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Iowa Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws

Sexual assault has been a prevalent topic in the media recently, and we all know that no means no. But what about voluntary sexual activity? Or maybe something not even that sexual? Are there laws against consensual sexual activity? Let's say you "mooned" your friends -- is that indecent exposure? And what if a friend takes a photo on his or her phone and texts it to another friend? Can they get in trouble for that? This is an introduction to prohibited consensual sexual activity laws in Iowa.

Sexual Activities Laws

Even some voluntary sexual activities are regulated under state consensual sexual activity laws, although Iowa has fewer than most. Normally, these prohibitions reflect the social and political norms of the state population at the time the laws were created. Therefore some sexual activity laws are subject to change over time. As an example, many states still have sodomy laws on the books, most of which were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2003. Iowa has no sodomy laws, but does prohibit indecent exposure and prostitution.

Consensual Sexual Activity Laws in Iowa

The chart below lists the details Iowa's prohibited consensual sexual activity statutes.

Sodomy Laws Applicable to


Penalty for Sodomy


HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders

Iowa Code 915.42: Victim Rights

Victim may request HIV testing of defendant convicted of sexual assault

Other Crimes Relating to Consensual Sex Acts

Iowa Code 709.9 Indecent Exposure

Serious misdemeanor

For the most part, state legislatures, authorities, and courts have been reluctant to regulate what happens in a private bedroom. But they have shown far less reticence when sexual acts become public. Like many other states, Iowa law prohibits public indecency, and its statute can be read to outlaw everything from flashing and public sex to even non-public exposure if the person intends the act to be seen by other people. Iowa statutes also include victim rights provisions allowing for forced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing of convicted sexual abusers at their victim's request.

Iowa Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws: Related Resources

As noted above, state sex laws can vary, and are apt to change over time. You can find additional articles and resources on this topic in FindLaw's section on Sex Crimes. You can also consult with an Iowa criminal defense attorney in your area if you have been charged with a crime or if would like legal advice regarding a sex crime issue.

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