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Mental Disorders

Exhibitionism/Exhibitionistic Disorder

Kathryn Patricelli, MA

Prior to the release of the DSM-5 in 2013, Exhibitionism was classified as another impulse control disorder. The symptoms of this disorder include a person having recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving the exposure of one's genitals to an unsuspecting stranger over a period of at least 6 months. The person has either acted on these impulses with a nonconsenting person or the fantasies and sexual urges are causing clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

In the DSM-5, this disorder has been reclassified to be a Paraphilic Disorder and renamed Exhibitionistic Disorder. A paraphilia involves intense and persistent sexual interest (recurrent fantasies, urges or behaviors of a sexual nature) that center around children, non-humans (animals, objects, materials), or harming others or one's self during sexual activity. Sometimes this sexual interest focuses on the person's own erotic/sexual activities while in other cases, it focuses on the target of the person's sexual interest.

Please see our Sexual Disorders center for more information.