Why Do Flashers Flash?

flasherWhy do flashers flash?

I’ve always wanted to know. Their discussion boards might clue us in. If you check them out you might see comments like this:

Women in general are quite happy to watch so long as they can convince themselves that you don’t know they are.

Some ex-flashers see things differently.

Why flash? It’s a turn-on (for him)

Women’s naked body parts are a big porn draw so male flashers seem to think that women enjoy seeing naked men’s body parts too. Which, I guess, arouses the flasher.

But some men quit because women don’t seem to be nearly as interested as they had once believed women would be. Like this guy:

I can’t do it anymore… I was offending woman after woman…

Other guys don’t seem to get it. But then, some people have a hard time seeing the world from anyone’s viewpoint but their own.

One man thought that flashers flash because guys instinctively enjoy showing off. Yet 1) most guys don’t flash and 2) women are more offended than impressed.

Why flash? Seeking power?

Other flashers are likely seeking power.

“Without consent” is the MO of any type of sexual assault. The offenders enjoy the power they feel from forcing themselves on another person.

Flasher message boards suggest that women’s lack of consent gives them a thrill. Likely, the thrill of power.

Manhood is defined as “powerful.” But a lot of men don’t feel that they are. Rape, battering, or flashing a woman without consent, can all make these guys feel like they have power over someone — their emotions or their bodies. Even though they actually don’t end up being very powerful in actual fact.

Why do flashers flash? Cluelessness and insecurity seem to lie at base.

Finally, why call the message board Dickflash instead of something like Cockflash?

Maybe they get that they’re being a dick?

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on December 12, 2016, in men, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sex and sexuality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 80 Comments.

  1. As a current bikini barista, reading this post was interesting because even though I am new to my job and haven’t encountered a flasher yet, some of my coworkers have. The other day one of my customers did come with his shirt off though and asked if I “thought it was hot?” As was said in the posting, manhood is defined as “powerful,” and in regards to flashing it makes me think of men wanting to be an “alpha male” or showing off, even though it is not powerful or flattering. They just like having the power. I don’t think flashing strangers is ever okay, it is non consensual and plain weird. It is also really interesting to note how society feels about women flashing vs men flashing. Women’s bodies are sexualized in society everywhere and it is in a more acceptable type of way than men, so when women flash it isn’t seen as bad as when a man does it.

  2. Call me stupid but to me It’s interesting that flashing is apparently something the flashers find arousing because I always thought it was probably something along the same lines as mooning (showing your butt as an offense) that can be kind of funny but maybe this is because a naked man is more funny than it is sexually appealing. Society sexualizes women more than it does men, men believe if a woman where to flash them it’s hot but it doesn’t go the other way because we do not sexualize men like that. If a woman where to streak it would probably be thought as sexual if a guy did it, it would be seen as offensive but funny. It’s also interesting that flashers apparently seek power by flashing, for some reason I always just thought they were weirdly proud but seeking power over women makes a lot more sense.

  3. One reason I think that there is a big difference in why a man flashing their genitals is much more disturbing to its witnesses then a women flasher, and some major differences behind both sexes motives of flashing. Usually when men flash people they are flashing their penis which comes off as very aggressive, unflattering, and obviously sexual. While when a woman flashes they usually are flashing their breasts, which are overly sexuallized and censored while men can expose their nipples without any sexualization or censorship. I think things would be different if women were exposing bystanders to their vaginas but that is not typically the case, so I feel the idea that it is sexist that male and female flashers are viewed differently is not accurate because of those circumstances.

    • Interesting point. And all of these things have symbolic meanings which are affecting perception, as you touch on.

    • ponypeppermercury59948

      Why do flashers flash? Flashing is something on the spectrum that applies to both sexes. On the spectrum of what might be normal human spontaneous behavior to somebody with some issues. This article seems to be directed more to males than females, which is funny because I thought of my best friend who is the first one to flash her breast in public after we leave a bar. I believe it’s the high of doing something inappropriate in public, self expression through nudity, making a statement, being free perhaps. On the other hand, I agree that people are invasive, reveal themselves forcefully and rape you with their eyes, try to gain power from the negative shock of the audience, which to me signifies a deep mental disturbance, that’s when flashing has become bad and frowned upon.

      • Females and males are socialized differently. Women are taught that they are sex objects. Men are taught that they are supposed to be powerful. But men can also come to think that women see them the way they see women, and objectify themselves. So as I mentioned in this piece, some men actually think that women will react lustfully — the way men react when a woman flashes her breasts. But after getting negative reactions over and over again many figure out that that’s not what’s happening. Our society doesn’t sexualize the male body in the way it does the female and so the reaction is quite different.

        The other gender difference is that men are taught to be powerful and some flashers flash for a reason that is similar to sexual assault. To gain power over the target. And so it is often motivated by, and experienced as, sexual assault.

  4. Part 2. Oh yeah; for me overcoming this stuff is important to me. I had an anerism. Its forcing me to relive my past. I withdrew from my wife. I can’t see male doctors because a man raped me as a boy. Unless shes there i cant even undress in front of a nurse because of being mollested as a boy. I literally go home & shake head to toe; & have passed out after a routine doctors visit. As a transplant recipient; nudity in hospitals happens a lot. I know the professionals are not hitting on me. But it triggers flash backs.
    My pulling away from my wife made her feel ugly & unwanted. That shames me greatly. Ive been trying to look at pictures of nude women (was just tramautic; now is a mix of mild excitement & flash back fear); read stories about sex; figure out why these people did that to me; etc.
    It feels hopeless; but i must fix myself for the sake of my wife. I wish i could look at a nude woman & be turned on (no; I’m not gay). Instead; my mind always goes to my wife,she’s the only woman ive ever loved & wanted.
    Oh yeah; I’m autistic, maybe thats why dealing with all of this is so difficult for me.

