Nonconsensual Condom Removal: How Common is “Stealthing?”

Nonconsensual Condom Removal: How Common is “Stealthing?”

In 2017, we added a new word to our sexual vocabulary: stealthing. A paper published in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law defined it as “nonconsensual condom removal during sexual intercourse” and set off a flurry of media articles announcing it as a new “trend” in sexual behavior. However, we didn’t really have a good sense of the scope of the problem at that time because the original paper that called our attention to stealthing was based on interviews with a small number of victims. 

So just how many people have experienced stealthing anyway? A new study offers some insight.

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Halloween Sex Offender Panic Is Here Again—But It’s Still Not Making Us Safer

Halloween Sex Offender Panic Is Here Again—But It’s Still Not Making Us Safer

Each October, the media runs story after story warning parents about the dangers that sex offenders pose to children on Halloween. All of the panic stoked by these claims has prompted lawmakers across the country to begin passing laws that restrict the activities of convicted sex offenders on Halloween or that require police officers to check up on sex offenders during trick-or-treat hours. For example, in Tennessee, registered sex offenders must comply with a 6pm – 6am curfew each day from October 21 until November 1, during which time they must stay home but act like they aren’t there. Among other things, they must keep their porch lights off, avoid using decorations, and only answer the door for law enforcement. During this time, police go around the state and perform thousands of random checks to ensure compliance. This massive effort is known officially as “Operation Blackout.”

But is it justified? Is there really such a heightened risk of sex crimes on Halloween that we need to go to such great lengths? Let's take a look at the data.

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How Many Men Admit To Sexual Assault When Hooked Up To A Lie Detector?

How Many Men Admit To Sexual Assault When Hooked Up To A Lie Detector?

When comparing the number of women who say they’ve been sexually assaulted to the number of men who admit to perpetrating sexual assault, the numbers are highly discrepant. In fact, the number of self-identified female victims is about three times higher than the number of admitted male perpetrators. So why is that? Is it because a small number of men are committing a large number of sexual assaults? Or is it because men are underreporting their sexually aggressive behaviors? A recent study published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence offers some support for the latter explanation. 

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Halloween Sex Offender Panic Is Here Again—But It’s Not Making Us Any Safer

Halloween Sex Offender Panic Is Here Again—But It’s Not Making Us Any Safer

Each October, the media runs story after story warning parents about the dangers that sex offenders pose to children on Halloween. All of the panic stoked by these claims has prompted lawmakers across the country to begin passing laws that restrict the activities of convicted sex offenders on Halloween or that require police officers to check up on sex offenders during trick-or-treat hours. For example, in Tennessee, registered sex offenders must comply with a 6pm – 6am curfew each day from October 21 until November 1, during which time they must stay home but act like they aren’t there. Among other things, they must keep their porch lights off, avoid using decorations, and only answer the door for law enforcement. During this time, police go around the state and perform thousands of random checks to ensure compliance. This massive effort is known officially as “Operation Blackout.”

But is it justified? Is there really such a heightened risk of sex crimes on Halloween that we need to go to such great lengths? Let's take a look at the data.

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Why Laws Restricting Sex Offenders' Activities on Halloween are Misguided

Why Laws Restricting Sex Offenders' Activities on Halloween are Misguided

It has become an October tradition for the media to run story after story warning parents that sex offenders are at an increased risk of committing sex crimes against children on Halloween. All of the panic stoked by these claims has prompted lawmakers across the country to begin passing laws that restrict the activities of convicted sex offenders on Halloween--such as mandatory curfews--or that require police officers to check up on sex offenders during trick-or-treat hours. 

But is it true that there's a higher risk of sex crimes taking place on Halloween? And is there any evidence that laws like this actually make us safer? Let's take a look at the data.

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Video: How Do We Protect Children From Sexual Victimization?

Video: How Do We Protect Children From Sexual Victimization?

