Although the voyeur is passively distancing himself from any intimate contact, he is, at the same time, unilaterally and aggressively appropriating a sexual privilege. The culmination of the peeping may be in orgasm achieved during the watching, or the orgasm maybe be delayed until the voyeur, having stored up his images, masturbates in privacy. When the pleasure is delayed and played out with stored images or euphoric recall, the template behind it reflects an early childhood adaption to fantasy. This will lead to a search for the origins of such an adaption in childhood.
It is mid-August, and the
air hangs like thick velvet curtains. These are the dog days of summer,
but Jake, who sits on the curb outside his four-story row house, is
oblivious to the humidity. He is buried deep in this imagined world,
dragging his stick across the sewer grate, magically transforming it
into banjo strings, like the banjo his father plays on weekends in the
pub on the corner.
"Hey, Jakey," his friends yell from down the street.
Jake, jolted out of his imagined world, attempts to intercept the softball flying by his head.
"Got ya," they tauntingly jeer, cracking themselves up with laughter.
"You're such a pussy," the ringleader says.
Jake, who has taught himself not to react to the jabs, picks up the ball and tosses it back.
"Where's the stick?" another boy asks.
Jake averts his eyes in self-reproach. "Forget it," he says and turns to climb up the stoop of the tenement.
"Wait here, guys," Jake says over his shoulder, but the boys, right on his tail, follow Jake into the dark, dingy foyer.
"Who's there?" his mother calls out.
"Just me, Ma," Jake says, knowing she is on one of her afternoon binges.
Turning the corner to enter the living room, Jake stops, and boys run into each other.
"Shit," Jake mutters under his breath.
"What?" What are you doing?" Jake's mother asks, slightly raising her head and then letting it fall.
Spread out in panties and bra, her mother says in a slurred voice, "Oh, hey, boys; come on in," sh wave her extended arm.
The boys quickly turn away in fear and disgust. "We'll meet you outside," one of the boys says, slamming the screen door.
mother's shameless behavior has been a constant throughout his ten
years of life. An alcoholic like her husband, she has often passed out
by mid-afternoon, lying naked or half-clad in an open robe or a
Jake is torn about his feelings for
his mother. When his mother, still a beauty, is sober, she is loving and
attentive, but these times are few and far between. More often, she is a
sloppy, abusive, neglectful drunk, and that's what Jake has come to
expect from her.
Jake blinks at the bright sunlight as he
steps out onto the stoop. He hearts the boy's snickers as he leaps down
to the sidewalk. "Let's go," he yells, attempting to deflect humiliating
taunts and putdowns. Jake, already adept at emotional survival, has
learned to manipulate situations to avoid feelings of shame. Jake stuffs
those feelings deep down into the cavern of his core, when they will
eventually morph into the anger that fuels his secret life.
Jake's experiences with his mother's abusive behavior are the nucleus for his sexual template. The anger, blame, shame, fear, arousal, excitement, and curiosity all fuse in a confusing and overwhelming transfiguration that fuels his compulsive sexual behavior.
Jake, like all voyeurs, is aroused through visual stimulation. Because of the physical distance and anonymity from which it is committed, voyeurism is a passive-aggressive acting-out behavior. This kind of passivity-cloaking aggression has its origins in the original childhood wounding, when the child's shame reaction to abuse needs to be camouflaged so as not to invite further abuse or even ostracism.
We have already cussed, passive aggression is a common trait in most acting out sexual behaviors, because such behaviors seek to replicate the conditions under which the original wounding took place -- but with one critical change: The victim of the original abuse becomes the perpetrator. He seeks the power and control he did not have as a child. It becomes his unconscious motivation to repeat the behaviors that were perpetrated for resolution and a feeling of safety.