Stealthing describes both a form of sexualised violence in which the condom is secretly removed and consensual role-play. The former was recently the subject of a parliamentary question. A victim and experts in conversation with the Lëtzebuerger Journal.
In May 2021, Carole Hartmann, a DP MP, put a parliamentary question to the Minister of Justice, Sam Tanson, and the Minister of Internal Security, Henri Kox. Among other things, she wanted to know whether the "phenomenon of stealthing" also existed in Luxembourg and, if so, whether there were any statistics on it. Stealthing is derived from "(by) stealth", meaning "secretly". In Hartmann's question, stealthing describes the non-consensual removal of the condom during penetrative sexual intercourse, in which the usually male sex partner, without the consent or knowledge of the other person, secretly removes the condom, or deliberately manipulates it in such a way that it tears during sexual intercourse.
Mike (name changed by the editors) was only 18 years old when he became a victim of stealthing. "I was young and still very unsure of my sexuality", reports the now 25-year-old. "You can't really imagine at that age that something like this could happen." During anal sex, he says, his sexual partner made sure the condom slipped off without Mike's knowledge. It wasn't until after the orgasm that he noticed, he says. "Initially, I was angry. Then came the fear of a possible HIV infection." It took time to process what had happened, he says. "I didn't even say much at that moment. I just walked away. On the way home, I called a friend and let go of my anger. But it took me a few days to understand exactly what had happened." The subsequent HIV test was negative.
For the sake of completeness, such a situation needs to be distinguished from stealthing as consensual role play, where the sexual partners agree, with the consensus and knowledge of all involved, to incorporate it into the sexual act as a variant of sexual play. While the latter is to be seen as a consensual variant of sexual play, what Mike experienced is clearly sexualised violence.
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