The original pagan pilgrim and founding father of Quincy Thomas Morton becomes one of the first colonists to be like, “Yo, Massholes … you’re a bunch of prudes!” As punishment for bucking Puritanism–sexually and otherwise–buckle-hatted party poopers desert him on an island off the coast of New Hampshire.
Sex laws are codified in Plymouth, including restrictions on sodomy and unnatural acts (i.e. blow jobs). Another 330-odd years will pass before it becomes legal to, as Eddie Murphy once famously said, put the boogie in your butt.
Massachusetts Bay Colonist Thomas Granger gets the short end of the Leviticus-stick, and is sentenced to death by hanging for “buggery with a mare, a cowe, two goats, divers sheepe, two calves, and a turkey.” And you thought your South Shore adolescence was boring and oppressive.
Generally speaking, there’s a lot of bodice-ripping and people making out with wooden teeth. And whoring and swashbuckling. All sorts of swashbuckling in those days.
The Scarlet Letter is published, and its Massachusetts native author Nat Hawthorne slaps a big red “A” on Hester Prynne’s bosom, cementing Boston’s reputation as a bastion of judgmental prigs.
In what’s sometimes referred to as the Ann Street Raid, Boston police finally bust the perpetual party in the Dock Square neighborhood of the North End, which is home to an estimated 227 brothels, 26 gambling dens, and 1,500 liquor brokers. Believe it.
The New England Ward and Watch Society is founded so that blue blood busybodies can together get their knickers in a twist about dirty pictures, “fashionable novels,” “French comedies,” and other “crimes against public chastity.” Their censorious circle jerk gives rise to the ol’ “Banned in Boston” trope.
The Boston Police Department hires its first ladies–dubbed the “Flapper Squad”–to police vice and protect the chastity of a young female population in a city full of booze and sailors. Ask your grandparents how that worked out.
The FBI instates Uniform Crime Reports, which eliminate hilarious old school police stat categorizations like “bastardy” and “lewd and lascivious cohabitation.” Otherwise, nothing changes.
The BPD arrests burlesque dancer “Irma the Body,” therefore setting the stage for an obscenity trial that ultimately shutters the Old Howard Theatre and beckons the demise of Scollay Square, the city’s red-light district at the time.
With the glorious Scollay Square razed once and for all, degeneracy moves a few blocks out of the West End, and into what becomes known as the Combat Zone. The fun lasts until the early ’70s.
Thanks to the landmark Supreme Court case Griswold v. Connecticut, it becomes legal for married people to possess contraception, overturning some 300-year old year pecker-obsessed Puritan bullshit.
In a further expansion of privacy rights, contraception is legalized for single people. It’s about time. This year also marks the release of Fuzz, a Boston-based buddy cop sex romp that features legendary hot ticket Raquel Welch in her bra and panties and Burt Reynolds dressed like a nun.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules that so-called “unnatural and lascivious acts” rules do not apply to consensual adult acts.
More or less the same kind of development as four years earlier, only this time, in the case of Balthazar v. Superior Court of Com. of Mass., the phrase “unnatural and lascivious acts” is deemed unconstitutionally vague as it applies to oral sex and oral-anal contact. Party on.
Though fornication–sex between a man and woman who aren’t hitched–still technically remains a crime in Massachusetts, an SJC ruling deems the law to be of “doubtful constitutionality.” The entire state busts a simultaneous nut, and creates the stickiest public health crisis since the Great Boston Molasses Flood. Everybody sleeps on the wet spot for months.