If you were looking for one more thing to stress about when having sex, ‘stealthing’ is it. Recently, it’s been making waves in the news.
Stealthing is the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex. It sounds like an insane move to pull, and it is, but it’s sadly not uncommon. Women have been sharing their stories about being victims to stealthing, with many not even realising it was a ‘move’ until learning the word for it. It seems to be a grey area in some people’s minds, as the consent for having sex has been given – but let’s not forget that consent needs to be continuous and enthusiastic, meaning one can change their mind at any stage of the hook-up (and if a woman knows their partner has taken off the condom, it’s likely they would no longer be enthusiastic about the situation). Any part of sex that lacks consent is rape, and stealthing has been deemed ‘rape-adjacent’ by a recent study in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law (you can read the paper here).
What makes stealthing so bad is the deceit involved. Even if a guy knows you are on birth control and that he has no STDs, he has no right to change his mind about wearing a condom without asking you first. In an interview with Hack, one man opened up about why he was a serial stealther. The gist of it is that he says it feels better – but we’d argue that it ‘feels better’ to not contract herpes or get pregnant.
Gabriella, 26, slept with a man who ‘stealthed’ her earlier this year and told us about her experience: ‘I had a one-night stand with this really charming guy. He did try to have sex before he put on a condom, but I stopped him and asked him to put one on – and watched him do so. The sex was good but afterwards I was really wet and then felt something rubbery at the foot of the bed: it was the condom. When I asked him about it he seemed just as shocked and confused as me, but we were a bit drunk and I was on the Pill so I just wrote it off as a freak accident. It was only after reading an article about stealthing that I clicked what he had done, and lied about so well. I felt really violated, but in a strange way that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I got tested and everything came back fine, but it was a scary experience and when I slept with someone again I was constantly checking that the condom was still in place.’
A man in Sweden was recently convicted for the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex. Sadly, his rape charge was changed to a defilement charge, but hopefully the world will catch up to recognise this act for what it is: non-consensual sex.
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