Stealthing: How to Know if Your Man is Being Naughty or Nice

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Holiday lights, hot cocoa, and cozying up to a warm fire and your bae. But before you jingle all the way, do you know if your significant other is being naughty or nice?

When a man removes a condom during sex unbeknownst to his partner—be it a man or a woman—he transforms a consensual act into a nonconsensual one. This secret act, known as stealthing, opens up both partners to the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. This violation of boundaries breaks trust in the relationship and has been claimed to be a form of sexual abuse or “rape-adjacent”.

Men who practice stealthing have been known to remove condoms because they prefer the feel of sex without wearing one. Others do so as an exertion of power. They are taking control in the relationship to experience a rush of male supremacy. There are also those who believe it is man’s natural right to “spread their seed” to every woman they share a sexual experience with, regardless of what the woman wants. Whatever the reason, the end result is clear: male and female victims of stealthing are left feeling betrayed, often with emotional, physical, and financial consequences.

With such a sneaky act, how do you know if you’ve been stealthed? The most obvious signs are if he ejaculates inside you or you notice the condom is no longer on his penis. Less surefire signs include the texture of his penis changing during the act or your partner swapping positions to where you are turned away from him. Another indication of stealthing is if he won’t let you see the condom after sex, likely so you can’t tell he didn’t ejaculate inside it. An even more tricky form of stealthing involves poking holes in the condom. You can tell if this happened by inspecting the wrapper. If you notice any of these warning signs, confronting him is absolutely acceptable, as well as calling the police to report a sexual assault. You might also consider getting checked for STIs and picking up some emergency contraception, just in case.

While condoms are always a good idea to protect against STIs, they are not a necessity for sex. As long as both partners are aware and agreed on not using one. The key here is communication. Be safe this holiday season and know who’s taking advantage of the mistletoe!