Stealthing is not a “sex trend”. BDSM was a sex trend back when every woman was fantasising over one Mr. Christian Grey, but any acts that are borderline RAPE should not be regarded as the newest move to introduce in the bedroom. 

For the uninitiated, stealthing is when a man removes the condom mid-way during sex WITHOUT their partner’s knowledge. Not only is your consent disregarded, but utterly and completely violated – leaving you at risk of pregnancy and contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Before you say that this probably won’t happen to you, know that women (and men) in Asia have already become victims to “stealthing”. And if this has happened to you, well now you know that it is actually a thing. 

Why Is Stealthing Even A Thing?

Stealthing is more than just men pressuring their partners to do it “raw” – it’s about giving people a false sense of security. 

How a “stealther” works is by gaining your trust, acting as though what’s going to happen is 100% consensual and then violating your trust when you’re the most vulnerable, because in the heat of the moment you may not even realise what your partner is doing. 

Not only is this totally not cool, it’s plain sexual assault if they don’t get your consent before removing the condom. 

So why are some men doing this?

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Well, Alexandra Bodsky, the researcher who brought this topic to light, found that men who do this think that it makes sex more pleasurable.

The thrill of getting away with doing something like that stimulates them. But that’s not all. The men who discuss this in online forums also think that it’s their natural male right to do so. 

Stealthing may also linked to a breeding or impregnation fetish where men get off knowing that their act of unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy. 

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The good news is that there is more awareness of stealthing now. While awareness is still nowhere near where it needs to be, it is improving. Singapore is the first country in Southeast Asia to officially criminalise stealthing, where those found guilty can face up to 10 years in jail.

Unfortunately, the same progress hasn’t been made by other neighbouring countries even after cases are reported to the police. One such case happened in Malaysia back in July 2019, but authorities found it difficult to place a criminal charge as the country’s laws do not provide a clear definition for stealthing.

How You Can Protect Yourself

Spell Out Your Boundaries 

It’s generally good pre-sex etiquette to establish, especially if it’s the first hook-up, to lay out what’s on the table and what’s not: hickeys, choking, spanking… you get the idea. Even though putting on a condom may seem like a duh prerequisite, it should still be clearly indicated before sex. Make it clear to the person you’re intending to go home with tonight, that you’re only agreeing to protected sex. 

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If you’re uncomfortable doing something, say you don’t want to do it. Full stop.

And if they blame you for “ruining the mood” or being a “prude”, that’s your first red flag right there.

Use Ribbed Or Textured Condoms

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Textured condoms for the win!

I always thought textured condoms were just all marketing gimmicks, like flavoured fruit condoms that tasted awfully fake and plastic. But it turns out that they’re pretty useful when it comes to keeping your man in check to be sure the condom is still on him.

Save those “super thin, it feels like nothing” condoms for the man you’re 100% down to commit to and those who pass the vibe check. 

Ask Him To Finish Outside Of You

Yes, even when he’s using a condom. Just don’t give him the option to finish inside you at all to keep yourself safe. 

Seeking help if you’re a victim of stealthing

Stealthing is a form of sexual assault, and its effects are as devastating. It’s mind-boggling why our consent is still a difficult concept for some men to grasp even when we’re supposedly in the age of “wokeness”. 

But its effects can be way more insidious than we expect. Many victims of stealthing report feeling gaslit when recalling their sexual encounters. But just because you are enjoying yourself doesn’t your partner free reign over what’s being done between the sheets. 

Other victims even go into full-blown panic attacks, worrying about getting pregnant or contracting STDs while feeling degraded and disempowered at the same time.

If you’re a victim of stealthing, make an appointment with your doctor to get checked for STDs, other infections, and pregnancy. Doctors may be able to prescribe or administer medication that will help you prevent contracting diseases and infections. 

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For your mental health, talk to someone you trust for emotional support. You should also consider professional counselling if you’re struggling with negative feelings that developed from stealthing.

The act of stealthing may not be illegal in some Southeast Asian countries but don’t let that stop you from lodging a police report. If you already have a lawyer, it’s best to consult them on how to proceed. If the case is publicised, it’ll help to raise awareness regarding stealthing as a crime. It also pressures local authorities to ensure justice is served and help deter anyone from trying to stealth. 

It’s unfortunate that women have to take so many preventive measures to lower our chances of getting assaulted. But until the day perpetrators can clean up their act, we have to do what we can to protect ourselves from danger.