We all want to be noticed. To be acknowledged is a core human desire almost as deep as our need for food and water. We thrive on it. For some of us, that hunger to be noticed is strong enough that we become an exhibitionist. Craving notice strongly enough can shape your entire life.
Today’s column comes courtesy of a reader who loves to bring some extra razzle-dazzle to the table but feels conflicted by their urges. Is it wrong to be performative? Does having these desires make them an exhibitionist? As someone who knows a thing or two about exhibitionism, I have some answers. And some jazz hands. *throws glitter*
“I like being “on” during sex with my sexual partners. It makes the experience much more enjoyable to me. My question is: Is it wrong to like performative sex? Does liking performative encounters make me an exhibitionist?”–Razzle Dazzle Lover
Most Everything Involves A Little Performance
If it was “wrong” to like performative sex, then almost all of us would be guilty. Most of our encounters with others contain at least some aspect of performance. If you shower and shave ahead of time, if you use some perfume or cologne, if you put on a sexy outfit, if you dim the lights, throw on some music, or light a scented candle, you are creating a performance. We might not think of it that way, we might just call it “setting the mood”, but those are all performative aspects.
Unless you are not brushing your teeth or hair and just going for it in your rumpled sweatpants, there will be at least some performance in your activities. Like with everything, it is a sliding scale. At one end you have “used mouthwash and am wearing my favorite sexy time undies” with “head to toe latex with gas mask hood suspended from the ceiling” on the other. Where we fall on that scale depends on our personal preferences.
Why Would It Be Wrong To Be An Exhibitionist?
Enjoying being “on” doesn’t necessarily make you an exhibitionist. While we tend to use the term more broadly these days, exhibitionism is a compulsion to expose your genitals to others and it can land you on the sex offenders registry. The application of language is ever-changing however and people that enjoy the attention that comes with being extravagantly extraverted can be viewed as exhibitionists, even if they are not flashing strangers in the streets. Every successful movie star, reality star, and drag queen is an exhibitionist to some degree.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying being “on”. My question for you would be “Where did you get the idea that it could be wrong?” Your concern was strong enough for you to reach out to me. You would do yourself a great service by unpacking how you arrived at the conclusion that being “on” during sex was a bad thing. Did someone in the past shame you for being too enthusiastic? Did a religious background instill the concept that you can’t be too into such things? Whatever the reason, figuring out how you came to this belief would be very helpful.
Nothing Wrong With Bringing A Little Razzle-dazzle To Your Sex Life
Are you an exhibitionist? Maybe. Not necessarily. Only you can answer that. There is nothing wrong with being one by the way, as long as you do it in a consensual manner and are not running around in a trench coat.
What you are is a person that likes to bring their A-game to the table. Going all-in gives you joy. Give yourself permission to be okay with that joy. Trust me, very few people are going to complain about you being “on”. And the ones that do? What they are telling you is that your styles are incompatible. No harm, no foul. We are not compatible with everyone. Invest your energy in the people you are compatible with and everybody wins. Now go out and give them the jazz hands!
Keep it Kinky My Friends,
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