Can We Talk About Stealthing For a Quick Sec?
When I first heard the term, “stealthing” — on the radio of all places — without paying much attention, I was fairly certain that it was the new (un)trendy dance fad. Like, “dabbing” (I still haven’t figured that one out).
However, a few days later when I came across the term again, this time, in a headline on Salon that read, “Stealthing: The Scary Sex Trend You Need to Know About” I was all like, WTF, when did dancing become so dangerous? And then I read the article and realized that not only is “stealthing” NOT the hip new dance move, it ought to be a criminal offense.
For those of you who still aren’t completely sure what I’m talking about, “stealthing” is officially described as “purposeful non-consensual condom removal,” where, essentially, a male covertly removes his condom during sex without informing his partner. Worse, the “trend” — If I can call it that — actually has entire websites dedicated to it, where men will give tips and offer advice on how to trick partners into condomless sex.
WTF That’s a Criminal Offence, Right?
That was my reaction, too.
And not exactly, but some lawmakers in the United States are working on it.
Here's the deal: Sex SHOULD ALWAYS be a consensual act. When two (or more) parties engage in sexual activities, there is a general consensus of what's about to go down. Whenever that consensus is broken — regardless of which party does the breaking — that is simply not OKAY.
The way I see it, stealthing is straight up sexual assault. In this case, when two (or more) people decide to engage in safe sex, they consent to it based on a certain understanding. Like, yeah, let’s do it, but wear a condom, would ya? To which the other then agrees. Bam. Done. They’re good to go.
When the consensual terms of that agreement is broken, mid-penetration, WITHOUT THE OTHER PERSON KNOWING, Well, I have a problem with that. And I call that sexual assault.
And also, who was the narcissistic, ego-maniac that coined the term “stealthing” in the first place? Like, you are not Jason Statham. This is not some bada$$ mission to save the world. You are not a superhero. What you’re talking about is sexual assault and a name like “stealthing” isn’t going to do you any favors.
Stealthing is a violation of both the mind and body and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is — sorry, not sorry — wrong.
So what do you do if you think “stealthing” might have happened to you?
I'm not an expert in dealing with crises of this nature, this is simply the advice I'd give my BFF, sister, or friend.
Visit your doctor or gyno, ASAP.
I know I don’t need to say this, but I’m going to anyway. Condoms do more than safeguard you from pregnancy. They protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. If you have been a victim of stealthing, it’s important to see your doctor and get a complete STI evaluation, ASAP.
Depending on the timing, it may also be wise to take a pregnancy test.
Talk to someone.
Chances are, if you’ve been a victim of stealthing, you’re feeling violated, betrayed, and hurt, among other things. Reach out and talk to someone you trust — whether it’s a health professional, a friend or parent, a therapist or counselor, or a voice on the other end of a crisis helpline.
Whether you know him a little, or you know him a lot, what he did to you is not OKAY.
Not only is stealthing an act of sexual violence, but it’s a betrayal of trust. And a relationship without trust is hardly a relationship at all. Dump him, and let him know why.
While it’s still too early to say what sort of legal repercussions stealthing will have, by reporting it you’re bringing attention to the serious matter that it is, and forcing lawmakers to address it.
*Click here to read the full report, 'Rape-Adjacent': Imagining Legal Responses to Nonconsensual Condom Removal by Alexandra Brodsky that brought national awareness to the damaging practice of stealthing.