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Ohio Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws

For the most part, consensual sexual activity is none of the government's business. Sexual assault, rape, and other such sex crimes all involve non-consensual sex and are thus considered serious violations. However, there are some situations when consensual sex crosses the line and either endangers another's well-being or disrupts the public.

This article provides a brief overview of Ohio laws prohibiting certain consensual and nonconsensual sexual acts. Keep in mind that "consent" is a legal term defined by state criminal law. For example, it is impossible for anyone under the age of 16 to consent to sexual activity in Ohio.

Ohio Laws Prohibiting Certain Consensual Sexual Acts

While any kind of nonconsensual sex is a crime, most states at one time enforced anti-sodomy laws, which were struck down in 2003 by Lawrence v. Texas because they unconstitutionally singled-out same-sex couples. While Ohio has removed its statute outlawing sodomy, many states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books (they remain unenforceable, however).

The following chart highlights the basics of Ohio's prohibited consensual sexual activity laws. See Details on State Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws to learn more.

Sodomy Laws Applicable to

Ohio repealed its anti-sodomy statute in 1972.

Penalty for Sodomy


HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders

Under O.R.C. § 2907.27, a court can order an accused defendant to submit to testing for any venereal disease upon the request of a victim or the prosecuting attorney.

Other Crimes Relating to Consensual Sex Acts

Public indecency: Under O.R.C. § 2907.09, a person can be charged with public indecency if they expose their private parts, engage in sexual conduct or masturbation, or engage in conduct that to an ordinary observer would be sexual conduct or masturbation. This crime is punishable as a fourth-degree misdemeanor but can be heightened if the perpetrator is a repeat offender or if the affronted person is a minor.

Prostitution: Under O.R.C. § 2907.21 et seq. and § 2907.231, it is illegal to engage in sexual activity for hire, compel another to engage in sexual activity for hire, and maintain, operate, supervise or manage people engaged in sexual activities for hire.

Loitering to engage in solicitation: Under O.R.C. § 2907.241, no person can solicit sexual activity for hire while in or near a public place. The punishment for this crime is a misdemeanor of the third degree. If the offender is found guilty of loitering after a positive HIV test prior to July 1, 1996, this crime is a felony of the fourth degree. If the offender commits the violation after July 1, 1996, loitering to engage in the solicitation after a positive HIV test is a felony in the fifth degree.

Other Crimes Relating to Non-consensual Sex Acts

Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor: Under O.R.C. § 2907.04, no person who is 18 years old or older shall engage in sexual conduct with another, who is not the spouse of the offender when the offender knows the other person is 13 years of age or older but less than 16 years old. If the offender is less than four years older than the other person, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor is a misdemeanor of the first degree. Charges may be heightened depending on previous convictions.

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

Ohio Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws: Related Resources

Charged with a Sex Crime in Ohio? Let an Attorney Help You

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 may be able to assist you.

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