“Acting is a masochistic form of exhibitionism. It is not quite the occupation of an adult” ~Laurence Oliver.



The American Psychiatric Association defines Exhibitionistic disorder as a mental disorder that causes an individual to expose his or her genitals or sexual organs to other human beings, usually strangers or people who are not expecting it. It can take place in a public or semi public place and parts which are normally not exposed are exposed.

Indecent exposure means is the act of exhibitionism. The exhibitionist gets sexual excitement and enjoyment from indecent exposure. The exhibitionist could acquire gratification from the reaction of disgust or concern on the a part of the victim however this reaction isn’t forever necessary to his excitement.

The follow might rise from a compulsion or or need to show themselves for amusement or shock the viewer.

Sexual show is sort of universal as a prelude to sexual activity however considered deviant once taken place outside intimate sexual relationships.

It comes under the classification of Paraphilic disorders. Paraphilia means a condition with intense sexual interest to atypical objects, fantasies and so on, that is not normal genital stimulation generally accompanied by clinically significant distress or impairment.

This disorder has several subtypes which depend on the age of the non-consenting person to whom the impacted prefers to show their genitals.

There are different kinds of exposures as well like-

  • Flashing
  • Reflectoporn
  • Streaking
  • Sexting
  • Telephone scatologia and so on.

The prevalence of this disorder are unknown. Exhibitionistic disorder is more prevalent in men than woman. It impacts approximately 2-4% of male population. It also includes massive masturbation while fantasizing about exposing themselves.

Usually exhibitionists may intentionally arrange for others to see them having sex with others and may begin in late adolescence or early adulthood. Society permits some exhibitionistic behavior in females through news and media which has been recorded since classical times.

Usually men expose themselves, it’s typically regarding power. These impulses area unit ego connected, they’re acting out a fantasy that’s supported would like for attention and management. In some cases , exposing themselves may stem from a desire to be appreciated ,loved or loved. If somebody has exposed themselves, it’s doubtless they’ve done one thing before and can do one thing similar or worse once more.

When unconcealed sexual interest is acted on with a non-consenting person or interferes with a human quality of life or traditional functioning, it will be diagnosed as unconcealed disorder within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5)

The term exhibitionists was termed by French physician and psychiatrist Charles Lasègue in 1877.


  • Usually exhibitionists don’t meet the clinical criteria for this disorder.
  • 20-50% of sex offenders who are exhibitionists are re-arrested
  • The condition has to be present for 6 or more months.


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5TH edition (DSM 5) have laid down the following symptoms for exhibitionistic disorder.

  • Repeated behavior which results in intense sexual arousal during indecent exposure.
  • Behavior takes place over a duration of six months.
  • The behavior increases stress in the person.
  • Other mental and physical illnesses are crossed out, when the person is examined.
  • Everyday life is disrupted.
  • Usually the exhibitionist exposes to a non-consenting person.

An individual’s distress level regarding his feelings and behavior must be considered.

This disorder has a high rate of relapse, moreover this behavior is hard to modify or control. The exhibitionist can be assisted by family members and others to form a routine and maintain an abstinence from substance use.


The following risk factors may be the causes of this disorder, other factors may conclude too.

People who display exhibitionistic behavior engage in other paraphilias and are labelled as hypersexual. According to exhibitionists mind, he is partaking in a form of flirting, however the behavior is not always harmless.

Approximately one third of sex crimes reported involves incidences of exhibitionism.


Nobody can help you unless you want to help your own self first.

Most people with this disorder won’t seek treatment on their own and don’t receive treatment until caught by authorities.

The treatment usually requires PSYCHOTHERAPY and MEDICATION.

  1. Behavioral models provides individuals with tools to control their impulses and find acceptable coping ways.
  2. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps identify triggers that cause these urges.
  3. Relaxation training
  4. Empathy training
  5. Coping skills training
  6. Cognitive restructuring
  7. Medications that decrease sexual desire like SSRIs.
  8. Group therapy focused on social skills
  9. step support group program


  • DSM 5

What do you think?

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Written by Gurleen Kaur

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