A Lesson for Boston University's Peeping Toms

Do all children who play with toy guns grow up wanting to slaughter people?

Nope. Because, in this instance, people can separate fantasy from reality.

The same rules apply to rape fantasies, which are thought to be common amongst women. There’s a difference, in both cases, between fantasy and reality.

So why is that, when it comes to voyeurism, some people aren’t so good at separating fantasy from reality?

Boston University has been suffering a number of “peeping Tom” instances this year. Filling a certain hole in a certain bathroom wall has made some feel safer, but how sad that it had to come to this in the first place. The BU experts in the article offer a number of possible motivations (not all sexual) and John Wincze, who has worked with the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at BU, suggests that technology can play a role — the ability to sext pictures, for instance, can be used for reaping immediate gratification.

And in our tech-driven society, perhaps it is easier for some to lose their grip on what is permitted and what should remain a fantasy. On a porn site, for instance, a voyeur might watch a video of someone in the shower. Well, seeing as modeling is one of the most powerful forms of teaching (Bandura’s classic Bobo Doll experiment is an elegant example), perhaps the web makes such behavior seem more viable if the viewer isn’t good at judging social mores.

But that’s not the end of the blurry line between fantasy and reality. As Thomas Roche points out, a new study that suggests women fantasize more about men during ovulation seems to have been attracting some bizarre conjecture. A headline at Gather.com even suggests that women should therefore “be more careful” at this time of the month. Why? Because we might have no control over our reality? Because our fantasies might involve unprotected sex, therefore we are likely to burn the condoms? This seems kinda patronizing.

I don’t mean to deny the power of sexual fantasy, which can be such a positive, creative force in our lives. But like this post at Redbook suggests, there are many ways of playing with fantasies without harming ourselves or others.

If only BU’s “peepers” would read such an article and take it to heart.