Sexual DictionaryDictionary of the F-Word


A paraphilia in which an individual, more often a male, derives sexual pleasure from secretly observing people in-the-nude , undressing, or engaged in sexual activity. The erotic gratification is heightened by the risk of discovery. The event may later be replayed in a masturbation or coital fantasy. Voyeurism is a paraphilia of the solicitational/allurative type. The reciprocal paraphilic condition is exhibitionism. As paired opposites, exhibitionism is the active version of the latter, and voyeurism is the passive version of the former. The DSM defines voyeurism as: ' Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually-arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving the act of observing an unsuspecting person who is naked , in the process of disrobing, or engaging in sexual activity. The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning .' (American Psychiatric Association (1994))

SYNONYMS: inspectionalism ; inspectionism ; peeping ; peeping-tomism .

SEE ALSO: allopellia ; cryptoscopophilia; exhibitionism; inspectionalism ; mixoscopia ; parascopism; peodeiktophilia.


(1) In Being There (1979), Chance the Gardener/Chauncey Gardener (Peter Sellers) tells Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine): ' I like to watch .' He would rather watch television than have-sex ; she interprets this as declaration of voyeurism and proceeds to masturbate in his presence

(2) Susan (Edie McClurg) inviting the sexless Blands, Mary (Mary Woronov) and Paul (Paul Bartel) for a little kinky sex at a swingers party in Eating Raoul (1982):
-- Susan: ' We were wondering if you'd like to get together and have a little fun? '
-- Mary: ' What did you have in mind? '
-- Susan: ' Oh, gee , we're up for about anything. You see we're both bies so we can go either way , but actually we do like straight-sex . Moose is into voyeurism and I'm into exhibitionism. We like B & D , but we don't like S-&-M . We met at A & P , but we don't like labels .'
-- Mary: 'Very nice of you to ask us but we're actually into Saint-Bernards .'

See Also: aberrant sex, ablutoskepsis, active and passive, allopellia, allurement paraphilias, bi, deviant sexual behavior, icolagnia, iconolagnia, iconolagny, inspectionalism, inspectionism, mixoscopia, peecam, peeping, peeping-tomism, scopolagnia, sexual aberration, sexual deviance, sexual deviancy, sexual deviation, shot of beaver, a, sneeky peeks, toilet cam, upskirt, visible panty line, voyeurism

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