Candaulism ~ Being an Exhibit

Candaulism, Voyeurism and Exhibitionism

This is really the second part to Watching or being watched where I concluded that one of my key kinks was candaulism. Candaulism seems to be less discussed than its partner kinks of voyeurism or exhibitionism, but it is closely related. Where voyeurism is about gaining sexual pleasure for observing someone who is unaware, with candaulism a third party is invited to watch by one of the participants, for their own sexual pleasure. Where exhibitionism involves gaining sexual pleasure from exposing yourself to others (often for a shock value), with candaulism a person is exposed or displayed by someone they are in a relationship with, for their pleasure.

Candaulism: A Definition

Candaulism, or candaulesism, is a paraphilic sexual practice or fantasy in which one person (usually a man) exposes his (usually female) partner, or images of her, to other people for their voyeuristic pleasure. Candaulism is also associated with voyeurism and exhibitionism.

The term may also be applied to the practice of undressing or otherwise exposing a female partner to others. Similarly, the term may also be applied to the posting of personal images of a female partner on the internet or urging or forcing her to wear clothing which reveals her physical attractiveness to others, such as by wearing very brief clothing, such as a microskirt, tight-fitting or see-through clothing or a low-cut top.


How Candaulism Works for Me

While the three kinks are definitely connected, there are differences. I am not an exhibitionist but I do get off on being made to be an exhibit. While I don’t want to watch others, the thought of being made to be watched by someone else can be arousing. I think part of the difference comes down to the conscious and active consent and knowledge of all three parties. Each person is aware of what is happening and they are all gaining erotic pleasure from the experience. Candaulism is also less active for me. It isn’t a choice. I am not choosing it, I am being made to do it, and for me that taps into what turns me on as well as allowing me not to have to take responsibility for it.

The Role of Responsibility

The responsibility part is important for me. In being exposed in this way I am confronting my own fears that I will be rejected. While I want to be seen as desirable or sexy, I am afraid that, in reality, others will be shocked or repulsed by me and that they will mock me or turn away from me. In order to push these boundaries and challenge these deep rooted fears, it has to be done with someone who will not actually do these things. There has to be pre-agreement because then the risk is small. It is the difference between humiliation and erotic humiliation. One will destroy and the other will turn you on.

The sexual pleasure of all of those involved is also important. In order to confront my own fears, and hopefully push past them, the enjoyment of each person has to be key. Any sense of rejection will pull me out of that headspace because it is the pleasure that holds me there and encourages me to go further and push past the fears. The things said and done have to keep things erotic and not allow them to slip into a place which is damaging. If there is agreement and enjoyment from those involved then this is more likely to happen so it separates itself from the other two kinks in this way.

What is the Pleasure?

By exposing my own vulnerabilities to someone else I am putting myself at risk, and risk can be exciting. As with any kink, to do this in a controlled and managed way where the risk is small turns the fear into excitement and helps me to push past the point where I would usually turn back. This is a big part of the appeal. It feels like a different world beyond that point: the freedom, the escape, the sense of abandon of the self who would usually hold me back.

The reminder from the other participants about their enjoyment is also valuable and without that I would be pulled out of that space into my own self doubts. In a way it is like being flooded with someone else’s thinking. Being almost like a third party allows me to experience it almost through the eyes of the watcher. While to watch myself would be too graphic, to see through that words being spoken and the sounds being made allows me to connect with the observer in a way that is only possible in the imagining.

By allowing myself to be exposed to my fears in this way, and being able to move past them and to leave the negatives behind is a huge thing. It validates the more rational voice which sounds strange as it is feels more of an emotional response than a rational one when it happens. It feels like a natural thing. Like it is the pure feeling untempered by the insecurities you pick up in life. A big part of letting go is the giving up of the self-control that I use to regulate myself and keep me safe from the fears mentioned so when that is gone and I find that they are gone too, it feels like a huge thing.

Some Examples

King Candaules

The term is derived from an account in The Histories of Herodotus. King Candaules of ancient Lydia, according to the story, conceived a plot to show his unaware naked wife to his servant Gyges. After discovering Gyges while he was watching her naked, Candaules’ wife ordered him to choose between killing himself or killing her husband in order to repair the vicious mischief.

Fictional Ideas

Most of my fiction writing is based around the play that we do and the fantasy ideas that I have therefore much of it is themed around erotic humiliation. I have written about being displayed in the sort of way which would fit with candaulism and so I have included a couple of examples of what I would find exciting below.

Il Maestro

The phone he had given her rang. His voice, his tone, direct and requiring no response.“21.47.
Black underwear.
You know where to come.
Just open the doors and wait. Read More

On Display

To say she was embarrassed just didn’t describe it. She was mortified – hell, she was beyond mortification. When she had discussed her fantasy first of all, she had no idea he would actually make her do it. Now here she was, sat on the chair, naked, opened and on display for anyone who wanted to look. Read More

Boudoir Beauty

He led her into the room.  She took it in and felt a bit overwhelmed, although she was impressed with what he had done. He had definitely thought of the details and it was sumptuous. She should have known better really. Read More

Real Life Fantasy Scenario

In terms of real life, my thoughts are probably more achievable than being displayed in a shop window or at a kink event. Here is one example.

I imagine one or two people, probably men. I am laying positioned on a bed and HL is talking with them. I am blindfolded so that I can’t see, and HL is playing with me, telling them what he is doing and noting the changes in my body. He speaks in an observational way, telling them what I like and showing them what he can make my body do. He asks them for input and suggestions. They may or may not become involved in the play. Occasionally he will check with me that I am happy with something or want something, thereby making me complicit in what is happening, but apart from that I am a more of third party than an active participant.

