‘Now Everybody Take Some Rubbers.’
2017 has seen many diverse trends, from 70’s clothes to 90s sliders (they’re the cute sandals that some people are still wearing. Babes its autumn and it’s cold, get your Chelsea boots on!), but have you heard of the new sex trend? Don’t worry; I’m not going all E. L. James on you, ‘Stealthing’, according to Rosie Ellis (in the Sin Issue of Achey Breaky Heart Zine) is a new type of sexual assault where the condom is removed during sex, without the consent of the woman. The Huff Post also commented on the practice, stating ‘it is rooted in misogyny and lack of respect’. The trend has become a popular point of discussion for feminists, as it seems to portray the priority of male pleasure during sexual intercourse (as long as he enjoys it right?).
Many may not consider stealthing as sexual assault. This is because both parties (at first) give consent, but once the condom is removed the consent becomes questionable. UK law deems stealthing as illegal (The Huff Post: Stealthing: What you need to know about this illegal sex practice.), however, “Julie Rendelman, a criminal defence attorney claims stealthing in New York is not in and of itself a criminal offence” (Elite Daily: ‘Is Stealthing Illegal? How Guys Can Get in Trouble For It’). While our friends across the pond seem to take a naïve view of this violation, stealthers can still be held accountable for their crimes in the US. The article from Elite Daily continues to say that there can still be legal consequences if the stealther knowingly passes on an STD. So legal penalties are a possibility, but even still there are defences, as the stealther could claim they were oblivious to this.
Tracey Cox, for The Huff Post, states:
“The fact men are doing this as an exercise of male supremacy makes it even more sickening. I would like to think it’s a select group of disturbed individuals, rather than a trend heading to the UK.”
By claiming stealthing is a trend, gives the practice too much credit. In my book stealthing is not a trend it is a disgusting violation of trust between two individuals. An important point to acknowledge when researching this is , who the victim is. Many articles paint the woman as the victim, in a lot of cases the man removes the condom allowing him to enjoy the pleasure of bare back, and indulge his cave man tendencies. But an important detail is being skipped over (drum roll please). Can women stealth?
Any Gavin and Stacey fans here (stay with me, I’m still on topic)? The popular TV sitcom, which documents the whirlwind romance of a London lad and Welsh blonde bombshell demonstrates a prime example of stealthing, but this time the man is not to blame (sorry stace). In a heated argument Stacey reveals that she has refrained from taking birth control since being with Gavin. Gavin, being oblivious to this becomes a victim of stealthing. Technically the sex that they had was non consensual as Gavin was unaware of the fact that it was unprotected. The TV show sweeps this under the carpet and life goes on for the perfect couple.
Barbara Kay continues the discussion surrounding women stealthers, stating in a YouTube video on The Rebel channel, that the consequences are not equal. For example, if a woman tampers with a condom, in order to fall pregnant, the man is then at a disadvantage. She continues to state it would be a societal crime for the man to consider asking the woman to deliberate an abortion, as it is her body after all. Kay makes a bold point; if we are going to coin an act as a sexual assault there must be equal punishment. I agree with this, women should not always be considered the victim. Both male and female stealthers should be held accountable for their crimes. As in other areas I contend that women are equal to men, and are just as capable, I also apply this principle to offences such as sexual assault. We should all be held accountable for our actions, regardless of gender.
I would love to hear more arguments and discussions around this topic, and in no way shape or form is the material in this blog aimed to offend anyone. Thank you to Rosie Ellis for the inspiration for this post and again a big shout out to Achey Breaky Heart zine (The Sin Issue) for some amazing and intriguing material!
Girl Prob Blog
Rosie Ellis: Achey Breaky Heart Zine- The Sin Issue – Stealthing is Sexual Assault Not a Sex Trend.
Rosie is keen to keep up the discussion and encourage open conversation about stealthing! Feel free to drop her an email if you can help or would liketo discuss it in anyway.
Barbara Kay : The Rebel
Sophie Gallagher: The Huff Post – Stealthing: What you need to know about this illegal sex practice.)
Theresa Massony: Elite Daily- Is Stealthing Illegal? How Guys Can Get in Trouble For It?