One of the most confusing concepts in the study of sexual anomalies is seemingly the simplest one, voyeurism or peeping. In this act the male usually looks at a nude adult female or at heterosexual intercourse and in so doing masturbates to climax. This seems simple enough but often the climax or orgasm is not considered an essential part of the voyeurism. A more nebulous "erotic gratification" or general "satisfaction" is described and herein lies the confusion.
Most people can be described as voyeurs because looking is a safe uninvolved act that offers information and satisfies curiosity. It is the preferred way of experiencing the world even in childhood. In one study, Day and his associates3 asked a group of Grade 5 children to indicate all the things they would like to experience very much that could be brought into their classroom. A total of 155 items were described and of these the children selected 63% which were specifically visual, and only 10% auditory, 16% tactile, 4% olfactory and 7% gustatory3. Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore13 have clearly indicated how our sensory experience is predominantly visual. Naturally this includes sexual experience as well. The booming pornographic magazine and movie business caters to the average man and not just to the sexually anomalous18. This is a testimonial to the widespread "voyeurism" in contemporary society.
Some authors prefer to distinguish voyeurism from the criminal acts by labeling the latter "peeping"11. However, in this chapter the term voyeurism is used and the focus is on an erotic preference for looking over other sexual acts, whether criminal or not.
In examining criminal cases, it is noteworthy that often it is difficult to