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Voyeurism (fr. Voir for "see" and voyeur for "seer") is a form of sexuality in which a voyeur (colloquially also called tensioner ) by looking at his preference, undressed or naked people or by observing sexual Acts sexually aroused. In the narrower sense, the term describes the secret observation of an ignorant person, in the broader sense any form of pleasure in viewing. The counterpart to voyeurism is exhibitionism . If the observer and a couple performing sexual acts know each other, this is called candaulism .

Forms of classical voyeurism

General voyeurism

Striptease show

In the broadest sense, the term refers to any form of viewing naked or sexually active people for the purpose of increasing pleasure. Nowadays, the desire to look is often used for commercial purposes. This includes direct forms such as striptease or peep shows , but also technically conveyed representations, such as those usually made using pornography . This can also be used in non-commercial contexts if, for example, one's own partner is to be stimulated through artistic undressing. A certain pleasure in looking at other people in sexual contexts can be considered completely normal: According to a Canadian study, 70% of men and 40% of women enjoy looking at others during sex.

Secret voyeurism

Voyeurism by Édouard-Henri Avril

The sexual arousal during "tensioning" is increased by secretly looking at the genital organs and / or the buttocks and by the stimulus of secretly breaking taboos and - if there is an opportunity - at the same time brought to orgasm through masturbation , otherwise as soon as possible afterwards. The search for a suitable opportunity is perceived as exciting, which contributes to increasing pleasure. Voyeurs specifically look for places where people can undress without worrying. Popular with voyeurs are all situations in which people show themselves naked or barely clothed, for example beaches or bathing lakes , nudist areas, changing rooms, public toilets , saunas and sentos or windows through which they can see their victims when it gets dark and the room lights are switched on observe. Because looking at the sexual organs is important for voyeurs, they prefer occasions when this is possible for longer than just a fraction of a second, that is, the target of the desire moves little and slowly. Voyeurs use a lot of imagination to circumvent privacy protection measures with various aids, to camouflage their behavior and to remain undetected. The common aids used by voyeurs are binoculars and telescopes . Webcams , which are also known as hidden cam because of their hidden installation , as well as mobile phones with cameras are becoming more and more important . Directional microphones are rarely used , with the help of which they can acoustically inform themselves about upcoming actions (undressing, changing, etc.) of the objects of their interest. Since the introduction of digital cameras, street voyeur photography has played an important role. The almost exclusive motif are rear views (with the exception of cameltoe ) of young women and girls in preferably tight trousers ( jeans , leather , leggings ) or photos are taken under the skirt. The victims are photographed or filmed in pedestrian zones, on the beach, while shopping or at public events without their knowledge. The voyeur usually does not attach great importance to facial images or deliberately avoids them in order to suppress his moral guilt.

There are relevant forums on the Internet , so-called “Candid Boards”, in which members exchange and comment on photographs of the above-mentioned type. Usually there are several areas within the forum, i. That is, there is a public and a non-public area. Access to the protected area is only granted to members by invitation who have previously uploaded several pictures of their own and actively commented on other posts. By dividing the forum into two areas, the invited users are able to also exchange “more explosive material” which is perceived as offensive by the general public of web surfers. In addition to the forums, which can usually only be accessed by e-mail after registration, there are also a large number of open blogs that distribute photos or videos using one-click filehosters .

Criminal relevance

In Germany, voyeurism as such is not a criminal offense, but voyeuristic acts, especially taking pictures, can be punishable in some cases. Section 201a of the Criminal Code regulates that unauthorized recordings of a person "who is in an apartment or a room that is specially protected from view" are not permitted as long as they do not give their consent. You have the right to your own picture . The offender is punished with a maximum of two years imprisonment or a fine. Anyone who uses such a recording or makes it available to a third party is also punished with up to one year imprisonment or a fine.

Voyeurism as a disorder concept

Classification according to ICD-10
F65.3 Sexual preference disorder
ICD-10 online (WHO version 2019)

According to ICD-10, voyeurism is a disorder of sexual preference (Code F65.3), which is described as follows: Recurring or persistent urge to watch other people during sexual activities or intimate activities (e.g. undressing) - without the knowledge of the person being observed . Usually this leads to sexual arousal and masturbation in the observer. (Source: ICD-10-GM Version 2005) There is also a classification according to the DSM-IV under the code 302.82.

As with other mental disorders, classification as a disease or disorder will only take place if the individual is severely suffering or if there is massive social impairment. The boundary between the pleasure of looking that is present in every human being and pathological voyeurism is not clearly defined. There is usually a need for therapy if the person concerned has violated the personal rights of others or has become suspicious of the police.

According to a Danish study, the level of criminally relevant clandestine voyeurism fell sharply when pornography was legalized in Denmark in the 1970s . Apparently, commercial pornography is an opportunity for satisfaction that without it would be satisfied by tension.

Extension of the term

Onlookers , disparagingly called "gawkers" who hinder rescue work in the event of accidents, natural disasters, etc., are sometimes also referred to as voyeurs. The term is also often used in media criticism of the tabloid media and television formats such as so-called " disgusting television ".

See also


  • Margrit Lenssen; Elke Stolzenburg (Ed.): Schaulust: Erotik und Pornographie in den Medien (= series of publications of the Society for Media Education and Communication Culture in the Federal Republic of Germany , Volume 11), Leske and Budrich, Opladen 1997, ISBN 3-8100-1670- 5 .

Web links

Commons : Voyeurism  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Sex or never: "Tensioning" as a national sport "- Der Stern
  2. Pornography and Sexual Crimes in Denmark from the Institute of the University of Copenhagen ( Memento of the original from October 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.scireview.de