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Colorado Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws

Of course "no means no," but what if two "yes"es equal something illegal? Obviously we all understand that nonconsensual sexual activities like rape and sexual assault are against the law -- with lack of consent being the key element. But can you get in trouble for consensual sexual activity? Can something as innocuous as "mooning" your friends count as indecent exposure? And can your friends get in trouble for taking a photo and texting it?

All jurisdictions, including the Rocky Mountain State, regulate even voluntary sexual activities under state consensual sexual activity laws. In most instances, these policies reflect the social norms of that particular state at the time they were enacted, and are subject to change over time.

Colorado, like most other states, has prohibitions on prostitution, public indecency, and indecent exposure, while some consensual sexual activities might also be prosecuted under its disorderly conduct statute. These laws outlaw everything from flashing and public sex to even non-public nudity if the person intends to be seen by other people who have not consented. There are also extensive statutes covering scenarios for HIV testing as well as harsh penalties for knowingly exposing others to the virus.

Consensual Sexual Activity Laws in Colorado At A Glance

The following chart outlines Colorado's prohibited consensual sexual activity laws.

Sodomy Laws Applicable


HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-3-415: Any defendant bound over for trial for any sexual offense involving penetration shall be ordered by court to submit to HIV testing.

Crimes and Penalties for Consensual Sexual Acts

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-9-106 (Disorderly Conduct): Prohibiting coarse and obviously offensive utterances, gestures, or displays in a public place. This is a Class 1 Petty Offense punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment and a fine of up to $500 in fines.

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-7-201 (Prostitution): Prohibiting sexual activity with any person not one's spouse in exchange for money or any other thing of value. This is a Class 3 Misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment and up to $750 in fines.

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-7-301 (Public Indecency): Prohibiting certain public sexual activities. This is a Class 1 Petty Offense punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment and up to $500 in fines.

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-7-302 (Indecent Exposure): Prohibiting the public exposing of one's genitals and public masturbation. This is a Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable by up 18 months imprisonment and up to $5,000 in fines.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Colorado Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws: Related Resources

State laws on sex can vary, and can change as our social attitudes regarding sex evolve. To learn more see the related resources below:

Learn More About Colorado Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws from a Lawyer

As you can see, while consent is a very important aspect of any sexual activity, it may not be enough when it comes to certain activities, such as those involving prostitution or those performed in public places. If you've been charged under Colorado prohibited consensual sexual activity laws, or are facing charges for another sex crime, it's a good idea to consult with a local sex crime attorney to discuss your case and find out your options moving forward.

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