If you haven’t heard of “stealthing,” you’re one of the lucky ones. Vice called it a “movement“; USA Today called it a “sex trend.” I call it an “act of human violation” — and that’s exactly what it should be called when guys secretly remove the condom during sex without consent.
That awkward moment when my dad asks me to clarify a news story about "stealthing" & I dont have the heart to tell him a guy tried it w/ me.
— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) April 26, 2017
It’s a topic that’s been buzzing online lately and even warranted its own report by the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law. Some men have even taken to the Internet to brag about their experiences stealthing other people. Because nothing’s cooler than completely disregarding someone’s right to have safe sex, amirite? High fives all around.
The thing about stealthing is that it’s wrong on a lot of levels. Not only are you increasing the risk of pregnancy and STIs, but the fact of the matter is this: while stealthing might not be classified as rape on a legal level, that’s exactly what it is.
One reddit user, who was the victim of stealthing, wrote about his experience: “I didn’t feel like I had any control over the situation. I felt like I was being raped and I had to stare at him while he did it.”
Just because someone consents to one form of sexual experience doesn’t mean they consent to another — that’s like saying you’re going to surprise someone with anal just because they gave you a blow job. So if someone asks you to put on a condom, that means they’re consenting to have sex with you with a condom. Anything you do otherwise would be violating that consent.
So why do it? Some might argue that it’s about male pleasure, but at its root, it’s more than that — it’s about power dynamics.
But when you look deeper, you see that "stealthing" is not about mutual enjoyment of sex, it's about displaying power over a partner.
— Absurdistwords (@absurdistwords) April 23, 2017
Don’t believe me? Just look online. Not only are men bragging about their conquests on designated forums (major red flag there), but one online community encourages its members to stealth their partners, believing it’s a man’s right to “spread one’s seed.” It’s no longer about pleasure but about domination and what men perceive to be something they’re entitled to — their “biological right” and the power to be the sole deciding factor in a decision that equally affects both parties. And as a consequence, they’re completely disregarding the safety of the other party and ignoring the idea that they have a say in what happens, too.
So let’s stop calling it a trend, OK? And let’s stop calling it a movement. Let’s just call it what it is: stealthing is rape, no matter what cutesy name you want to try to give it.