    • So I’m like a non-flasher. Since the flashbacks started my wife can’t even get me to undress for her most of the time. After first being assaulted as a little boy i can’t even stand to be touched; & hate having to undress in front of people. I was a great athlete; but wouldnt play sports because of that.

      • Hi! I’m sorry I didn’t get to you sooner but I had to do a lot of work on computers and my eyes were bothering me so I put off comments for a little bit since they weren’t mandatory in the moment.

        I’m so sorry that you have had to undergo all this trauma. I don’t know whether you were/are targeted or if you lived in a community or situation that had, or drew, a large number of sexual abusers.

        I know that people who have been abused are more likely to end up in situations where they continue to face abuse. But I don’t know whether you fit this pattern. The typical pattern is that a child who is abused is often getting abuse rather than love at home. So they both confuse sex with affection and are more drawn to drink and drugs —which frequently puts them in a situations where they are more likely to be abused.

        I hope that you will seek out some therapy. It’s difficult to deal with this by yourself. Some insurance programs will pay for it. Or, if you attend church ministers are often trained to help.

        Women can be exhibitionist — and I know some who are — but both of them wanted to be strippers. So women have a socially acceptable way of exhibiting (at least they won’t get arrested). I wonder why flashers don’t try the same thing? Don’t have the physique to get hired maybe? Haven’t thought of it maybe? Supply and demand — not enough demand?

        I’ve never heard of men complaining about women exhibiting themselves to them and maybe that’s because we also “socially construct” female sexuality differently from male sexuality. The female body is more likely to be defined as sexual and not violent or as the male body is more likely to be defined as violent and not sexual. If you Google “sexy images” you’ll see a lot of women and not many men. Google “violent images” and you will see a lot of men being violent and not so many women. If a woman exhibits herself in private (not a strip club) I’m guessing men are less likely to get upset and report it. Maybe that’s because women are less like way too sexually assault men so it feels less threatening. And on average men are bigger and stronger so they may just feel less threatened.

        I am a sociologist who studies social patterns, and I’m not aware of data on this subject as you’ve experienced it. The closest thing your experience reminds me of is the asexual experience. Some people may be born without interest in sexuality. For others the lack of desire comes from trauma. That seems to be the case with you. Maybe autism plays a role to but I’m not familiar with autism. That’s more in the realm of psychology.

        Unfortunately, I am not a therapist but it would be helpful for you to contact one.

  5. Ive wondered this too. As a child i was mollested, etc. People called me a pretty girl. As a teen i finally looked like a man. But i was still attractive. Now women flirted with me often; & some of them would flash me in various ways. My wife would blame me for women flirting; asking me out; a neighbor knocking on the door in lingerai or tanning nude.
    In my old age ive been trying to figure out what it is about me that attracts unwanted female attention. It bothers my wife as she gets older; so I’m trying to figure out how to stop it. I’m also trying to understand why mollesters targeted me as a boy.
    You want weird. Read the stories mostly men write about exibitionists. In it some women want to be exibitionists. I accept that. But in many stories the men convince their own wives to flash other men; women are forced to expose themselves; men are having sex with their own moms; etc. Quite disturbing stuff. I can’t even make it halfway thru most of these stories. I have flashbacks from all the crap people did to me; so I’m trying to find a way to understand them & get over the abuses i endured. So far; all ive figured out is a lot of people are messed up.
    But all things considered; the occassional woman flashing me her nips is much preferable to the people who mollested & raped me.

  6. If this title is supposed to be clickbait it definitely worked on me lol. Whenever I have thought about this subject I have been very confused, alarmed and intrigued about why flashers flash. It seems so counterintuitive to think that showing off your body to someone who doesn’t want to see it as pleasurable. I don’t think it’s about having or gaining power over someone I think it has more to do with the sexual side of it. I think it’s more about the voyeurism of it. The sexual pleasure of doing something taboo that you are not supposed to do. It is a violation of someone else but it shouldn’t be compared to the more heinous acts of rape or sexual assault. I don’t think it has anything to do with “manhood” either as there are women flashers too. Women flashers are more generally accepted but I still don’t think it’s truly fair to only speak about male flashers in this post. I don’t see how you could gain power over someone by flashing your genitalia whether they be male or female.

  7. I’m all for everyone exploring their kinks and being able to be sexually expressive, but this is just weird. It’s disgusting to think that people are aroused by traumatizing others with their genitalia. In high school classmate of mine was arrested for exposing himself to women on the street and speeding in his car.This individuale said he did it because he felt aroused when people didn’t consent to what he was doing. I would equate what he did to when people send explicit text messages without the willingness of their counterpart. I believe that these individuals want the other person to be aroused back, which would never happen. No one should be subjected to being humiliated and having their consent taken from them. I read one of the comments in this section that talked about head trauma may cause some of what these individuals go through, I really never thought of it like that.

    • Traumatized by genitalia? In our natural tribal state, humans look at each other’s genitalia all day every day. If someone flashes, and someone else is traumatized, whose behaviour is actually abnormal?

