Voyeurism refers to sexual pleasure obtained by looking at the genitals of another or by witnessing others' sexual activity. Voyeurs may obtain pleasure by watching people undress or by watching sexual intercourse. Those who are not satisfied with shows such as strip tease, may go to immense trouble to spy on other people and cause themselves injury in the process. Voyeurism stems from immaturity and fear, and indicates repressed sexual tendencies. It appears to be derived from the infantile desire to look - children are intensely curious about sexual matters, and even young monkeys are absorbed by the sight of their mother's genitals.
The mediaeval legend of Godiva and peeping Tom, gave rise to the epithet of Peeping Tom for voyeurs. The Justices of the Peace Act (England) of 1361 provides for the prosecution of voyeurs.
In adults, the incidence is indicated to some extent by the number of strip or similar clubs where copulation or simulated copulation is on show. Pornography and blue movies are associated with voyeurism but not the ultimate object of a voyeur's desires. Voyeurs may be prosecuted under common law.