The other day I cracked open Facebook keen to see what news I should catch up on, admire some photos of my friends’ brand new granddaughter Ava and decide what funny memes I should kick over to a mate or two before I got on with the day’s work.
And I saw this post from the digital music magazine Pilerats: “Not sure who coined the phrase “stealthing” but “being a c**t” must have been taken”.
My curiosity was piqued so I made a hot pot of tea, whacked on the onesie and moved next onto good ol’ Google to see what was up. It turns out, both nothing and everything was up. The internet, or more accurately, the people who USE the internet, had started a new term, a new frame of reference, and (as always) the lowest common denominators had started a series of secret Facebook groups to celebrate and goad each other into doing this so-called new thing, “stealthing”. High fives, bros.
Stealthing is a new term used for people who secretly remove or damage a condom during sex and do it in order to specifically deceive their partner into believing it’s still on. Stealthing, so we’re clear, is the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex.
These days, it’s common knowledge that condoms are awesome as a barrier to spreading most STI’s and practicing safer sex. They are highly effective at preventing pregnancy. This is why so many people insist on their use during sexual encounters, and why condoms have become part of the consent discussion.
As a sex educator, I’m well aware that secretive condom removal or damage has been happening since the existing of these handy prophylactics. It’s happened for a range of reasons, from attempts to exert dominance and control, through to stone-cold selfishness motivated by the increase in physical pleasure.
An Australian man, who declined to be named but referred to himself as ‘Brendan’ on Tripe J’s Hack program on Wednesday 17th May, proudly declared he’s been regularly stealthing since he became sexually active, and when asked why, proudly announced, “Because it feels better with no condom on.” When pressed about the risk of passing on STI’s, he openly admitted he was prepared to take the risk because “I’m not a dirty-looking guy,” he said.