      • The further you go up the evolutionary ladder the fewer instincts we have and the more we are creatures of social construction. Humans are the only animal that is born before its brain is fully developed so society/culture has huge affects on the construction of the human brain. If we had a different society women wouldn’t find male genitalia traumatizing. (And women just find strangers’ genitals traumatizing, not their partners.)

      • Well.. you’re all in favour of social engineering, riiiight? And the way to not be traumatized by insects, snakes, heights, or whatever is to expose ourselves to that thing. So we should stop taking seriously these type of complaints in the same way we stopped taking seriously people’s trauma about having to interact with gay and trans people. Because pandering to this trauma is bad for society, riiiight? Irrational phobia = bad, right?

      • First, I’m not for social engineering but I am for talking about why people behave the way they do because when you understand the way you are unconsciously socialized it helps you to consider other possibilities. If you are not aware of how you are socialized you are pretty much stuck in a behavior, Even if it harms you and those around you.

        Context is everything. Look at what I call the door ceremony. A man opens the door for a woman. Some people will see this as an insult because of context they attach to it. The guy is bragging, “you’re too weak to open the door and I am so strong.“ Another person will look at the same behavior and see it as a sign of respect. The thing is that we have different ideas of gender in our society and which cultural context you are using affects how you understand the behavior. On the other hand when the President walk through the doors to address Congress he (so far it’s only been a he) does not open the door. Someone opens the door for him in a sign of respect. Because we don’t have mixed ideas about respecting presidents of the United States everyone attributes the door opening as respectful.

        By the same token if a woman is with a man she loves or at least sexually desires and they are having sex, the context creates a situation where the male penis is not horrifying. But if a man flashes a woman it feels like sexual assault. He is forcing her to see something of a sexual nature that she has not consented to. And while some flashers do it because they mistakenly think women are aroused by them, others do it with the intention of sexual assault. And since it was without consent either way, it is taken as sexual assault. Because sexual assault is sex without consent.

      • Well, no, sexual assault is not sex, with or without consent. It’s something else. And neither is seeing something you didn’t want to “sexual assault”, otherwise the TV networks would be assaulting millions daily. And neither is seeing a penis inherently sexual. When you see Michelangelo’s David statue, do you think oooh, I’ve been sexually assaulted?

        If there is any group of people deliberately out to shock people with extreme public acts of a sexual nature, I would say it would be the things that go on during LGBT pride parades, wouldn’t you agree? Those make glancing at an uninvited penis positively tame. What’s more, those LGBT pride parades are doing it as an act of power against those who are less than enthused with it all. Wouldn’t you agree? Should we arrest most of the LGBT people and lock them up for sexual assault by your own criteria?

      • Sexual assault is sexual behavior without consent.

        I haven’t been to every LGBTQ parade so I don’t know if they all involve nudity. But if someone is worried they might be offended by nudity or something, don’t go to them. I think most people know that there is the possibility of sexually explicit behavior at such parades. So people can consent to go or not.

      • I haven’t been on every date so I don’t know if they all involve nudity. But if someone is worried they might be offended by nudity or something, don’t go on them. I think most people know that there is the possibility of sexually explicit behavior at such events. So people can consent to go or not.

        That’s what you’re saying right? Just clarifying.

      • I can’t remember what the original train of thought was here. But consent is the important thing when it comes to sexuality.

      • [sigh]. You claimed that LGBT events are often known to include nudity, so don’t go to them if that offends you. I countered that going on dates is often known to include nudity, so don’t complain if you’re on a date and are suddenly confronted with nudity. You are going to be consistent right?

      • The examples aren’t consistent. There are social norms and a norm of LGBT+ parades is that the can involve nudity. Or a “bay to breakers” race in San Francisco. If you’re going to attend these just don’t be surprised. Dates are different. It depends on how close you are. And because it is such an intimate, not public, setting it does demand consent.

  8. I’d like to expand on a topic that wasn’t covered in this particular post, and that’s female flashing versus male flashing. I think it’s interesting that there are such opposing connotations between males flashing and females flashing. When men flash, they’re a predator. It’s disgusting, and nobody wants to see it. As a straight female, if a man flashed me/anyone else in a public place, I’d be sure to take a picture of the perpetrator, report them to the police and be sure that they’re registered as a sex offender. They’ve done this without my consent and likely caused emotional distress to people around them. This definitely makes me somewhat sexist, but if a woman were to flash me or someone around her, I would be surprised but likely amused, and not in any way feel like something was done to me without my consent. In all, I simply would not care.
    I think it is interesting how differently flashing can convey a message based on the gender of the flasher. To a female, it’s an act of empowerment, of embracing their sexuality, whether it’s consensual or not. It’s harmless, because allegedly men WANT this. However, a male’s motives can only be rapey and predatory and it harmful to everyone around him.

    • You make a good comparison. Might make a good blog post to consider why the reaction to men and women is so different. I suspect it’s partly because if you look at social patterns men are much more likely to sexually assault, And women are much more likely to be sexually objectified. So Women’s sexually objectified bodies are more likely to be looked upon with lust and to be perceived as non-threatening.

