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Voyeurism is a disorders of sexual arousal. It involves the act of observing unsuspecting individuals, usually strangers, who may be naked or in the process of disrobing. Even engaging in sexual activity. Masturbation usually occurs during, or shortly after, voyeuristic activities. A variation of voyeurism entails listening to erotic conversations; e.g. telephone sex. The main criteria for the diagnosis is:

Repeatedly, for at least 6 months, having intense sexual desires, fantasies or behaviors concerning the act of watching an unsuspecting person who is naked, disrobing or having sex.

This activity causes clinically important distress or impairs work, social or personal functioning.

Voyeurism may co-occur with another paraphilia, exhibitionism.

Onset is typically before the age of fifteen, and the individual may become so invested in the voyeuristic activity as to have this as the sole sexual behavior. This often is a chronic condition.

In current Society a certain amount of voyeurism is considered normal, such as watching
x-rated movies, as well as graphic magazines. You may have even been sexually aroused when you noticed by accident someone who was undressing, naked, or having sex. However, the key factor here is that unless you seek out these experiences, you are not a true voyeur

Associated Features:


Differential Diagnosis:

Some disorders have similar or even the same symptoms. The clinician, therefore, in his/her diagnostic attempt has to differentiate against the following disorders which need to be ruled out to establish a precise diagnosis.


There are many different theories related to voyeuristic behavior, many stemming from the psychoanalytic tradition. It has been suggested that childhood trauma (e.g., sexual abuse) or significant childhood experiences may manifest itself in voyeuristic behavior.


Treatment typically involves psychotherapy to uncover and attempt to work through the underlying cause of the behavior. Behavioral and Group Therapy may also be helpful for those who are motivated to change. Success rates however, are not known.

Counseling and Psychotherapy [ See Therapy Section ] & [ Sex Therapy ]:

Cognitive, Behavior, and Psychoanalytic Therapies are used to treat individuals with paraphilia's.

Pharmacotherapy [ See Psychopharmacology Section ] :

Some prescription medicines are used to help decrease the compulsive thinking associated with the paraphilia's. Hormones are prescribed occasionally for individuals who experience intrusive sexual thoughts, urges, or abnormally frequent sexual behaviors. Almost always the treatment must be long-term if it is to be effective.


DSM Code

302.82 Voyeurism

F65.3 Voyeurism

Disorder Sheets

Mind (UK)
Granta House
15 - 19 Broadway
London E15 4BQ
Tel : +442085192122
Email: Click Here
Web: Click Here

Recommended Book

Voyeur Nation: Media, Privacy and Peering in Modern Culture - Click here to view


Misc Information