Ohio Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws

For the most part, consensual sexual activity is none of the government's business. Sexual assault, rape, and other such sex crimes all involve non-consensual sex and are thus considered serious violations. But there are some situations when consensual sex crosses the line and either endangers another's well-being or disrupts the public.

In Ohio, prohibited consensual sexual activity may include sexual intercourse (or other sexual behavior) performed in public. For instance, a couple having sex in a public park may be charged with public indecency or disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.

In Ohio, an individual commits an act of public indecency by:

  • Exposing one's genitals
  • Engaging in public sexual conduct or masturbation
  • Engaging in sexual conduct or masturbation in the presence of a minor

Ohio's disorderly conduct statute is much more broad but may apply when consensual sexual activity takes place "in a public place or in the presence of two or more persons" and is "likely to be offensive ... or to cause alarm to persons of ordinary sensibilities."

While any kind of nonconsensual sex is a crime, most states at one time enforced anti-sodomy laws, which were struck down in 2003 by the U.S. Supreme Court because they unconstitutionally singled-out gay couples. While Ohio has removed its statute outlawing sodomy, many states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books (they remain unenforceable, however).

The following chart highlights the basics of Ohio's prohibited consensual sexual activity laws. See Details on State Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws to learn more.

Sodomy Laws Applicable to -
Penalty for Sodomy -
HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders 2907.27 If person charged with violation of division (B) of section 2903.11 or sections 2907.02, .03, .04, .05, .12, .24, .25, or .241, the court shall order the accused to submit to HIV testing upon request of the victim or prosecuting attorney
Other Crimes Relating to Consensual Sex Acts 2917.11 Disorderly conduct: misdemeanor
2907.09 Public indecency: 4th degree misdemeanor

Note: Although FindLaw makes an effort to keep its state laws summaries current, laws are constantly changing -- make sure you contact an Ohio criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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