10 Shocking Things That Could Make You Register as a Sex Offender

Sex crimes are serious in nature and require convicted offenders to permanently register in a publicly-accessible database. This is done to ensure public safety, and let other citizens know when these individuals live in the area once they have served their sentences and return to normal life.

Despite the fact that this permanent registration is meant to protect the public, it’s important to understand that even some victim-less, nonviolent, or other seemingly innocuous acts you didn’t know were crimes may result in your registration as a sex offender. It may surprise you to learn that some of the following things could result in permanent sex offender status, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the laws in your area to prevent that from happening.


  • Public urination. If law enforcement officers catch you relieving yourself in any public place, even when other people are not in the immediate area, you may face sex offense registration for indecency.
  • Public exposure. Another indecency charge that could result in registration as a sex offender is intentionally exposing one’s genitals or breasts. Sometimes this is done for self-gratification, to incite arousal in others, or to make others uncomfortable. In any case, the result is sex offender status.
  • Consensual sex between teenagers. Legal minors may be forced to register as sex offenders for having consensual sex with another teenager, even if the two individuals are the same age.
  • Taking nude photographs of oneself while under the age of 18. Yes, even if a teenager takes nude photos of him or herself entirely of his or her own volition, the teen may be required to register as a sex offender if the pictures are seen by other people.
  • Soliciting prostitution. Anyone caught visiting a prostitute will have to register as a sex offender.
  • Incest, or sexual conduct between family members, is largely considered a heinous social taboo and a danger to potential children that are conceived in such couplings.
  • Sex in public. If you are caught having consensual sex in any public place, you and your partner may need to register as sex offenders for public indecency. This also extends to performing any type of sexual act or promoting visual displays of a sexual nature, such as masturbation, promoting sexually explicit devices, or publicly displaying pornographic material.
  • Hugging. There have been numerous cases of minors who were forced to register as sex offenders for attempting to hug other children.
  • Displaying pornography to children. Regardless of whether or not it was intentional, if you allow a child to view any pornographic material that is under your control or in your possession, you may face charges for impairing the moral development of the child, also known as corruption of minors. An example would be leaving pornographic material visibly displayed on a television or computer screen when children are in the area.
  • Allowing your child to have consensual sex in your home. Some parents are quite relaxed when it comes to allowing their teens to date, but if you are such a parent and you allow your child to have sex under your roof, you could potentially face charges and need to register as a sex offender.


Some of these things may seem harmless to you, but it’s important to recognize that decency laws exist primarily to protect children. What you perceive to be a harmless act might permanently skew a child’s perception of the world. In other cases, the act may have been unintentional. A trial may show the jury that it was an honest (or simply careless) mistake that resulted in minimal harm, and you may not need to register as a sex offender in such cases. However, you will still likely face expensive legal fees for your case. It’s important to avoid the above-listed activities, even if you think no one else is watching.