Stealthing is a form of sneakily compromising, tampering with or removing a condom, and to our dismay, it is a practice that is gaining in popularity.
What is Stealthing?
Stealthing can involve someone strategically damaging a condom before intercourse, or the stealthy removal of the condom during intercourse. In the practice of condom stealthing, either party can be the deceptive one.
The receiving partner can damage the condom, either by poking holes in it, or suggesting to use a non-condom safe lubricant, like oil. On the other hand, the non-receptive partner can take the condom off during coitus. This condom removal technique is most common during doggy style, during which it is harder to see what is going on behind the receiving partner (unless mirrors are present).
Stealthing can occur between partners of any sexual preference, but is most commonly associated with women who are trying to become pregnant by poking holes in a condom, as in the banned clothing ad from Disigual last week, or by HIV positive people in the POZ scene who find gratification through the transmission of the virus. However, anyone can stealth– so even people in long term, monogamous and STD-free relationships should beware.
In the POZ scene, some “bug chasers” and/or members of the “bareback brotherhood” engage in unprotected anal sex with the end goal of successful HIV transmission to a negative person. If you suspect that a member of the POZ scene has damaged or removed a condom, get an HIV test and report the case to the authorities. As discussed in a previous article, 34 US states will arrest for nondisclosure of HIV and willfully infecting someone can land people with some serious charges.
Luckily, there is a treatment in such an event, called a post exposure prohelyaxis or PEP. This is basically a morning after pill for HIV meaning that if it is taken in time, it can keep HIV from entering into the system. This differs from PrEPs like Truvada, which are taken as a daily preventative before the fact. If you’ve been with a stealther and suspect this is the case, ask your doctor for a PEP right away.
Tips on Avoiding Stealthing:
Being prepared and slightly suspicious is the only surefire way to avoid stealth as it involves very underhanded, deceptive and sneaky individuals– who use more trusting individuals as targets. Usually, after consent is expressed and a well-lubed condom is employed, people tend to relax and enjoy the ride, thinking that they have taken all the necessary precautions in order to have safer sex.
Although it may seem like trust has been fully established at this junction, obviously this group of stealthers is making it hard to feel safe and secure, even after a condom is put on. This is a total shame, because it defeats the whole point of being educated about STDs and unwanted pregnancies and following procedures to avoid those health problems and consequences.
- Bring your own condoms this way you know they are not expired, that they have been kept in a room temperature environment and that they are free from intentional damage.
- Periodically do a visual check to make sure the condom is still in place. Make this easier on yourself by using a brightly colored condom, like Crown Assorted Colors or a Night Light Glow in the Dark condom.
- Use a condom you can feel. If you wear glasses, like I do, or you have sex in the dark, it might be easier to use a textured condom, so you will know when it is being taken off, even if you can’t see anything other than a flesh colored blur. My personal favorite is the LifeStyles Fun Bumps, because it is both bright blue and studded. If you aren’t sure which one fits the best, or feels the best, why not try the Textured Condom Sampler?
- Ejaculate outside of the body, or ask your partner to. This is much safer both in the “damaged condom” scenario and the “condom has been removed” scenario, as opposed to ejaculating inside the body. Plus, it can be really fun and exciting to see the big reveal. Make a request for a specific target for a happier and safer ending for both of you.
- Bring your own condom-safe lube packets like the silicone-based Pjur BodyGlide Single Use or the water-based Wet Original Individual Use to ensure that no oil-based lubes are used.