Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Science and Human Ecology

First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Monideepa B. Becerra, DrPH, MPH, CHES


Background: Sexual consent is often defined as the voluntary agreement to participate in a sexual act, though the differing definitions across and within countries make legal consensus difficult. In recent years, due to popularization through social media, nonconsensual condom removal, termed stealthing, is becoming common, especially among young adults. Yet, little to no empirical evidence exists on this sexual behavior.

Methods: In this exploratory sequential mixed methods approach, we aimed to address the current perception of stealthing among young adults. College students were recruited from general education courses at a medium-sized four- year public university. Focus groups were conducted to understand the current perception of stealthing, including knowledge, perceived influence, and outcome, followed by quantitative assessment of knowledge, attitude, and self-efficacy of sexual consent.

Results: Results demonstrated central theme of health-decision making with associated themes of consent, which further included subthemes of privacy, trust, and violation, followed by consideration of stealthing as sexual assault and social norm and acceptance of stealthing. Quantitative assessment showed that knowledge and awareness of stealthing remains low, though sex differences exist on the perception of stealthing being considered sexual assault; with higher rates among males as compared to females.

Conclusion: The act of stealthing has been popularized in social media. Our results demonstrate that there is a need for health educators to assess the prevalence of such a behavior among young adults and policy makers to assess the legal implications of nonconsensual condom removal.