Sexual Contact Law & Legal Definition


Sexual contact is generally defined as intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person. Definitions are primarily governed by state criminal laws, which vary by state. Various entities, such as professional boards and educational institutions, among others, also regulate sexual contact.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-37-1(7) defines sexual contact as the "intentional touching of the victim's or accused's intimate parts, clothed or unclothed, if that intentional touching can be reasonably construed as intended by the accused to be for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or assault.". Pettiway v. Vose, 921 F. Supp. 61, 62 (D.R.I. 1996)

The following is an example of a school policy defining sexual contact:

Behavior relating to sexual activities including, but not limited to, kissing and forced touching through clothing or direct contact. Sexual contact also includes sexual intercourse, defined as contact between the penis and the vulva, the penis and the anus, the mouth and the penis, the mouth and the vulva, or any intrusion, however slight, by any part of a person's body or any object into the genital or anal opening of another.