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Tropes and genres
Related tropes/genresExhibitionism, Kink, Public Sex, UST
Related articles on Fanlore.

Voyeurism is a popular kink which involves one or more persons witnessing one or more others in a sexual act. Sometimes this is done purposefully, and the character is aware of their kink.

It is the reverse of the exhibitionism or public sex kink.

Voyeurism comes in many flavours: consensual or not, deliberate or not, leading to being caught and invited to join, leading to masturbation, a realization of feelings, Unresolved Sexual Tension, etc.

Romantic feelings either before or after the voyeuristic episode are not required, so long as sexual arousal/gratification occurs.

In Sept 2021, 50k works on AO3 used the 'Voyeurism' tag.

Trope Variations

Accidental Voyeurism

A common sub-category known as 'accidental voyeurism' involves unsuspecting characters coming upon a sexual situation.

They typically find themselves unable to leave (e.g., are trapped in a hiding place) and forced to witness the act to its end.

Although both parties are technically involved in a non-con act, this aspect of this setup is often treated lightly in fanworks, and neither the watching nor the watched parties are harmed by the episode beyond some temporary embarrasment.

Consensual Voyeurism

Here, characters are invited or request to watch others. This removes any non-con or dub-con aspect to the kink.

The watching or watched character(s) might already know they enjoy this kink, or discover it in the process.

In some cases, a voyeur might believe the act to be non-consensual, while the person they watch is in fact aware they are being watched and is 'playing to the camera.' This typically leads to UST and misunderstandings.

Forced Voyeurism

In Dark AU versions, characters may be forced to watch others perform sexual acts, perhaps in a fuck or die situation. As voyeurism is often inherently a non-consensual act, this branch-off is not surprising.


In this variation, voyeurs become aroused by watching themselves having sex -- either thanks to technology (video recordings) or due to magical/science-fiction means such as time travel, doppelgangers, etc.

In some stories, this leads to realizations such as coming out to themselves, or realizing their feelings for a specific character.


The top five fandoms on AO3 with works tagged voyeurism are as follows, as of 02 June, 2020:

However, this might be a result of those fandoms being the most popular on the site, rather than voyeurism being particularly prevalent in them.

Example Fanworks