First State Bans 'Stealthing' During Sex

Legislation classifies nonconsensual removal of condom as sexual battery
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2021 9:04 AM CST
Updated Oct 8, 2021 1:35 AM CDT
If California Bill Passes, No More 'Stealthing' During Sex
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Wavebreakmedia)

(Newser) Update: California on Thursday became the first state to prohibit "stealthing," the nonconsensual removal of a condom during sex, when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that defines the act as sexual battery, the AP reports. Our original story from Feb. 9, 2021, follows:

"Stealthing" during sex may soon be illegal in California, making it the first state to deem the practice a crime. The Los Angeles Times reports that Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia introduced a bill this week that would classify nonconsensual removal of a condom (ie, without your partner's OK) during intercourse as sexual battery, making the remover of the condom liable for damages. Sexual battery, per California's Civil Code, is when a violator "acts with the intent to cause a harmful or offensive contact with an intimate body part of another, and as a result, commits a sexually offensive act." "It's disgusting that there are online communities that defend and encourage" the practice, "but there is nothing in law that makes it clear that this is a crime," Garcia said Monday, per GV Wire, which notes the practice has been called a "rape-adjacent" one.

"A lot of women [compare] it to feelings of experiencing rape," a John Jay College of Criminal Justice psychology professor tells the Times. "It violates the trust you had in your partner." Garcia tried to pass similar bills in 2017 and 2018, but her office says they never got anywhere because of concerns about sending too many people to the state's prisons. Garcia, who's been at the forefront of California's Me Too movement, faced sexual misconduct accusations of her own, after an ex-staffer said she'd inappropriately touched him during a softball game. An investigation by the Assembly cleared Garcia of wrongdoing. Advocates for victims of sexual violence are pleased that Garcia is once more bringing the issue into the spotlight. "This is an act that's a violation of someone's autonomy," says an attorney with the Fierberg National Law Group. "There's the risk of pregnancy, there's the risk of STIs, but also inherently it's changing the entire nature of the sexual encounter." (Read more sexual battery stories.)

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