Image credit: iStock/DmitriMaruta Image credit: iStock/DmitriMaruta

A worrying new sexual trend is on the rise among men that sees them remove a condom during sex without their partner consenting. The action has been called 'stealthing' and puts people at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy.

A man in Switzerland was last year convicted of rape for removing a condom during sex without the permission of his partner and stealthing has been described as 'rape adjacent'. Despite the landmark ruling, current laws surrounding sexual assault and consent could make it difficult for victims of the act to seek legal action.

Research into the act, written by Yale Law School graduate Alexandra Brodsky, found that stealthing is popular among men in certain online groups. Many actively encourage members to try it, as though it is a game and without thought for the upset and potential health problems it can result in.

Many groups share tips on how best to commit the act without being caught, raising frightening questions about how the idea of consent is viewed by individuals.

Ms Brodsky is calling for the act to be officially named in law to help victims better seek action against those who have committed it and to ensure that it is taken seriously as a form of sexual assault.

The research included several interviews with women who had experienced stealthing and who spoke about the emotional impact it had on them, especially as some were in relationships with those who removed the condoms without permission.

Since publishing the article, Ms Brodsky said that a huge number of women and men have reached out to her after having experienced stealthing themselves. She found that a lot of people didn't know what to call it or whether it was classed as sexual assault.

Ms Brodsky is also calling for the act to be named 'nonconsensual condom removal'. She said that she doesn't like the word 'stealthing' as it makes it sound like a game or something that isn't serious. By calling it exactly what it is, she hopes people will realise that there is harm in the act.

If you have arranged with a partner to have use a condom, it is important that you do so in order to protect both you and them from STIs. Having sex without a condom, no matter how short the unprotected timeframe is, can still put you both at risk.