A few months ago I brought a guy back to my flat after a first date. I was drunk and horny and wanted the company. He seemed decent and we’d gotten along well so I thought, ‘why not?’
After fooling around, we began to prepare for sex. In my drunkenness, I passed him a condom. He penetrated me. I then realised that he hadn’t actually put the condom on. When I told him to get out of me and put it on, he told me he’d already cum. I kicked him out and went to sleep.
I woke up the next morning and hungover-ly bought the morning after pill and booked an STI test.
I’d like to say this was the only time something like this had happened – either during casual sex or through more serious relationships. But it’s not. And you will recognise my story too. Because this is called ‘stealthing’ and it’s making the news.
The ‘trend’ or ‘movement’ as it’s mistakenly described, is the worrying practise whereby a condom is tampered with or removed so that a party engaged in sexual intercourse is unaware they are having unprotected sex.
Aka rape. This is not a trend or a movement, this is rape and this isn’t really a ‘new’ thing.
However it is being spoken about a lot at the moment because of the discovery of certain online forums where men are passing other men tips on how to do it successfully.
I will examine the why, how, when and what to do, if you, like I, experience this.
Why do people ‘stealth’?
For some women, they would tamper with a condom with the hope of becoming pregnant where perhaps their partner hasn’t consented to wanting to try for a baby.
For some men, they believe it is their right to have ‘bareback’ sex – as they believe it is more pleasurable OR they believe it is their right to ‘cum dump’ or spread their seed and they believe it is their right to have this form of sex with or without their partner’s knowledge or consent.
I’m writing this, with regards to both sexes, because it is practised by both sexes, even though the current news coverage is on men who perform this ritual for the reasons stated above.
How do people stealth?
Stealthing can happen in a range of ways. Either, the condom is tampered with by being pierced, ripped or cut or men can use certain techniques to take it off during sex. Or in my case, lead you to believe they have put it on when they actually haven’t.
How can you tell if you’ve been stealthed?
As a man, you should check the condom upon removal for any holes and tears – as per good practise. No one likes an unwanted pregnancy or STD so it’s best to have a quick look as you remove it and before you bin it.
As a woman, you may be able to feel if your partner has come inside you – we’ve all done that awkward, ‘hand-cupping-falling-spunk-between-legs’ run to the bathroom, but otherwise it’s just a good idea to check condoms upon exit for peace of mind – whether you suspect your partner or not – you want to be safe and protected. This should also be applied if you’re in a homosexual relationship where you’re having anal sex.
Most people will be in trust-filled, healthy and loving relationships where the odds of this happening are slim but for those of us who are not, or who are practising casual sex, it is something to bear in mind.
What should you do if you’re suspicious you’ve been stealthed?
If the condom has been broken, it’s obviously NOT great if you immediately accuse or doubt your partner BUT if you are suspicious you have been stealthed – firstly ask yourself why you are with that person. Suspicion over matters relating to your relationship are NEVER GOOD and they need to be fully communicated to get to the bottom of any issues. Then you could book an STI test and support your partner in getting one too and also suggest that you get the morning-after-pill together.
Are there ‘stealthing’ warning signs?
Now this is totally subjective. This could happen to any of us. No matter how clever we think we are or how selective we are with the partners we choose. It is never the victim’s fault.
However, upon reading the forums where men speak of women in such a degrading way, it’s clear to see that with some people – red flags could have been present.
It’s important to discuss what the red signs are to make us as aware as possible.
It’s also subjective because not everyone’s relationships are the same. Perhaps you’re both really good at communicating about your sexual practices and you both have an equal amount of respect for each other when it comes to your needs. Perhaps some of you aren’t that lucky.
Maybe we’re in relationships where the power with regards to sex is imbalanced. Maybe the males in the relationship believe that sex is for them. Maybe the women think this too. Maybe we’re in relationships where respect for both parties in terms of our wishes and wants is just not there.
These are red flags.
Some of us may be indulging in casual sex where we do not know our partners that well so any red flags may not be present.
But you know, we really have to question partners who are so ready to have unprotected sex without a discussion over sexual health history or wishes. It’s the responsible thing to do. I could be riddled with disease and already 4 months pregnant – I do wonder why any guy would want to have sex with me, without a condom, without checking what’s going on with me. This should be a red flag and I really should be more selective over who I’m letting dip it.
There are more possible warning signs…
In theory, women who are so desperate to get pregnant will have previously aired their desires to have a baby – they may have joked about falling pregnant or threatened to ‘trap’ their men. If this is your partner, you have every right to be suspicious of stealthing.
In theory, men who have little respect for a woman’s right to consent to protected or unprotected sex will often make themselves apparent in the way they act towards and speak to women and how they act towards and talk about sex.
Do you get the feeling that they believe their pleasure is paramount? Do they often beg you not to have to wear a condom even though you’ve expressed your wishes to wear one? Have they tried to penetrate you without protection without first asking if it was OK? Do you feel like you can’t speak to them about contraception?
These are red flags.
I say all of these things, ‘in theory’ because I’m sure someone could come along and tell me the story of their friend who had the perfect partner who was then subjected to this practice without any prior warning signs.
I also say ‘in theory’ because why should it be our prerogative to worry about being stealthed? Why aren’t people being taught to NOT STEALTH?
(Side note: Apparently sexual and protected/unprotected consent will feature in the new 2019 school curriculum for sex and relationships.)
So if any of those warning signs are there with a sexual partner – heed them.
What can be done if you have definitely been stealthed?
There has been one notable case of ‘stealthing’ being punished by a prison sentence where it came under the umbrella of non-consensual sexual practise. If you believe this has happened to you, then please call Rape Crisis who can advise you further.
Hopefully this has been an insight into what this practise involves, how you can spot it in advance or how you can feel/see if it’s happening to you and what you can then do.
Please share with me your stories and tips and let’s keep this conversation going to let people know it’s NOT OK and that they can get help if they need it.