The study, published by associate professor Niklas Långström at Karolinska Institutet’s Centre for Violence Prevention and Michael C. Seto in Toronto, Canada, covers 2,450 randomly selected Swedish men and women between the ages of 18 and 60. In 1996, they responded to a comprehensive battery of questions relating to sexuality and health.

Two of the findings of the study are that 13 per cent of the men and four per cent of the women had been sexually aroused by secretly watching other people having sex; and that four per cent of the men and two percent of the women admitted to having been turned on by exposing their genitals to a stranger. The figures complement previous findings.

“Effectively all former studies are based on people who have sought help for exhibitionism or voyeurism or who have been convicted of related misdemeanours,” says Niklas Långström. “This risks giving a distorted picture of those who exhibit this kind of sexual behaviour. This present study is unique both in size and for the way the participants have been randomly selected from the Swedish population.”

There is no single dominant risk factor for such sexual behaviours. Those who found themselves aroused by these, possibly criminal, exhibitionist or voyeuristic actions were otherwise mainly “normal”, well-adjusted citizens. It was, however, somewhat more common (except for the male gender) that they had mental problems and were big alcohol or drug users. They were also generally more sexually interested than the rest of the population and more experimental.

Publication online:

“Exhibitionistic and Voyeuristic Behaviour in a Swedish National Population Survey” by Niklas Långström and Michael C. Seto, published in Archives of Sexual Behavior, no. 35, 2006.

Höglund, C. Olgart, Axén, J., Kemi, C., Jernelöv, S., Grunewald, J., Müller-Suur, C., Smith, Y., Grönneberg, R., Eklund, A., Stierna, P. & Lekander, M

Clinical & Experimental Allergy 36 (8), 982-992

For further information, contact:

Niklas Långström, associate professor, Centre for Violence Prevention
Phone: +46-8-517 70 560 or +46-70-425 41 33 (mobile)

KI Press Office Katarina Sternudd
Phone: +46-8-524 838 95 or 070-224 38 95 (mobile)