We have finally entered an era where consent matters! In this age of dating, words like ghosting, breadcrumbing, gaslighting have been normalized and everything is just a “trend”. One trend or shall we say, a type of sexual assault is stealthing which is too disturbing for us to neglect.
Sex is a pleasurable activity that boosts confidence, mood and deepens the bond with your loved one. Stealthing, however, is complex and it may bring emotional and physical issues and ruin the relationship. It is more dangerous for women as it is a kind of betrayal and hurts one’s sentiments. But what is stealthing and why are we not talking about it?
What is stealthing?
Sexuality researchers profess that “Stealthing is the act of non-consensual condom removal.’’ It consists of removing the condom sneakily when your partner has only agreed to indulge in intercourse with a condom. Its consequences are hazardous as they cause psychological stress and violation.
This term was recognized by Alexandra Brodsky, who published an article about this activity in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law in 2017. The people who experienced stealthing informed that when they discovered that their partner had removed the condom without their consent, they felt offended, disrespected, afraid, attacked, shocked, horrified, outplayed, deceived, and used, and they constantly worried about STIs and pregnancy.
Such type of experience scars people for life.
First, let us unravel the consequences the affected partner has to deal with. condom stealthing leads to physical problems such as:
Doctors state that every time you indulge in sexual intercourse, there is a twenty percent chance of getting pregnant. Women are no longer subservient. They have jobs and unwanted pregnancy can lead to emotional distress and a way of neglecting your right to choose what happens to your body. It causes an unnecessary financial burden that the affected partner may not be prepared to take on.
Contracting a sexually spread disease is another possible outcome of stealthing. Let us keep in mind that condoms (male and female) are the only contraceptive methods that help protect you from most STIs.
STIs and stealthing severely risk both private and public health. If you believe that you are only indulging in protected intercourse, you might feel that you do not need to get tested but this carelessness could allow an STI to remain undetected for a longer span of time.
If you have an active sex life, it’s essential to get tested frequently, despite the type of protection you think you are using.
The Internet is a place where you may find all sorts of stuff. There are quite a few sites where men log in to learn and adapt the ‘art of stealth’. They are provided with various ways to practice this act and master the art which is sheer tomfoolery and it is a violation of trust.
Why would a sensible person stoop so low?
Hall states that stealthing is a self-centered act of power and control. You might have come across someone at some point in your life, who said sex feels better without a condom but stealthing is not a pleasurable activity, it is an assault!
The ‘pleasure’ or the ‘thrill’ men get without a condom in the act of stealthing is actually the notion of presumed power over their partner by conducting an act they already refused to go along with. This thrill is often justified by the stealthers or shall we say, offenders, as a natural male instinct.
Things you need to do to protect yourself
It is hard enough to survive in this concrete jungle. The false and deceptive nature of stealthing makes it intrinsically challenging to bypass. But there are a few things that can lessen your danger of being a dupe. Before any sexual encounter, be sure to express your boundaries,” says Hall.
In other words, it is always better to make it clear that you’re only saying “yes” to sex with a condom and make sure that the person you are indulging with is mature enough to understand your concerns.
It is also suggested that bringing your packet of the condom just so that you know they are not damaged and keep checking the condom is on throughout the process of Intercourse.
If you are somebody who has experienced stealthing, please understand that it is not your fault. Nobody has the right to decide what happens to your body. Sexuality researchers suggest that the first thing you should do is get yourself tested. If you wish to press charges against the offender, you may do so by going to the rape crisis center and even if they do not charge him/her with a sexual assault, you can still go for a civil case.
The problem with our law is that it only sees shreds of evidence. Sometimes sexual misconduct may lead to ejaculation and semen is not considered rape. Our society is conditioned to look at the world only as black and white.
Being vocal about Stealthing in a conventional society like ours is a tough battle. Thus, the majority of the affected people who have been stealthed prefer to stay silent on stealthing which encourages the offenders to commit more crimes. This is why we ask you to come forward and be more vocal about such issues and break-free from the claws of societal judgments!