Skin to skin: Stealthing is rape

TW: Sexual assault

Stealthing: The act of taking off a condom during coitus without the consent of the woman after agreeing to wear a condom.

The debate is: Should this be termed as an act of rape, or is this not really that big a deal?

Let’s just kick this right off and say: this is a vile despicable act. It seems to be something that is increasingly on the rise and has been happening to people in my circles. I have heard stories of men removing their condoms in the middle of sex and then having the audacity to get upset when the woman refuses to continue.

But many do not take this act seriously, arguing: “We were having sex anyway. What is a little skin on skin action into the mix?”

If a condom was agreed on then a condom was agreed on. No backsies. No take backs. No renegotiation of terms. People choose to use condoms for a good reason other than wanting to have warm, tingly raspberry flavoured genitals. To have this choice not respected is assault.

There are many things wrong with stealthing but let us handle the basic ones:

Pregnancy and child care
Men: Have you seen a birthing video? No? Watch one and see if this is something you want to put someone through.

Being pregnant is one of the most traumatic things a woman’s body will ever go through. Growing a human being is a full-time job that can cause a woman’s body to do anything from swell at the feet to experience extreme pains in the limbs.

A women may seek an abortion because she knows she cannot raise this child. But, because of the stigma attached to abortion, a woman ends up seeking an unsafe abortion.

If a woman does decide to have the child there is the danger of death as a result of inadequate maternal healthcare.

Then there is the fact that the number of single mothers on the African continent is rising, with South Africa having statistics such as that one in three households are run by single mothers.

Motherhood is one of the major causes of the gender wage gap. Children are neither cheap nor free and can derail your career and ability to earn money.

Having a child is no easy feat from the time of inception to the time when they move out of your backroom at the grand old age of 35.

Sexually transmitted diseases
We live in sub-Saharan Africa, the region in which STDs are rising most rapidly, according to the World Health Organisation.

Furthermore, more than 23-million people are living with HIV on the continent – and we all know the HIV stats in South Africa are particularly daunting.

Do you really want to play Russian roulette with someone’s junk because you feel like being sneaky?

It is never okay to remove a condom without consent.

Men – and women – need to understand this. It is something that is a big deal. It constitutes sexual assault.

Stealthing is a giant red flag when it comes to deciding whether you should allow this man to see you naked, because this sort of sneaky act is a manifestation of a lack of respect for your body. When the respect is gone it is a slippery slope to being forced into doing more violent things you do not want to do. Technically, it has already begun because you had sex without a condom without your consent.

Stealthing is rape.

Men, think about that the next time you want to slip that condom off for that au naturel feeling.

This was first published on Mail and Guardian.

Here is a piece on sexual assault within the lesbian community.

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