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Exhibitionism (Exhibitionistic) Symptoms

Exhibitionism symptoms include: over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving the exposure of one’s genitals to an unsuspecting stranger.

The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Sometimes the person with this disorder will masturbate while exposing themselves, or while fantasizing about exposing themselves. If the person acts on these urges, there generally is no further attempt at sexual activity with the stranger. In some cases, insight is present and the individual is aware of their efforts to surprise or shock the other person. In some cases, the individual will have a fantasy that the stranger will also become sexually aroused.

The onset of this disorder usually begins before age 18.

 

**Note: Now termed “exhibitionistic disorder” in DSM-5**

 


John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2020). Exhibitionism (Exhibitionistic) Symptoms. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 6, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/disorders/exhibitionism-symptoms/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 1 Jul 2020 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 1 Jul 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.