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The Psychological Profile of an Exhibitionist

The Psychological Profile of an Exhibitionist

Exhibitionism is a mental disorder that is characterized by the intense and persistent urge to expose one’s genitals to an unsuspecting stranger. Exhibitionists can be found in all walks of life, but they often share certain characteristics. 

This blog post discusses the psychological profile of exhibitionists and their motivations for exposing themselves in public places.

What are the Symptoms of Exhibitionism?

The DSM-5, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, describes several symptoms that may mean you’re living with the exhibitionist disorder. Some of these symptoms include;

  • The behaviours take place over a six-month period.
  • When strangers are shown the genitals, the behaviour is repeated, resulting in extreme sexual arousal.
  • The individual is distressed as a result of the behaviour.
  • Social, professional, and/or everyday life are all disrupted.
  • Other mental and physical illnesses are ruled out during the examination.
  • If the person is abusing substances, the examination must take that into account.
  • The level of distress experienced by the individual as a result of his behaviour, as well as his feelings toward the victim of his behaviour, must be taken into account.
  • The person’s exhibitionistic behavior is aimed at a person who does not permit or agree to it because of his inability to control it.

The health care provider must determine whether the exposure is only for children or adults, as well as the environment in which it is most likely to occur.

Is Exhbitionism a Crime?

Indecent exposure convictions can result in up to two years in prison. It was not even defined as a sexual offense until the Sexual Offence Act of 2003. For first-time offenders, the maximum penalty is a Community Service Order and/or a small fine.

Some believe the law is too lenient, seeing this behaviour as a “trigger crime” or a minor offense that hides a future proclivity to commit more serious sexual acts.

A pre-sentence report on the perpetrator is recommended by sentencing guidelines in order to “identify sexual deviant tendencies” that may necessitate a treatment program.

Of course, this can vary from state to state, so what’s important is that you seek the help of a legal professional, typically a sex crimes attorney, who will be able to help you understand the details of your individual case.

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Depending on the case and the details, you may or may not have to go to court, and you’ll have to face some kind of punishment for the act.

However, in addition to seeking justice in a criminal court, a victim may seek justice in civil court. Compensation for the victim is a successful civil court outcome, with compensation serving as a mark of recognition of the harm/distress caused.


If you feel like your exhibitionism is a problem, then it’s probably a good idea to seek assistance for it, whether that’s through a doctor, a healthcare professional, or other forms of mental health support. Even if you’re trying to understand why you feel like you do.

What’s more, if you find yourself in legal trouble before of your urges, then you certainly need to seek out professional legal advice that can help to properly guide you through the upcoming process.

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