Julie Miller's Mental Health Blog

Archive for August 2010

“Voyeurism is characterized by either intense sexually arousing fantasies, urges, or behaviors in which the individual observes an unsuspecting stranger who is naked, disrobing, or engaging in sexual activity. To be considered diagnosable, the fantasies, urges, or behaviors must cause significant distress in the individual or be disruptive to his or her everyday functioning.”

If an individual is not distressed about their fantasies or behaviors, and it doesn’t interfere with the individual’s functioning, it’s not a problem.  So if you fantasize in arounsing ways, this definition suggests there is nothing to worry about.

My concern about this definition is this:  sometimes individuals behave in an unhealthy manner and don’t think it’s a problem.  They may not be distressed.  However, it may be a problem for others, including those on whom this person might “peep.”

In the case of someone peeping through your window, you could call the police and press charges if the individual is apprehended.  Perhaps it would cause the individual distress to be chased by police, even if not caught. 

The distress really caused could simply be the internalized shame of having to hide this behavior, and as the behavior progresses (as it usually does) to higher, more risky levels of sexual acting out, it will begin to interfere with functioning, such as getting to work, relationship issues, etc.

Occasionally, an individual experiences no shame about their behavior.  This is definitive for certain characterological issues, including anti-social personality (aka “sociopath”).

Treatment can be successful by examining and healing from underlying trauma/abuse issues.  Treatment with a highly skilled & trained therapist is a must!