What is the Difference Between Blogging and Exhibitionism?

Watching Paint Dry

What is the Difference between Blogging and Exhibitionism?

This post was inspired by a question raised by Marcus at Survivor Road


I see blogging as an advanced form of discussion called “consciousness raising” that began in the late 1960’s.

By the early 1970’s consciousness raising morphed into ‘encounter groups.’

I participated in these groups after I volunteered to work on a suicide prevention line.

They were part of the required training for answering calls.

This was the period when the first ‘hot-lines’ were established.

I attended at least 16 such groups, some of which lasted as long as two days

I first met a lifelong friend in these groups.

She and I recently discussed the ways in which these encounter groups changed us.

One was that we became completely comfortable with all aspects of ourselves.

We also discovered that many people live in silent shame over things they would not have wished on themselves;

A woman who wanted to kill herself because her Father raped her and told her she was to blame or a man who is conflicted in all of his relationships in the aftermath of abuse.

People with mental illnesses and psychological scars tend to retreat from the world and to live in isolation.

Our stories are often mediated and reinterpreted by professionals who don’t understand us or care about us as people.

I had mixed feelings about writing so openly about my DID and the events that caused it until I began to get comments from people who thanked me for giving them permission to examine their own abuse and the effect the abuse had on their lives.

It is healing to tell and to hear the truth.

There are probably people whose intention is exhibitionism.

I’ve noticed that online exhibitionism is pretty much the same as it is in life: usually nude shots and graphic depictions of virtual sex that have no real aesthetic value and are usually posted to forums where the participants have clearly stated that they don’t want to see them.

Where’s the thrill in exposing your junk to people who want to see it?

No is yes to an exhibitionist.

This is the difference between an exhibitionist and someone who is simply describing his story.

An exhibitionist exposes by posting where the topic isn’t welcome.

A personal story is usually posted to a personal space where it is found by people who already have an interest in the topic.

(c) RG 2015

17 thoughts on “What is the Difference Between Blogging and Exhibitionism?

  1. Hey my friend. Thanks for mentioning me 😉 I had actually reblogged a post by dialogftdepths:
    https://dialogueftdepths.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/virtual-exhibitionism-exposing-oneself-in-public/
    … and it was a good post.
    I think you hit the nail on the head and summed it up nicely with your last two paragraphs.
    I have always thought it interesting that many people with mental issues end up in “supporting roles” – helping others, often with the same issues. The rest of us are the ones on the other end of the phone with our lives in our hands. Literally.
    One other difference I think between exhibitionism and personal story….
    An exhibitionist often posts with excitement and anticipation.
    A personal story is often posted with fear and trepidation.
    And I’d rather deal with the fear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These groups also made it easier to accept the premise that no one is entirely right about anything. I think that being comfortable with being wrong is essential for intellectual growth.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think this is a fine analysis of confessional writing. It is therapy, in my experience it is not meant for entertainment. I know of a man who poured his life out in words. He had few followers and did not aspire to that. He read other’s writing because he was a poet and writer and that was his interest. He was isolated due to addiction. Exhibitionism-explicit writing is fairly obvious, it is for self-pleasure where one is enjoying the idea of titillating their readers. Many people enjoy this type of writing, I am not judging it, though I am not into. Thank you Rob for the thoughtful article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome ad thank you for the comment.

      There is a long tradition of confessional writing in American literature. Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Sexton. I might even include Walt Whitman who discusses his erotic fantasies in ‘Song of Myself’ and Allan Ginsberg who takes up his pained relationship with his Mother in Kaddish.

      Whitman lost his job over ‘Song of Myself’ and Ginsberg was certainly accused of exhibitionism when he read ‘Howl’ in the nude.

      There is a huge difference between discussing one’s life experience and a sexual fetish.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Her writing is sometimes painful to read, her poem “Daddy” comes to my mind when I think of her. Her battle with depression finally winning, very sad.

        Liked by 1 person

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