The discussion around sexual health and sexuality is expanding. And as it expands, especially pertaining to sexual assault, rape and consent, it is finally touching areas that have stayed grey for decades and allowed us justify frankly deviant behaviour. There is one action in particular that I have always hated, though every time I brought it up, people would agree with me that it was ‘wrong’ but not necessarily bad. Turns out this thing has a name, and has recently been declared in the US as legally part of the rape spectrum.
‘Stealthing’, refers to the practice of pulling off condoms/dental dams/other protective sexual aids mid-sex without the consent of your sexual partner. Unsurprisingly, this happens a lot, usually with people engaging in casual sex, though it also happens in marriages and committed relationships.
The reasons ‘Stealthers’ give for doing this are varied; for some sex without protection ‘feels’ better, for others they are only turned on by the idea of ejaculating inside their partner and feeling the ‘warmth’, for others being denied the option is not something they can abide by. Whatever the reason, Stealthers discuss and agree to use some kind of protection during intercourse and then renege mid-way, exposing their partners to unwanted pregnancies and STI’s, not to mention violating their partner’s body in such a visceral way.
Stealthing is part of the reason why we insist that consent is a continuous process, instead of a one-off hall pass. At every point in time, both partners involved must agree to what is happening either verbally or otherwise. Part of ‘Stealthing”s allure is that the victim is unaware that is happening, that they are denied consent. It is to take their trust, and then betray it and that hurts on an emotional level as well as a physical one.
Why can’t you people just respect other people’s bodies? Is it too much to ask?