  9. I never really never knew much about flashers or looked into why they do what they do, but now after reading this blog post I find it surprising that flashers think that women would enjoy being flashed at. From things I’ve seen on television and just based off of my personal reasoning I think that women would definitely be offended and disturbed that a random stranger would just flash at them. Flashers sexually assault women by flashing at them but it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that most do it for the thrill of power that comes with flashing at a woman without their consent. It’s something that I just find as sick and twisted like why do such a thing. These flashers traumatize women all for what to feel like they have power over another woman and to “potentially” get a reaction of enjoyment from them. Well, thank you for writing this blog post, I feel like I now understand more about the goals of flashers.

  10. As unbelievable as it sound that a man would think flashing a woman is pleasing for her, I think I can understand how a man would come to that notion. The age of social media and internet makes it way too easy to spread ideas and see unrealistic portrayals of various situations. With that in mind, I can see how on the internet, communities or threads which share this sentiment empower and support each other into tricking themselves to believe that woman get pleasure from seeing a man flash himself.
    Even then, I am more inclined to believe that the man who flashes does it more so due to the thrill and rush of power. In that brief moment in time, the flasher has complete control over the situation forcing himself upon his victim. For some men out their, this feeling of dominance really must be the most pleasurable thing for their existence.
    For the few arguments I have seen in the comments about this hypocrisy in these words, the entire argument is skewed. This is not a matter of whether women are allowed to display more levels of nudity than men or vice versa. This is a simple outcry towards the obscenity that is a man forcing himself upon an unwanting woman.

  11. The fact that men are exposing their bodies to random women while genuinely believing it will “turn them on” is mind blowing to me. I blame the media and pornography for allowing men to believe it is acceptable and wanted. That type of behavior is never okay, especially because as the article states, this is a form of sexual assault! The fact that the people being flashed cannot give their consent means it is unwanted. Unless asked to expose yourself one never should. The quote: “Rape, battering, or flashing a woman without consent, can all make these guys feel like they have power over someone–their emotions or their bodies” stuck out because this is already a huge issue in society today. Men are constantly told to hold their emotions in, are taught to not feel their normal and natural feelings, and are taught to react with aggression when questioned. This really needs to change, especially because men deserve to have their feelings and needs heard.

  12. some men have had head trama or strokes and the people at well known hospitals have said that something happens to the brain that only effects the certain parts of it and can cause men or women want to flash I had a gf that was perfectly normal sex drive had a car accident and head trama a few weeks later she was flashing truckers as I drove us on vacation when we got to our motel she flashed everyone there including other females then she got worse and started masturbating in front of her window to who ever she could see I finally got her to talk to her doc and she said for her to see a nuerologist about her condition and that it probably was a side effect of her auto accident

    • Interesting that this sort of behavior may have head trauma as one possible source. I’m guessing that’s not true for the vast majority of flashers though.

  13. Honestly, this isn’t something I’ve ever really thought much about, perhaps because I’ve never been on the receiving end of a flasher, however the points made in this post definitely have me thinking more about flashing in terms of consent and abuse of power, especially in the age of the me too movement and women being more vocal regarding rape and sexual assault. This also has me thinking a bit about incels, as someone who was raised in Ojai, the shooting at Isla Vista a few years back hit incredibly close to home, and the fact that a lot of them hide behind message boards, the way flashers seem to ( aside from their flashing) is incredibly disturbing to me. I love the internet and the way it can connect people but it can be used for some terrible thing sometimes, especially when it comes to things that are seemingly anonymous.

  14. I watch a lot of Criminal Minds, so as I read this post, an interesting idea came into my head. If some men flash as a form of power, then could you draw the conclusion that flashing is a precursor to rape? If someone flashes a lot could you predict that they would be much more likely to commit rape in the future? If this is the case, then maybe this could help law enforcement solve rape cases. They could look at people with a history of flashing to create a possible list of suspects. This would only be a helping starting point because you could never arrest someone for a rape because of a history of flashing. Still, this could be helpful for law enforcement to use to have a starting point for rape cases. Whether this is a true idea or not, flashing is completely disgusting and immature and should never be done.

  15. Thank you for sharing this topic. It’s very interesting to see the way woman react to flashers, compare to how men do, the way they feel in power when they are acting against women consent it’s insane. I personal have a problem with this issue. I don’t really like how some men brag about their masculinity in from of women, thinking that the women like this kind of show while the reality can be the opposite, that women can be offended by this situation. Even worse when men behavior goes beyond and show some of their private parts. I think that this is super irritating. I remember one day I happened to come across a conversation amount this group of men in one of my friend party, one of the man was betting that in that party that day at least two of the single women that were invited would fall for him because none of the woman he meet in his way would resists his attractiveness. Furthermore, that who ever happened to sleep with him that night would wanted to stay with him for ever. I found that very distracted and annoying. I thought my self what kind of man is this? for me was somebody with out any education or moral, and I felt sad for him for such poor mentality.

  16. I was really intrigued to read that people who flash tend to be male more often than they are female and that they flash due to the lack of knowledge of how women work and due to their insecurity. This all seems very accurate to me – I recently read that men send dick pictures to women because they believe that the women who receive these pictures will be equally aroused as men do when they receive boob or butt pictures from a female. This is not the case – men are easily aroused by a simple nude picture from a female, while most females will be aroused first through words of seduction and then through the idea of intimacy, but a picture will not do it by itself. I was really glad to read that men who used to flash stopped doing so because they actually realized that it was only offending women and not doing any pleasure to them at all. This gives me hope that men can understand women and be more empathetic towards them by showing more respect and avoiding shameful acts such as flashing.

