After coming across this article while searching for something else I suddenly remembered all my encounters with flashers or exhibitionists. Most of them took place in the large park I crossed at night on my way home from the university (yes, I was really stupid to walk that way on my own). Suddenly a guy would stand up from the bushes wagging his penis at me. This happened many, many times.
But the case I remember the best was having lunch at a cafe and looking up only to see a man ejaculating while staring at me eating. He was standing in an enclosed doorway which had a glass wall to the cafe. One of my rare moments of pure red rage took over, and I ran out and then chased him down the street. So.
The reason for my rage was of course the fact that he was using me as his masturbation aid.
Let's see what Wikipedia says about exhibitionism:
Wow. Just wow, even with the warning that the factual contents of the post are disputed. If you read the whole thing you get the idea that flashing is mostly what women do.
Exhibitionism, colloquially referred to flashing, is behavior by a person that involves the exposure of private parts of their body to another person in a situation when they would not normally be exposed, with a tendency toward an extravagant. The act may be at least partially sexual or intended to attract the attention of another or others, or to shock. Some people have a psychological compulsion to sexually expose themselves. The condition is sometimes called apodysophilia or Lady Godiva syndrome. In some situations exposing in public is a crime of indecent exposure or public nuisance. Though the offence is not often prosecuted, it is taken especially seriously when the exposure (flashing) is to children and women.
Public exhibitionism by women has been recorded since classical times, often in the context of the women's shaming groups of men into committing, or inciting them to commit, some public action.
I looked up the debate on the article and found most comments even more staggeringly weird, except for this one:
I could be wrong, of course, but I doubt that the parks are full of female exhibitionists or that women bare their genitals to unwilling observers in order to masturbate. Perhaps the phenomenon I'm thinking about is something quite different than exhibitionism?
The definition is wrong, as are the illustrations. As clear from any dictionary (Merriam-Webster, OED, American Heritage), exhibitionism only refers to the sexual practice of displaying one's private parts for the purpose of self-arousal of the individual performing it, in front of involuntary observers. Not to public nudity in general. Use of the word for other types of situations is metaphorical and derogative. It's absurd to regard every woman in history that reportedly appeared nude publicly for one purpose or another as an exhibitionist. The images are also irrelevant, because they clearly show erotic "flashing" by professional models in porn context, intended not to stimulate the flasher but the public. A man with a long coat in the woods would be a more appropriate illustration.