Everything You Need to Know About Consensual Exhibitionism

According to one expert, it can completely “bolster your sexual self-esteem”.   


If you have ever wondered why it feels so freakin‘ good to walk around your house naked, it could be because you’re an exhibitionist. Don’t get us wrong: we recognise that you don’t have to identify this way in order to just fully embrace a braless moment. But feeding off of your SO’s attention while you parade around without any clothes on is definitely trudging towards exhibitionist territory.
If the term ‘exhibitionist’ makes you feel icky, it’s probably because you’ve never heard of it in the sexy context we’re using it. Unfortunately, there’s the other side to exhibitionism that’s the non-consensual mental condition ‘characterised by the compulsion to display one’s genitals in public’ (which is both disturbing and illegal), but that’s not what we’re talking about today.
Today, we’re talking about the sexy, consensual side of exhibitionism that can be used to amplify your sex life, libido, and orgasms. So allow us to explain everything to know about this common  fantasy and kink, because, hey, you’re probably already more of an exhibitionist than you think!

What is exhibitionism?
For those of you who already love being the centre of attention and thrive off of other people’s attention, it’s possible “being an exhibitionist is already a skill you possess—even if you haven’t brought it directly into a sexual situation,” says US-based sexologist Carol Queen, author of Exhibitionism For The Shy.
In a sexual context, “exhibitionism is a kink in which the person feels sexual arousal at the idea or reality of being seen naked or engaged in sexual activities by others,” says US-based clinical sexologist Sarah Melancon. (Like, maybe you’re really into the thought of someone watching you while you masturbate).
Another way of looking at it is “the desire to reveal one’s physical attributes in a sexually alluring or suggestive manner,” says US-based clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly. “In general, exhibitionism involves revealing body parts that are normally covered or obscured by clothing in accord with societal norms.”
Oh, and BTW: it’s pretty common. According to research conducted by US-based psychologist Justin Lehmiller, 81% of men and 84% of women have “experienced sexual arousal at the thought of public sex”—which, you guessed it, is one of the many indicators that you could have an exhibitionist kink.

Are you into the idea of other people watching you while you have sex?

How is exhibitionism different from voyeurism?
The two go hand-in-hand. “A voyeur is someone who feels sexual arousal by watching someone else nude or doing sexual activities. The fantasy of exhibitionism requires a voyeur—it is a relationship between the “see-er” and the “see-ee,” says Sarah. So while you don’t necessarily need a partner to consider yourself a voyeur or exhibitionist, the two kind of thrive off of each other’s pleasures.

What would make someone an exhibitionist?
Remember, there’s no need or reason to identify your pleasure if you’re comfortable with not identifying it at all. But if you’re curious about whether you are an exhibitionist or not, here are some things that could mean you enjoy this type of kink.

You love...
- Sharing nude photos with bae while they’re at work.
- Encouraging bae to go lingerie shopping with you.
- Engaging in a public make-out sesh where you could potentially be caught.
- Inviting a third person over to watch you have sex and/or masturbate.

‘Okay, how do I incorporate consensual exhibitionism into the bedroom?’
Lots, and lots, and lots of titillating ways. But for starters, you have to communicate with your partner about what you’re interested in by establishing boundaries and explicitly telling your SO what you’d enjoy. Once you have the sex talk down, get comfortable with yourself.
“Build your comfort with being seen by practising alone—dirty-dancing in the mirror, watching yourself as you masturbate, experimenting with whatever garments feel sexy for you,” says Carol. “Getting a sense of your own pleasure in showing off is key to really enjoying it with a person watching.”
Now, once you have that down, here are some tangible, practical ways to ignite your sexual prowess, according to US-based licensed psychologist Margarida Rafael, resident relationship and sex expert at AdorePassion.ca:
- Videotape yourself naked and share it with your partner.
- Surprise your partner when they get back home from work by walking out naked to greet them.
- Have sex in public places that don’t break the law—like, a bathroom at a friend’s house.
- Engage in sexual activities against a window, in your private swimming pool, or in your balcony.

Would you bring up to your partner that you’re interested in incorporating exhibitionism into the bedroom?