  17. I have always wondered the same thing. What do they get out of it? What are they expecting will happen? Do they think that the woman would enjoy it? Do they find it funny? It is such a random thing to do. I do not think that anyone would be amused by this act. I feel like this action would scare whomever was on the receiving end of it. Like rape, I think that flashing is not about sex but about power. The flasher wants to control what is happening to another person, and that other person is powerless about what has happened to them. The flasher is doing something that they know is wrong, but that adds to the thrill of it. And flashers usually only target women. This may be because they are doing this to feel powerful over women and if they did it to a man, they might be afraid of what he will do. Whatever the reasoning may be, it needs to stop.

  18. april edwards

    I’ve been flashed twice before and both times it was startling. Both times I was walking alone to my car. Both times the person had a long coat on. One of them actually started urinating on the ground(thankfully away from my direction). Within seconds I began quickly walking the other way. Although I wasn’t necessarily afraid, it wasn’t amusing in the least. I agree with the idea that it is related to a ‘power’ issue and that the flasher is the one who gets most of the excitement and satisfaction. Women also flash small amounts of flesh, like the breast area but it is with clothes on and its not a shock sensation like a full naked area flash.

  19. A couple of years ago there was a flasher “on the lose” in my town. He drove through sleepy residential neighborhoods in broad daylight, gesturing for innocent dog walkers or teens meandering from school to come near. He sat in his car naked and bare inviting unsuspecting women … to look … at his naked bareness. The city responded with shock, then vigilance. Police patrolled the streets, while women and girls walked in pairs. However, the crafty flasher simply switched cars, switched neighborhoods, switched MO’s. Artist sketches were distributed and a town held its communal breath – until the flasher stopped. He was never apprehended and disappeared as quickly as he had come into view – literally.

    When we think about flashers we sometimes get stuck on their purported desire for others to gaze upon their nakedness – but you accurately detail that flashing is really about power and authority and wielding influence over women. Being flashed is frightening, repulsive, and traumatic for many women – the act itself assails the spirit. The verb “flashing” is much to benign for the injury sustained; it should be named for the invasion and assault upon trust and personhood that it really is.

  20. If your boyfriend sends you a picture of his penis without consent most women would be turned on or intrigued. If a stranger sent me a picture of her breasts without consent I wouldn’t be bothered at all, quite possibly fascinated. On the other hand, if a stranger sends you a picture of his penis without consent it is absolutely repulsive and makes you want to burn your eyes out. I’m not quite sure why it is like this, but the main reason why I feel disgusted by the stranger’s penis is not so much because of the actual penis, but it angers me because all I can imagine is a stupid, smug smile on the man that sent it to me. But why don’t I feel that way towards the flashing woman?
    To answer the question why do flashers flash, I think it is because of the thrill that they receive knowing that you unwillingly saw their junk. There is a social media influencer that I follow that when she receives a d*ck pic, she will find the identity of the sender and threaten to contact their family members or friends to tell them what he just sent her. At that point the sender is extremely apologetic and is begging for her to not tell people about who they really are. I always thought that was a good way to receive justice, and you know that person will most likely never do that again.

  21. Im not exactly sure why people flash for sure, but I find it quite repulsive…….I think most if not all women do. As women we are told to keep are goodies covered so they stay preserved. If I have my clothes on, people can only imagine if I look good or bad underneath. If I flash, people will know for sure. So men, probably are not told to keep their goods fresh and preserved. Im thinking that these men are told to let it all hang out. They have these open toilets and locker rooms where they get used to being naked. It is somewhere along this dyad of modesty vs immodesty that causes mutants that find glee from doing what is shocking. Women are used to covering up and when a complete stranger comes along and bares all, it can bor at theIm not exactly sure why people flash for sure, but I find it quite repulsive…….I think most if not all women do. As women we are told to keep are goodies covered so they stay preserved. If I have my clothes on, people can only imagine if I look good or bad underneath. If I flash, people will know for sure. So men, probably are not told to keep their goods fresh and preserved. Im thinking that these men are told to let it all hang out. They have these open toilets and locker rooms where they get used to being naked. It is somewhere along this dyad of modesty vs immodesty that causes mutants that find glee from doing what is shocking. Women are used to covering up and when a complete stranger comes along and bares all, it can be shocking. I remember weekends at the lake with all the boys in the neighborhood, me the lone female. They would whip out their weiners and relieve themselves with no care of whether I saw them or not. Later on at college frat parties, there would be a line of fifty women to use the two bathroom stalls. But outside all the guys once again would whip it out and relieve themselves along the fence, without a care in the world. Of course I was jealous. But then I would come to my senses. Women cant show those goodies in public, because men would get so happy and blame the woman for whatever happened next. The flasher is a nuisance. It is never anyone cute, fit, or even the least bit exciting. Its always some bushy haired, vile, hairy chested weirdo. I’ve only seen a few flashers, but usually they are not working with a whole lot down below……or up above probably, too. So once I heard a guy that was being interviewd on television say that it got him sexually aroused to flash. He said that knowing he was doing something shady and naughty made it feel extra exhilarating for him. So these men keep flashing us. I’m sure somewhere out there there are one or two women that do it too……but they are far and in between the men that do it. In the end, I feel that there are some negative body image feelings, so people just throw their bodies at complete strangers in the hope that people will like them. But we hate flashers because it is weird, and creepy, and not well understood. So now my nutty boyfriend is telling me he wants to go out and flash some people. But he is not going to flash some people, he’s going to flash some women. Flashers dont flash other men, just helpless women who will take 10-15 years ti recover from the trauma. Grow up, get help flashers. It is just not right.

