Is it okay to spy on others or not? Understanding what voyeurism is


It is important not to cross the line of mental disorder.

What is voyeurism

Voyeurism – This is a passion for spying on strangers in intimate moments, for example, when they are undressing, naked, or having sex.

At the same time, for a voyeur, in general, it does not matter who to watch – a pretty girl, a strong middle-aged man, or let’s say, a plump mature woman. It is only a combination of two factors that is important:

for the object to perform some intimate, not for prying eyes, action and at the same time does not know that he is being spied on. 

If both conditions are met, the voyeur experiences powerful sexual arousal.

Watching porn videos is also a kind of peeping. But not voyeurism, since it lacks the element of covert surveillance.

Often voyeurism doesn’t go beyond fantasy Understanding voyeurism… For example, a man may masturbate, pretending to be watching a naked neighbor or colleague. 

Such fantasies, although they are voyeuristic, are still quite normal.

But sometimes the passion for prying goes too far.

Why voyeurism is dangerous

Up to a certain level – nothing. However, it happens that innocent voyeurism develops into the obsessive, almost demonstrative observation of people against their will.

For example, it looks like this:

  • a voyeur deliberately spies on an “object” – for example, stands under the stairs to peer under the skirts of women climbing the steps;
  • enters locker rooms or installs cameras there;
  • looks into the windows of the matrimonial bedrooms;
  • takes pictures by holding a smartphone or camera under the subject’s skirt or shorts (this behavior is called upskirting Voyeurism).

In such cases, they talk about a possible voyeuristic disorder. In the current International Classifier of Diseases (ICD-10), this mental state refers to F65.3. Voyeurism to disorders of sexual preference, along with sadomasochism and pedophilia.

How to recognize voyeur disorder

If there are suspicions, in any case, it is worth consulting with a psychotherapist. Only a specialist can conclude whether voyeurism has crossed the line of the norm.

The doctor will rely on this information to diagnose the voyeuristic disorder. Voyeuristic Disorder

  1. Is the patient 18 years old? Voyeur disorder is not diagnosed in children or adolescents. Curiosity about the naked body and sexual activity of others is normal Understanding voyeurism part of growing up.
  2. How long has a person been spying on others? The unhealthy interest in spying must last for at least 6 months to make a diagnosis.
  3. How intrusive the voyeur’s behavior is, and whether it causes inconvenience to other people.
  4. How the desire to spy on others affects the life of the voyeur himself. If in order to surreptitiously observe neighbors, a person refuses his own personal life, avoids family responsibilities, neglects work, and this situation continues for weeks and months, we can talk about a mental disorder.

Why do people become voyeurs?

Scientists don’t yet know where voyeurism comes from. It is only known that in men this disorder is much more common. Voyeurism than women.

Some experts suggestVoyeuristic Disorderthat most people have voyeuristic tendencies and, in general, this is normal.

But there are risk factors that can (but not necessarily!) Turn natural curiosity about other people’s bodies into mental illness. Here they are Voyeuristic Disorder:

  • Childhood sexual abuse.
  • Abuse of alcohol, drugs, and other psychoactive substances.
  • Hypersexuality.
  • Peeping availability. If a person has the ability to regularly and safely spy on other people who are undressing or having sex, it can become a habit. And later – and a pathological need.

How to treat voyeurism

By itself, interest in someone else’s intimate life does not require treatment – for the reason that it is not a disease. It is only possible to talk about therapy if the person has been diagnosed with the voyeuristic disorder.

Typically, pathological voyeurs rarely seek help. Most often, they are referred to psychotherapists by worried parents, spouses, or, for example, law enforcement officers – after the voyeur is detained several times due to complaints from other people.

There are various treatments for the voyeuristic disorder. This could be:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy. A psychotherapist will help a person understand why he wants to watch outsiders, teach him how to control sexual impulses.
  • Visiting support groups. Connecting with people who are facing the same problem can help the voyeur reduce stress, honestly discuss their feelings and experiences, and together find ways to overcome the pathological cravings for peeping.
  • Taking medications. These can be antidepressants to help overcome impulsive behavior. Or, for example, antiandrogenic drugs that suppress sex drive.

Only a doctor can choose the most effective treatment option.