Nonconsensual sexual activity, such as rape, is a breach of law. Consensual sexual activity is, for the most part, none of the state's business. While sodomy laws were once enforced across the nation, even between consenting adults in the privacy of their own home, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled those laws unconstitutional 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 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.
As in other states, Missouri's sodomy laws are limited to sexual assault, engaging in sexual activities with animals, and sex with minors (statutory rape).
Which Types of Consensual Sexual Activity are Illegal in Missouri?
Additional details about laws in Missouri that are related to sexual activity can be found in the following table:
Sodomy Laws Applicable to
|Under 566.060, a person is guilty of sodomy if they engage in such a sexual activity with someone that is incapacitated, unable to consent, incapable of consenting, or by force.
Penalty for Sodomy
|Under 566.060, sodomy in the first degree or an attempt to commit sodomy in the first degree is treated as a felony, punishable by up to life in prison or a term of up to five years in prison. If the offense is an aggravated sexual offense, an offender faces life in prison or a term of up to ten years. Additional penalties apply, when the victim is under 12 years of age.
HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders
|Under 191.677, knowingly infecting a person with "serious infectious or communicable diseases," including HIV, is a crime. It is treated as either a Class D felony or Class C felony. If the victim contracts the infection, it is treated as a Class C felony. Under 191.663, any person convicted of or who pleads guilty to a sexual offense must undergo testing for such diseases.
Age of Consent
|Under most circumstances, the age of consent in Missouri is 17. Generally speaking, the offense of engaging in sexual activity with someone under the age of consent is referred to as statutory rape. For more information about statutory rape, consider reviewing FindLaw's page on the matter. In Missouri, statutory rape is treated as a felony.
|Under 566.039, indecent exposure is a crime. It qualifies as sexual misconduct in the first degree and is treated as a Class B misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses are treated as a Class A misdemeanor. The following qualify as indecent exposure:
If a person requests or solicits another person to engage in one of these acts, they may be charged with sexual misconduct in the second degree. This is treated as a Class C misdemeanor.
- Exposing one's genitals with the intention of causing an affront or alarm in other person,
- Engaging in sexual contact in the presence of a third party under circumstances likely to cause affront or alarm, or
- Having sexual intercourse in public in the presence of a third party.
Prostitution & Other Related Offenses
|Under Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 567, prostitution and solicitation are crimes. For more information about prostitution and solicitation, as well as the punishments for offenses related to either, consider reviewing FindLaw's page on these issues.
Note: State laws are constantly changing. Contact a Missouri criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
Consider reviewing the following resources for more information about all laws in Missouri, including those that relate to sexual activity:
- At Missouri Law, you'll links to all laws in the state, including those related to sexual activity.
- At Official State Codes, you'll find links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Missouri Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws: Related Resources
Consider reviewing the following resources for more information about laws and legal issues related to sexual activity:
Need More Help? Speak with an Attorney Today
If you've been accused of a sex crime, you'll want to know how this will affect your life. It's advised that you speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney near you if you've been accused of such a crime or are facings charges for such a crime.