Friday, November 4, 2016

The Exhibitionistic Disorder of Anthony Weiner

Look at the facts, in 2011 Weiner resigned from congress admitting to sending lewd pictures of himself to young women.   Simply put, he gets off by showing his private parts to young women.  Anthony Weiner is not a sex addict he has a sexual fetish of exhibition.  As a clinical sexologist in private practice I have worked with men that have many types of sexual fetishes.  With sexual exhibition it has never been easier with the internet.  It excites them too show pictures of their genitals and the reaction they receive from the women who see it. 

     As defined in an article in Psychology Today, “Exhibitionism, which involves exposing one's genitals or sexual organs to a stranger, falls under the psychiatric sexual disorders category of paraphilia’s, "abnormal or unnatural attraction" or obsession with unusual sexual practices or with sexual activity involving no consenting or inappropriate partners. The individual is sometimes aware of a desire to startle or upset the observer. The exhibitionist is typically male, and the victim is usually a female (adult or child), and usually an unsuspecting stranger."
     It is clear that Weiner is a cyber exhibitionist which is not classified as a sexual addiction.  With any sexual fetish, there are no proven “cures” but ways to manage the sexual fetish.  Weiner putting himself in a sex addiction clinic is simply a sham and a way to scapegoat his behavior.
     In an article Science of Us David Ley, a clinical psychologist whose book, The Myth of Sex Addiction argument is that that “sex addiction” isn’t well-defined, is quite scientifically controversial, and in recent decades has been increasingly used to explain a broad range of bad behavior on the part of (mostly) men.  In the article Ley is quoted as saying, “Calling Anthony Weiner a sex addict is a distraction from the important issues of personal responsibility and mindful choice,”
     Exhibitionists have one of the highest rates of being a repeat sex offender.   Sexual exhibitionists get a sexual release from the act.  This may happen during or after the interaction, coupled with rising dopamine levels in the brain.  Not only is it a sexual release (reward) but also followed by a dopamine dump to the brain (reward) similar to people who get a rush from extreme spots and other risky behaviors.  This is part of the reason why it is so difficult to treat. The Internet can amplify and escalate behavior, easy access, many possibilities and at any time of the day or night. The internet can also make it possible to troll for it’s victims which heightens the thrill they get when finding the perfect person to victimize.

     In treating some of these male clients, I noticed that at an early age they exposed themselves by accident which gave them an instant rush that spontaneously caused a sexual release.  This can happen in some instances also where humiliation, surprise and even violence can spontaneously cause an erection along with sexual release.  This type of fetish can only be managed with proper help, behavioral management, acceptable outlets that are legal, and if it is associated with a mental condition such as OCD medication may be helpful.

Written by Dr. Dawn Michael certified clinical sexologist and aasect certified sexuality counselor.

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