Voyeurs are popularly known as peeping toms. They are mostly males who have developed the habit of watching a naked person, someone who is undressing and having sex and deriving sexual pleasure from it. This specific act is called voyeurism.
Voyeurism normally involves unsuspecting people or those who are not aware that they are being watched. While the voyeur watches his victims or fantasizes about them, he masturbates without seeking any sexual contact with them. Voyeurs are quite secretive with their acts and don’t have any intention of hurting their victims. But even without intention to cause harm, it’s still crucial for people to be safe and report immediately any incident of voyeurism they may experience. Their act, however, is considered illegal.
Voyeurism is a form of sexual disorder that needs treatment. The behavior starts before a person reaches 15 and may continue throughout his life if left untreated. So far, scientists have not found any concrete basis for voyeurism. The behavior is only attributed by experts to successive repetitions of the act after initial accidental observation of an unsuspecting person who is naked, undressing or engaging in sex. Some theories linked to exhibitionistic behaviors point to child trauma such as sexual abuse or significant childhood experiences as a probable cause.
To be diagnosed as positive of voyeurism, two criteria are considered based on the handbook of mental health professionals entitled “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” First, a person over the last six months has recurring intense sexual fantasies and sexual urges while observing naked strangers or those undressing and having sex. Second, the person’s fantasies and sexual behaviors causes distress or distract his daily functioning as an individual.
Since most voyeurs engage in their act in a discreet manner, they are rarely caught and they do not seek immediate treatment as well. Once caught, they are normally forced to seek treatment. Otherwise, a court order may be issued against them.
To succeed in the treatment, a voyeur should be willing to change his behavior. It may initially be difficult for them, though, to admit it.
The most common form of treatment for voyeurism is behavioral therapy. The therapy helps voyeurs to control their urges when watching their victims and seek other ways of obtaining sexual pleasure. There is no direct drug treatment for this.
The act of voyeurism is considered a crime in many states, notably a misdemeanor. It is, however, hard to prove a voyeur’s intent to watch hence, prosecution may sometimes fail. Those caught may also just claim that their act was purely accidental. In some cases, voyeurs who experience public embarrassment may be urged to change their behavior.
On the other hand, people who think they have developed the behavior can submit themselves for treatment. In the U.S., there’s a State Board of Mental Health that can refer a voyeur to a specialist in a specific state.
Experts suggest that only proper guidance can educate people on the acceptable behaviors in society. This guidance should start early on in a child’s life. Parents, therefore, play a vital role in instilling the proper values in their children. Adults, for their part, should make sure that they close their window curtains and blinds at home when dressing up to prevent the incidence of voyeurism.