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What is exhibitionism?

Exhibitionism is a paraphilia. According to the DSM 5, there is exhibitionistic disorder, when there have been "over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent and intense sexual arousal from the exposure of one’s genitals to an unsuspecting person, as manifested by fantasies, urges, or behaviors." "The individual has acted on these sexual urges with a nonconsenting person, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning."


A link with voyeurism?

Exhibiting one's genitals to a person with voyeuristic disorder is very rarely exciting for people with exhibitionistic disorder. They need the person who observe them to be nonconsenting to feel sexual excitement.

Four classes of exhibitionism

According to Anil Aggrawal, there are four kinds of exhibitionism:

  • Fantasizing exhibitionists: they never act out their exhibitionistic fantasies,
  • Pure exhibitionists: they show their genitals from a distance and sometimes masturbate,
  • Exhibitionistic criminals: they indulge in exhibitionistic behaviors, which lead to sexual abuse,
  • Exclusive exhibitionists: exhibitionism is their only sexual activity.

List of paraphilic disorders

Here is a non-exhaustive list of paraphilic disorders: fetishism, transvestism, sadism, masochism, zoophilia, voyeurism, exhibitionism, frotteurism, pedophilia, necrophilia, urophilia.