We’re all voyeurs. We always have been. Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ forced us to realise that deep down there is a universal pleasure in watching someone in their natural habitat, totally unawares. It also highlighted the notion that viewing a film is voyeuristic in itself. 

Him & Hers recently released a 2023 sex report finding that sexual voyeurism ranked 3rd in the top sex trends that the UK wants to try. 

And it’s no wonder… 

We’re all voyeurs– but more so today than ever before. We were raised as voyeurs. In watching Netflix, we are voyeurs. In watching porn, we are voyeurs. In watching reels, we are voyeurs. Not to mention, half of millennials and Gen Z explored their sexuality as a teen through video chat sites such as Omegle, often playing both the voyeur and the exhibitionist. 

So many of us got our first understanding of sex through being a voyeur- most typically through watching porn. 

Because voyeurism has become so integrated into our lives as a means to accessing sexual content, sometimes we forget that is is a fetish in itself. I for one never thought of mentioning sexual voyeurism as one of my kinks. But in actuality, I have gotten turned on by watching and by being watched.

Back when I was a cam girl, I would often find myself on the homepage watching other shows. Something about it excited me.

 

voyeurism is so popular
The top sex trends that the UK wants to try. Photo source: Him & Hers 2023 UK sex report.

 

What Turns Us On?

 

sexual voyeurism - what turns us on?
Miroslav Tichý. Photo souce: dangerousminds.com

 

But what?

There’s getting pleasure from the content that we are watching- the plumber fucking the wife when her husband’s at work. 

But then there’s getting pleasure more from the notion of watching. That’s voyeurism. And it’s getting bigger and bigger. Sex parties are spreading like wildfire and when the pandemic forced us to look but not touch, it’s no wonder that our desires are more voyeuristic than ever before. But why is watching so hot?

 

Forbidden Fruit

I think that it’s partly the idea of forbidden fruit. Restriction. When you’re only allowed to look, it’s tantalising. Like somebody holding a treasure out but not giving it to you. It makes you want it all the more. This creates an immediate power dynamic and we all know sex is all about power.

 

It Remains A Fantasy

The fact that we can’t touch or properly interact with something makes it remains a fantasy. As humans we like fantasies because we have total control over them. Being a voyeur allows a beautiful blend of something real and your imagination.

 

An Element of Perversity

There’s also the idea of perverseness. People often shy away from this when talking about voyeurism, but to be blunt, voyeurism is arousing not in spite of but partly because of the element of creepiness.

As a certified exhibitionist, I love the idea of some random guy on the internet getting aroused by watching my cam show, or having my neighbour watch me from his window as I purposely undress in plain sight.

And to me, there’s no shame in having any of these desires- fetish is about finding a natural outlet to explore all of your inexplicable fantasies safely.

 

Freedom

People also like to watch because they get to see somebody in their natural habitat or at least get an impression of them in their natural habitat.

Because there is less or zero direct interaction, there is a freedom to just be, without any pressure to fake things or put on a show. With all of the pressure and social conditioning surrounding sex, it’s nice to have this freedom to simply watch with no worries.

 

 

The Layers of Sexual Voyeurism

sexual voyeurism is thriving
Kohei Yoshiyuki – The Park (1971-73). Photo source: widewalls.com

 

We’re all voyeurs – but in different ways and to varying degrees. 

Whilst voyeurism in the past was only ever seen as a criminal offence, now consensual voyeurism is a popular fetish.

There’s layers to consensual voyeurism. I think there’s a huge difference between overt and covert voyeurism. A sex party is a great example of overt voyeurism. At a sex party, you very clearly exhibit yourself to be watched. A peep show is another example of this type of voyeurism. Some people really get off on this. The exhibitionists love putting on a show and the voyeurs love to watch the show.

Others might prefer more covert forms of voyeurism. Personally I enjoy sex parties, but I also feel too aware of the organised environment and it sort of turns me off. There’s ways to explore more covert forms of voyeurism safely and consensually.

If what turns you on is the idea of being spied on without being ‘aware’-  as long as you have a willing and consent voyeur, then you can play around with how aware you are of them watching you.

For example, if you’re a cam girl, you can ‘pretend’ to leave the camera on without realising. Or you can give a sexual partner permission to watch you whenever they wish to. This means a scenario can happen where you don’t immediately realise that your partner is spying on you.

 

No Shame

After years of voyeurism being only seen as an offense, we are finally entering a healthier sex-positive period, where people can be honest about their kinks and explore their voyeuristic desires consensually. You’re not a creep for being a voyeur- we all are to varying degrees. The important things is talking about your fantasies, and exploring them with a like-minded, consenting kinkster.

Culture
fetish
porn
sexual behaviour
voyeurism
Iso

Iso

Author

Iso is a writer and filmmaker based in East London. She is passionate about all things erotic and leads a sexy, shame-free life in hope that she can inspire others to do the same. Originally from a Northern seaside town, she is naturally drawn to the best things in life: candyfloss, trashy karaoke bars and heart-shaped sunglasses.


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