When exploring sexual desire, the world is your oyster! And if you’re considering adding voyeurism to the bedroom (like 89% of respondents to a recent Cosmopolitan poll), then you should know the basics before you begin. Here is the 411 on this growing fetish.

What is voyeurism?

The technical definition is the practice of gaining sexual pleasure from watching others when they are naked or engaged in sexual activity.

This could mean anything from watching someone masturbate, taking erotic photos, or watching a couple engage in sexual acts.

But let’s break it down a little bit more. Research shows voyeurism is one of the most common fetishes. Also, researchers at the Karolinska Institute found voyeurs are more easily aroused, masturbate more often, and have sex with their partners more frequently.

There is a big difference between people who enjoy voyeurism with the consent of all parties and those who do so (known as Peeping Toms) without the knowledge of consent of all parties. There’s a definite line you shouldn’t cross because then it becomes a crime.

When does it become illegal?

Always, always, always get consent from all parties and communicate when considering any act in the bedroom, but especially voyeurism.

There is a psychiatric disorder called voyeuristic disorder when a person experiences sexual arousal when intentionally spying on people who don’t know they’re being watched. If caught, voyeurs can face criminal charges.

There are plenty of examples of voyeurism around the world. Would you consider going to a nude beach? Then you may enjoy voyeurism. Another common place for voyeurism is at the annual Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans when women are rewarded with beads for flashing. The most important thing to remember: consent!

What’s a voyeur vs. exhibitionist

There is a watcher and a watched, otherwise known as the voyeur and the exhibitionist. The voyeur is the person watching, recording, listening to the sexual act. The exhibitionist is the person who, with their consent, is performing the sexual act. Voyeurs are overwhelmingly men according to a study from Sweden, while 31% of the exhibitionists were female.

How can I practice it?

While you may think that voyeurism is just watching someone with binoculars, there are plenty of ways you can incorporate it into the bedroom. Here are a few:

  • Watching or recording a partner masturbate
  • Roleplay that one person is a voyeur and the other an exhibitionist
  • Grab a remote-controlled vibe and watch as enjoy the pleasure from across the room
  • Watch while your partner perform sexual acts with another person
  • Take erotic photographs
  • Listen to erotic podcasts
  • Watch voyeurism pornography

See how voyeurism can give you a new look at your sex life today!

Tori Tromblay

Tori Tromblay

Special Projects Producer
Tori Tromblay (she/her/hers) is a book enthuisiast, cat lover, and Cincinnati native. She graduated from Ohio University with a degree in journalism. After traveling to New York, D.C., London, and Tulsa, she settled back home, where she lives with her husband and two cats. She has worked for Pure Romance for two years and loves to learn and teach about sex education.