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Masturbation Not Protected Under Utah Solicitation Law

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File photo of a judge's gavel. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a judge’s gavel. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (CBS Las Vegas) – A district court judge has ruled that masturbation is part of a list of prohibited activities under the state’s existing solicitation law.

As the law now stands, any person engaging in masturbation in exchange for money would be breaking the law in the same way as a person paying to engage in sexual intercourse.

Last year, escort service Bushco Companions LLC challenged the solicitation law in its entirety, criticizing it for its broad language.

“An intent to engage in sexual activity for a fee may be inferred from a person’s engaging in, offering or aggreeing [sic] to engage in, or requesting or directing another to engage in any of the acts described in Subsection (1)(c) under the totality of the existing circumstances,” reads one passage, exemplifying the overall issue Bushco cited in its complaint.

Judge Dee Benson agreed last week, deeming that the portions of the law suffer from “unconstitutional vagueness” in her ruling.

Bushco also argued that masturbation is protected conduct, as it was not legally considered “sexual activity” by the state. On that point, however, Judge Benson disagreed with the plaintiffs, and made the law clear.

“Section 1301 includes ‘acts of masturbation’ in the definition of ‘sexual activity,’” the court contended. “As a result, masturbation for a fee is not a protected activity and, therefore … does not infringe on a substantial amount of protected speech. According, [the same section] is not overbroad [sic].”

Representatives from Benson’s chambers declined to comment further on the matter, and calls made to the district attorney’s office were not immediately returned.

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