Living in the 21st century, one would think that the use of condom has become a basic and widely acknowledged tenet of safe sex.
Aside from preventing unplanned pregnancies, condoms are also an effective way to protect one's self from contracting serious sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia or genital herpes and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Unfortunately, a new trend in the bedroom called stealthing disregards all these facts.
What Is Stealthing?
Alexandra Brodsky explored the disturbing phenomenon of stealthing in her new study for the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, which featured in-depth interviews of stealthing victims.
"Survivors [of stealthing] describe nonconsensual condom removal as a threat to their bodily agency and as a dignitary harm. 'You have no right to make your own sexual decisions,' they are told. 'You are not worthy of my consideration,'" Brodsky wrote.
Online Stealthing Community
While investigating on the subject, Brodsky stumbled upon an online stealthing community where men encourage other men to "stealth" their partners.
In her study, Brodsky included quotes from comment threads. She included quotes from forums in which stealthing culprits, who are both gay and straight men, share stealthing best practices and tips.
"One can note that proponents of 'stealthing' root their support in an ideology of male supremacy in which violence is a man's natural right," Brodsky wrote.
A Form Of Sexual Assault
A Legal Fellow for National Women's Law Center, Brodsky staunchly believes that stealthing is obviously an act of gender-based violence that may go against a number of civil and criminal laws.
According to Brodsky, their stories often start the same way, feeling utterly violated but uncertain if they can label it as rape.
Beyond the vulnerability to unwanted pregnancy and STDs, Brodsky said that the act of stealthing inflicts victims the same kind of emotional, physical, and financial trauma from other more clearly defined forms of sexual abuse.
Brodsky concluded in her study that a new law against stealthing would not only help victims should they want to formally press charges against perpetrators but would also shed light on the broad issue of gender violence.
"At its best, such a law would clearly respond to and affirm the harm victims report by making clear that 'stealthing' doesn't just 'feel violent' — it is," Brodsky stated.
Condom Effectiveness Against STIs And STDs
In 2015, the combined cases of sexually transmitted infections reached a record high.
The annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report revealed there were more than 1.5 million chlamydia cases reported, nearly 400,000 cases of gonorrhea, and almost 24,000 cases of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis — the most infectious stages of the disease.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that the consistent and correct use of male latex condoms reduces, though not eliminate, the risk of STD transmission. The health agency also emphasized the importance of consistent condom use, as transmission can occur with a single act of intercourse with an infected partner.