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Nevada Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws

It's widely known that nonconsensual sexual activities, like rape and sexual assault, are prohibited by law. However, most people don't know that states have, throughout history, also prohibited certain types of consensual sexual activities.

With anti-sodomy laws, states have at times criminalized sex between same-sex partners. While those laws have been ruled unconstitutional, they were once used to target same-sex partners. 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 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.

In discussing laws prohibiting sexual activities that sometimes appear to involve consent, it's important to address statutory rape. While statutory rape sometimes seems to involve consenting partners, minors have no legal ability to give consent.

In Nevada, prohibited consensual sexual activity laws are mostly limited to public lewdness and obscenity.

Details about Nevada's laws that are related to sexual activity are listed below. See FindLaw's Sex Crimes section for related information.

Sodomy Laws Applicable to

There is no anti-sodomy law prohibiting such sexual activity between consenting adults. If sodomy is done by force, it qualifies as sexual assault.

Penalty for Sodomy

Under 201.190, if sodomy involves a "crime against nature," the offense is treated as a Category D felony. Such felonies are penalized in many different ways. For example, if sodomy qualifying as a "crime against nature" is done in public, the offender faces one to four years in prison. Generally speaking, a "crime against nature" is defined as a crime that is abnormal, such as bestiality.


Under 201.210, it is a crime to engage in open or gross lewdness. The statute does not apply to breastfeeding. Generally speaking, the law defines lewdness as sexually offensive acts that are likely to be observed by non-consenting persons who are affronted by the acts. An example of such conduct is exposing one's genitals to a non-consenting person. The first offense is treated as a misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses are treated as a Category D felony. However, for offenses involving a child or a mentally disabled person, the penalties are more severe.

Prostitution & Other Matters Related to Prostitution

Under 207.030, it is a crime to engage in prostitution. This statute also addresses engaging in prostitution in public as a type of lewdness. Offenses are treated as a misdemeanor.

Age of Consent

Under most circumstances, the age of consent in Nevada is 16. Under 200.366, someone is guilty of sexual assault in other age-related sets of circumstances when they engage in sexual activity with a person under the age of 14. Offenses of this variety are treated as a Category A felony. For such offenses, an offender faces life in prison with the possibility of parole. For an offender to be guilty of a Category A felony under these circumstances, the assault must have caused substantial bodily injury to the victim. Under other circumstances, offenders face life in prison without the possibility of parole. Penalties can vary based on the specifics of the assault. It's important to review the laws of your state or speak with an attorney if you need more help. Nevada also prohibits sexual activity between someone that is 16 years of age or younger with someone who is age 18 years of age or older.

Nevada Prohibitions of Consensual Sexual Activity

Even after the Lawrence v. Texas case, some states still have not repealed their bans on sodomy. While sodomy laws can no longer be used to criminalize the sexual behavior of consenting partners, they can be used for other purposes. Nevada (at least partially) is among those states that has repealed bans on sodomy. Nevada's criminalization of sodomy applies only to sodomy in public. Nevada's current prohibitions on consensual sexual activity fall under sex crimes.

Need More Help? Speak with an Attorney

If you would like to know more about laws prohibiting consensual sexual activity, you may want to speak with a Nevada attorney with criminal law experience in your area.

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