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Related: show - exhibition - voyeurism

Lady Godiva (c. 1898) John Collier


An exhibitionist is a person who practises exhibitionism as a psychological alteration of the human behaviour that neither implies the need to exhibit the genitalia or buttocks nor alterations of the psychiatric condition of the individual (although sometimes this occurs, see below).

In this type of exhibitionism the individual shows a tendency to an extravagant behaviour and the need to captivate the attention of others. The person can act in several forms, by competing to be the "first", adhering to a particular fashion, ostentation (in different forms), showing him/herself in a pre-determined form, posing, being bombastic, etc. In this type of exhibitionism the above-mentioned forms can appear isolated or as a group of manifestations. People showing this type of personality are sometimes called extravagant instead of exhibitionist. Generally this type of exhibitionism does not have legal implications, unless the individual shows an aggressive or criminal behaviour.

Reportedly, exhibitionism is principally due to a low self-esteem.

There are other exhibitionists that practise a sexual type of exhibitionism called indecent exposure, which is considered a criminal exhibitionist practice in many jurisdictions. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exhibitionist [Feb 2005]

Indecent Exposure

Indecent exposure is the display of parts of the human body without clothing in a manner that is contrary to local custom and law. In most places (other than areas where nudity is acceptable, such as nude beaches) exposure of an adult's genitalia is the most blatant example of this.

What counts as "indecent exposure" varies according to place and time. Exposure of the breasts of an adult woman is considered indecent in some places, and not so in others. Wearing no clothing over the chest or breasts is sometimes referred to as being "topless" or "topfree". In the Victorian era exposure of a woman's legs was considered indecent in much of the west. As late as the 1930s many places in the United States, including public beaches, prohibited men as well as women from bathing topfree. Exposure of the navel of a grown woman was also considered indecent. In some traditional societies, standards of much greater bodily modesty are enforced than in the west; from the viewpoint of westerners, a particularly extreme example is the Burka that was imposed by the Islamic Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Indecent exposure is a criminal offence in many jurisdictions, and is sometimes regarded as a sex crime. In some jurisdictions, indecent exposure, even without erection, differs from mere public nudity, in that the intent of the former is often to shock or harass. In most jurisdictions there is a very thin line (if any) between these two behaviors.

Traditionally in the UK, the crime of 'Indecent Exposure' had to involve a man showing his 'embarasment', and women were incapable of the crime, however this was changed by the current ruling Labour Party.

Those who deliberately expose themselves are colloquially known as "flashers." An urge to behave like this is a paraphilia, called exhibitionism. However, for others, this is a form of social rebellion (especially amongst high school and college students) and a way to object to perceived social and/or sexual oppression of their lives and/or bodies. In the United States, laws governing the definition of and punishment for indecent exposure vary from state to state. And the ticket from such an arrest is commonly framed and hung in college dorm rooms by both college men and women as a testament that they are rebels and sexually wild.

Many people believe that those who expose themselves are harmless, but that is not necessarily the case. About 20% of exhibitionists derive a sadistic pleasure out of shocking people, and those are the ones who are at risk of committing more serious crimes and being a danger to others. Randy Woodfield, the I-5 Killer, got his start exposing himself to others.

Mooning is usually considered a mild form of indecent exposure.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indecent_exposure [Feb 2005]

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