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Over a period of at least 6 months, in a heterosexual male, 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.

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

The act of looking ("peeping") is for the purpose of achieving sexual excitement, and generally no sexual activity with the observed person is sought. Orgasm, usually produced by masturbation, may occur during the voyeuristic activity or later in response to the memory of what the person has witnessed.

Often these individuals have the fantasy of having a sexual experience with the observed person, but in reality this rarely occurs.


    In its severe form, peeping constitutes the exclusive form of sexual activity. The onset of voyeuristic behavior is usually before age 15 years. The course tends to be chronic.

      Diagnostic criteria summarized from:

      American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.


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