Watching and being Watched

For the sake of being absolutely thorough, I thought it would be best to tackle the concepts of voyeurism and exhibitionism together. Even though these are separate genres, they do sit as two extremes in the same particular kink. The idea of satisfying one’s urges in the public view has been around for ages, and is one of the more taboo things in our society. In fact, in most cases, it’s a fetish that’s generally illegal to perform.

Now, in case you happen to be one of those curious anomalies that doesn’t know, allow me to explain what these kinks are. Voyeurism is the act of watching someone in the process of disrobing, or engaging in a sexual act. This can be further broken down by consensual voyeurism, where one person watches their partner masturbate, or they watch a live cam show. It can also include observing a couple having sex in a public space, like a night club, because there is an implied consent when you know you’re going to be seen. There is also non-consensual voyeurism, which generally involves the more shady acts, like up-skirt shots, hidden cameras, and cliched peepholes.

On the other side of the coin is exhibitionism, which involves finding satisfaction from being watched, rather than doing the watching. This also has a consensual and non-consensual versions, with consensual exhibitionism done by cam show performers and strip club dancers, as those doing the watching are aware of their role as the watchers. In non-consensual exhibitionism, those doing the watching are often caught by surprise, not expecting to get a show when it happens. This is generally the case for flashers, and people who have sex in a public location where they can be seen by passers-by.

The thing I find curious about this fetish, however, is the appeal behind it. Thinking objectively, there’s nothing to gain from watching someone, when it would be much more fun to be interacting with someone instead. Why get your thrills from watching someone masturbate when it could be you satisfying them instead? Why bother to watch your neighbor undress through a gap in the blinds, when you could see much more of a woman in a porno? Ultimately, it comes down to a person’s curiosity.

The first time I committed voyeurism was probably a very similar experience to everyone’s first time, by accident. I was walking past a random house late at night, and I noticed a television playing through one of the windows, and realized it was porn. Granted, it’s probably not the textbook definition of voyeurism, but it still stopped me in my tracks, and I stood there watching for a few moments. I left once the person watching it realized I was standing there on the sidewalk, and shut it off.

The point of my story is the appeal of watching something out of pure curiosity. It happens all the time, especially to men. How many guys can honestly say, if a busty woman were to bend over, that man wouldn’t be tempted to peek a little. Of course, this happens to men more often because men have always been curious about the female form. Men are much less of a mystery, and have far less to be interested in, so women very rarely have anything to be curious about.

When it comes to being watched, people generally do so for a much more different reason. While voyeurs will watch out of curiosity, exhibitionists do so to be discovered. They enjoy the idea of being appreciated, and imagining what people are doing, or thinking, while they watch. Exhibitionists are generally very confident about their body, and have a very positive outlook with their appearance. They may get into it due to a lack of satisfaction in their own lives, and are seeking a new thrill in their life.

In the cases of both extremes, the allure comes from what the act means, not just for themselves, but for all those around them. We’re brought up to believe the act of exposing oneself, or engaging in sexual intercourse, outdoors is a perverse act. We are either not allowed to perform, or not allowed to watch, because it’s ethically wrong to do either. Yet, that very fact alone, that it’s not allowed, is what drives voyeurs and exhibitionists to want to do it even more.

On a final note, I wonder what would happen if a voyeur were to come across an exhibitionist…

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