  22. With its scholarly coverage, this article takes the fun out of flashing 🙂 I guess a bad reputation is also a reputation. People who indulge are likely to be on the fringes with nothing to lose would be my guess. Safer than killing and raping.

    • Many women will be grateful that the fun is taken out of flashing.

      If you look at various types of sexual assault there are various motives for doing it, but the most common tends to be trying to feel a sense of power over others. Like when Cary Stainer was raping and murdering women he said, after being caught, “for once in my life I felt like I had a little bit of power.” That is a very common type of motive for rapists to admit.

  23. As always, I’m late to the party. But this post has been sitting neglected in my email for a while and I finally had time to read it.

    I have had two experiences with this in my lifetime. One at age 15, I was riding my bike and someone in a parking lot asked me for directions. I (stupidly) stood outside his van and gave him directions. He then showed me that he was masturbating. I screamed and took off. The other time I was 21ish, sitting on the porch outside my first post-dorm apartment, smoking a cigarette. A man walked up and asked me for a light. As I lit his cigarette, I noticed his penis hanging out of his waistband. I screamed and ran in my house.

    My older sister is a therapist. When I told her about the second time it happened, she told me that I really shouldn’t worry about these people. She said that if they have half a brain, even they know that this approach to picking up women and getting laid is completely ineffectual. So he knows it won’t work. He’s usually not going to push the issue once you scream. Most of them are just pathetic, but harmless. Had either one of them wanted to grab me, they could have without showing me their penis first.

    Not sure if this contributes to the conversation, you’ve obviously had some creative comments about this….

  24. An interesting post: and loved the comment section too…. Do you feel that flashing could be somehow related to sending dick pics via private Message… I have received a bunch in Instagrame… And of course ignored the message… I blocked one of the users because he kept on sending me messages, but did not found it offensive but maybe quite funny… I D K? Anyway, I kept on thinking about the issue… Do you think that they do so because knowing or believing that you might look at them (it) turns them (even?) more… I know this is a little bit off topic… But I wanted to ask you what do you think 😋 muchas gracias 🌞

    • Well I mentioned that flashers appear to have a couple of different motives, depending on the flasher. Some of them seem to think that women are as turned on by a penis as men are turned on by breasts. And that might be what you got coming your way, as opposed to the second type which is more about feeling a sense of control over women. But since these are personal pics I suspect you would know better than me what the motive was.

  25. Generally speaking, I think flashers are just plain immature and obviously out for attention. As for those barely dressed runway gals, their milieu (for want of a better word) is so commercialized and artificial that it is more of a turn off than anything else.

    If I could sum up both in one word, it would be “shallow” — but who am I to knock others for doing what they gotta do.

    • “As for those barely dressed runway gals, their milieu (for want of a better word) is so commercialized and artificial that it is more of a turn off than anything else.”

      A lot of women will be glad to hear this!

  26. One reason could be that women have a lot to ‘declare’ and men have nothing much to do so.

    Moreover, given a choice, even women would rather watch other women than watching men…..out of envy or…. jealousy !!

  27. My sister-in-law told me a story about when she was very young, going to school in Karachi, Pakistan where all school kids wore a uniform. She was walking to her school and a man who used bicycle for transportation looked directly at her and flashed her. She immediately freaked out and had a very loud reaction to it and threw pebbles at the disgusting adult man. The man didn’t look as if he felt as confident and good about himself after the reaction he got from her. I assume his motive was to make a young girl who had the confidence and courage to walk to school feel inferior. Most girls and women, especially in Pakistan would remain quite about such incident and internalize shame and powerlessness in return. So the man, who likely didn’t have the means to get an education himself, wanted to remind a school going girl that she is still just a girl and therefore his inferior in this world. Her reaction, to not stay quite but immediately and loudly call him out for his obscene act likely shattered the sense of power he thought he had over girls and women. So I do think it is often about men wanting to feel a sense of power over women by doing something that “shows their manhood” in a way they know would leave girls and women uncomfortable/ashamed, then getting away with it.

  28. Now that’s a perspective I had never thought to inhabit! They can’t be doing it to impress women, because as you say, women are rarely impressed by an unasked for penis waved around in front of them. I can’t see how they get much power out of the situation either, unless it comes from frightening women. I thought it was a sickness actually, some kind of mental imbalance!

    • Well they don’t get any real power anymore than rapist and batters do. Maybe that’s why they feel compelled to do it over and over, Because it isn’t real power so it doesn’t really satisfy.

  29. So the one guy quit flashing when he discovered he was offending women. Surprise, surprise. Betcha Trump dominated the flasher vote.

  30. I wonder if it’s the same though process for guy’s who like to show dick pics. Seems like the same guy’s or mindset. Though “streakers” seem a little different. Guys or people who do that, typically seem to like to do that during a big event, like sports stadium and run on the field or stage. And it’s about attention and celebration and making a scene more than anything.

