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New Jersey Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

Most states prohibit certain types of consensual sexual activity. While statutory rape seems to involve consenting partners, minors have no legal ability to give consent. In New Jersey, prohibited consensual activity laws are mostly limited to public lewdness and obscenity. Also, victims of sexual assault may request that their convicted attacker be tested for HIV.

Details about New Jersey's prohibited consensual sexual activity laws are listed below. See FindLaw's Sex Crimes section for related information.

Sodomy Laws Applicable to -
Penalty for Sodomy -
HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders 2C:43-2.2 Upon request of victim, any person convicted of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault shall be HIV tested
Other Crimes Relating to Consensual Sex Acts 2C:14-4 Lewdness: misdemeanor
2C:34-4 Public communication of obscenity: crime of 4th degree; not more than 18 months

History of Prohibiting Consensual Sexual Activity

Although the laws may seem antiquated today, there is a long history of prohibiting many forms of consensual sexual activity. Some of the most well-known laws include those prohibiting homosexuality. Many states had already repealed or struck down anti-homosexuality and anti-sodomy laws on their own. However, in the landmark case Lawrence v. Texas the Supreme Court of The United States struck down a Texas law that prohibited homosexual acts. As a result of the decision in that case, sodomy laws were struck down in thirteen other states as well. However, this Supreme Court decision did not strike down all laws that prohibit consensual sexual activity.

New Jersey Prohibitions of Consensual Sexual Activity

Even after the Lawrence v. Texas case, some states still have not repealed their bans on sodomy. However, New Jersey is not one of those states. New Jersey repealed its anti sodomy law in 1978. New Jersey's current prohibitions on consensual sexual activity fall under sex crimes.


New Jersey law currently prohibits lewd sexual activity. The law defines the prohibited activities as sexually offensive acts that are likely to be observed by non-consenting persons who are affronted by the acts. This generally encompasses exposing one's genitals to a non-consenting person. The law makes the punishment for this crime more severe when the offender intentionally exposes his or herself to a child, or a person with a mental disability.

Statutory Rape

Statutory rape is a commonly known form of consenting sexual activity that is usually prohibited by law. Both sexual partners consent to the sexual activity, but one of them is underage, and the other is at least eighteen years old. Although both partners consent to the sexual activity in fact, the underage partner is not legally old enough to consent to the sexual activity. Many states have different ages for the age of consent to sexual activity. New Jersey prohibits sexual activity between someone age sixteen or younger with someone who is age eighteen or older.

If you would like to know more about laws prohibiting consensual sexual activity, you may want to speak with an attorney with criminal law experience in your area.

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