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Colorado Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws

It is well-known that nonconsensual sexual activities, like rape and sexual assault, are illegal. It is not as well-known that states prohibit some consensual sexual activities, as well.

For example, throughout history, states have used anti-sodomy laws to criminalize sexual activity between same-sex partners. However, that changed in 2003.

In that year, the U.S. Supreme Court heard Lawrence v. Texas.

In that case, a man challenged his conviction in Texas for violating an anti-sodomy law of that state. For having sex with another man in the privacy of his own home, he was convicted of having violated that law. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law unconstitutional and unenforceable. In the wake of that decision by the Supreme Court, all anti-sodomy laws, as they apply to consenting adults, have become unconstitutional and unenforceable. As is the case in all other states, Colorado does not have an anti-sodomy that may be used to criminalize sexual activity between consenting adults.

Consensual Sexual Activity Laws in Colorado At A Glance

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.

The following chart outlines Colorado's laws related to sexual activity.

Sodomy Laws Applicable

Not Applicable

Penalty for Sodomy Not Applicable
HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders

Under Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-3-415, any defendant that has been arraigned for any sexual offense involving penetration must submit to STI/STD testing upon a court's order.

Indecent Exposure & Other Related Offenses

Under Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-7-301, public indecency and lewdness are crimes. Offenses are treated as petty offenses.

Under Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-7-302, indecent exposure is a crime. Offenses are treated as a class 1 misdemeanor. However, offenses are treated as a class 6 felony, if an offense is committed after the offender has already been convicted for this offense twice in any other state or in the United States as a whole. This same applies for violating any similar municipal ordinance.

Under Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-9-106, disorderly conduct is a crime. Examples of conduct that are prohibited are coarse and obviously offensive utterances, gestures, or displays in a public place. Offenses are treated as petty offenses. However, if the offense occurs during a funeral, an offense is treated as a class 2 misdemeanor.

Prostitution & Other Related Offenses Under Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-7-201, it is a crime to engage in prostitution. Offenses are treated as petty offenses. Under Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-7-202, it is a crime to engage in solicitation of prostitutes. Offenses are treated as a class 3 misdemeanor.
Age of Consent The age of consent in Colorado is 17. The offense of engaging in sexual activity with someone under the age of consent is referred to as statutory rape in most states.For more information about statutory rape, consider reviewing FindLaw's page on the subject.

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 by 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 Law Related to Sexual Activity: Other Resources

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

Need More Help? Speak with an Attorney

If you've been accused of or charged with a 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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