We have used fantasies like the one above as a sort of narrative in our play and this is something that is fun to explore. I will write more about using narrative in play as, although roleplay is used in a similar way, narrative can be a little different. I am not sure where exploring candaulism as a kink will go for us. As I said in my previous post, we have used things online to experiment with it before but the plans that we had in place for more real life scenarios were overtaken by other events and didn’t end up transpiring. However, lockdown has given us time to think about where we want to go and given us ideas for the future.

# Voyeurism
# The Gaze

Posted in Erotic Humiliation, Play, Scenes and Kink, Throwing Caution To The Window and tagged , , , , , .


  1. I’d not heard the Herodotus story before, that’s enthralling – I thought of Cervantes’ Lothario story too, that one stuck with me when I found it in Don Quixote, he tests the faithfulness of his wife, and she’s fine, but he tries again and again, and ends up losing her to his best friend! Pretty daring ideas from all those years ago! I think there’s something fun about dares eh?

    Also while reading these 2 parts on Candaulism, I found myself thinking about how the human body is a an object of beauty, and how we would all like to be seen the way our best fantasies inside work – and believe in that vision, and experience it for real – its so curious how that can and does work in real life, its just a matter of getting the right scenario organised, the seduction – if its done right, it can’t fail – well thats my fantasy anyhow!

    Another aspect I sometimes think of, which is odd, for instance, how come medical people seem to be so cold and clinical? Well, of course everyones minds are on something else, and there’s no seduction, and then you get people who find medical fetish exciting! The cold instruments, the disposable gloves, the disinfectant, the needles, the thing that squirts “up” Ooh, ah! Oh yeah, just let me get some of that white plastic sheet thing and I’ll be right with you! 😀

    • I think for me it is the detachment in a medical scene which works. And the idea of things having to be done to me. I don’t get turned on by real life medical experiences so it’s not a fantasy I’m that way but when I know it’s safe and sexual, the those elements add another layer psychologically. The vulnerability is there from the beginning and that really helps me.

      I think they are lots of examples from history of this sort of thing too. It has been reoccurring theme in literature and one tray certainly works for me 😊

      • Yes, something about a man in a white coat doing an inspection, very detached & authorative! I just looked that word up, (spellchecker don’t like it for some reason) it says able to be trusted, reliable, that has to be a factor too! Strangely, I’m not turned on by visits to the doctor’s, though I do love the nurses uniforms, fancy just about all of them, wonder what they have on underneath etc etc!

        They seem to use an awful lot of rubber tubes & stainless steel, how strange, I believe they are all kinky! 👍🤩

        • You make some good points there. I think for much kink it is taking the elements that we find hot and perhaps taboo and a little scary and recreating them in a situation where we feel safe and trust that there is no real risk. That is the thrill, isn’t it? 😊

  2. An interesting fantasy for sure . One of mine too but I think I am far further away to making it a reality than u guys are lol
    And I see my blue legs!
    May xx

    • Yes of course, your fantastic blue legs! They were inspirational for sure. I think we are getting closer to making it reality though probably only in a small way. I am fond of baby steps though so that works for me 😊

  3. I didn’t realise this was called Candaulism! That’s so good to know because I also don’t feel like I’m an exhibitionist at all but I am definitely into Candaulism. It’s interesting that for you it is also connected to overcoming your fear, which seems scary but good.

    • Thanks ML. The brain is so complicated isn’t it. I wish that my monk was more straightforward really. Why can’t I just want all the other stuff instead of the mind games, but we are as we are I guess. 😊

  4. This is a fantasy I think both of us have but have never actually discussed or explored. You’ve given a lot of food for thought. I am curious – what did Gyges choose to do??

  5. I love that real life fantasy scenario of yours and it can really work for me too. I identify as an exhibtionist, but candaulism will definitely work for me too 🙂
    ~ Marie

  6. Hey…you introduced me to a new term! I’ve never heard that before. I’m not a voyeur typically, but I do have an exhibitionist side (as long as there is no expectation of anything inappropriate or likely to cause offenses to the surprised observer.) but now I have a better understanding of what I really enjoy. Candaulism. I love that everyone else would be getting pleasure. I love that I would be humiliated (erotically) for their sake. As you said…

    “ Candaulism is also less active for me. It isn’t a choice. I am not choosing it, I am being made to do it, and for me that taps into what turns me on as well as allowing me not to have to take responsibility for it.”

    That would be the turn on for me too.

    Very insightful Missy! Thanks

  7. I learned a new word and I think candualism would describe my kink as well. If it wasn’t consensual, I’d be too worried that I’d get in trouble for indecent exposure.

    • I have thought when reading your posts that there were a lot of similarities in terms of the things that we like so that makes sense. missy x

  8. Always thinking, always experimenting – I admire you missy I really do. Your communication skills are so honed that you put me in your shoes and help me understand what these kinks mean to you, so I can grasp the appeal.
    The alluring image you have headed this with is very sexy, with a twist of vulnerability detectable. I also like how you have referenced some of your related pieces of writing – you’ve created a post one can really sink one’s teeth into!

  9. This is quite interesting, as here I am in NZ, where I cannot leave the boarders….I imagine telling HL what I’d to do to you, whilst there is a filming of your response. Is that along the lines that you are proposing? Thank you.

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