Some men, she says, “have fears of inadequacy and are trying to prove that they are 'big' men by getting 'big' reactions from others.” The Daily Beast spoke briefly to one Chatroulette flasher for whom that appears to be the case.
When asked why he was showing us his genitalia, he typed out: “i want people 2 see me an i want 2 see ppl.”This particular man, a 23-year-old construction worker from Oregon named Joe, also confirmed that he is not a flasher anywhere other than on Chatroulette, which seems to imply that Chatroulette is turning normal, everyday men into guys who expose themselves to strangers—or, at least, it’s bringing out that until-now repressed desire in them.“They can be very bright and successful and you’d never know that they have this addiction,” says Dr. She says these Chatroulette flashers aren’t the seedy characters we usually imagine, and that most flashings are just the result of social awkwardness combining with sexual compulsion.
“Though not all of the participants are physically naked, they are ‘exposing’ themselves to grab attention and their 15 minutes of fame.”Whether they’re looking for attention or a genuine connection, there’s one thing the flashers of Chatroulette are definitely not looking for—conversation.
In fact, over the course of three days—days punctuated with bored-looking young men and women, a few friendly folks eager to connect, an octogenarian man wearing cat ears, several copulating couples, women baring their cleavage, and, yes, many, many penises—only Joe from Oregon was willing to stop what he was doing long enough to tap out his one-handed answer to a reporter’s questions.
But it’s not just psychological—Lieberman says there’s a cultural aspect to online flashing as well.
Sexual compulsion crosses all ethnic, gender, and socio-economic barriers.A T-shirt cut off at midriff completes the illusion.“If there was an alley or side street, I would stand in it waiting for women to come down the street.When they came close I would drop my coat and do my thing.” For Ben, this isn’t a conduit to sex, nor even an attempt to attract a flasher-loving mate—his fit body and lucrative career, he says, do that on their own.For many of them, say experts, it’s a similar thrill to what real-life flashers on the street get—but even better because it’s risk-free.“Chatroulette is technology's answer to an exhibitionist's prayers,” says Carole Lieberman, psychiatrist and author of Bad Boys: Why We Love Them, How to Live with Them and When to Leave Them.