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Mississippi 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 some states have laws criminalizing sexual activities that are consensual, as well.

Continue reading for more information about laws in Mississippi related to sexual activity.

Sexual Activities Laws

In many states, consensual sexual activity laws regulate even some voluntary sexual activities. These restrictions generally reflect the prevailing social norms or community concerns of the state at the time they were enacted. Some sex laws are subject to change over time, while others may be invalidated by court rulings. Throughout history, for example, all states have had anti-sodomy laws. They were often used to criminalize sexual activity between same-sex partners. That changed in 2003, however.

In that year, the U.S. Supreme Court heard Lawrence v. Texas. In that case, a man challenged his conviction in Texas for having 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 wake of that decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, all anti-sodomy laws, as they apply to consenting adults, became unconstitutional and unenforceable.

Consensual Sexual Activity Laws in Mississippi

Mississippi has fairly standard prohibitions on prostitution, disorderly conduct, and indecent exposure. And although Mississippi's anti-sodomy statute remains on the books, the United States Supreme Court overturned all sodomy laws in 2003.

The chart below breaks down the laws Mississippi related to sexual activity.


 Under §97-29-59, it is a crime to engage in sodomy with animals.


Under §97-29-59, offenders face a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.

HIV Testing of Sex Offenders

Under §99-19-203, sex offenders must submit to HIV testing upon conviction, if the victim requests it.

Indecent Exposure

Under 97-29-31, indecent exposure is a crime. It is treated as a misdemeanor punishable in the following ways:

  • For the first offense, a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment for up to six months.
  • For the second offense, a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year.
  • For a third or subsequent offense within five years, the crime is treated as a felony, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to five years.
Breastfeeding is exempt under this statute.


Under 97-35-11, indecent exposure in some private spaces, under some circumstances, is a crime. It is treated as a misdemeanor. Breastfeeding is also exempt under this statute.

Age of Consent

Under most circumstances, the age of consent is 16.Engaging in sexual activity with someone under the age of consent is known as statutory rape. Under §97-3-65, the specifics of any given set of circumstances can cause the penalties to vary for statutory rape. For example, if any person that is 17 years of age or older engages in sexual intercourse with a child who is at least 14 but is also under 16, that person faces up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Depending on the offender's age, the penalties can vary. It's advised to check the statute linked immediately above to learn more about these specifics.


Under §97-29-49, prostitution, soliciting prostitutes, and aiding in the business of prostitutes are crimes. Offenders face fines of up to $200.00 and/or a period in the county jail of up to six months.

Legislators and law enforcement are normally reluctant to pass laws and prosecute what happens in a private bedroom, and the majority of Mississippi's prohibited sex acts are nonconsensual. While the state does prohibit indecent exposure, the statute does include an exception for breastfeeding. Mississippi also has extensive statutes requiring all convicted sex offenders to be tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

More Resources Regarding Mississippi Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws

Prohibited sex laws can differ from state to state, and it can be tricky figuring out which ones are still valid. You can consult with a Mississippi criminal defense attorney in your area if you would like legal assistance regarding a sex crime matter, or if you have been charged with a sex offense. You can also find more resources and information on this topic in FindLaw's section on Sex Crimes.

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