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Oregon Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws

When two or more consenting adults consent to one sexual activity or another, it's usually none of the state's business. However, there are some sexual acts that are considered crimes, particularly when they are done within public view.

These laws have changed, and continue to change, along with shifting social mores. For instance, sodomy laws prohibiting non-procreative sexual acts were used to criminalize homosexuality as recently as 2003, when the U.S. Supreme Court found such laws unconstitutional in Lawrence v. Texas.

This article provides a brief overview of Oregon laws prohibiting certain consensual and non-consensual 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 18 to consent to sexual activity in Oregon.

Overview of Oregon Laws Prohibiting Certain Consensual Sexual Acts

While Oregon still has anti-sodomy laws on the books, only cases involving children or nonconsensual acts are prosecuted as crimes. Still, Oregon statute defines "deviate sexual intercourse" as sexual conduct involving the "sex organs" of one person and the "mouth or anus" of another.

Oregon has both "public indecency" and "private indecency" laws that generally prohibit the public display of sexual acts, private parts, or the act of "flashing" another person with one's genitals with the intent of arousing the other person. Both offenses are charged as Class A misdemeanors, which can result in a prison sentence of up to one year.

Consensual Sexual Activity Laws in Oregon

Additional provisions of Oregon laws prohibiting certain kinds of consensual sexual activities are listed in the following table. You can also find more information and resources on this topic in FindLaw's section on Sex Crimes.

Sodomy Laws Applicable to

Sodomy is still on the books in Oregon. Sodomy in the first and second degrees involves force or a minor well under the age of consent. Sodomy in the third degree is committed a person engages in oral or anal sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16 (note that this is two years younger than the age of consent in Oregon) or causes that person to engage in oral or anal sexual intercourse. This is a class C felony.

Penalty for Sodomy

  • Sodomy in the first degree: Class A felony, minimum 300 months (if the victim was under 12) or 100 months (if by forcible compulsion, the victim is under 16, or the victim is incapable of giving consent due to mental disability) with a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and maximum $375,000 fine.
  • Sodomy in the second degree: Class B felony, minimum of 75 months and maximum 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000.
  • Sodomy in the third degree: Class C felony, maximum five years imprisonment, and a maximum fine of $125,000.

HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders

Under O.R.S. § 135.139, upon request of the victim of a crime involving transmission of bodily fluids, the court shall order HIV and other STI testing of a convicted offender or person charged with such offense after a probable cause determination by the court.

Other Crimes Relating to Consensual Sex Acts

  • Public indecency: Under O.R.S. § 163.465, the crime of public indecency is punishable as a class A misdemeanor. A person commits the crime of public indecency if while in, or in view of, a public place the person performs an act of sexual intercourse, an act of oral or anal sexual intercourse, masturbation, or an act of exposing the genitals of the person with the intent of arousing the sexual desire of the person or another person.
  • Private indecency: Under O.R.S. § 163.467, the crime of private indecency is a class A misdemeanor. A person commits this crime if the person exposes their genitals with the intent of arousing the sexual desire of the person or another person and the person is in a place where another person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, the person is in view of the other person, the exposure reasonably would be expected to alarm or annoy the other person, and the person knows that the other person did not consent to the exposure.
  • Prostitution: Under O.R.S. § 167.007 et seq., penalties for prostitution range from a class A misdemeanor to a class C felony, depending on the defendant's involvement in the prostitution operation.

Other Crimes Relating to Non-consensual Sex Acts

  • Capability to consent: Under O.R.S. § 109.510, a person is incapable of giving consent for sexual acts if the person is under the age of 18, or incapable of appraising the nature of the person's conduct, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.
  • Rape: Rape has heightened penalties depending on the facts of the situation, such as the age of the victim. Under O.R.S. § 163.375, rape in the first degree is a class A felony.

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 or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Oregon Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws: Related Resources

Charged with a Sex Crime in Oregon? 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 Oregon 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.

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