What is consensual exhibitionism and how to explore it?

You may have heard of exhibitionism in casual conversations before. But the thing is, exhibitionism can be very different for every person.

Basically, exhibitionism is an umbrella term for a variety of kinks that involve exposing yourself to a sexual situation. So, people can explore exhibitionist kinks by having sex in public, being completely nude in front of their partner, or starring in a homemade pornography film.

That said, there’s also a dark side to exhibitionism called non-consensual exhibitionism, and it’s very important to understand the difference.

In this article, we’ll talk all about consensual exhibitionism, how it’s different from non-consensual exhibitionism, and everything else you might need to know about this kink.

Read on to learn more.

What is consensual exhibitionism?

Exhibitionism is when someone gets aroused or turned on when sexually exposing themself to another individual. Exhibitionists may enjoy pleasuring themselves on camera or in front of a mirror, attending nudist or sex parties, or even just being nude in front of their partner. The important thing is that in consensual exhibitionism, everyone involved understands what’s happening and wants to do it.

There are many ways to explore exhibitionism. And while most people think of this kink as exposing yourself or having sex in front of other people, you can completely explore this kink on your own.

Exhibitionism vs voyeurism

Exhibitionism and voyeurism are very different things, but they also go hand-in-hand. The best way to see these two acts is as two sides of the same coin. While an exhibitionist enjoys being watched, a voyeur enjoys watching.

Voyeurism is about watching other people in sexual situations or just seeing them naked. But like exhibitionism, voyeurism is completely healthy and can be very fun when there’s express consent. But without consent, voyeurism can be very problematic.


couple having sex in a public bathroom


Non-consensual vs consensual exhibitionism

It’s very important that you make the distinction between non-consensual and consensual exhibitionism. There’s nothing wrong with exploring exhibitionist sex acts with a consenting party. Whether this means joining a sex party, making a sex tape, or anything else along those lines, everything is healthy and fine as long as all involved parties consent to the act.

However, exhibitionism isn’t always like this. There are times wherein exhibitionist behaviour becomes compulsive and no longer consensual. This is what’s called non-consensual exhibitionism and can also be considered an exhibitionistic disorder, which is a DSM -5 paraphilia.

Individuals with exhibitionistic disorders may have the urge and fantasy to expose their genitals to non-consenting people, who are usually strangers. This unhealthy behaviour may cause significant damage to people and result in a lawsuit or case against the person who committed the act.

Those with exhibitionistic disorders may seek help to treat their condition. Common treatments for the disorder include cognitive behavioural therapy, hormone-reducing medication, and even empathy training.

If you believe you have an exhibitionist kink and wish to explore it with others, it’s important to ask for express consent. That way, you can practice exhibitionism safely without harming or putting other people at risk.

Why do people enjoy exhibitionism?

Like any sexual kink, fantasy, or fetish, people enjoy exhibitionism for a variety of reasons. To fully understand this, it’s best to view a person’s enjoyment of exhibitionism as a spectrum. Everyone has their own reasons for enjoying their kinks; the same goes for exhibitionism.

That said, one of the primary reasons experts believe people enjoy exhibitionism is attention. There’s an understanding in the sex psychology community that most people enjoy exhibitionism, like being the centre of attention. This is why exhibitionists tend to enjoy having people watch them in sexual situations.

However, there are also people that believe that exhibitionists simply enjoy watching people get turned on by them. Again, we don’t have as much of an understanding of exhibitionism as we’d like.

Currently, there are many theories and ideas behind why a person may want others to watch them in sexual situations. We don’t have an exact reason, and there’s a high chance that everyone enjoys exhibitionism for their own reasons.

How can you tell if you’re an exhibitionist?

There are many signs that point to a person being an exhibitionist. The biggest of these is if a person has fantasies about being watched by others. This could be while in the nude, having sex, masturbating, or doing any sexual act. Experts believe if one of the primary fantasies that help you climax during sex or masturbation is being watched, you may be interested in exploring exhibitionism.

Another sign that you might be an exhibitionist is if you have an early sexual experience that involves being watched. For example, if you have an early memory of someone walking in on you while you were naked, and you think about it as an adult as something that turns you on, you may also want to explore this kink.

Other signs include enjoying putting on a show for your partner and dressing up in a sexy way to attract more attention. Or even getting turned on by the thought of performing in a burlesque or stripper show.

At the end of the day, if the thought of being watched while in the middle of a sexual act arouses you, there’s a chance you’re into exhibitionism.


portrait of a nude blonde at a nudist beach


How to explore exhibitionism consensually

If you want to explore exhibitionism consensually, the key is to have a proper conversation with your partner or the people involved. So, before trying anything out, you may want to talk to your partner first. Let them know about your desires and have a constructive conversation about them.

From there, as always it’s best to start slow. A great way to try out exhibitionism for the first time is making a sexy video, having a nude photoshoot, or being nude in front of your partner. And once you get comfortable, you can start exploring different types of exhibitionism.

But remember, regardless of how you try out this sex act, it’s important to remain consensual. Before exploring exhibitionism yourself, the first step is to have a conversation with the people involved and establish boundaries, safewords, and even aftercare techniques.

Sex work and consensual exhibitionism: How to support a client with an exhibitionist fantasy

If you’re a sex worker, the best way to support a client with an exhibitionist fantasy is not to judge them. Whenever the client brings it up, make sure not to make them feel bad about their fantasy and assure them that these fantasies are perfectly healthy as long as they practice exhibitionism consensually.

And from there, you can decide whether or not you want to explore the fantasy with them. You have the full freedom to choose if you want to do it. You and the client may also talk about possible ways to explore the fantasy without crossing any lines or boundaries.


Exhibitionism is an umbrella term for different sexual acts that involve being watched. Basically, exhibitionists enjoy it when other people watch them in sexual situations. This could be while having sex, masturbating, or just having other people see them nude.

And to practice exhibitionism safely and in a healthy manner, it’s important to make sure that all parties consent to it.

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