In this TEDx talk, forensic psychologist Luke Broomhall explores the importance of thinking differently about how to prevent child sexual abuse. In the United States and many other countries around the world, treatment for pedophilia is generally only available to those who admit to having downloaded child exploitation material or having abused a child. But what about those pedophiles who haven't acted on their sexual urges and want help controlling them? If we created services that could reach pedophiles who are at risk of offending before they act, could we then prevent numerous children from being sexually victimized? Check out the video below to learn more.

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College Students Don’t Need To Be Protected From Sex Studies

College Students Don’t Need To Be Protected From Sex Studies

Before a scientific study is carried out, researchers usually need to receive approval from an Institutional Review Board (IRB), a body of fellow scientists who evaluate a given study’s potential risks and rewards. In the name of protecting research participants, IRBs often given studies focusing on “sensitive topics” heightened scrutiny.

Sex is often considered to be a sensitive topic, and many researchers (myself included) have encountered difficulties at one time or another in getting certain studies approved because their IRBs are concerned that students might be traumatized by certain kinds of sex questions (e.g., how would students who have been sexually victimized feel if they were asked questions about prior experiences with rape and sexual assault?).

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Video: Explaining Sexual Consent, British Style

Video: Explaining Sexual Consent, British Style

How should we teach people about sexual consent? This is a question that has been getting a lot of attention lately from scientists, politicians, and sex educators alike. Increasingly, one approach people have taken is to use analogies. Because sex is a topic that’s difficult for many people to discuss, the thought is that by analogizing it to something that’s perceived as less taboo or controversial, it has the potential to help bring more people into the conversation.

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How Common Is Sexual Interest In Prepubescent Children Among Men?

How Common Is Sexual Interest In Prepubescent Children Among Men?

Little research has attempted to determine the prevalence of sexual interest in prepubescent children among adult men. The studies that do exist have tended to involve small, non-representative samples, and they have not always distinguished between interest in prepubescent and postpubescent children. A new study in press at The Journal of Sex Research addresses some of these limitations and offers some insight into just how common this interest might be.

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How Are Female Sex Offenders Different From Male Sex Offenders?

How Are Female Sex Offenders Different From Male Sex Offenders?

People have a tendency to think of child sex offending as being largely, if not exclusively, attributable to male perpetrators. This likely stems, at least in part, from the way such offenders are typically portrayed in the popular media. For instance, can you think of any episodes of To Catch a Predator or similar programs that showed even one female predator? It’s not just that female sex offending of this nature is rarely portrayed, though; it also appears to be taken less seriously than male sex offending in many cases. For example, it is not uncommon for people to refer to adolescent boys as “lucky” when an adult female (especially an attractive one) is caught having sex with them. In contrast, I have yet to hear of any cases in which an adolescent female is referred to as “lucky” when an older man is caught having sex with her.

Our tendency to view child sex offenses as a male-only problem has an unfortunate consequence in that it may allow a large number of female offenders to avoid being detected. Perhaps this is why women represent just 1% of sex offenders in the United States prison system [1]. Thus, it may not be that women rarely commit such crimes—instead, it may be that women are not being caught or they are being punished less harshly. So just how common is it for women to commit sex crimes against children and adolescents? And in what ways do female and male sex offenders differ? A recent study published in the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse sought to address these questions with the goal of providing a more complete picture of the people who commit sexual offenses against minors [2].

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Sex Question Friday: Why Am I Turned On By Rape Fantasies?

Sex Question Friday: Why Am I Turned On By Rape Fantasies?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a female reader who wanted to know more about the topic of so-called “rape fantasies”:

“How is it possible that rape is my greatest fear and yet a sexual fantasy that I find arousing?”

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Sex Question Friday: What Exactly Is A Voyeur?

Sex Question Friday: What Exactly Is A Voyeur?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who wanted to know more about voyeurism.

What can you tell me about voyeurism? When does it become stalking and are men more prone to it than women?

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Between The Sheets In Britain (Infographic)

Between The Sheets In Britain (Infographic)

Results from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3) were just released and they give a fascinating glimpse into the sex lives of the British population. Also, by comparing these results to previous surveys, we can get some sense of how sexual practices have changed across time. Check out the infographic below for selected findings and click here to read more about this important sex survey.

