Is Stealthing a Crime Under California Law?

April 12, 2023

Stealthing, also known as non-consensual condom removal, is the act of removing a condom during sexual intercourse without the knowledge or consent of the other partner. In California, stealthing can be considered a crime under certain circumstances.

Stealthing can be classified as sexual assault or rape under California law. This is because stealthing involves the non-consensual removal of a protective barrier during sexual activity, which can put the other partner at risk of unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. Additionally, stealthing can also be considered a violation of the other partner’s right to bodily autonomy and informed consent.

Under California Penal Code 243.4, sexual battery is defined as any unwanted touching of an intimate part of another person for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse. This definition can apply to stealthing, as the act of non-consensual condom removal can be considered an unwanted touching. A conviction for sexual battery can result in up to four years in prison.

Additionally, stealthing can also be considered a form of rape under California Penal Code 261. This is because stealthing can involve non-consensual sexual intercourse, which is defined as sexual intercourse with a person who has not given their consent. A conviction for rape can result in a prison sentence of up to eight years.

It’s important to note that prosecution for stealthing can be difficult because it often relies on the testimony of the person whose consent was disregarded, and sometimes the victim is not aware that the condom was removed. Additionally, there is no specific law in California that criminalizes stealthing, so it would have to be prosecuted under other laws such as sexual battery or rape laws.

In addition to criminal consequences, stealthing can also have civil consequences. A person who has been a victim of stealthing may be able to bring a lawsuit for damages against the person who committed the act. This type of lawsuit may seek compensation for medical expenses, emotional distress, and other losses related to the stealthing.

Contact Us for Help in Southern California


If you are under investigation or have been charged with a sex crime, then give the Law Offices of John D. Rogers a call. Contact us to schedule a free confidential consultation to discuss your options. Attorney John D. Rogers is a board-certified criminal law specialist by the State Bar of California. He routinely represents clients charged with sex crimes throughout Southern California.

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