I Was A Victim Of Stealthing

I went on a couple dates with a guy that I thought was really awesome—that is until he took the condom off halfway through sex without my permission or knowledge. At the time, I didn’t even realize what covert condom removal was. It wasn’t until later that I stumbled across the term “stealthing” on the internet and realized I’d been a victim of this terrible trend.

We matched on Tinder. I met him at a bar first and we had a few drinks. He was handsome, sweet, and made me laugh a lot. We went back to his place afterwards and things escalated pretty naturally. Everything felt really good… until the next morning.

I found the half-used condom in the bed. I asked him pretty directly why it didn’t look more, you know… used. At first he claimed I took it off but then changed his story to saying that I asked him to take it off. Although I had a couple of drinks the night before, I definitely remembered everything. Once I told him I didn’t remember doing this, he confessed he took it off in the middle because it didn’t like the feel of it.

He played it off like it wasn’t a big deal.You’re on the pill anyway, right?” he asked me. “I haven’t been with anyone in a while and I’m clean. You want some coffee?” I was pretty inexperienced at the time and I liked him so I didn’t push the issue further. He clearly didn’t think he did anything wrong, so at the time I thought maybe it wasn’t a big deal. In hindsight, I realize I was ignoring my gut feeling that said something wasn’t right.

I even slept with him again and he did it a second time. That’s right. He did the exact same thing, except this time he didn’t even bother to pretend I had asked him to do it. I asked him in the morning if he’d taken the condom off, and he said “yep!” as casually as if I had asked him if he wanted bagels for breakfast. I felt so stupid and wondered why he’d agreed to put the thing on in the first place.

I ended things pretty quickly after that. I stopped seeing him after that for several reasons. He was moving to another state, and although we had a lot of fun together, we didn’t really seem to develop any real romantic feelings. On my end, this was probably because I always felt a bit icky about how things went down.

I didn’t realize how bad it was. It wasn’t until several months later that I found the term “stealthing” on the internet, also known as covert condom removal. I thought back to my time with him and decided to investigate a little bit further and realized that I’d basically been the victim of sexual assault.

It was hard to come to terms with what it meant. A quick Google search of covert condom removal will have you a bit confused, at least it did me. Although I knew what stealthing was, I was a bit more confused about what it meant. Several websites go as far as calling rape while others refer to it as sexual assault. It’s unclear if the law defines it as a crime, but one thing is for sure: it isn’t consensual. I realized my feelings of violation were justified.

Stealthing has risks. Since you didn’t agree to have sex without a condom, you may or may not know your partner’s STD status. Stealthing puts you at risk for STDs and pregnancy. It also has emotional consequences. It left me feeling vulnerable and violated. I headed to my OB-GYN for STD testing afterward and luckily, I didn’t end up with any STDs.

I was so naive. I thought I understood rape culture and toxic masculinity but I realized from this experience that I had so much to learn. The fact that I still chose to go out with this guy after he did that to me once makes me feel sick to my stomach, and even like I contributed to the problem by letting him think what he did was OK. This man clearly thought my own feelings didn’t matter and didn’t feel like my consent was necessary.  I won’t be as naive to ever let something like that happen to me again.

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