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What Is a Peeping Tom?


A person who observes another without the latter’s consent or knowledge, especially when the person observing is deriving some form of sexual pleasure, is colloquially known as a peeping tom. The term “peeping tom” itself is derived from the story of Lady Godiva.


It was said that Lady Godiva asked the townspeople not to watch her as she rode through the town naked. The townspeople consented to this and agreed not to look. However, it is said that a person named Tom decided to watch the nude Lady Godiva. Thus, the evolution of the term “peeping tom” or what is also known as a voyeur began.


A peeping tom is defined as a person who deliberately and possibly furtively observes others while they are nude or engage in sexual acts. The traditional description of a peeping tom often involves a man who hides behind bushes or some other object, and secretly looks on as women undress or engage in some form of sexual activity. However, due to the advent of modern technology, a peeping tom may make use of video cameras, peepholes, and other forms of technology that will allow them to observe people without their consent or knowledge.


It has been noted that a peeping tom or voyeur suffers from some form of mental illness where they derive some form of satisfaction in watching people in their most intimate moments. This satisfaction is often sexual in nature, mostly because the voyeur or peeping tom realizes that he or she is not known to be observing by the observed.

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