I am looking for a word or phrase that portrays the feeling of watching an intimate (but not sexual) moment unfold.

Some context; A is keeping a watchful eye on E because he is worried about her safety. In the process he realized that he was watching a really personal moment that maybe wasn’t right of him to witness

I know that being a voyeur is generally connected to the sexual gratification from watching - but A is particularly uncomfortable after.

“She (E) closed her eyes, reaching out her arms as if in an embrace and I (A) got the sudden sense of ______”

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    You want a word for the feeling of watching not the act of watching? Is it a positive feeling or a negative feeling that you're after? Perhaps you can include a sentence where you might use this word. Apr 6, 2019 at 18:57
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    Welcome to EL&U. Your Q is a little unclear. You need to provide more context, as well as a sample sentence with a blank in it for inserting the target language. Apr 6, 2019 at 19:05
  • Without additional info as requested in the comments, your Q. is already being proposed for closure because it is "Unclear what you're asking".
    – TrevorD
    Apr 6, 2019 at 19:07
  • @TrevorD I will get on that right now Apr 6, 2019 at 19:09
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    In the exact context you describe here, intruding (upon an intimate moment) would be a natural choice; but that doesn’t necessarily fit the actual concept you’re talking about, just the particular situation. Apr 6, 2019 at 19:33

5 Answers 5


I think 'intrusion' would work for your sentence:

“Sarah closed her eyes, reaching out her arms as if in an embrace and I got the sudden sense of intrusion”.


The most obvious word in this particular situation would be

Embarrassment - A feeling of self-consciousness, shame, or awkwardness.

  • I guess, it perfect fits the requirement. Good choice :) +1
    – Ubi.B
    Apr 6, 2019 at 19:39
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    Too few characters to edit, but the word is misspelled! Apr 6, 2019 at 20:58

In American English, we might call such a person a creeper rather than a voyeur when the primary motivation is hovering nearby or surreptitiously spying private although not necessarily sexual moments.

Oxford Dictionaries:

3 North American, informal A person whose behaviour towards or interest in someone is regarded as unwelcome and socially inappropriate (typically used of a man)

‘I could dance there without a creeper walking up and accosting me’

That would make your sentence

“She closed her eyes, reaching out her arms as if in an embrace, and I suddenly felt like a creeper.”

Your ask for a word or phrase, so the related creepy works as an adjective here or creepiness as a noun.

“She closed her eyes, reaching out her arms as if in an embrace and I felt a sudden sense of creepiness.”



I got a sudden sense of Invasion

From https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/invasion

1.2 An unwelcome intrusion into another's domain.
‘random drug testing of employees is an unwarranted invasion of privacy’

There's nothing sexual implied, but the breech of privacy is clear.

Depending on the scenario it could also be:

I got a sudden thrill of Invasion which would be more stalker-ish.


I got a sudden sense of shame

Oxford Dictionaries:

  1. a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

Seeing that intimate moment made you think it was wrong or foolish of you to be watching her like that. You felt ashamed.

  • How can it be a shame? Choice was not conscious. He never intended to watch her in that situation.
    – Ubi.B
    Apr 6, 2019 at 19:43
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    @Ubihatt - He did decide to watch her. He may not have considered that watching her might have included the incident he just witnessed. In retrospect he's thinking he should have known better. He is conscious of his "now realized as wrong or foolish" behavior.
    – Jim
    Apr 6, 2019 at 19:48
  • He was just constantly watching her. His intention was to keep a watch on her for her safety. In that moment, she started embracing herself. So, while keeping a watch on her not knowing what her next move/action might be. He simply felt Embarrassed that he should not watch her in that situation. He wasn't ogling her, but just keep watchful eye on her.
    – Ubi.B
    Apr 6, 2019 at 20:15
  • @Ubihatt - I agree. What's your point? I'd point out that the answer you upvoted has shame as part of its definition.
    – Jim
    Apr 6, 2019 at 20:18
  • i.e. you step-in in someone else's room while they are changing, may give you feeling of embarrassment. Why you will feel shame? It wasn't intentional.
    – Ubi.B
    Apr 6, 2019 at 20:25

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