A disturbing new trend in which men are removing condoms during sex without the consent of their partners may be considered akin to rape according to a new study published in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, by Yale Law School’s Alexandra Brodsky, denouncing the practice as a “grave violation of dignity and autonomy, which places the victim at risk for both pregnancy and disease.”
The act, known as “stealthing” also refers to intentionally damaging a condom before intercourse, by poking holes in it as well as using oils and other non-condom safe lubricants which can degrade the sheaths. Although most common during doggy style coitus between a man and women, (when the receiving partner is unable to see what is occurring behind their backs), it has also been found to be instigated by some women who desire to become pregnant without the knowledge of their partners by tricking them into believing they are having “safe sex,” when in truth they are not. Other cases of stealthing happen during anal coitus between men, particularly by HIV-positive people who “get off” on spreading the disease.
Brodsky also noted that there are men who view stealthing as part of a belief that it is a “natural right to spread their seed based on an ideology of male supremacy and violence,” she explained to the Huffington Post.
While Brodsky’s paper contains interviews with stealthing victims in addition to a probe (no pun intended) into areas of the internet that encourage men to do this to their partners, Dr. Sinead Ring of the University of Kent explained to Broadly that stealthing “violates conditional consent.” In other words, “ just because someone consents to sex with a condom does not mean they are consenting to sex without a condom.”
He also stressed the need for both partners to be in synch with their intentions and desires through every step of their sexual encounter(s).
Victims, who worry about exposure to HIV are encouraged to get tested immediately. Fortunately, they can get receive PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) treatments, which (if taken in time) can prevent the virus from entering their bloodstreams. This is different than medication such as Truvada, which is taken daily to prevent infection ahead of time by those most at risk.
While it may not always be easy to detect when a condom is removed during the throngs of passion, some suggestions that may help someone avoid being “stealthed” are:
1) Bring your own still packaged condoms to the “party.”
2) Make sure that condoms being used by your partner are not expired or have been tampered with in any way before consenting to coitus.
3) Use only safe lubricants that are either water or silicone based (as opposed to oils).
4) Use brightly colored and or textured condoms which make it easier to conduct period checks that you can see and feel to make sure the condom in still in place.
5) Insist that your partner does not ejaculate inside your body.