Him and Her Sex Blog

We talk about sex and sexuality

Topic #11: Exhibitionism

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This week’s topic is…Exhibitionism! I had some trouble deciding on this week’s topic, but then all of the sudden it just came to me! So anyways, here is the info.


Exhibitionism refers to a desire or compulsion to expose parts of one’s body – specifically the genitals or buttocks of a man or woman, or the breasts of a woman – in a public or semi-public circumstance, in crowds or groups of friends or acquaintances, or to strangers.

This disorder is characterized by intense sexually arousing fantasies, urges, or behaviors in which the individual exposes his or her genitals to an unsuspecting stranger. To be considered diagnosable, the fantasies, urges, or behaviors must cause significant distress in the individual or be disruptive to his or her everyday functioning.

Legal Issues:

When legal authorities become involved, and the behavior is threatening or anti-social, it may be defined as indecent exposure, depending on the specific laws of the jurisdiction involved, and can be subject to the arrest and prosecution of the exhibitionist.


Non-threatening exhibitionism may be physically expressed in two basic ways. The first, colloquially referred to as flashing, involves the exposure of a person’s “private parts” to another person or group of people, in a non-threatening manner, in a situation where these would not normally be exposed, such as in a social gathering or in a public place. The act of flashing, particularly when done by females involving the breasts but also when involving her vulva and also her buttocks, may be at least partially sexual in intention, i.e. to prompt the sexual arousal of those being flashed, in turn giving the flasher an ego boost.


Exhibitionism is not automatically a compulsion, but some people do have a distinct psychological tendency to sexually expose themselves, whether it is to “flash” (the nonthreatening form) or to “indecently expose” (the threatening form). When it is a compulsion, it is a condition sometimes called apodysophilia.

Exhibitionism as a disorder was first described in a scientific journal in 1877 by a French physician and psychiatrist Charles Lasègue (1809–1883).

Exhibitionism can be considered a psychological disorder if it interferes with the quality of life or normal functioning capacity of the individual.

Treatment typically involves psychotherapy aimed at uncovering and working through the underlying cause of the behavior. Medications can at times be helpful to assist the client in resisting urges, but are typically not utilized in treatment.

Types of Exposure:

Anasyrma: the lifting of the skirt when not wearing underwear, to expose genitals.

Flashing: chiefly the momentary display of bare female breasts by a woman with an up-and-down lifting of the shirt and/or bra. It can also involve the exposure of a man’s or woman’s genitalia.

Martymachlia: a paraphilia which involves sexual attraction to having others watch the execution of a sexual act.

Mooning: the display of bare buttocks by pulling down of trousers and underwear. There tends to be a gendered double standard here: with males, the act is most often done for the sake of humor, disparagement, and/or mockery than for sexual excitement, whereas with females, the reverse tends to be true, and sexual arousal (or at least sexual attention) of those mooned is the intent.

Streaking: the act of running nude through a public place.

Candaulism: when a person exposes his/her partner in a sexually explicit manner.

Reflectoporn: the act of stripping and taking a photograph using an object with a reflective surface as a mirror, then posting the image on the Internet in a public forum. 


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