Saturday, June 7, 2008

Your’s for the Peeping

Recently I started a new blog for the purpose of exploring the possibilities of an online D/s relationship with a close dominant female friend. With this blog, while intended solely for adults I give careful attention to what I write about and what kind of art I post in hopes that people who visit it will not be put off or offended and will take time to read what I write with an open mind. The other blog exists for a different purpose and because it will in time be a bit more edgy and include photographs that might be offensive to some, I chose to designate it as an “adult content” blog which notifies visitors upfront of what to expect and requires them to acknowledge with an affirmative mouse click that they understand and accept that before the are allowed to proceed to the actual blog content.

Today I noticed to my surprise that in less than two weeks of existence, my new blog has received over 25,000 hits as compared to just a little more than 5,000 hits for this blog. Actually I don’t believe the content of the other blog justifies its apparent “popularity” as at least what I have posted there thus far likely would not have great appeal to anyone other than myself and my friend for whom the blog was designed. While I don’t know this to be fact and if it is I certainly don’t know how to do it myself, but I rather suspect there must be some means of “googling” adult content blogs and that is the explanation for why so many people have visited my new blog.

The reason I mention all of this is simply to explain why today, it occurred to be to write on the topic of “voyeurism”. In general, voyeurism is defined as human sexual behavior involving achievement of sexual arousal through viewing the sexual activities of others, usually strangers, who may be naked, in the process of disrobing or even engaging in sexual activity. To some extent voyeurism is widespread and various types of sexual display are a normal part of sexual attraction and mating behavior in most animals, including humans. In current society a certain amount of voyeurism is considered normal, such as watching sexually explicit movies or perusing sexually graphic magazines. Even if masturbation occurs during, or shortly after, these accepted types of voyeuristic activities, are still considered to be normal, not deviant behavior. Even if a person found himself sexually aroused when unintentionally noticing by accident someone who was undressing, naked, or having sex, it wouldn’t be considered a deviant behavior. A variant form of voyeurism involves listening to erotic conversations; e.g. telephone sex. Another variation could involve visiting “adult content” blogs or web sites.

Generally voyeurism is only considered a paraphilia or a psychosexual disorder when a person engages in activity with the specific intent of observing unsuspecting, non-consenting individuals who are naked, in the process of undressing or engaging in sexual acts and the act of looking or peeping is undertaken for the purpose of achieving sexual excitement. The observer generally does not seek to have sexual contact or activity with the person being observed. If orgasm is sought, it is usually achieved through masturbation. This may occur during the act of observation or later, relying on the memory of the act that was observed. Frequently, a voyeur may have a fantasy of engaging in sexual activity with the person being observed. In reality, there is no intent of actually consummating this fantasy. Voyeurism is considered a deviant behavior when a person actively seeks out such experiences and when observation ceases to be merely one factor in sexual attraction and becomes the sole or primary source of gratification. The risk of being caught is an additional element in the excitement of the voyeur.

Thinking and reading about voyeurism has caused me to conclude that there is a little bit of voyeurism in most of us, in modern society. Many of us have a fair bit of curiosity about the sexual activities and intimate thoughts and feelings of others which I think could explain the popularity of “adult content” blogs. This argument is supported too by the popularity of social web sites like YouTube and Flickr. While these sites enjoy steady web traffic and heavy, they were designed for the purpose of helping users share photos, videos, and knowledge with each other but only small fractions of overall users actually use the services to upload content. According to published reports, only 0.16 percent of YouTube's total traffic is made up of users who upload videos. Similarly, only 0.2 percent of Flickr's regular users are there to upload photos.

The raging popularity of such web sites as YouTube, Facebook and My Space, as well as blogs imply there may be a definite connection between voyeurism and another paraphilia – exhibitionism. There seems a behavioral connection with the consciously “for show” lives of those spending more and more of their time online, where domestic activities are recorded in achingly specific detail. In modern society people use the Internet to gradually open themselves up, first at very superficial levels of their personalities, and then they carefully move on to more intimate areas, feeding some felt need to feel exposed, or open, to perfect strangers - a sly commentary on a culture that continues to find new ways to display ever more intimate, and mundane, details of domestic life.

There is no scientific consensus concerning the basis for voyeurism. Most experts attribute the behavior to an initially random or accidental observation of an unsuspecting person who is naked, in the process of disrobing, or engaging in sexual activity. Successive repetitions of the act tend to reinforce and perpetuate the voyeuristic behavior. But as long as the behavior and resulting fantasies or urges do not become the cause of significant distress in the individual or become disruptive to his or her everyday functioning, it seems to be a rather benign thing.

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