For some people, watching or being watched is sexy. You might wear more revealing clothes knowing someone, your partner or not, will admire how you look. You might ask your partner for a striptease because you want to watch them get naked. Others, with or without a partner, may go online and watch porn or find a camgirl because doing so gets them off.
These are some examples of voyeurism and exhibtionism. When done in a consensual manner, both can be exciting and sexually gratifying. Without consent, it’s creepy, violating, and even illegal.
A simple definition of voyeurism is watching other people in sexual or non-sexual moments and becoming aroused by it. Many people are voyeurs to some extent. You may admire a sexy body, enjoy a sex scene in a movie, or secretly hope for someone’s swimsuit to wash away at the beach. Voyeurism is common among many people. The difference between being “checked out” and anything more obvious or sexual tends to come down to consent.
The Creepy Side of Watching Others
The scary guy standing outside a bedroom window or the dude on the bus rubbing his crotch while staring at you is the voyeurism that people are most familiar with. It’s jarring, invasive, and a violation. You’re out in the world minding your own business and a stranger is leering at you, following you with their eyes, and getting off on it. What separates this type of voyeurism from a healthier practice of it is consent.
Voyeurism as Part of Healthy Sexual Desires
Porn is the most common outlet for voyeurs who want to watch other people and get off on the watching. Of course, this isn’t the only reason people watch and enjoy porn, but it’s a great outlet for voyeurs. When done with consent, with a partner or through the internet, voyeurism can be exciting and meaningful.
Watch your partner undress or masturbate with sex toys for you. Put on some porn and let the actors show your favorite fantasy as you touch yourself. Look at images online shared by people who want to be seen, and let your imagination run wild. There are a plenty of ways to be a sexual voyeur that won’t get you arrested.
Finding Safe Spaces to Watch
The safest place to be a voyeur is in your own home with your porn collection or your partner, but it’s not your only option. Feel freel to indulge your voyeurism in BDSM dungeons, sex clubs, and swinger clubs, usually safe places for everyone. Make sure you follow all club and dungeon rules. If you attend as a single man, be prepared to pay a higher fee and receive extra scrutiny. Nonconsensual voyeuristic behavior comes most often from men. Don’t be the creepy guy out there.
Exhibitionism is, simply put, allowing others to see you in a sexual moments with the intent to arouse them. Either you feel sexual excitement being watched, you enjoy the reaction you get from watchers, or some combination of the two. Some exhibitionists turn their desire and willingness to be seen into careers in porn, modeling, and sex work.
The Creepy Side of Flashing Your Body
The classic idea of exhibitionism is the flasher in his trench coat, whipping out his penis for anyone who might be unlucky enough to see. These days, the trench coat is out and unsolicited pictures of genitals shared in private messages are in, unfortunately. The pictures of genitals aren’t the problem. That this form of exhibitionism is done without consent is.
Exhibitionism as Part of Healthy Sexual Desires
You can find comfort in showing off your body, being naked in front of consenting adults, and enjoy your sexuality as as exhibitionist. While some exhibitionists are happy to take off their clothes for or tease an online audience, it’s not a requirement. Simply taking your clothes off in a seductive manner for your partner in the privacy of your own home is a healthy way to express exhibitionism safely.
Safe Places to Show Yourself Off
Take sexy selfies, post pictures of yourself on a blog, or share videos of yourself online to enjoy your exhibitionist side. Unfortunately, you can’t control someone’s reaction, but you have control over what other people can see. Sex clubs, swinger clubs, and BDSM dungeons are often fun places to be an exhibitionist, too. Locations that care about patrons will go to great lengths to help you stay safe, including monitoring the voyeurs in the crowd.
Exhibitionism and voyeurism can be healthy parts of sexual expression as long as you have consent. You can enjoy both in the privacy of your own home, with or without a partner, or in some public spaces. Those who expose themselves or watch without consent deserve to be called out for what they are – violators.