Indonesia Passes Law to Ban Sex Outside Marriage, Even for Tourists

Set to take effect in 2025, the new criminal code does not discriminate between citizens and travelers

A view of sea and shore as there are places for hiking, yoga and spa centers in Bali, Indonesia on November 13, 2022. Travelers will effected by a new law banning sex outside marriage that will go into effect in 2025
If you're going to visit Bali, you may want to go before a new law hits the books.
Emin Sansar/Anadolu Agency via Getty

In a move that’s both insanely oppressive for its own citizens and a major deterrent for travelers, Indonesia’s parliament just approved a new criminal code that bans anyone in the country from having extramarital sex.

Per the BBC, the new laws mean sex outside marriage will carry a jail term of up to a year (even for couples) in the southeast Asian country. Unmarried partners will also be banned from living together and adultery will soon be a jailable offense. These new measures are updates of existing laws, but those were not enforced (and a similar 2019 measure met with citizen and court resistance…which caused a delay, but didn’t stop the country from burning sex toys a year later).

As the BCC notes, the new legislation also restricts other forms of political and religious expression.

The new and updated laws are set to take effect in 2025, but travelers to the country — especially to semi-autonomous and more tourist-friendly areas like Bali — should probably start to take notice now. “It’s hard to see how any unmarried tourists wouldn’t be putting themselves at risk under these new laws, if they so much as share a hotel room,” as the travel site God Save the Points notes, also pointing out that authorities in the country are “no strangers to corruptions and bribery.”

It took a wave of protests to fend off these draconian measures in 2019, and the loss of tourist income in places like Bali probably won’t be enough to convince the country to set aside the laws, which passed unanimously in a vote.


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