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Indiana Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws

It's well-known that nonconsensual sexual activities, like rape and sexual assault, are illegal. It's less well-known that some consensual sexual activities are prohibited by law, as well. It may also not be well-known that states have used laws to criminalize sexual activity between consenting same-sex partners throughout history. 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 in that state. For having sex with anther man in the privacy of his own home, he was convicted of violating that law. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law unconstitutional and unenforceable. In the wake of that decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, all anti-sodomy laws, as they apply to consenting adults, became unconstitutional and unenforceable.

Sexual Activities Laws

Each state has laws that prohibit certain kinds of consensual sexual activity. Normally these correlate with the social norms of that particular state and tend to change with the times.

Indiana's prohibited consensual sexual activity laws include regulations found in most other states, like provisions for public indecency and indecent exposure. However, the state also requires mandatory testing and reporting if an HIV-positive person is convicted of a sex or drug crime that “created an epidemiologically demonstrated risk of [HIV] transmission" to another person.

Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws in Indiana

The main provisions of Indiana's prohibited consensual sexual activity laws are listed in the following chart.

Sodomy Laws Applicable to


Penalty for Sodomy


HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders

Under 35-38-1-9.5, a person convicted of a sexual offense must submit to HIV testing upon the victim's request and an order from the court. HIV testing is also required if the offense is related to a controlled substance.

Public Indecency

  • Under 35-45-4-1, public indecency is a crime.
  • Offenses are treated as a class A misdemeanor. For a second offense, offenses are treated as a level 6 felony. If the offense is of a "non-public" nature, offenses are treated as a class C misdemeanor.
  • Public indecency is also often referred to as indecent exposure. For more information, consider reviewing FindLaw's page on the subject.

Right to Breastfeed

Under 16-35-6-1, a person may breastfeed in public.

Age of Consent
  • Under most circumstances, the age of consent is 16 in Indiana.
  • The offense of engaging in sexual activity with someone under the age of consent is known as statutory rape in most states.
  • For more information about statutory rape, consider reviewing FindLaw's page on the subject.
Prostitution & Other Related Offenses
  • Under 35-45-4-2, it is a crime to prostitute oneself. Offenses are treated as a class A misdemeanor. If an offender has two prior convictions for prostitution, offenses are treated as level 6 felony.
  • Under 35-45-4-4, it is a crime to promote prostitution. "Promoting prostitution" refers to a variety of activities, including owning or operating a house of prostitution, aiding in the business of prostitutes by finding clients for them. Offenses like this are often referred to as "pimping." Offenses are treated as a level 5 felony. However, if the victim is under the age of 18, offenses are treated as a level 4 felony.
  • For more information about laws against prostitution and other related offenses, 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 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.

Indiana prohibits public and non-public indecency, covering behavior from public sex to non-public nudity intended to be seen by other people. The statute also contains a broad definition of nudity, including exposure of the buttocks.

While some states have exceptions in their indecency laws for breastfeeding, Indiana has a separate statute, guaranteeing that a person may breastfeed their child in any place that they have a legal right to be.

Indiana Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws: Related Resources

Social attitudes regarding sex are subject to change, and state laws often follow suit. If you have been charged with a sex crime or would like to fully understand your rights, you can contact an Indiana criminal defense attorney in your area. You can also visit FindLaw's Sex Crimes section for more comprehensive information on this topic.

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

Even consensual sexual activity can be considered unlawful in certain situations, typically when it interferes with the rights of others. If you've been charged with violating a law related to sexual activity in Indiana, it's a good idea to contact a local sex crime attorney who can review the facts of your case and help you craft a solid defense.

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