Is Breaking the Norm Exhibitionism?

Is breaking the norm exhibitation
This probably comes down to really one’s perspective of what exhibitionism is. My guess is probably a lot of people relate it to sexual related exhibition, which is the first definition I see in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. I think their second definition is better. Here it is.

“the act or practice of behaving so as to attract attention to oneself”

I would say breaking the norm is probably going to attract attention to oneself. It seems we should look at the first part about the act or practice of behaving. So it seems it would be the actions and behavior that contributes to exhibitionism. Not just having attention drawn to you.

Basically, it is your intent and actions. If your main intent is to show off (especially the package) then that could constitute exhibitionism. If you are flaunting around and going out of your way to make yourself seen then it seems that would fall into being an exhibitionist.

I would say what I just mentioned above doesn’t exactly fall into what I call breaking a norm. Breaking a norm in this case would be wearing an article of clothing like a swim brief, thong, bikini, tights, etc that us guys are not known for wearing. We’d be wearing and acting the same as we were wearing what is the so called norm for guys in those categories. If I were to wear a swim brief to the beach, I’d act the same as if I was wearing swim trunks. If I decided to wear tights/leggings out and about, I’d act the same as if I were wearing pants. Yes, these items show off curves, but why can’t men show curves if women can. We shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed of our bodies.

In general I wouldn’t say breaking the norm is exhibitionism. As long as we are not going out of the way to try and show off and flaunt then we shouldn’t be seen as exhibitionists. We should be seen as confident and comfortable in our skin. So what do you think? Is breaking a norm a form of exhibitionism?

5 Responses

  1. DonS says:

    No, definitely not, as long as the second part of the definition is observed. That is, you are deliberately not trying to attract attention to yourself. So if just wearing non-standard clothing is for comfort, or heaven forbid, peer pressure (just imagine those days), then I’d also agree that is not exhibitionism. You might attract attention, but that is not your purpose.

    The other side of this argument is that if you are wearing skimpy swimwear to attract attention, then you are being an exhibitionist and not breaking a norm.

    • DonS says:

      Here’s another way of looking at this. Some decades ago now, someone decided that swimming in something that male surf-board riders used for their sport would be a good idea, instead of practical brief swimwear such as Speedos. He was breaking the norm back then of brief swimwear, but was he an exhibitionist.

  2. T says:

    No. Breaking the norm is not exhibitionism. There will always be those who believe that any man who wears a bikini or speedo in public must be an exhibitionist, but does that mean that the guys of all ages who you see wearing speedos on foreign beaches are doing so to show off? Absolutely not! Men who have grown up in places where wearing speedos is a way of life do so because it is what they’re use to and also know that they are ideal for swimming, beach activities and sunbathing. I dare say it could be argued that wearing a speedo in places away from beaches and pools such as shops, public transport and streets could be termed exhibitionism, but having seen examples of this myself, I never thought the wearer was doing it for that reason. After all, being comfortable and confident in your own body does not make you an exhibitionist.
    Exhibitionism comes in many forms. Most of us will have heard the phrase “making an exhibition of yourself” at some point in our lives. A small child having a temper tantrum in the middle of a crowded shopping mall might hear these words from an embarrassed parent trying to stop the outburst. A drunken group of guys or girls behaving badly in public will be told to stop making an exhibition of themselves.
    If the norm is something boring, be it board shorts or whatever, then by all means we should be encouraged to go against it without fear of being classed as exhibitionists. Speedos were the norm in years gone by, so let’s do what we can to make them and thongs, bikinis and tights etc today’s norm!

  3. Parns says:

    NO. I fully agree with your argument that merely wearing an unusual type of swimwear doesn’t make one an exhibitionist. I’ve just come back from Seville, where the place that I was staying in had a rooftop pool. I was in a thong, not my most revealing cut by some way, there pretty much every day, and was the only man so dressed. There were a couple of thongs among the girls, and plenty of cheeky bikinis. But I didn’t make a song and dance about, just acted normally. Everything seemed to be just fine. How things should be.

  4. swimmer78 says:

    I agree with what has been said here. Intent and context are key in these situations. Wearing a speedo/bikini in a normal swimming or tanning environment is NOT exhibitionism provided you’re not wearing something sheer for the purpose of exposing yourself. A few folks may still think you are an exhibitionist, but that’s on them.

    Thongs may be a little more tricky. In my area, which is pretty conservative, I’m not sure that I could ever wear a thong at a public beach. Possibly on a remote beach. I’ve seen a few women on the beaches here wearing them but they are in the minority.

    When I think of a typical exhibitionist, at least for sexual exhibitionism, it’s the pervert who goes around flashing female joggers in the park for thrills that comes to mind. Certainly not a confident man relaxing at the pool or beach in a bikini brief because it’s comfortable to wear.

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