Australian man admits to stealthing, says he does not believe it’s sexual assault

Original article published here

AN Australian man has opened up on the alarming new sexual practice of stealthing, saying he does it because it feels good but does not believe he’s committing sexual assault.

America’s Columbia Law and Medical Journal formally identified the disturbing new trend in a report last month.

It involves a man putting a condom on before sex, but removing it without his partner’s knowledge.

In an interview with triple j’s Hack program on Wednesday, a man using the pseudonym Brendan said he had long been stealthing but did not believe he was breaking the law.

Legal experts have described the practice as a form of sexual assault in the wake of the report’s release, some even saying it’s akin to rape.

Brendan told the program that it was only after reading a news report about the Yale University study that he realised the practice had a name.

But the defiant young man said he was not concerned about STI risk or unwanted pregnancy, saying he gets regularly tested.

“Why do you do it?” Hack host Tom Tilley asked him.

“Because it feels better with no condom on,” came the reply.

He told Tilley he was unconcerned about potentially infecting his unwitting sexual partners.

“I’m confident I get checked regularly. I’m pretty safe in saying I’m clean when I’m clean,” he said.

“So every time you’ve stealthed someone you’ve been tested between that occasion and the last sexual partner you’ve had,” Mr Tilley asked.

“Definitely not.”

“There’s a risk crossing the road and we all do that.

“There’s a risk crossing the road and we all do that. Source: News Corp Australia

“So there is a risk?”

“Yes, there is but there’s a risk crossing the road and we all do that.”

The man maintained people were “more chilled than you might think” about having sex without condoms with casual partners whose sexual health status they did not know.

“I’m not a dirty-looking guy,” he said.

“But you made an agreement to wear a condom and then you breach that without the person knowing,” Tilley said.

“I don’t know. I don’t think I really make an agreement. I just put one on and if nothing is said I take it off. I don’t think it’s breaking the law.”

The man told Tilley he believed his views were shared by most of his mates.

In writing about stealthing in the Columbia journal, study author Alexandra Brodsky said she wanted to study the phenomenon after she realised so many of her female friends were having negative sexual experiences.

She said many had experienced “stealthing” but weren’t sure how to handle the situation.

“Survivors [of stealthing] describe nonconsensual condom removal as a threat to their bodily agency and as a dignitary harm,” Ms Brodsky wrote.

“‘You have no right to make your own sexual decisions,’ they are told. ‘You are not worthy of my consideration’.”

She said even worse is that there is a growing online community of men encouraging others to practice stealthing.

“Internet forums provide not only accounts from victims but encouragement from perpetrators,” she wrote.

“Promoters provide advice, along with explicit descriptions, for how to successfully trick a partner and remove a condom during sex.”

Anyone who has experienced stealthing can call 1800 RESPECT or Q LIFE on 1800 184 527 for support.

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