Thursday, May 30, 2024

What Is Voyeurism? A Sex Therapist Explains

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Although there are many different kinks and common fetishes in the world, voyeurism is one of the most popular — so popular that you may not even know you’re a voyeur yourself. “Voyeurism involves becoming aroused when watching someone undress or engage in sexual activity,” sex therapist Nicolle Dirksen says.

In other words, if seeing your partner undress for the shower or mutually masturbate alongside you, or you just enjoy watching porn, it’s possible you could be into voyeurism.

Not to be confused with voyeuristic disorder, which is the act of watching an unsuspecting person who is naked or having sex, voyeurism in the kink community is always consensual. Below, Dirksen explains more on what voyeurism is and how to have voyeur sex.

What Is Voyeurism?

Voyeurism is the enjoyment of consensually seeing someone naked or having sex. However, many people mistakenly confuse voyeurism with voyeuristic disorder, which Dirken says is the compulsive desire to see unsuspecting and non-consenting individuals in the above scenarios. For voyeurism, “informed consent is received, safe words are obtained, and any non-consent is role-played,” she says.

Those who enjoy voyeurism may also refer to themselves as voyeurs. Some signs you could be a voyeur include that you enjoy watching other people have sex (or the idea of watching other people have sex turns you on), you enjoy seeing your partner masturbate or undress in front of you, or you like watching porn.

How to Explore Voyeurism During Sex

Just like how you would incorporate any other type of kink or fetish into your sex life, introducing voyeurism should begin by communicating your wants and needs with your partner. Have a conversation about what you enjoy about being a voyeur, why you think it’s hot, and what specific acts you’d like to try with your partner. Then, discuss any hard boundaries, anxieties, and safe words.

Once you and your partner are on the same page, it’s on to the fun part: exploring your voyeurism kink. Dirksen says the easiest way to start is by watching porn since it’s “naturally a bit voyeuristic no matter what you’re into.” Then, you can move into more role-play scenarios with your partner.

For example, you can role-play a scenario where you get home from work early and see your partner masturbating in bed by themself. Another role-play scenario could be watching your partner undress and get in the shower without them seeing you. You could also ask your partner to spend some time masturbating in front of you before having sex.

If you’re single, a great option is to explore different porn-viewing options. You can try watching ethical porn, listening to audio porn, or reading erotic short stories. Another option is to visit nearby sex clubs or parties where people may encourage you to watch them have sex with someone. There, you could meet someone who is an exhibitionist. “Exhibitionism means that a person is turned on by being watched during sexual activity, while voyeurism is a kink in which a person has a desire to watch others engage in sexual activity,” Dirksen previously told POPSUGAR.

Is Voyeurism a Crime?

Yes, voyeurism is illegal if there’s a lack of informed consent, Dirksen says. “In the United States, there are both federal and state laws in place preventing various forms of criminal voyeurism including video voyeurism without consent. Make sure that everyone involved is fully informed and consenting to everything that will happen before it happens,” she says.

That said, there’s nothing to be afraid of if you and your partner(s) consent to the voyeurism at play. So long as voyeurism is explored consensually, it can be a great way to spice things up in your relationship or discover a new part of yourself.

Taylor Andrews is a Balance editor at POPSUGAR who specializes in topics relating to sex, relationships, dating, sexual health, mental health, and more. In her six years working in editorial, she’s written about how semen is digested, why sex aftercare is the move, and how the overturn of Roe killed situationships.

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