Abnormal Sexual Psychology/Voyeurism

Abnormal Sexual Psychology

Preface   |   Contributors   |   Manual of Style   |   Warning to Readers   |   Further Reading

The DSM-IV has a rather broad definition of voyeurism that it recognizes as clinical in nature.

DSM-IV Direct Quotation

The material below is directly taken from the DSM-IV or the DSM-IV-TR and summarized for clarity. The material excludes the specific diagnostic texts, case summaries, and extended text of the entry, and is as short as possible. The DSM-IV is widely quoted and cited in this manner, and this usage falls under fair use.

This Paraphilia is characterized by sexual fantasies, urges, or behaviors involving observing an unknowing and non-consenting person, usually unclothed and/or engaged in sexual activity, to produce sexual excitement.

Diagnostic criteria for 302.82 Voyeurism

A. Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving the act of observing an unsuspecting person who is naked, in the process of disrobing, or engaging in sexual activity.

B. The person has acted on these urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.


There are different theories regarding this behavior. There is no one proven etiological cause.


Treatment involves psychotherapy aimed at uncovering and working through the underlying cause of the behavior.


Prognosis is good although often there are other issues which may surface once the behaviors are extinguished. If this is the case, these issues must be worked through as well

The material cited above comes from the DSM-IV-TR, ©1995-2006, American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc. The full text of the DSM-IV includes associated features, diagnostic tools based on culture, age, and gender features, prevalence, course, and familial pattern of mental disorders. It also covers diagnosis, treatment, and quality of care. The above cited material is a summary of a DSM-IV or DSM-IV-TR entry and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. The full text can be purchased here.