It turns out many more of us are exhibitionists than you'd think

woman by window
Harbour a secret fantasy of being watched? You're not alone. Photo credit: Getty.

The term 'exhibitionism' is one that generally comes with negative connotations. I was often described as an exhibitionist as a young child - which is a polite, middle-class parenting term for 'show-off'. 

In those days, taking off all my clothes and jumping on the trampoline while mum and dad hosted drinks was cute at best, annoying at worst. 

As we get older, exhibitionism comes with worse connotations, often conjuring visions of flashers in trench coats by primary schools. 

That exhibitionism is characterised by a strong urge to display one's genitals in public to an unsuspecting stranger" - which is not only gross, it's criminal. 

But there is another side to exhibitionism, one you may secretly harbour, even if you've never put label on it it. 

Clinical sexologist Sarah Melancon told Cosmopolitan that "exhibitionism is a sexual kink in which the person feels sexual arousal at the idea or reality of being seen naked or engaged in sexual activities by others". That can be anything from getting excited at the thought of someone watching you masturbate to engaging in public sex at a club or show. 

And it's more common than you think. According to psychological research, 81 percent of men and 84 percent of women have "experienced sexual arousal at the thought of public sex" - which is one of many signs you may foster a secret exhibitionist streak. 

If you're looking for a quiz which indicates whether you have an exhibitionist kink, you can take one on the Cosmopolitan website.

Otherwise, listen to Mon and Sez talk all things exhibitionism on Newshub podcast The Snack.