Generally, states criminalize sexual acts such as indecent exposure, sexual assault, prostitution, solicitation, rape, and statutory rape. An individual may be considered a "sex offender" if they are convicted of one of these acts, and may then be added to both state and federal sex offender registries. Most states also have laws prohibiting certain types of consensual sexual activities, although it should be noted that sodomy bans applicable to same-sex partners have been ruled unconstitutional (and therefore unenforceable) in Lawrence v. Texas (2003).
This article provides a brief overview of prohibited consensual sexual activity laws in New York. Keep in mind that "consent" is a legal term defined by state criminal law. For example, it is impossible for those under the age of 17 to consent to sexual activity in the state of New York.
New York Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws: At a Glance
Review the following table to learn more about New York's prohibited consensual sexual activity laws, including compelled HIV testing for sex offenders. See FindLaw's Sex Crimes section to learn about prohibited non-consensual sex acts.
Sodomy Laws Applicable to
There is no anti-sodomy law in New York.
Penalty for Sodomy
There is no penalty for sodomy in New York.
HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders
Under C.P.L. § 390.15, upon the request of a victim of certain felony offenses, the court must order the convicted person to be tested for HIV or other STIs
Other Crimes Relating to Consensual Sex Acts
- Public lewdness: Under P.E.N. § 245.03, public lewdness in the first degree is punishable as a class A misdemeanor.
- Promoting the exposure of a person: Under P.E.N. § 245.02, a person guilty of promoting the exposure of a person in a public place is a violation. This section specifically excludes women breastfeeding infants or to any person performing in a play, exhibition, show, or entertainment.
- Prostitution: Under P.E.N. § 230.04 et seq., the penalties for prostitution depend on the defendant's involvement in the sex-for-hire operation. The crime may be punished as a Class A misdemeanor, a Class D felony, or a Class E felony.
Other Crimes Relating to Non-consensual Sex Acts
- Rape: Under P.E.N. § 130.25 et seq., rape is classified as either first-degree, second-degree, or third-degree. The penalties for each vary depending on the facts of the crime. For more information, visit FindLaw's article on New York Rape Laws.
- Sexual assault: Sexual assault in New York describes a wide range of criminal conduct, with the lowest degree being a Class B misdemeanor, to the most severe categories of rape and sexual assault abuse, which are punished as Class B felonies. For more information, visit FindLaw's article on New York Sexual Assault Laws.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
New York Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws: Related Resources
Facing Criminal Charges? Get Help From a New York Defense Attorney
Criminal prosecution for a sex crime can have serious consequences for a defendant. If you have been arrested for a sex crime, you may consider contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you still have the right to counsel and the public defender's office in your county will be able to assist you.