  31. I actually was considering reading this post which in fact, I’ve just done but I was expecting to see things about why flashers flash but what was on my mind was why men often expose themselves to either women or young girls in public but reading this I think my perspective might have to take a back seat. and again I’m going to talk about the blindness subject again but this time only fleetingly. when you can’t visually see is it still considered that the other person is flashing? I guess that’s probably something that i’ll have to find out but in discussion only and I always try to seek out consent I never do anything without consent and in fact am rather reluctant to even go there. a lady friend I know once asked me the question if I wanted to see her naked and I stupidly said yes. stupidly because I asked around and the person I asked who was in a relationship by the way and who is also blind said if your intentions are to be considering a relationship that’s when things like that are supposed to happen so I backed out of that one by the skin of my teeth and changed my mind and had to acknowledge that despite knowing this girl for at least 2 years and she would come over for a meal on a semi regular basis I was more or less keeping to the boundaries even though she was a consenting person I still felt like I couldn’t take any chances that I was going to get into trouble and by the way I was just using that brief senareo as an example and the fact remains that there’s often a hell of a lot of things to think about. I will add one more thing though. often becoming aroused people say that visually seeing something is enough to set a person off that works for some but for some it’s not quite that way.

    • You are a good example of the fact that men don’t actually need to have a visual stimulus to get aroused. And, “when you can’t visually see is it still considered that the other person is flashing?” Reminds me of the “if a tree fell in the forest and no one heard it did it make a sound?” On the latter I would say no. On the former I’m not sure. It’s their intent so if they don’t know that the other person is blind in their own mind they certainly are. They just don’t realize that they aren’t being successful at it.

  32. Women flash much more than men. They’re just clever enough to get paid for it at the same time. It’s clear to me at least that women have a greater proclivity for thrusting their girly bits upon the world than men. Think about how many famous women there are whose fame is closely related to their ability to show off their body compared to men.

    • Well, I guess that depends on how you define flash. Women certainly flash their cleavage a lot more. But then there are different societal notions about what it means. And that’s probably because of how society defines cleavage versus a naked penis. Our society has sexualized cleavage. Cleavage isn’t inherently sexual — and even breasts aren’t, as we see from tribal societies where men don’t get aroused by breasts. And cleavage needs clothing to construct it. So in the most natural state for humans, and the state that human seem to have been in for a 95% of our experience, neither breasts no more cleavage were sexually arousing. Covering, and particularly selectively hiding and revealing, creates sexual tension. And specifically, hiding a body part because we think it is so arousing. And then we heighten sexual tension by saying “don’t look at it!” We don’t do anything like that with a penis, which is inherently an even more sexual body part.

      So then you go to the reaction to the flasher. Because we don’t sexualize a penis women rarely find flashing appealing. For women, it feels more like sexual assault, which seems to be one of the intended a fax.

      Guys, on the other hand have mixed feelings about women flashing their cleavage. I suspect that most men enjoy it because of how we define cleavage. But I wrote a blog post called “Men who hate pretty women” who actually get angry at women for doing this. Which puts women in a bind because our society tells women that their worth is based on how sexually attractive they are, so they do things to be sexually attractive and therefore “of worth.” And while most men respond as hoped, some most certainly do not. But I suspect that most women don’t know that some men get angry when they look sexy. Why do some men hate pretty women? I written more here: https://broadblogs.com/2011/12/12/men-who-hate-pretty-women/

      • It’s hardly restricted to cleavage. Whether it’s Kim Kardashian posting her naked body all over Instagram or whatever, or too many Hollywood actresses to enumerate wearing “dresses” that give the illusion they are actually totally naked. Here’s a selection here: http://www.thefashionspot.com/celebrity-fashion/428531-nearly-naked-celebrities-red-carpet/

        The point is, female flashing is celebrated and rewarded. If you’re a female and you want to flash there are many outlets for it, you’ll probably be paid, or you might become famous. If you’re male, it’s frowned upon. It’s discrimination I tell you!

        “So in the most natural state for humans, and the state that human seem to have been in for a 95% of our experience, neither breasts no more cleavage were sexually arousing.”

        The exact same argument could be made for penises. In their natural state they are born free, so by that argument it’s natural to flash and perversely unnatural to cover it up.

      • See how men are hurt by patriarchy.

      • What are you saying, if there was no patriarchy men could flash with impunity?

      • Patriarchy sexualizes and objectifies women’s bodies — reduces us to sexual pleasure for the male. I’ll talk more about why later, But the most obvious motive is to reduce women to one thing, Which ultimately is all about pleasuring men.

        Yet some men are none too pleased about not being objectified. Apparently you are one of these men. But that’s because you all don’t see the downside of objectification. Check this out:

        I Wish Women Saw Me As A Sex Object
        Want To Be Objectified? Careful What You Wish For

      • “Patriarchy sexualizes and objectifies women’s bodies”

        Why do lay the blame of this at the feet of patriarchy, when we have… Kim Kardashian? Don’t you think maybe women are at least as much a part of sexualising and objectifying themselves?

        “reduces us to sexual pleasure for the male.”

        Why not reduced to sexual pleasure for the females?

        “Apparently you are one of these men. ”

        Nah, I just like to live and let live and not be shaming other people for their own lifestyle choices.

