”Ultimate Sex Acts” Legal Definition

In Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15, 25, 93 S. Ct. 2607, 37 L. Ed. 2d 419 (1973), the United States Supreme Court, in setting out the constitutional standard for determination of whether material is obscene, stated that examples included "patently offensive representations or descriptions of ultimate sexual acts, normal or perverted, actual or simulated."

Since that time, a multitude of state legislatures has enacted obscenity statutes which incorporate the terms "ultimate sex acts" or "ultimate sexual acts" and use the language from Miller, "normal or perverted, actual or simulated."

Although it has been said that this terminology from Miller is not itself unconstitutionally vague, legislatures have nevertheless attempted to give more specificity to the meaning of this terminology as a matter of state law.

Several statutes give an exclusive list of acts which comprise this term, while others have defined it through a non-exclusive list.

See State v. Gambino, 362 So. 2d 1107, 1111 (La. 1978) (obscenity statute which uses term "ultimate sexual acts" is not unconstitutionally vague; its basis is Miller v. California, and "a widespread use of the phrase has acquired a well-known and acceptable meaning, readily comprehended by the average person"), cert. denied, 441 U.S. 927, 99 S. Ct. 2042, 60 L. Ed. 2d 402 (1979), overruled on other grounds, State v. Walden Book Co., 386 So. 2d 342, 345 n.2 (La. 1980).

See ARIZ. REV. STAT. § 13-3501(10) (1999) ("'Ultimate sexual acts' means sexual intercourse, vaginal or anal, fellatio, cunnilingus, bestiality or sodomy"); MICH. COMP. LAWS § 752.364, § 4(3) (1999) ("'Ultimate sexual acts' means sexual intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus, anal intercourse, or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person's body or of any object into the genital or anal openings of another person's body, or depictions or descriptions of sexual bestiality, sadomasochism, masturbation, or excretory functions"); MONT. CODE ANN. § 45-8-205(9) (1999) ("'Ultimate sexual act' means vaginal or anal sexual intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus, or bestiality").

Still others have defined the phrase negatively, by listing it separately from other acts.

Some states use more than one method.

The common element in these state statutes which define "ultimate sex act" is a requirement of genital or anal contact.

Non-exclusive and exclusive: TENN. CODE ANN. § 39-13-511(a)(1)(A)(i) (1999) ("Engages in sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation, flagellation, excretory functions or other ultimate sex acts"); TENN. CODE ANN. § 39-17-901(14)(A) ("'Ultimate sexual acts' means sexual intercourse, anal or otherwise, fellatio, cunnilingus or sodomy"); non-exclusive and negative: COLO. REV. STAT. § 18-7-101(2)(b)(I) (1999) ("ultimate sex acts . . . including sexual intercourse, sodomy, and sexual bestiality"); COLO. REV. STAT. § 18-9-111(1.5) (1999) ("ultimate sexual acts . . . including masturbation, cunnilingus, fellatio, anilingus, or excretory functions"); COLO. REV. STAT. § 18-7-101(2)(b)(I) & (II) (1999) ("ultimate sex acts" in separate subsection from "masturbation, excretory functions, sadism, masochism, lewd exhibition of the genitals, the male or female genitals in a state of sexual stimulation or arousal, or covered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state"); KAN. STAT. ANN. § 21-4301(c)(1)(B)(i) (1999)("ultimate sexual acts . . . including sexual intercourse or sodomy"); KAN. STAT. ANN. § 21-4301(c)(1)(B)(i) & (ii) (1999) ("ultimate sexual acts" in separate subsection from "masturbation, excretory functions, sadomasochistic abuse or lewd exhibition of the genitals"); 18 PA. CONS. STAT. § 5903(b) (1999) ("ultimate sex acts . . . including sexual intercourse, anal or oral sodomy, and sexual bestiality; and . . . masturbation, excretory functions, sadomasochistic abuse and lewd exhibition of the genitals").