Removing the condom changes the context in which you consented to sexual intercourse. If that context changes, it is imperative that consent is reaffirmed.
By Roslyn TalusanContent Warning/Trigger Warning: This article outlines details of my own sexual assault and may be disturbing to some readers. Last month, Columbia Journal of Gender and Law published a study on “stealthing.” This is when one’s sexual partner removes the condom without their knowledge, and continues the sexual encounter without re-confirming consent. The study discusses perspectives from victims of “stealthing.” Alexandra Brodsky, the author of the study, identified two common issues across the victims’ stories – the risk of STIs and unwanted pregnancy, and that having the condom removed was clearly a violation of their autonomy. Despite that they clearly did not consent to penetration without a condom, the survivors were reluctant and hesitant to outright call this rape, instead labelling it “rape-adjacent.” A couple of years ago, I was raped by an acquaintance who wasn't wearing a condom. When we moved to the back of his car to have sex, I asked if he had a condom – he didn’t seem to want to wear one, so I told him that I wasn’t comfortable having sex without it. I’ve always been conscious of STIs and unwanted pregnancy, so I was not okay with having unprotected sex with someone I had only known for a few weeks. He found a condom, put it on, and we fucked. Halfway through, he took the condom off because he had lost his erection. He asked me if I would go down on him, and he didn’t understand why I asked him to get another condom. He didn’t have another one. I explained STIs and unwanted pregnancy again. “Well you can’t just tease me like that,” he said, “just a little kiss.” He picked me up, put me on my back, and got on top of me.
Why do we continue to make jokes at the expense of those with STDs like herpes, when they’re practically as common as colds or the flu? I love Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show. Especially in this political climate, it’s great to