Woman behind glass.

Voyeurism is a sexual interest in watching people involved in traditionally private behaviors such as undressing, showering, or having sex.

What is Voyeurism?

Voyeurism is a sexual paraphilia involving fantasies about watching others engaging in intimate acts. People who are voyeuristic also sometimes fantasize about listening in on sexual conversations. The diagnostic criteria for voyeurism outlined in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) require that a person experiences urges or fantasies about watching people engaged in intimate acts over a period of at least six months and that the person has either acted upon the urges or been disturbed by them. Voyeurism typically contains an element of non-consent or unawareness of the person being watched.

In colloquial usage, voyeurism is sometimes used to refer to a desire to watch one’s lover engaged in intimate acts such as masturbation, undressing, or even having sex with another person. This form of voyeurism is not considered a paraphilia unless it interferes with the voyeur’s life negatively in some way.

How is Voyeurism Treated?

Voyeurism can have serious legal consequences when a person who is voyeuristic spies on neighbors, for example,  or attempts to monitor the intimate acts of people he or she does not know or who do not consent to being watched. Some people with the condition may not seek help until after being arrested. Therapy aimed at helping a person stop intrusive thoughts of voyeuristic acts and alter his or her voyeuristic behavior can be especially helpful. Therapists treating voyeurs often work to help them find more acceptable outlets for their sexual desires. Sometimes this includes acting out voyeuristic fantasies with a partner’s consent, but more typically includes helping the person find other fantasies that do not involve voyeurism.

There are currently no drugs used to treat voyeurism. However, when a voyeuristic person is involved in the criminal justice system, he or she might be given drugs to inhibit sexual desire, which may also inhibit the desire to participate in voyeurism


  1. Voyeurism. (n.d.). Mind Disorders. Retrieved from http://www.minddisorders.com/Py-Z/Voyeurism.html
  2. Voyeurism. (n.d.). Psychologist Anywhere Anytime. Retrieved from http://www.psychologistanywhereanytime.com/sexual_problems_pyschologist/psychologist_voyeurism.htm

Last Updated: 08-28-2015

  • Leave a Comment
  • Heather

    June 2nd, 2015 at 9:45 AM

    Voyeurism that involve taking photos and videos without the victim’s consent is a form of sexual assault/abuse. Even though there is no physical contact, it’s a violating and traumatic experience.

  • micdan12

    October 14th, 2019 at 7:50 PM

    Voyeurism can be used as a form of stress relief

  • Lisa

    June 4th, 2020 at 7:10 PM

    My friend Sean doesn’t abuse me. He is so gentle. We go to house parties and drink and etc. and I have him f*** me in front of girls & guys. I f****** love it. Is this confidential.

  • LolaKW

    January 24th, 2021 at 1:06 PM

    Is there such thing as verbal voyeurism? Like, you can’t keep yourself from prodding people for personal sexual details about themselves? And you’re smooth and manipulative enough to get people to open up and tell you all their private sexual secrets?

  • Mike

    December 14th, 2023 at 8:47 PM

    I think so. I think being able to let the walls down and share that primitive desire and wishes to do or be part of someone can really open things for yourself , understand it is more common than you think.
    2, the aroused feeling of a need to retreat and get away and enjoy life. What the human body with one another, how it can have such a wonderful effect with not just one alone but also for another couple to help spice things up.

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.org's Terms and Conditions of Use.


* Indicates required field.

GoodTherapy uses cookies to personalize content and ads to provide better services for our users and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this site you consent to our cookies.