May 23 2013 8:30am

Watch It!: Voyeurism in Romance Novels

Deep Desires by Charlotte SteinVoyeurism is the practice of spying on people engaged in intimate behaviors, such as undressing, sexual activity, or other actions usually considered to be of a private nature. Voyeurs are most commonly male, though it’s not restricted to gender. For some, the thrill of voyeurism is the secretive nature of the act—the individual being viewed is often unaware of the voyeurs interest. Cameras, webcams, and photographs are tools of the trade. When a voyeur becomes obsessed with their subject, however, it can often lead to stalking. Often regarded as being sexual in nature, it can also be done in a nonsexual nature.

Reality TV is a prime example of nonsexual voyeurism. Shows like Teen Mom, Survivor, and American Idol all give the viewing public an intimate interaction with an particular subject or group with limited outside influence.

Voyeurism often goes hand in hand with exhibitionism. Exhibitionism is the practice of engaging in a deliberate manner in order to garner attention. There are those who like to watch and those who like to be watched. There is no harm, in my honest opinion, in engaging in voyeurism or exhibitonism if all parties and acts involved are consensual. Non-consensual voyeurism and exhibitionism, of course, is a crime.

 Art, film, and literature has long used voyeurism as a medium in their creations: Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, and D.J.’s Caruso Disturbia all used voyeurism as the plot device. Master painters such as Rembrandt depicted half clothed woman in various acts of perceived unobserved normality, while Velasquez focused more on how the images are observed, often using an inanimate object to bisect the picture, forcing the viewer to “peep” at the subjects. Nabokov’s Lolita, Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures Through The Looking Glass, and Nadzam’s Lamb are all classic tales which have an underlying theme of voyeurism. Even music has capitalized on it; who doesn’t know the stalker's anthem song, “Every Breath You Take” by the Police?

 As readers, we are all voyeurs in some form or fashion, peeking into the lives of  others through stories. Erotica tends to present voyeurism and exhibitionism in its rawest form, using sex to both titillate and intrigue both characters and readers alike. Below you will find some of my favorites.

 Charlotte Stein’s Deep Desires is an erotic tale that vaguely mimics Hitchcock’s Rear Window.  The hero and heroine each have deep dark secrets that force them to shy away from the public, and interact with the world through their apartment windows. When our heroine happens to spy our hero engaging in an intimate act in the apartment across from her, she is both dismayed and gratified by what she sees. When is becomes apparent he knows she’s watching, she finds her drawn into a delicious affair that stretches her boundaries and heals her heart.

Beyond Shame by Kit RochaBeyond Shame (Beyond, #1) by Kit Rocha is the first book in her post-apocalyptic series, and features some of the most delicious, filthiest, explicit sex scenes combined with tough-as-nails alpha heroes and heroines. Nothing is taboo sexually or off limits. Voyeurism. Exhibitionism. Threesomes, foursomes, orgies, and more. Don’t think the story is nothing but sex, though; Rocha wraps her erotic in a strong dark storyline that will leave you craving more time with the O’Kanes.

Lauren Gallagher’s Light Switch revolves  around a young woman whose lackluster sex life with an ex-boyfriend leads her to look for adventure. Her two best friends, a dom and a voyeur, decide to take her in hand and show her that love and passion is as close as right next door. Light Switch is a kinky tale that explores the boundaries of voyeurism, exhibitionism, and polyamorous relationships.

Voyeur by Lacey AlexanderI’ll bet you'll look at Skype a whole new way after reading Voyeur

by Lacey Alexander—when a burnt out erotica writer takes up a friend’s offer of a private retreat for a month, she never expects her secret fantasies to be fulfilled by a webcam and a dangerously attractive stranger. As our heroine opens up, expanding her boundaries one by one for the camera, she finds herself  wanting to go one step further and meet the man behind the lens. All rules and limits are left behind when our couple leaves the anonymity of the camera and meet face to face in the light.

Olivia Cunning’s Sinners on Tour series is filled with sexual antics as the members of this rock and roll band engage in every fantasy available while they rock their way across the US. One particular member, lead singer Sed Lionheart, rediscovers his long lost love in his book, Rock Hard. Both hero and heroine  have strong voyeuristic and exhibitionist tendencies, which leads them into some kinky situations and crazy sexual hijinks as they struggle to make their relationship work in Cunning’s high octane world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

I know I have only scratched the tip of the  iceberg, so tell me—what author has you committing voyeurism?


Tori Benson can be found at Smexybooks and at Twitter.

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Lege Artis
1. LegeArtis
Hm, from those you mentioned I haven't read only Light Switch. (and now you got me thinking am I developing a new kink,lol)
There are more books that comes in mind. Behind Closed Doors by Shannon McKenna, first novel in her McClouds series has hero who is obsessed with girl under his surveillance. I remeber those scenes, where he watches her are very hot....::fanning herself::
Also, in opening scene in Tempting the Beast, first book in Lora Leigh's Breeds series, heroine is watching hero in ... solo action.
I think, voayerism and exhibitionism under conditions you described in your post can be very hot. Do you remeber when Ty says Zane:
“One day I’m just going to sit in a corner and watch you jerk off”...?
That was so hot! I kind of still hoping we are going to get that scene 'cause I imagined it milion times in my head...
Great and smexy post, Tori! ;)
Jennifer Proffitt
2. JenniferProffitt
I can never stop saying how much I love Kit Rocha's Beyond Shame. I'm reading Beyond Control right now and it's still the perfect mix of no-holds-barred sex, world-building, and story telling. What a great lineup :)
4. Torifl
LegeArtis-I have a list of 80 plus V/E books so I obviously have a new kink too. YES! We must have that scene between Ty and Zane.

Jennifer Proffitt-Rocha told me her next installemnt would fit perfectly in this theme. ZOMG

MFrampton-I really wish we could get a sequel to Deep Desires. And Willing Victim. And After Hours. *sigh*
Jennifer Proffitt
5. JenniferProffitt
@LegeArtis: Because of your rec I started reading Lora Leigh's Breeds series and loving it! Thanks :)

@Torifl: Yay!!! I really cannot wait!
6. LMS430
Charlotte Stein is one of my new favorite authors. I wish she would put out more full length novels, even though I enjoy her novellas. I've read Deep Desires, but now I think I have to go check Amazon for something new I haven't read yet...Also apparently need to get Beyond Shame, since it's been recommended several times here.
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