Public flashers are people who like to expose themselves to other people in public spaces. This exposure usually involves exposing ones private parts to others in various ways. These acts are also usually done in an extravagant nature so as to attract the attention of the target of the “flashing”. A flasher can be either a man or a woman, and the degrees of exposure vary from one flasher to another. There are many different types of flashers and we will be examining each of them in this article.
Public flashing is illegal in certain countries and it is categorized as a form of indecent exposure, or public indecency and the sentence for such an act varies from country to country. The act of flashing is regarded as a criminal offence as such acts are deemed to cause unnecessary mental distress to the targets of the exposure. However, in many cases little or no action is taken against the public flasher unless an unreasonable amount of damage or harm was caused by his or her actions. In fact in certain circumstances the act of flashing is welcomed as a form of entertainment by the audience of the flasher.
Certain types of public flashing are also classified as a mental disorder. These acts of exhibitionism are grouped under Paraphilia (mental disorders involving sexual acts) which also include other disorders such as voyeurism, masochism, sadism and fetishism. People who suffer from this disorder have uncontrollable urges to participate in sexually aberrant behavior which in the case of public flashers manifests itself in their need to expose private parts of their body (parts which would otherwise be hidden from view under normal clothing) to members of the public. These acts generate a great deal of excitement for the flashers and allow them to achieve greater sexual gratification.
When one thinks of public flashers, the stereotypical image that immediately comes to mind would be a man found in a public place like a bus stop or public park and dressed in some sort of long coat. These flashers usually target young women, who are traveling alone or in smaller groups; school children are frequently targeted by these flashers. In general, the act of flashing performed by these men would involve the showing off of their penis to the targets. Occasionally, some of them would also perform acts of sexual gratification on themselves in full view of their targets. These flashers aim to shock their targets so as to inflate their personal egos and achieve greater sexual gratification. These flashers are most unwelcome by any member of the public and are generally regarded as a public nuisance. However, more often than not, these flashers bear no ill intent towards their targets as besides their shocking and distasteful behavior, they rarely inflict any physical harm on their targets.
Another type of public flashing which also usually involves men is the act of mooning. Mooning is the act where one exposes his or her bare buttocks by removing one of more articles of clothing, the exposure of ones genitals is not usually a part of this act. Mooning unlike the type of flashing mentioned above is not sexual in nature. Mooning is usually performed as an insult, an act of defiance, a taunt, or just for shock value and fun. For instance, a group of sports fans (usually drunken) would expose their buttocks in the direction of the opposing team’s fans in celebration of their team’s victory or just as a taunt to the opposing fans. In popular culture, there have also been many instances of mooning that have been performed by various celebrities or sporting personalities. One of the most famous of these would have to be, where William Wallace (performed by Mel Gibson) and his Scottish army bears their buttocks to taunt the English troops. Ozzy Osbourne also mooned the crowd after a performance with his group the Black Sabbath at the 2005 UK Music Hall of Fame awards.
In some situations, certain degrees of public exposure or flashing is acceptable and is in fact actively encourages. This is especially true at night clubs, rave parties or various other entertainment venues. The proprietors or organizers of these events would usually suggestively encourage its customers to bare parts of their bodies so as to liven up the atmosphere of the event. The customers who exhibit themselves become the centers of attention on the dance floor and would provide entertainment for the other party-goers. The music, atmosphere and alcohol at these events would also definitely serve as catalysts for the customers to “let go of themselves”. Besides this, some entertainment outlets also provide entertainment in the form of nude dancers. These dancers are not strictly flashers as they are paid performers, but they do bare themselves to an audience as public flashers would.
With the widespread usage of the internet and the cheap availability of broadband internet access, some of the public flashers have also moved their activities online. With the use of a webcam or any other video recording equipment, many people have experimented with exposing themselves to the public eye from the comfort of their own rooms. Many people who would never have dared to act out their exhibitionist fantasies have been able to do so through the internet as it provides a layer of anonymity and privacy. Some would record themselves and upload these videos to various video websites, while others even perform in live shows. On the surface it may seem that these acts on online exhibitionism are less public than the ones mentioned before, but in actual fact, these videos reach many more people and stay in the public eye for much longer.
Besides the types of public flashers mentioned here, there are also a few other types that are worth mentioning. Some protesters use public nudity to make a point, for example, anti-fur activists, feminists and animal rights activists have used this as a publicity tool at various different events. Pornography depicting sexual acts in public places can also be considered as a form of public flashing, although it is usually performed in a controlled environment and is often staged.