Reminder: “Stealthing” Is Actually Sexual Assault

Stealthing is when a man removes his condom in the middle of sex without your knowledge. I refuse to call stealthing a trend, but it’s something that happens more often than you’d think and frankly, it’s just another form of sexual assault. Please note that there’s a potential to be triggered by this article as it talks about sexual assault/rape.

  1. Stealthing is non-consensual. The most significant thing to highlight here is that the person being penetrated agreed to a condom in the beginning, so if the condom is removed without their permission, it’s non-consensual. The man is then violating the person since he didn’t get an OK to remove the condom. As this is a sexual act that’s non-consensual, it’s sexual assault.
  2. Stealthing is sexual assault 100% of the time. Although it may feel like a confusing gray area for the victims, it’s not a gray area in terms of whether or not it’s sexual assault. If a man removes the condom without asking after both parties had agreed to use the condom, it’s sexual assault. There are no ifs, ands, buts, or maybes and there’s no room for discussion on this.
  3. Sexual assault isn’t a trend. I want to make note of how inappropriate it is to call stealthing a trend. Sure, I get that we use the word “trend” in science and research, but your everyday blogger shouldn’t be calling it a trend. Bustle shared a tweet from a girl who said, “STOP REFERRING TO ‘STEALTHING’ AS A ‘TREND’ ROMPERS ARE A TREND GLADIATOR SANDALS ARE A TREND THIS IS SEXUAL ASSAULT.” That about sums it up.
  4. Coming up with a word like “stealthing” is stupid anyway. I really don’t like the whole calling it a trend and having it spread across the internet with this clickbaitesque name. Stealthing is truly just a nuance of sexual assault. I really wish it would just be called that. 
  5. It puts the victim at risk for pregnancy and STDs. To state the obvious, stealthing exposes the victim to the potential for both pregnancy and STDs. The man is barebacking the person without the two having a conversation about STD status and he’s just blowing his load into them without a condom. What a total disaster this is and it must be wildly traumatizing for the victim on so many levels.
  6. The weird nature of it leaves victims feeling unsure if it was rape. Unfortunately, a lot of sexual assault victims end up feeling like they’re unsure if what happened to them was rape or assault. There’s a swirl of shame that muddies the waters. Stealthing is no different. It leaves victims questioning if what happened to them was rape. I mean, the sex was consensual up until the removal of the condom. Despite the confusion and feelings of shame, though, the reality is that it’s definitely rape.
  7. It leaves victims feeling like their bodies aren’t theirs to make decisions for. One of the most terrifying and unfortunate side effects of being sexually assaulted is that it often leaves the person feeling that since they were violated, their bodies are no longer safe places. It leaves them feeling awful about the fact that this happened to them without their permission, leaving them feeling like they don’t get to choose what happens to their body.
  8. Please talk about it if this ever happens to you. One of the biggest issues with sexual assault is the shame that comes with it. Shame can (and does) silence people. I’m not saying you need to come out and share it with the world, but please at least take what happened to a medical professional. They’ll know what to do to get you the support that you need and deserve.
  9. Also, you MUST get tested ASAP if this ever happens to you. Alongside therapy and emotional support, it’s important to get tested right away if this ever happens to you. You’ll want to be honest with your doctor about what happened and follow their directions on how to continue to test for STDs.
  10. Sometimes this happens to people in relationships. Often this is happening in one-time hookups, but there are some cases where this is happening to people in relationships. This is just awful to hear and perhaps more traumatizing because it’s someone that you trust. If this does happen in the confines of your relationship, I hope that you can get the support that you need from trusted health professionals.
  11. There’s a whole community of men promoting stealthing on the internet. Totally gross—there are organized groups of men out there who believe in male supremacy. Alexandra Brodsky, a Legal Fellow for the National Women’s Law Center, did research on this community of men who promote this behavior. She “highlights the online communities who defend stealthing as a male “right,” particularly a right of every man to ‘spread his seed.’” Yuck! This sexual assault issue is atrocious. 
Ginelle has been writing professionally for more than six years and has a bachelor’s degree in digital marketing & design. Her writing has appeared on Birdie, Thought Catalog, Tiny Buddha and more. You can follow her on Instagram @ginelletesta, via her Facebook page, or through her website at