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Stealthing is assault and intentions matter in sexual encounters

By Lady Marmalade, October 16, 2017 —

Consent is the most important aspect of a sexual encounter. Sex can’t happen without it. But a strange grey area is emerging surrounding what is and isn’t informed consent. Even though consent should be a clear and straightforward concept, there are many things that can cause confusion when figuring out when a person needs to obtain consent or re-evaluate whether it is present.

“Stealthing” is a slang term that arose earlier this year for the removal of a condom during sex without the other partner knowing. Though there’s been few cases of stealthing fought in court, it is a form of assault — vital information is being kept from a partner, meaning they have no longer made informed consent.

While stealthing, the perpetrators makes a choice to potentially harm their partner by withholding an important aspect of the encounter from the other person. Some perpetrators of this act defend themselves by arguing that because they were already in a sexual scenario where consent had been provided it doesn’t constitute sexual assault because consent had been established previously. This is entirely false because the partner had consented to sex where a condom was being used. Subjecting a partner to possible STIs or even an unwanted pregnancy is altering the conditions of the consent. This demonstrates that the perpetrator has ill intentions.

Intent should always be kept in mind when engaging in sex and in relationships. If you’re unsure if what you’re doing is considered a problem, think about how you would feel if your partner did it to you. Stealthing is clearly a violation of consent because a conscious choice is being made to alter the safety of the sex in a secretive manner at the other’s expense. The intent is selfish and doesn’t take the partner’s well-being into account. Doing this also doesn’t consider the danger of unprotected sex under these circumstances. Sometimes perpetrators of stealthing remove or damage the end of the condom in order to ejaculate into their partner, intending to place fault on the condom for breaking. Not only is it absolutely terrifying to know that this actually happens, it is heartbreaking because it places so many people at risk for disease and unwanted pregnancy, let alone trauma from experiencing this scenario.

It’s important to be careful about who you’re sleeping with. It’s sad to say, but people don’t always have good intentions. Be careful and don’t be afraid to say no. Take care of yourself and always be aware of your partner’s intentions.

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