By now, you may or may not have heard about a recently published study surrounding an alarming sex trend referred to as “stealthing.” The act in question is defined as a form of sexual violence in which a man removes his condom mid-intercourse without letting his partner know.
You may be thinking to yourself, this is nothing “new” and why is it just now being talked about in mainstream media? I wish I could tell you, but I can only take solace in the fact that it is finally getting attention. Unfortunately, I had more than one friend in college who experienced this and the thought that someone could do this to another person makes me sick. It’s deceitful, violating, and despicable.
The latest bedroom trend known as “stealthing” is a little discussed form of sexual violence that is finally getting the attention it deserves.
This deplorable “trend” (as media outlets are dubbing it) is a nonconsensual act documented in a recent report by the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law. The lead author of the journal, Alexandra Brodsky, defines “stealthing” as when a man secretly removes his condom in the middle of sex. Brodsky argues that this deception is a form of sexual assault and should be treated as such.
As if this wasn’t disturbing on enough levels, Brodsky also discovered an online community where men actually encourage other men to “stealth” their partners. These perpetrators are of both the gay and straight communities and truly believe it’s a man’s right to “spread one’s seed.”
Are you fucking serious?
This is honestly sickening and though it’s come to light recently, “stealthing” has been going on for an unfortunate amount of time. I had more than one friend in college who fell victim to this and was not only deceived, but exposed to STI’s and risked unplanned pregnancy. It’s an extremely violating act and 100% should be treated as a form of sexual assault. To all men out there, a woman (or man) has agreed to let you have sex with them. DO NOT take advantage of her. It’s despicable!
Brodsky hopes that by publishing her study, people will be able to speak more openly on the subject and stop it from becoming a normalized act.
“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,’” Brodsky told the HuffPost.
What Brodsky found in her research was a group of victims who knew that something about being stealthed felt incredibly violating, but they “didn’t have the vocabulary” to process it. She begins her study with a doctoral student named Rebecca who works for a rape crisis hotline. Rebecca noticed that she was receiving more and more calls from women being stealthed.
“Their stories often start the same way,” Rebecca said. ‘I’m not sure if this is rape, but…’ They all felt violated but “didn’t have the vocabulary” to figure out what was happening.
In addition to the multitude of physical health risks this poses for victims, “stealthing” also causes the same type of emotional harm as other forms of sexual assault. One of the victims Brodsky spoke to called the act “rape-adjacent” and I can’t think of a better way to define it.
Brodsky concludes her study by proposing a new statute is the only way something so serious can be addressed and brought to justice.
“At its best, such a law would clearly respond to and affirm the harm victims report by making clear that ‘stealthing’ doesn’t just ‘feel violent’ — it is,” Brodsky writes.
Brodsky’s words are already having an affect in some parts of the world. In fact, a Swiss court convicted a man of rape earlier this year after he took off his condom without telling his partner. “The court concluded that the woman would have said no to sex if she knew the condom would be removed.”
We can only hope Brodsky’s study continues to help create a wider understanding of what “stealthing” is and why men who choose to do this should be criminalized.