New Study Documents the Rise of Sex “Trend” Called “Stealthing”
Men are reportedly removing condoms during sex without their partner’s consent.
A new study documents the rise of a particularly disturbing sex trend called “stealthing,” or when a man removes a condom during sex without his partner’s consent. The Huffington Post reports that this study, conducted by Alexandra Brodsky for the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, contains interviews with victims of this method, as well as a investigation into the corners of the internet that encourage men to do this to their partners.
Brodsky explained to The HuffPost that she began the study after realizing that several of her friends were “struggling with forms of mistreatment by sexual partners.” The victims in her research all felt violated after having been “stealthed,” but many were unsure of how to report such behavior, or if it constituted as rape. One particular victim in her study described being “stealthed” as “rape-adjacent.”
Incidentally, a man in Switzerland was convicted of rape earlier this year for removing his condom mid-intercourse without the consent of his partner. Dr. Sinead Ring of the University of Kent explained to Broadly that this type of act violates “conditional consent,” meaning: just because someone consents to sex with a condom does not mean they are consenting to sex without a condom. It is so important to know that consent is not a one-time transaction; enthusiastic consent should be clear throughout every step of a sexual encounter.
What’s even more disturbing is the fact that “stealthing” is widely discussed online in some internet circles, and, as Brodsky learned through her research, some men actually encourage one another to practice this behavior. According to the study, there are men who believe they are entitled to “spreading their seed,” and see “stealthing” as a tactic that is within their rights. Brodsky notes that there are message boards online where men give one another “tips” for removing condoms during sex without their partner’s knowledge. “Proponents of ‘stealthing’ root their support in an ideology of male supremacy in which violence is a man’s natural right,” she added.
Brodsky explained that she hopes to provide people with the tools they need to talk about sexual violence more openly, and to seek help when they need it. She explained: “One of my goals with the article, and in proposing a new statute, is to provide a vocabulary and create ways for people to talk about what is a really common experience that just is too often dismissed as just ‘bad sex’ instead of ‘violence.'” The bottom line is that you should never be forced to do something that makes you uncomfortable, and no one should ever make you feel as though you don’t have agency or control of your own body.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can seek help by calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673). For more resources on sexual assault, visit RAINN, End Rape on Campus, Know Your IX, and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
This is yet another case of men believing they have all the rights, and that women’s lives, rights and opinions are “naturally” subordinate to the man’s — if, indeed, women’s rights exist at all.
THIS is what is meant by “rape culture” – the pervasive, accepted view that men can do anything they want; that women who do not want sex, or unprotected sex, are “teases”; the idea that “boys will be boys” and all women “want it” and that “no” means “maybe” or “yes”.
NO means NO. Yes means yes AT THAT MOMENT, but does not give a man the right to change the rules part way through, and does not mean that the woman doesn’t have the complete, unconditional right to change her mind at any time for any reason from Yes to NO.
We need to break the rape culture. To make women as important as men, to ensure that women can say NO and have it honored, every time, without exception, and that, if it is not, the man will face legal consequences, every time without exception.
Overriding the woman’s conditional consent is nothing new. Back in the 80’s, when HIV was first being discovered, and shortly after it was determined to be sexual transmitted, some men were diagnosed as HIV positive. Because they were angry, bitter and resentful because of this disease, regardless of the source of the infection, some infected men decided to act out their anger and resentment by not telling their partner they were HIV positive, and deciding not to use a condom. Many women became HIV positive in this way, and the men who did this were found guilty of attempted murder, even in those cases where the partner was not infected. This “stealthing” is a similar phenomenon — men deciding to extend a woman’s conditional consent into unconditional consent. It is immoral and should every bit as illegal as traditional rape.