While it’s not something I’m into, I have no problem with exhibitionism, per se, nor do I have any problem with public nudity, public play, or public sex, as long as it’s safe and consensual.
What I do have a problem with are exhibitionists who engage in exhibitionism without the consent of other people who may be involved.
Exhibitionists are sexually excited by being seen or by the risk of being seen. To get that sexual excitement, exhibitionists have to put themselves in situations where they might be caught (or will be caught) by other people. When consent isn’t asked or obtained, when the opportunity to consent or refuse isn’t offered to potential witnesses, exhibitionists who are “caught” essentially violate other people’s right to consent. And that? That’s not cool.
Fucking in front of a hotel window, standing naked by an office building elevator, or exposing your breasts while sitting in traffic may be thrilling to you. You may find it exciting to masturbate on the subway train. Catching unsuspecting bystanders in your explicit photo may be a rush for you. Leaving your dirty undergarments for a stranger to find may turn you on. I get that.
But maybe none of that is exciting for me. Maybe I don’t want to see you fucking in the window, your ass by the elevator, or your tits on my morning commute. Maybe seeing you jerking off on the train scares me. Maybe I don’t want to be immortalized in the frame with a nude person posted on the internet. Maybe the thought of finding or accidentally touching panties soiled with sexual fluids makes my skin crawl and makes me fear for my health.
When you don’t ask me for consent first, I have no choice in the matter. You’re essentially forcing me to be an unwilling and unwitting participant in your sexual excitement. You’re forcing me to participate, and I didn’t consent to that.
So, to the exhibitionists:
Don’t put yourself in situations where you might get caught by someone who hasn’t consented.
Don’t assume people who see you (or might see you) are “voyeurs.” “Voyeurism” is an activity a person chooses to engage in. People who have no choice in whether or not they see your exhibitionism aren’t voyeurs; they’re victims.
Don’t assume people around you are unaware or oblivious. You don’t know that. Someone might have seen you, but they might not know how to react, they might be afraid to react, or they might not want to react (particularly because reacting might make them even more of a participant in your sexual excitement than they had been).
So just fucking stop it. Ok?