Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp 585–608

Voyeurism: A review of literature

  • R. Spencer Smith

DOI: 10.1007/BF01541221

Cite this article as:
Smith, R.S. Arch Sex Behav (1976) 5: 585. doi:10.1007/BF01541221


The most striking thing about the literature on voyeurism is the relative lack of material in print. In the present work, the author was able to find only 15 articles and no books that deal specifically with voyeurism. Of the 57 references compiled for this review, not one involves an experimental manipulation of variables. An attempt is made to review as many aspects of voyeurism as possible, giving illustrative case material whenever available. The areas of troilism and coprophilia are covered in some detail to establish to what degree they belong to the deviation of voyeurism. Theory of perversion has centered around the psychoanalytic and behavioral schools because of the lack of material from other approaches. The voyeur is found to be a relatively young man of low socioeconomic status, who sociosexually is said to be “not retarded but a late bloomer.” He is prone to minor crimes and not major offenses. It is suggested that voyeurism be considered a deviation from normal sexual behavior and that deviations are not in and of themselves criminal behavior. At present, punishment is generally mild but highly variable and unpredictable. Treatment is usually analysis or group therapy, but other forms of therapy such as aversion and avoidance conditioning are being attempted with increasing success.

Key words

voyeurismscoptophiliadeviationsperversiontherapysexual behavior

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Spencer Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.DickinsonUSA