Voyeur

Last Updated: May 5, 2021

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Definition - What does Voyeur mean?

A voyeur is someone who is sexually gratified by observing people. Voyeurs typically become turned on watching people engaging in private acts, including sex. They may watch others in secret from a place where they are hidden from view.

Voyeurs typically become aroused through visual stimulation. They usually have different preferences that stimulate them. They may enjoy watching people undress, showering, or going about their private lives wearing little to no clothes. They may also enjoy watching people engaging in sexual acts, on their own, with sexual partners, or both.

However, voyeurs may also become aroused through aural stimulation. For example, they may get turned on listening to people masturbating or having sex in another room. They may also get sexual pleasure from hearing someone talk about their sex life or a sexual experience someone else had.

Voyeur is a French word meaning “one who sees.” It was adopted as an English word with sexual connotations around the start of the 20th century. It was originally used specifically for people who gain sexual pleasure from viewing others in private or intimate acts.

However, by the middle of the 20th century, its meaning had expanded to include any person or group interested in private or shocking details. For example, tabloid magazines may be called voyeurs because their stories pry into the lives of celebrities, often without their consent. While voyeurism has a history of being violating, education in the kink community around consent has changed this both legally and socially.

You could also say that people who enjoy watching porn are voyeurs. While the porn stars consent to being filmed having sex, they do not know the people who are watching them so they are in effect being watched in secret.

Many voyeurs manage their urges and find healthy ways to indulge them. However, some people struggle with voyeurism. These people may have voyeuristic disorder, a recognized psychiatric condition characterized by persistent and intense urges to spy on people that are nude or having sex.

Kinkly explains Voyeur

Voyeurism is a very common fetish, with most people admitting to being voyeurs in some sense. While not everyone feels compelled to peer at unsuspecting people through their windows, most people feel aroused observing others when they are semi-clothed, nude, or receiving sexual pleasure. If you enjoy watching your partners masturbate, you are something of a voyeur in the common use of the term.

Playing around with voyeurism can be a lot of fun. A voyeur may enjoy watching their partner masturbate, bathe, or shower. They may also organize for their partner to have sex with another person while they watch. For the person who has voyeuristic tendencies, watching someone in these scenarios can be a real thrill. The voyeur gets the chance to enjoy their partner in a different way, where they can pay attention to them without any distractions. People can also enjoy catering to their partner’s voyeuristic tendencies. Knowing you are turning your partner on is also arousing. Knowing you are turning your partner on can make you feel powerful and boost your confidence.

Watching someone who is unaware they are being viewed is a key part of the appeal for people who are voyeurs in the traditional sense. However, watching someone without their consent or knowledge is illegal. Knowing this, some voyeurs may feel gratified participating in fantasies with a partner’s consent. For example, they might watch their partner through a window and pretend they are a stranger.

There are also websites that legally cater to voyeurs. For example, some of these sites show footage from “hidden cameras” capturing people in private moments, such as undressing and masturbating. While the people in these videos are consenting adults, they do not interact with the cameras so it seems as if they are being filmed in secret.

Just remember that legal sexual interactions always rely on consent. Talk with your partner before experimenting with voyeurism and make sure you receive consent before acting out any voyeuristic fantasies. If you cannot be honest about your voyeuristic tendencies or you have urges to watch a partner or strangers behind their back, you may have voyeuristic disorder. Therapy can help you manage this condition.

Reviewed by Dr. Laura McGuire
on May 5, 2021

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