:44
  • Is the actual thing a "depiction"? Jul 7, 2023 at 21:27
  • The dictionary definition of "depiction" includes "representation in image form". One could easily make the logical leap that if exposure to a visual representation of an act is considered obscene, that visual observation of the act itself under the same conditions would also be considered obscene. In other words, if the representation is, how could the source not be? Again, I have no case law or statutes to back that up, but it's a logical assumption. Jul 10, 2023 at 16:19

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