Singapore courts blow away passion

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The Independent Online
In its never ending search for things to ban, Singapore has, perhaps inevitably, turned its attention to sex - specifically oral sex.

A High Court decision, reported yesterday, has ruled that oral sex is an "unnatural act" and therefore a criminal offence, unless it leads to intercourse.

Like the chewing of gum, smoking in public places and the failure to flush toilets, oral sex for purposes other than foreplay, is outlawed.

The court's fine eye for detail was seen in the judgment which concluded that natural intercourse had to involve "the coitus of the male and female organs".

Less specific, however, was the court's view that "unnatural acts" were permissible as long as they were part of foreplay. The justices declined to spell out what these unnatural acts might be.

The judgment also followed the well-established Singaporean practice of deciding that the state was a better judge of personal behaviour than the individuals involved. Thus even if oral sex occurs between two consenting partners, it is still unlawful.

The case giving rise to this landmark judgment involved a 47-year old man accused of persuading a 19-year old woman to perform oral sex on him.

The court heard that he had told the woman that she could only purge herself of poison contracted by having oral sex performed on her by another man by performing oral sex on the accused.

The complexity of the case meant that it had to be referred from the appeal court to the High Court.

The ruling that oral sex, which is not foreplay, has been outlawed, sets a challenge for the makers of Singapore's most famous T-shirt which says "Singapore is a Fine Society". It then lists in graphic form, the various things subjected to fines in the island state.

Each of the banned items is illustrated by a line drawing with a bar across it. It remains to be seen which symbol might be employed to describe the oral sex ban.