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Kentucky Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws

We're all aware that nonconsensual sexual activities, like rape and sexual assault, are against the law. But how does the law handle it when both parties consensually engage in a sexual activity that is also prohibited by law? What are the possible repercussions?

Here's an introduction to prohibited consensual sexual activity laws in Kentucky.

Sexual Activities Laws

Even some voluntary sexual activities are regulated under state consensual sexual activity laws. In most instances, these restrictions reflect the social norms of that particular state at the time these laws were enacted.

That said, some laws related to sexual activity are subject to change over time. For example, while many states once had anti-sodomy or anti-same sex laws, all of them have been repealed or ruled unconstitutional.

In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court heard Lawrence v. Texas. In that case, a man challenged his conviction in the state of Texas for having consensual sex with another man in the privacy of his own home, which violated a state anti-sodomy law. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law unconstitutional and unenforceable in the Lawrence case. In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision, all anti-sodomy laws, as they pertain to consenting adults, became unconstitutional and unenforceable.

Consensual Sexual Activity Laws in Kentucky

Kentucky's Supreme Court had actually already ruled the state's own anti-sodomy law, as it pertains to consenting adults, unconstitutional and unenforceable in 1992. In that year, the Supreme Court of Kentucky did so in the case of Commonwealth v. Wasson.

Like most other states, Kentucky has prohibitions on prostitution and indecent exposure. The table below highlights the specifics of Kentucky's prohibited consensual sexual activity laws.

Kentucky Revised Statutes 510.070, 510.080, & 510.090


Under Kentucky Revised Statutes 510.070510.080, and 510.090, sodomy remains a crime under the following circumstances:

  • When it is done by force (without consent),
  • When it involves a child or someone under the age of consent, or
  • When the victim is disabled or incapacitated.

Penalties for Violating Anti-Sodomy Laws

Depending on the specifics of the offense, acts of illegal sodomy are treated as either a Class D, Class C, Class B, or Class A Felony. Check the statutes linked immediately above for more information about how these offenses are treated.


Under Kentucky Revised Statutes 529.020, it is a crime to engage in acts of prostitution. Prostitution is defined as engaging in sexual activity in exchange for compensation. Offenses are treated as a Class B Misdemeanor. To learn more about offenses related to prostitution in Kentucky, consider reviewing FindLaw's page on the subject.

HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders

Under Kentucky Revised Statutes 510.320, a person convicted of a sexual offense must submit to HIV testing upon an order from the court.

Indecent Exposure

Under Kentucky Revised Statutes 510.150 and 510.148, indecent exposure is a crime.

Depending on the specifics of the offense, it is treated as a Class B or Class A misdemeanor or as a Class D felony. To learn more, review the statutes linked immediately above.

Age of Consent

Under most circumstances, the age of consent in Kentucky is 16.In many states, the crime of engaging in sexual activity with someone under the age of 16 is referred to as statutory rape. For more information about statutory rape, consider reviewing FindLaw's page on the subject.

Most state authorities are reluctant to legislate and prosecute what happens in a private bedroom, and nearly all of Kentucky's prohibited sex acts are nonconsensual. This means that the vast majority of voluntary sex acts are legal under state law.

Kentucky Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws: Related Resources

State sex laws can differ and tend to change along with societal attitudes regarding sex. You can contact a Kentucky criminal defense attorney in your area if you have been charged with a sex offense or would like legal advice with a sex crime matter. You can also visit FindLaw's Sex Crimes section for additional articles and information on this topic.

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