Exhibitionism (also known as Lady Godiva syndrome and/or Apodysophilia) is the psychological need and pattern of behavior to exhibit naked parts of the body to other people. In exhibitionism the individual shows a tendency to an extravagant, usually at least partially sexually inspired behavior to captivate the attention of others in a display of a body part, or parts, that would otherwise be left covered under clothing in nearly all other cultural circumstances.
The part(s) of the body exposed can be the female breasts or the genitalia or buttocks of either gender.
Exhibitionists who view exhibitionism as a lifestyle as opposed to a rare thrill carefully select their target audience and make the exposure brief, inconspicuous and apparently unintentional. It is a Sexual fetishism, and many such practitioners see it as an art form. Many night clubs and goth bars encourage mild exhibitionism to enhance the venue's atmosphere. This contrasts with non-sexualized social nudity, in which the exposure is not connected with sexual expression, such as sunbathing or swimming at nude beaches or other participation in public nudity events where nudity is the norm.
Some exhibitionists wish to display themselves sexually to other people singly or in groups. This can be done consensually as part of swinging or group sex. When done nonthreateningly, the intent is usually to surprise and/or sexually arouse the viewer, giving the exhibitionist an ego rush. Some people like to expose themselves in front of large crowds, typically at sporting events; see streaking. Some like to use the internet to distribute their stories and pictures. A similar phenomenon is when, at the conclusion of a sporting event, a woman may flash her breasts while sitting atop someone's shoulders in a dense crowd of people.
Forms of exhibitionism, usually by females, that are captured by various forms of mass media have proven highly popular among the Western male market.
In psychiatry, exhibitionism is considered a paraphilia if the practice begins to interfere with the quality of life or the normal functioning capacity of the individual. Often exhibitionism does not have legal implications, unless the individual shows an aggressive or criminal behavior, as in indecent exposure. Likewise, exhibitionism does not necessarily imply alterations of the psychiatric condition of the average, everyday individual, although according to DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, IV edition), where all psychiatric illnesses are represented as numerals to avoid confusion, exhibitionism is classified as 302.4. Many psychiatric definitions of exhibitionism broadly define it as "sexual gratification, above and beyond the sexual act itself, that is achieved by risky public sexual activity and/or bodily exposure." It can include "engaging in sex where one may possibly be seen in the act, or caught in the act."
Reasons for the various types of exhibitionism are varied. The person can act on the basis of competing to be the "first" in a trend, on the basis of adhering to a particular fashion, |ostentation, posing, being bombastic, and many other instances. These forms can appear isolated or also as a group of manifestations.
Types of exposure
- lifting up one's skirt to expose bare genitals, for varied reasons.
- a paraphilia involving sexual attraction to having others watch the execution of a sexual act.
- in English and American dialects, displaying one's buttocks for shock value is known as "mooning"; or a brown eye is the Australian and New Zealand English dialects