Some exhibitionists wish to display themselves sexually to other people, singly or in groups. This can be done consensually as part of swinging or group sex . When done nonthreateningly, the intent is usually to surprise and/or sexually arouse the viewer, giving the exhibitionist an ego rush ( see also Flashing ). Exhibitionism is not necessarily indecent exposure ; for more on the latter, see its article.
Some people like to expose themselves in front of large crowds, typically at sporting events; see streaking . A similar phenomenon is when, at the conclusion of a sporting event, a woman may flash her breasts while sitting atop someone's shoulders in a dense crowd of people.
Among the general population, many psychiatric definitions of exhibitionism broadly define it as "sexual gratification, above and beyond the sexual act itself, that is achieved by risky public sexual activity and/or bodily exposure" and include "engaging in sex where one may possibly be seen in the act, or caught in the act."
Exhibitionists who view it as a lifestyle, as opposed those who do it for a rare thrill , carefully select their target audience and make the exposure brief, inconspicuous and apparently unintentional. It is a fetish , and many such practitioners see it as an art form. Many night clubs and goth bars encourage mild exhibitionism to enhance the venue's atmosphere. This contrasts with nudism , in which the exposure not connected with sexual expression.