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Exhibitionism – Spiritual Meaning and Causes

Exhibitionistic disorder is a health condition that focuses on a need to expose one’s genitals to other people in order to gain sexual satisfaction.

From a psychological standpoint, the defining characteristic of an exhibitionist is the desire to expose one’s genitals to an unsuspecting stranger. Also, it may refer to a strong urge to be observed by other people during sexual activity.

According to statistics, it is lower in women, and the prevalence in men is not more than 1 percent.

Exhibitionism is known by a few other names, including – Lady Godiva syndrome, apodysophilia, and flashing.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classifies this mental condition under the heading of the paraphilias. The paraphilias are a group of mental disorders marked by sexual activity involving inappropriate or non-consenting partners or with the obsession with unusual sexual practices.


Common symptoms may include:

  • the appearance of other paraphilias symptoms;
  • the behaviors occur over a time period of six months;
  • actual exposure of genitals to strangers numerous times;
  • recurring fantasies of genital exposure to strangers;
  • when the person is examined, other physical and mental illnesses are ruled out;
  • social or everyday life is disrupted;
  • the behavior makes the sufferer very distressed;
  • extreme sexual arousal when showing genitals to strangers.


There are a few subtypes of the exhibitionistic disorder, and these depend on the age of the non-consenting person to whom someone with this mental problem prefers to show their genitals. These types include:


It usually refers to running topless (usually females) or naked in a public place.


It usually refers to the displaying of bare buttocks by pulling down trousers and underwear.


It usually refers to the lifting of a dress or skirt by a woman when not wearing any knickers and exposing her genitals.


It is a sexual practice in which a man exposes his female partner to other people for their voyeuristic pleasure. 


It refers to a paraphilic behavior that involves being sexually aroused by having other people watch the sexual act.


The brief display of genitals by a man or woman.

Spiritual Meaning of Exhibitionism

If you feel the desire to display an exhibitionistic behavior, it’s possible that you have never had the chance to freely express your sexuality.

Consciously or not, you think of sex as something dirty, and now this aspect of your life confronts you with what you never wanted to see. Realize that sex is a beautiful and important part of life, and your sexuality will regain its original expression.


Exhibitionism is treated with a combination of medications, psychotherapy, and adjunctive treatments. A few different types of psychotherapy have been found helpful in treating this mental problem, including:

  • family therapy;
  • couples therapy;
  • group therapy;
  • cognitive-behavioral therapy – it is considered the most effective form of psychotherapy for exhibitionism;
  • empathy training;
  • reconditioning and restructuring techniques.

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