Why do men expose themselves to women?

Exhibitionistic disorder is a condition marked by the urge, fantasy, or behaviour of exposing one’s genitals to non-consenting people, particularly strangers. The prevalence of exhibitionistic disorder is unknown, but is thought to be approximately two to four percent in the male population

Why do men expose themselves to women?

Mayur Kadam (name changed) changed his profession about a year ago owing for a certain reason. He was a taxi driver who suffers from a type of sexual disorder since many years. The disorder called ‘exhibitionism’ is a kind of sexual disorder that gives Kadam, a 24-year old man, sexual pleasure by exposing his private parts to an unsuspecting woman.

“He wouldn’t be able to control his urge to remove all his clothes and expose his private parts to women. And if this urge occurred to him during a taxi ride he would tell his customers to alight abruptly and this caused a lot of issues for him to continue as a taxi driver. So, he changed his profession to becoming a vegetable seller. Now, whenever he has an urge, he runs off from his shop to a lonely secluded area, finds any unsuspecting woman and exposes his nude body and returns,” said Dr Sagar Karia, secretary of Bombay Psychiatric Society.

About a week ago, a case had flashed all around newspapers and websites about a man exposing his genitals in full view in a moving train in front of a woman. It was only after she filed a complaint that the crime came to light. Even in February this year, a similar incident had been reported in Mumbai.

Psychiatrists say that this is a disorder than never comes to light unless these accused are caught performing the act. This is a kind of sexual paraphilia, a disorder called ‘exhibitionism’.  Dr. Yusuf Matcheswalla calls it an under-reported disorder, “Exhibitionism is a disorder that basically gives a kick to the person when he sees the person’s expression of disgust or horror or shock. That is an obsession,” said Yusuf Matcheswalla, psychiatrist, Masina Hospital.

“This is a rare and unreported disorder seen among men. It is obviously, socially unacceptable and an addiction disorder. What makes it tougher to handle is that the men with this disorder don’t feel guilt for the act they commit. This obsession can’t be cured per se, but if people come for treatment, the obsession can be brought under control,” said Dr. Parul Tank, consultant psychiatrist at Asian Heart, Mumbai and Fortis Hospital who is also the head of psychiatry department at Rajawadi Hospital.

The cause of worry here is that most of these perversions may lead to criminal acts under obsession, says Dr. Matcheswalla, “We must understand that this disorder is reported only when the person is caught during the act. Moreover, it is reported more among men than women. It can be called as a deviant perversion.”