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"This man fell into the category of what I will be forgiven for calling exhibitionists." --"Les exhibitionnistes" (1877) by Charles Lasègue

"The Shelah-na-Gigs of the Irish churches, prevailed largely in the middle ages, explains another class of antiquities which are not uncommon. These are small figures of nude females exposing themselves in exactly the same manner as in the sculptures on the churches in Ireland just alluded to. Such figures are found not only among Roman, Greek, and Egyptian antiquities, but among every people who had any knowledge of art, from the aborigines of America to the far more civilized natives of Japan; and it would be easy to give examples from almost every country we know, but we confine ourselves to our more special part of the subject."--The Worship of Priapus (1786) by Richard Payne Knight

The Swing (detail) (ca. 1767) by Jean-Honoré Fragonard
The Swing (detail) (ca. 1767) by Jean-Honoré Fragonard

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Exhibitionism is the act of exposing in a public or semi-public context one's intimate parts – for example, the breasts, genitals or buttocks. The practice may arise from a desire or compulsion to expose themselves in such a manner to groups of friends or acquaintances, or to strangers for their amusement or sexual satisfaction, or to shock the bystander.

The term exhibitionist was first used in 1877 by French physician and psychiatrist Charles Lasègue in his "Les exhibitionnistes". Various earlier medical-forensic texts discuss genital self-exhibition, however.

When exhibitionistic sexual interest is acted on with a non-consenting person or interferes with a person's quality of life or normal functioning, it can be diagnosed as exhibitionistic disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5). The DSM states that the highest possible prevalence for exhibitionistic disorder in men is 2% to 4%. It is thought to be much less common in women.


From Latin exhibitus, perfect passive participle of exhibeō (“I hold forth, present, show, display”), from ex (“out of, from”) + habeō (“I have, hold”); see habit.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Exhibitionism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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