The law, for good reason, comes down very hard on sex crimes. However, the range of conduct prohibited by law can sometimes be wider than most people think. Does pranking someone by flashing your bare butt in public constitute a sex crime? And if so, could an offender end up on some kind of registry? Of course we know rape and sexual assault are illegal, but what about consensual sexual activity? These laws aren’t always the most well-known or publicized, so you might not know what can and can’t get you in trouble. Here’s a brief summary of prohibited consensual sexual activity laws in Illinois.
Sexual Activities Laws
Most laws regulating consensual sex are rooted in the social norms of the jurisdiction at the time they were written, which explains why many states have sodomy laws prohibiting "unorthodox" sexual activities. Illinois has no such sodomy laws, but criminalizes the willful transmission of HIV to another individual, as well as acts of public indecency.
Sexual Activity Statutes in Illinois
The main provisions of Illinois' prohibited consensual sexual activity laws are listed in the table below.
Sodomy Laws Applicable to
Penalty for Sodomy
HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders
720 ILCS 5/12-16.2 Criminal transmission of HIV: Class 2 felony 720 ILCS 5/12-18 HIV testing may be requested by victim of sexual assault crime upon preliminary hearing or indictment
Other Crimes Relating to Consensual Sex Acts
720 ILCS 5/11-9 Public indecency: Class A misdemeanor
Illinois’s statute defines the following as indecent exposure (when done in a public place):
- An act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct; or
- A lewd exposure of the body done with intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of the person.
Like most other states, Illinois includes the intent section so that innocent actions like breastfeeding are excepted under the law. Similarly, flashing someone your under wear, no matter how revealing or skimpy, is normally not indecent exposure for purposes of most indecent exposure statutes. However, the Illinois statute reads “exposure of the body,” so it is probably best to err on the side of caution before flashing anything
Illinois Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws: Related Resources
State laws can change frequently, especially as social attitudes change. If you would like more general information on this topic, you can visit FindLaw's sex crimes section to learn more. You can also contact an Illinois criminal defense attorney if you feel like you need legal assistance.