      • Kim internalizes patriarchy. And accepts the patriarchal bargain: Tangled Up in Femininity

      • Male nudity is a very uncommon thing thank goodness. But female nudity on the other hand. I can’t surf on the Internet without falling on to countless women flashing their skin half naked or even full naked. Even on news sites there are photos and pop ups of naked women flashing. Movies and music videos are full of women flashing.
        I dare anyone to do a social experiment for a week.
        Try watching TV and movies and music videos and surfing on the Internet and looking at covers of magazines . Whenever a half or full naked person appears take a note. At the end of the week compare how many of these half naked or full naked persons were females and how many were males. I bet the ratio would be more than 1.000/1
        That’s way over than average. Way way over
        There are countless of women of posting half naked selfies on the Internet. As a straight guy it’s nice seeing one every now and then but come on, women have taken flashing to a whole new level with the Internet. They are flashing full nudity to the entire world at once. It’s like it has become a ritual for women, they have to flash full nudity on every user on the Internet.

      • Well that isn’t flashing. And it means something very different when we eroticize one sex but not the other. Which is why it isn’t flashing. Usually when women do flash their boobs it is wanted and even encouraged.

        Also, the computer can tell what sex you are so you are going to get way more images of naked women than I do.

      • Read from this link and couldn’t make any sense of it.

        Would Kim Kardashian keep doing what she does if every single male suddenly committed suicide? I say yes, absolutely she would, which is why all this talk of patriarchy is just nonsense.

      • Well, try again on the link.

        Kim Kardashian would keep doing what she’s doing if she felt like it gave her money and status. So the question is whether the culture immediately changed if all men suddenly committed suicide? No. So she could still get money and status, but probably less of each.

        Patriarchies tend toward objectifying women’s bodies, and I will talk more about why that is later. In a nutshell: it helps to reduce women to one thing. It is even used to dismiss serious women, Like portraying Nancy Pelosi, the first woman speaker of the house, Like a porn star.

        In the meantime I will say that our cultural objectification can be used by some women to gain money and status. Like Kim Kardashian.

      • Women posting personal naked selfies in their bathroom is indeed flashing. I am not talking about ads or movies but women posting themselves selfies naked for all the world to see without having any gain.

      • That’s fine. If that’s what you want to call it. These women seem to be flashing for the same reason that many men do: they think it’s a turn on for the person who receives the picture (I mentioned two different motives that men have). The main difference is that man who receive a picture of a woman flashing her boobs tends to be happy about it. And that’s probably because our culture eroticizes breasts but not penises (Or vaginas really).

      • “So the question is whether the culture immediately changed if all men suddenly committed suicide? No. So she could still get money and status, but probably less of each.”

        Well, 50% less if 50% less audience. But you seem to admit that even if society lacked males, she would still get money and status from showing her body. I mean, you can say you don’t like it, you can disagree with it, but please don’t call it patriarchy, if words have any meaning. If a situation can exist lacking males, it’s hardly patriarchy.

        “Patriarchies tend toward objectifying women’s bodies”

        Correlation does not equal causation.

        Yes of course, males like women’s bodies, and therefore if males rule, then female bodies will certainly be on display.

        But if females ruled, there is a good chance female bodies would ALSO be on display. Why? Because females like showing their bodies. We live in a society where women have more rights and more equality than virtually any previous point in history. Are women’s bodies therefore less on display than they were previously? Hardly.

        I know these thesis of yours are very attractive because they support your world view, but the data simply does not support it.

        “it helps to reduce women to one thing.”

        If women displaying their bodies makes women being about their bodies, then surely, if for example, women were banned from displaying their bodies, Kim Kardashian was flung in jail, it would subtract from what women are, their sexuality and their bodies. Is that what you want, women not being about their sexuality or their bodies? What if women actually don’t want that?

        Whenever an academic wants to throw human history on its head in favour of a brave new world of doing things their new way, the frequent result is that they end up defying human nature and therefore it can never happen.

      • “If a situation can exist lacking males, it’s hardly patriarchy.”

        Men and patriarchy aren’t the same thing.

        Patriarchy is a system that everyone internalizes. I have worked to get patriarchy out of my head but have not been completely successful. For instance, I still tend to associate science with men, even if at a much lower level than the average person. Most people have a strong association of science with men, whereas I have a slight association. That comes from society privileging men’s access to education, jobs in science, and the bias we are taught (that men are better at science) makes it more likely that men will try to be scientists AND get hired to be.

        Here is more on how everyone, including women, can internalize patriarchy: Why Do Women Fight Against Their Own Interests?

        Because we all internalize patriarchy, even if all men died everyone left would still have this schema in their heads.

        Because patriarchies value men over women they reduce women to their bodies and judge them (both the reduction and the judgment create a sense of male superiority). Women internalize it too.

        This isn’t necessary since you don’t find it in all cultures, like partnership-oriented tribal societies.

        “But if females ruled, there is a good chance female bodies would ALSO be on display. Why? Because females like showing their bodies.”

        And the reason Women with good bodies so often like showing them (so that’s not all women) is that they are rewarded for it. Women internalize that their worth is based on how attractive they are, Which is what you’d expect in a patriarchy.

        “We live in a society where women have more rights and more equality than virtually any previous point in history. Are women’s bodies therefore less on display than they were previously? Hardly.”

        Right. And that is largely due to backlash. Because the more women gain rights the more we focus on their bodies. Naomi Wolf wrote a best-seller about this called “The Beauty Myth.” I wrote a bit about it on my blog: Low Self-Esteem? Blame Beauty Myths

        There’s nothing wrong with women being partly about their bodies and their sexuality, Just as men are partly about their bodies and their sexuality. But it reduces women to be only about that.

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