Are you an exhibitionist

Exhibitionism: A deviant sexual orientation

A suggestive saying on the street, a hand that caresses the bottom without being asked at the party - sexual harassment has many faces. They are known as tensioners in Austria, as unpleasant men who ambush women, expose themselves and take pleasure in the terrified reactions.

No tensioner in the actual sense, but somehow similar and in the #Me too- Again and again the evil protagonists are men who lure women into hotel rooms and then surprise them in their bathrobes. What has been little talked about so far is exhibitionism: one person presents their gender to another without being asked and perceives it as sexually stimulating. Often they even masturbate afterwards. Most of the victims of such attacks are women and small children.

Exhibitionism is one of the so-called paraphilias. Paraphilias are deviant sexual tendencies. How exactly they arise and why men in particular develop them has not yet been clarified. However, they probably arise sometime between birth and puberty. Genes seem to play only a subordinate role in determining sexual preference.

"Repair" feelings of inferiority

What science knows, however: Exhibitionists usually have low self-worth. "The self-exposure, the unsolicited presentation of gender is a kind of compensation strategy," explains Adelheid Kastner, specialist in psychiatry and neurology at the Kepler University Hospital in Linz. The shock of the other person gives the men the feeling of being an imposing and impressive person and is supposed to "repair" the feeling of inferiority.

"Most women actually react quite differently to self-exposure," says Jutta Elz from the Criminological Central Office in Wiesbaden. Some are frightened or disgusted, others are largely unaffected by the situation. However, there are no current studies on how those affected feel long-term who have been held out a penis on the street or in the park without being asked. An investigation by the Federal Criminal Police Office in 1983, however, indicated that exhibitionistic acts usually do not cause any emotional or other late damage to the victim.

This is also the experience of criminologist Elz: "The women who report exhibitionistic acts", she has learned from her files, "usually do not do so because they thought the incidents were so bad, but because they do not want others through the Self-denuding 'more' happens. "

Go to the police

In fact, women hardly need to fear "more". "Of course, the unsolicited showing of the genitals crosses the boundaries and a breach of the intimate sphere," says psychiatrist Kastner. On the other hand, it is absolutely unusual for an exhibitionist to be sexually assaulted.

"Children, on the other hand, often do not even notice exhibitionistic behavior," says criminologist Elz. Rather, they wonder what the man is doing with his penis or why he "itches" so badly. Even she herself met several exhibitionists in the forest in her youth. "I didn't think that was nice at the time," she recalls. "But if I didn't work in that area today, I would probably have forgotten these incidents by now."

And even if it is difficult: "The most therapeutically effective weapon to meet an exhibitionist on the street is laughter," says medical specialist Kastner. Why? The shock that the self-denuder is after does not materialize, and the search for confirmation comes to nothing.
(Stella Marie Hombach, December 12, 2017)

Information on paraphilias:

Paraphilias are sexual preferences that deviate from the social norm, which initially take place in fantasies and can also be lived under the condition of mutual consent. Exhibitionism therefore occupies a special position among the paraphilias: Because in "genital presentations to strangers" there is no consensuality. Exhibitionism is therefore a criminal offense. In Austria, under Section 218 of the Criminal Code, self-denuders face a prison sentence of up to six months.

How exactly exhibitionism arises is not known. What is certain is that it mainly affects men. According to the Berlin men's study from 2003, around three to four percent of all men find the idea of ​​an exhibitionistic act during masturbation or sex arousing. Around two percent of them live out their exhibitionistic fantasies. There is no cure for sexual preference disorders. Sex therapy can, however, help affected men to live with the tendency and not to commit delinquents. (hom)

For further reading:

How social media trigger mental disorders

There is no society without sex crimes