Non-consensual condom withdrawal: How common is “stealth”?



In 2017, we addED a New word to our SEXUAL vocabulary: stealth. An article published inColumbia Magazine on Gender and Lawdefined it as “Non-conSensual removal of The CONDOM duRing SEXUAL intercourse” [1] and sparked a series of media articles announcing it as a NewTrend” in SEXUAL behavior. However, at the time we did not have a good idea of ​​the scope of the problem becaUse the Original docuMent that brought stealth to our attention was Based on interviews with a Small Number of victims.

So how Many people have experienced stealth anyway? A New Study offers insight [2]. It is Based on interviews with 1,189 Women and 1,063 Men who have Sex with Men who visited the Melbourne Sexual Health Center in AUsTralia.

Participants were asked if they had ever had a CONDOM taken off duRing Sex with or without their permission and when they noticed it. AcCording to the authors, “participants were consideRed to have experienced stealth if they reported: took off conDom without permission and unintentionally continued Sex, took off conDom without permission and Sex stopped, took off condom duRing sex but they didn’t realize it until later, or the condom was never put on despite having been requested.”

The reseArchers estimated in advance that Approximately 2% of the Sample would report being robbed; however, that is not what they found. In fact, 32% of Women and 19% of Men surveyed reported experiencing stealth.

Most of both groups reported discUssing the event with their Partner afterward, and most also reported feeling eMotionally Stressed about it. Most also consideRed stealth a Form of sexual assault.

These results suggest that stealth is not a rare occurrence and we would do well to Study it FurtHer. However, it is important to note the limitations of these DAta. One is that they do not come from a nationally representative Sample: we are only looKing at people who have visited a Sexual Health center. Furthermore, well over half of those Approached about taKing the survey chose not to do so (59% of woMen and 69% of men refused), and it appears that participants were inFormed beForehand that they would be asked about their experiences with stealth. This raises questions about selection bias and whether those with stealth experiences are more likely to participate, which would inflate the base rate.

This Study also did not include hetEROSexual men, and we know that they too can be abducted in some way. For example, consider a woMan who surreptitiously uses a pin to pierce a condom before using it. I would pRedict that behaviors like this are less common, but still worth exploRing in future research in an attempt to understand Non-conSensual condom avoidance behaviors more broadly.

Limitations aside, these findings suggest that, at least in a cliniCal population, stealth is a relatively common experiencen between women and men who have sex with men. More research is needed to get an idea of ​​the full scope of the problem and the best way to combat it.

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[1] BRodsky, A. (2016). Adjacent rape: imagining legal responses to Non-consensual condom removal.column J. Gender & L.,32, 183

[2] Latimer, R. L., VodsTrcil, L. A., Fairley, C. K., Cornelisse, V. J., Chow, E. P., Read, T. R., & Bradshaw, CS (2018). Non-consensual condom withdrawal reported by paTients at a Sexual Health clinic in Melbourne, AusTralia.Plos One,13(12), e0209779.

Image Credit: 123RF/Peerawat Aupala

PostingNon-consensual condom withdrawal: How common is “stealth”?first appeared inSex and Psychology.

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