Legal Implications

Under English common law, the term buggery is defined as anal intercourse by a man with another man or a woman and anal or vaginal intercourse by a man or a woman with an animal (bestiality). Although the 1967 Sexual Offences Act provided that it was not an offense for two consenting men who had attained the age of 21 to commit buggery in private, it remained an offense for a man to commit buggery with a woman, even if both parties consented, until 1994.

The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 expanded the definition of rape, which had previously related to only vaginal intercourse, to include nonconsensual penile penetration of the anus independent of the gender of the recipient. The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 reduced the minimum age at which a person, whether male or female, may lawfully consent to buggery to 16 years.

A recent change in English law has defined nonconsensual penetration of the anus by an object or a body part (excluding the penis) as "assault by penetration," this new offense has the same maximum sentence as rape. In some other jurisdictions, such as Australia, such acts are included in the legal definition of rape (172).

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