In psychology, what is scoptophilia or scopophilia?
Scopophilia (which is also sometimes called scoptophilia and occasionally referred to as voyeurism) is when a person gets great pleasure from simply the act of looking at things. This particularly is used to refer to erotic imagery, naked bodies, erotic objects and pornography.
In 'Three Essays on Sexuality', Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud wrote about scopophilia where he associated it with the anal stage of child psychosocial development. He considered it an integral component of sexuality whereby a person takes their pleasure from other people as objects by the act of voyeurism and visual objectification.
This component of sexuality, he wrote, is particularly visible in the acts of children such as the example of the often played game of 'you show me yours and I'll show you mine' where the children are driven by curiosity and instinct to see the 'forbidden'.
Scopophilia is also a term used in cinema to refer to the psychological pleasure of seeing nudity and eroticism within films and on television. As Laura Mulvey writes, at a basal level sex in cinema satisfies the desire to see and explore the human form.