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If A Guy Asked 100 Women On The Street For Sex, How Many Would Say Yes?

If A Guy Asked 100 Women On The Street For Sex, How Many Would Say Yes?

In what is perhaps one of the most well-known psychology experiments of all time, a group of attractive research assistants were instructed to wander around a college campus and proposition students of the other sex [1]. Specifically, the assistant would say “I have been noticing you around campus. I find you to be very attractive,” which was followed by one of three questions: “Will you go on a date with me tonight?” “Will you go back to my apartment with me tonight?” or “Will you go to bed with me tonight?” The results indicated that male and female students responded very differently to these questions.

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Could Drive-In Sex Garages Make Prostitution Safer?

Could Drive-In Sex Garages Make Prostitution Safer?

This week, the Swiss city of Zurich unveiled a novel ideal for making sex work safer: drive-in sex garages. The way it works is that the city is turning over a small park to sex workers, who will simply stand along the side of a roadway where customers can drive up and negotiate their desired sexual activities and rates. When a deal is struck, the client will pull into a private garage in order to complete the transaction. The garages will not be luxurious (see an example here), but they will be equipped with bathrooms, lockers, and laundry facilities. The garages will be open all night every night (from 7:00 PM until 5:00 AM), and will contain signs reminding workers and clients to use condoms.

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Sex Question Friday: Are My Stereotypes About Polyamory True?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who wanted to know more about the topic of polyamory. In case you aren’t familiar with this term, polyamory refers to a non-monogamous approach to relationships in which someone may have intimate involvement with several persons simultaneously. The question at hand in this post is whether the practice of polyamory is linked to sexual abuse and low self-esteem.
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Are You An Exhibitionist?

Although displaying your genitals in public is illegal in many parts of the world, a huge number of people have done it at one time or another. Countless men and women have flashed each other at Mardi Gras celebrations, and many a college fraternity and sorority have gone streaking across campus. So does this mean that the world is full of exhibitionists? Not exactly. Behaviors like this are usually fueled by alcohol and a temporary loosening of one’s inhibitions. The true exhibitionist (in the clinical sense) doesn’t require any “liquid courage” and doesn’t get naked as part of an organized social event or in a situation in which public nudity is accepted. Instead, psychologists reserve the term “exhibitionist” for persons who engage in socially inappropriate nudity for the sole purpose of sexual arousal.
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What Is A “Legitimate” Rape Anyway?

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” – Todd Akin, Republican Senate Candidate from Missouri

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably seen a ton of headlines over the past few days referencing Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin’s comments about rape. Akin’s remarks were asinine on multiple levels because not only is it patently offensive to suggest that some rapes are “legitimate” while others are not, but there is absolutely nothing to back up his provocative claim that women’s bodies have mechanisms in place to prevent rape-related pregnancies from occurring. In fact, research has actually found the opposite of what Akin suggested: specifically, the per-incident pregnancy rate is higher for rapes than it is for consensual sex.1

Although the Akin controversy has stoked a lot of public anger, the silver lining is that his remarks have prompted a public dialogue about sexual assault that we desperately need to have. I have read so many excellent articles this week that are providing some much-needed attention to this important issue. If I may add one small bit to this, I would like to talk briefly about the definition of rape and how the wide variability in legal definitions of this crime may be contributing to confusion about what rape is and distracting us from the bigger issues at stake here.

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Sex Surveys Pose No Harm To Student Participants

Sex Surveys Pose No Harm To Student Participants
Sex surveys have been controversial ever since the pioneering work of Alfred Kinsey in the 1940s and 50s. There has been a persistent concern that asking people questions about sex is simply too personal and is likely to make them feel distressed and uncomfortable. Although there may have been some validity to this concern several decades ago, times have changed. We now live in a world where people talk about sex more freely than ever before and sex is represented everywhere in the media. So should ethics review boards continue to scrutinize sex studies more than other types of research? A new study suggests not.
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