One in 25 Swedish women claimed to be turned on by peeking at others on the job.
But the unique survey uncovered more about Swedes’ attitudes towards sex than a legion of Peeping Toms. Indeed, one in twenty Swedish men say they have been turned on by exposing themselves to a stranger. Again, women were more reserved, with 2 percent claiming to having some flashing experience.
However, Niklas Långström, who carried out the study, was quick to dismiss the clichéd image of a flasher.
“It is most likely that the majority of these people weren’t sneaking around at night in a flasher’s mac,” he explained.
“They perhaps exposed themselves some time in their late teens, but since then have realised that it is harassment or criminal.”
Along with a Canadian colleague, Långström interviewed 2,450 randomly chosen Swedish men and women aged 18-60. 1,996 of those answered a barrage of questions about sexuality and health.
There have been plenty of studies of exhibitionist and voyeuristic behaviour in the past. But the difference with this study was that the people questioned were taken from the population as a whole.
“Almost all the previous studies were based on people who had sought help for their exhibitionism or voyeurism, or people who had been found guilty of criminal behaviour,” said Långström.
“Then there is a risk of distorting the picture of those with such sexual tendencies.”
What was striking about the results, say the researchers, was the fact that the majority of those who admitted to being aroused by indecent exposure or spying – both criminal acts – were “normal, well-adjusted citizens”.
However, the flashers and the peepers were more likely to consume greater quantities of alcohol and drugs, and were “generally more sexually experimental than the rest of the population”.