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Utah 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 Utah 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, in the state of Utah, the age of consent for women is 16 years old while the age of consent for men is 18 years old.

History of Sexual Activities Laws

There are voluntary sexual activities that are regulated under state consensual sexual activity laws in all jurisdictions. Most of the time, these guidelines reflect the social and political norms of the particular state at the time the laws were created and thus are subject to change over time.

While any kind of non-consensual sex is a crime, most states at one time enforced anti-sodomy laws. These laws have since been struck down in 2003 by Lawrence v. Texas since they unconstitutionally singled-out same-sex couples. They are, therefore, unenforceable. Even though they have been unenforceable since 2003, Utah officially amended its sodomy statute in 2022, and such is no longer a crime between consenting adults.

Consensual Sexual Activity Laws in Utah

The table below lists Utah's prohibited consensual sexual activity statutes. You can also find additional articles and information on this topic by visiting FindLaw's section on Sex Crimes.

Sodomy Laws Applicable to

Utah has repealed its anti-sodomy statutes for consenting adults. However, Utah Code Ann. § 76-5-403, does outlaw forcible sodomy.

Penalty for Sodomy

Under Utah Code Ann. § 76-5-403, forcible sodomy is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor. A crime is considered forcible sodomy if the sexual act was done either without consent or on a child if the victim was under 14 years old.

HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders

Under Utah Code Ann. § 53-10-802, at the victim's request, a person convicted of a sex offense or attempted sex offense must undergo HIV or STI testing.

Other Crimes Relating to Consensual Sex Acts

  • Disorderly conduct: Under Utah Code Ann. § 76-9-102, disorderly conduct is a Class C misdemeanor if the offense continues after a request to desist; otherwise, it is an infraction
  • Lewdness: Under Utah Code Ann. § 76-9-702, lewdness is a Class B misdemeanor. However, there is an explicit exception for breastfeeding mothers. Lewdness involving a child is a third-degree felony.
  • Prostitution: Under Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-1302 et seq., the penalties vary depending on the defendant's involvement in a sex-for-hire operation. For instance, patronizing and aiding a prostitute is a Class A misdemeanor while exploiting prostitution is a felony in the third degree.

Other Crimes Relating to Non-consensual Sex Acts

  • Unlawful sexual activity: Under Utah Code Ann. § 76-5-401, sexual activity with a minor (a person who is at least 14 but younger than 16) is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. If the defendant was less than four years older than the minor, it is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.
  • Rape: Under Utah Code Ann. § 76-5-401 et seq., rape, object rape, aggravated sexual assault, and forcible sexual abuse are punishable crimes in Utah with varying imprisonment sentences and fines. To learn more about penalties and sentencing, visit FindLaw's article on Utah Rape and 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.

Utah Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws: Related Resources

Charged with a Sex Crime in Utah? 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 Utah 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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