They say you learn something new every day. Today I learned that I could potentially bare all here in Maine and not get in trouble for it!... Maybe.

I'm not saying I would recommend it for myself or anyone else, there's a lot of gray area in the way Maine's indecent conduct laws are written.

First of all, there is no explicit law saying that women can't go topless here in Maine.

Back in 2010 more than 20 women gathered together and marched through Farmington topless. This parade was completely legal. According to Seacoast Online, the march was done to challenge social double standards and promote gender equality as men can be topless without issue and women cannot.

Maine law addressing indecent exposure not only doesn't explicitly forbid toplessness, but it also doesn't explicitly forbid exposing anything else either.

In 2002 some University of Maine students ran naked through town and were charged with indecent exposure according to Sun Journal. The charges were ultimately dropped as the defense said that women's genitalia is technically not visible.


Title 17-A Part 2 Chapter 35 states that if you're in a public space you can't engage in any sexual activity. Pretty cut and dry there. The law goes on to prohibit knowingly exposing yourself in a way that would likely offend or alarm. This section is where much of the gray area comes in as it largely hinges on intent and social awareness which can be subjective.

The law also addresses nudity in private. I know what you're thinking, "How dare anyone legislate my being naked in my own home?!" No worries, friend. You're probably good to be au naturale in your crib. Just know that if you're living in an apartment on Main Street and you're vacuuming by the window facing the street for everyone to see, there's a good chance you'll get a visit from the local police as this is considered a Class E offense which is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The law essentially says that you can't have your junk out in a private place where people in a public place can see you. And trust me, that's probably one of the last calls they want to answer.

So there you have it. Maine is oddly vague when it comes to showing off the goods. And while the law here has no issue with female toplessness that doesn't mean your neighbor is totally on board.

Photo: Heather Irish Gooley
Photo: Heather Irish Gooley

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