'Naked man’ sightings sweep parish

Are these people dangerous or simply a nuisance? Psychologists weigh in

Staff Report
November 08, 2006 at 3:14 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

ST. CHARLES PARISH - A wave of "naked man" sightings in Luling, St. Rose and Boutte raises a question that only a psychologist is qualified to answer: What on earth possesses a grown man to strip off his clothes in a public place where he knows somebody will see him?

And are these men merely a nuisance to the community - or can they be dangerous?

Psychologists tend to agree that exhibitionists act for many reasons and, generally speaking, they aren’t dangerous - although you should never assume that they aren't (citations follow at the end of this article).

Some men expose themselves for the thrill, they say, for an adrenaline rush - they might even be going through with it on a dare from a friend.

Others might be exposing themselves in order to shock people, and to feel a power over them. These men might engage in this activity occasionally or in jags.

Exhibitionists often are wracked by feelings of anger, shame, hostility, or doubt. These feelings produce a compulsive need to prove themselves by frightening others.

The exhibitionist often hopes to produce a response from the victim that will make them feel that even though they cannot earn somebody’s love, at least they are powerful enough to produce some kind of reaction.

Most cases involve men exposing themselves, not women. In fact, women exposing themselves is rare.

References::Kapardis, A. (1994). Research note: Indecent exposure: A survey of victims in Melbourne. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 17.

Lefton, L. A. (1997). Psychology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Sugarman, P., Dumugn, C., Saad, K., Hinder, S. & Bluglass, R. (1994). Dangerousness in exhibitionists. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, Volume 5, number 2. Routledge

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