This came up in chat. Sooner or later, we're going to have a question about sex. As said in chat, this could legitimately cover "safe spots for it, legality in state parks, energy you waste on it and so on." I say we ought to discuss now what we're going to do with it, before it comes along and potentially becomes an issue.

I think such topics are quite acceptable, given (largely adapted from chat):

  1. It sticks to the details that are relevant to the outdoors.
  2. It doesn't go into crude details.
  3. Advice stays within the law.
  4. It doesn't attract a flood of questions and turn the site into a sex Q&A.

Ideally we should also solidify the tag to be used so those uncomfortable with such subjects can ignore it. The options we've considered so far are:

What do you think? Anyone think we should use a different tag? Any SE employees know whether there's official policy on this?

  • 4
    This is really boring without an actual example on the site. Way to cross a bridge you haven't gotten to yet!
    – Shog9
    Jan 31, 2012 at 23:24

4 Answers 4


Is this really about defining the scope of The Great Outdoors? It seems a bit daft to anticipate questions like this (before they've been asked) to the point where you're already designing tags for it.

But nonetheless… This is just a corollary to the age-old "programmer's favorite softdrink" problem of Stack Overflow.

This site is for questions about activities that are traditionally part of "The Great Outdoors" such as camping, hiking, fishing, etc. But that does not make any activity that can be done outside automatically on topic, nor does it make any activity taking place while you happen to be engaging in an outdoor activity on topic.

But let's play along and pretend someone comes up with an intriguing off-beat question that legitimately crosses into the subject of "The Great Outdoors." When exploring the appropriateness of a question, there are a few bars the question should pass:

  1. Is the question being asked in good faith, and not just an excuse to post a tantalizing title to "test the fence" of what would be allowed?
  2. Is the question itself adding to the substance of the site (i.e. Is this an intriguing and challenging question about the subject of "The Great Outdoors")?
  3. Are the experts here best-equipped to answer your question (or is your question just obliquely- or tangentially-related to the subject)?
  • 3
    I think this is a great lens to use to examine whether sex is something that should be on topic here. Would you need to know about sex in the context of programming, using a computer, gaming? I think the consensus would be no. Do hygiene, limited resources, zero-footprint mentality of the outdoors make bodily functions like sex, elimination and eating on topic? Absolutely in my opinion. I think the area of discussion should be around is the hassle of moderation and the inevitable juvenile pranks going to outweigh the benefit of adult discussion of living in the outdoors? I hope so...
    – bmike
    Jan 31, 2012 at 18:29
  • I agree apart from the bit about it's daft anticipating these questions - it's highly likely they'll come up at some point in the future and it makes sense to a) be prepared having discussed it already and b) be able to point new users to a discussion on the topic so they can see what's tolerated.
    – berry120
    Feb 1, 2012 at 1:17
  • 1
    There may be some experts....hands up those who do a bit of dogging... :-)
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Feb 1, 2012 at 21:22
  • It's a good thing I decided not to post that sex question that I was also thinking of when I was asking a menstruation question last night.... I agree, these are excellent criteria for deciding what is or is not relevant or appropriate to this exchange. Feb 3, 2012 at 14:51

Personally, I don't feel that sex or such related topics are on topic for the Great Outdoors.

This site needs to be appropriate for all users 13 and above, as per /legal. Also, a lot of these questions are better asked elsewhere, such as a Google search or other websites devoted to this purpose. Just because something is related to The Great Outdoors, doesn't mean that we should ask every conceivably related thing here.

Also, if we create a tag, then it is possible this site could get filtered by Google and/or other filters, such as work filters. Also, this site is not for sex experts, so why have them?

The , , and tags are not appropriate either.

In short: Would you expect to read in a widely known and respected backpacking magazine about different aspects of sex and how to have sex outside?

  • 4
    The 13+ issue is important here.
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Jan 31, 2012 at 4:34
  • 2
    The potential filtering by work filters / Google is a fair point as well, we definitely don't want this clsased as an adult site.
    – berry120
    Jan 31, 2012 at 13:35
  • 2
    I'm not so quick to say we want to restrict things just because some mature themes might arise. Google obviously has the ability to not censor dictionaries and health related sites and I see no reason why the moderators here can't keep things well in check. I'm hoping this site is better than print magazines and other sites because it can handle mature content in a responsible way. The other sites where I have spent time on SE have excellent moderators and I don't think we'll have problems moderating this in practice.
    – bmike
    Jan 31, 2012 at 18:32
  • I understand that this site is not "for sex experts," but-- I would want the advice of hikers/campers/backpackers or perhaps somebody who had hiked the AT as to what concerns there would be about sex on the trail. I'm sure there are issues (or advantages?) that some of us have yet to think of. Feb 3, 2012 at 14:50

Possible outdoor sex questions that may or may not be within scope of the site:

  1. How do I avoid getting sand "up there" when having sex on the beach?

  2. Is there a risk of infection from having sex in a lake or ocean?

  3. What birth control methods can be applied in the wilderness? (e.g. contraceptive herbs)

  4. What are some wild-foraged personal lubricants?

  • 1
    I think all those are in (though I'm not sure I'd trust wild-foraged personal lubricants or contraceptives, but some might and I think it would be fun trivia).
    – Kevin
    Jan 31, 2012 at 1:20

I agree that as long as it sticks to those 4 points then it shouldn't be an issue.

In terms of the tags, simple as it might seem, seems like the best option as far as I'm concerned. I must admit I thought seemed more like a joke when it was mentioned in chat and seems to imply there's explicit pictures and suchlike involved (which I don't think there should be at all, there's no need!)

  • 2
    +1 "sex" gets right down to it, if that's what the questions about. I'd also suggest "intimacy" if we start getting questions not explicitly about intercourse, but just going on a romantic outing Jan 31, 2012 at 1:03
  • Yes, call the tag "sex". No beating around the bush. ahem
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Jan 31, 2012 at 4:35

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