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South Dakota Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws

Most of us are well aware that nonconsensual sexual activities are against the law. Rape and sexual assault are illegal, but could you get in trouble for consensual sexual activity? Does “flashing" your friends constitute indecent exposure? While "flashing" your friends is still not necessarily consensual, it might still be illegal under indecent exposure laws. And what about anti-sodomy laws?

Continue reading for a summary of laws that relate to certain still-illegal consensual sexual activities in South Dakota.

Anti-Sodomy Laws

The most important case to date concerning anti-sodomy laws is Lawrence v. Texas.

In 2003 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. However, many are still on the books.

South Dakota Sodomy Laws

In 1976, private adult consensual and non-commercial acts of sodomy were legalized.

Other South Dakota Laws Related to Sexual Activity

The following table lists the main provisions of South Dakota's prohibited consensual sexual activity laws, while additional background information follows. See FindLaw's Sex Crimes section for more information.

Sodomy Laws

Not Applicable

HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders

23A-35B-3.1 -- Victim or law enforcement officer, where exchange of body fluids has taken place, may petition a court to order HIV testing of a defendant.

Under 22-18-31, which pertains to intentional exposure to HIV, such intentional exposure is treated as a Class 3 felony.

Under 23A-35B-8, HIV testing is mandatory for persons convicted of prostitution or solicitation of prostitution.

Age of consent

Class 3 felony. In South Dakota, the age of consent is 16. Any person, sixteen years of age or older, who engages in sexual contact with another person, excluding their spouse, knowing that that person is younger than sixteen years of age, is guilty of a Class 3 felony. If the victim is at least thirteen years old and the offender is less than five years older than the victim, the offender is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.


Class 1 misdemeanor. A person who is eighteen years of age or older, who engages in or offers to engage in sexual activity in exchange for compensation, is guilty of prostitution.

22-23-2 -Promoting Prostitution

Class 5 felony. Any person who encourages or forces another person to become a prostitute or continue to be a prostitute is guilty of a Class 5 felony. Any person who promotes prostituting a minor is also guilty of such a felony. Any person that promotes the prostitution of their spouse, child, ward, or other dependent is guilty of the same variety of felony.

2-23-8 - Pimping --Permitting prostitution on premises

Class 6 felony. All of the following qualify as pimping:
  • Soliciting another person to engage the services of a prostitute
  • Procuring a prostitute for a customer
  • Transporting a person into or within the state to become or work as a prostitute
  • Procuring or paying for the transportation required for a person to enter the state for the purpose of becoming --or working as -- a prostitute
  • Knowingly permitting a place you own, manage, supervise, or control to be used for prostitution or the promotion of it
  • Not making reasonable efforts to stop use of a property for prostitution purposes by ejecting the tenant overseeing prostitution, notifying the police, or using other means that are legally available
  • Soliciting, receiving, or agreeing to receive any gain in exchange for engaging in an activity prohibited by this law

22-24-1.2 --Indecent Exposure

Class 1 misdemeanor

Note: State criminal laws are constantly changing. Contact a South Dakota sex crimes 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 South Dakota laws, including those related to prohibitions on certain sexual activities:

  • At South Dakota Code, you'll find links to all the official laws of the state, including those related to prohibitions on certain sexual activities.
  • At Official State Codes, you'll find links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

South Dakota Consensual Sex Act Laws: Related Resources

Consider reviewing the following resources for more information related to prohibitions on certain sexual activities in South Dakota:

Need More Help? Contact an Attorney Today

If you've been charged with any crime related to any sexual activity, it can be stressful to handle the legal fallout. Consider speaking with a qualified criminal defense attorney near you. They can help you navigate any difficult legal issue and will defend you.

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