What is cuckolding, anyway 1

What is cuckolding, anyway?

Cuckolding is one of those sex terms that you’ve probably seen pop up somewhere on the internet but you might not know what it actually means. As the world wakes up to all kinds of non-monogamy and partnered play, people are becoming more and more open about embracing their kinks, fantasies and fetishes.

For some, this involves being a cuck, a bull or a hotwife, or enjoying reading about or watching other people’s cuckolding experiences online. Cuckolding is essentially a form of consensual non-monogamy, where one partner watches their lover having sex with another person. Often, cuckolding involves the observing partner (known as the cuckold) being present in the room while they watch, but they could also observe by being sent messages or photos of what is happening or being told about it afterwards.

What is cuckolding
What is cuckolding

What is cuckolding?

There are of course, plenty of deviations from this model, but when we talk about cuckolding or cuck fantasies, this is generally the setup we’re referring to. You can enjoy cuck play with your partner and not identify as a cuckold or a hotwife, it’s really down to you which terms and which acts you take from the dominant script on kink and what you develop and discover for yourselves.

“‘Hotwifing’ is a term used widely in the non-monogamous community but pertains to a specific type of behaviour.” says sex educator Gigi Engle. “While it is often considered a term used only in the swinger community, anyone in an open relationship or marriage with a penchant for kinky fun can utilise this phrase. Hotwife is a term used in swinger communities to refer to a wife, or typically a partner of someone, who has intimate relationships with others.

A cuckold is her partner – who often watches her be intimate with others or is told about it later. To be cuckolded means that you are a cis-man (usually) who is being “humiliated” (again, usually) in a consensual way by his wife openly having sex with other men. The other men are called ‘Bulls’.”

How is cuckolding different from polyamory?

Cuckolding differs from other forms of consensual or ethical non-monogamy (CNM and ENM) as it’s all focused on watching what’s happening. Other kinds of CNM include polyamory, where someone has multiple romantic partners, but cuckolding is usually purely sexual rather than romantic. Another kind of CNM is swinging, where couples swap sexual partners, but when it comes to cuckolding, the person observing usually doesn’t physically participate in any sexual activity – their main role is to watch.

Interracial Cuckolding
Interracial Cuckolding

What is the history of cuckolding?

The word “cuckold” is derived from the cuckoo bird, which lays its eggs in other birds’ nests, meaning that the birds go on to raise chicks that aren’t their own. “Cuckold” was first used in medieval times to describe the husband of an unfaithful wife who, unaware of his wife’s infidelity, would raise children that clearly weren’t his own, like with cuckoo birds.

While the origins of the term describe cuckolding as a husband watching his wife with another man, cuckolding can be done any way you want, whether it’s a female partner watching their male partner with another woman or another man, or whether everybody involved is male or female or of any other gender.

Why do people enjoy cuckolding?

There are various reasons why people might enjoy cuckolding as a fetish or a form of consensual non-monogamy. Some people introduce cuckolding as a way of combatting boredom or repetition in a relationship, and find that sexual variety actually strengthens their relationship with their partner, especially as they’re able to learn more about what their partner enjoys. For others, the jealousy they feel from watching their partner with another person adds an exciting element to their relationship and can add a new dimension to their sex life.

Cuckolding may trigger sexual jealousy,” says psychosexual and relationship therapist Aoife Drury. “The thought of their [the cuckold’s] partner being with someone else may be quite arousing.”

What is cuckolding
What is cuckolding

Aoife adds that another reason cuckolding can be enjoyable is because “it’s about seeing sexual satisfaction or empowerment from your partner and that being a turn on. This actually has a name and is defined as compersion.”

Cuckolding is a great way of strengthening communication in a relationship, as it requires honesty from both partners about what they enjoy, what they don’t and what their boundaries are if they do feel jealous or uncomfortable. Couples who have tried cuckolding often report that it strengthens the bond between them, as they’re able to trust each other and talk openly about their desires.

Is cuckolding BDSM?

Cuckolding can also be considered a subset of BDSM. “An aspect of BDSM can be humiliation, and the thought of [the cuckold] feeling or being humiliated could also be exciting. Our brains have the ability to turn something degrading into something powerfully erotic,” says Aoife. Sexologist Dr. Jill McDevitt adds, “the arousal that comes from relinquishing power and being humiliated (which is a form of masochism)” can be part of what makes cuckolding enjoyable.

“This can play out in many different ways and will vary from couple to couple on how they engage with it.” says Gigi Engle. “For some, it can be part of a larger D/s dynamic where the woman is in control. Crucially, both people are very into this dynamic and have sexual gratification from it. There can be cock cages involved, bondage, cages, and all kinds of other things involved. This practice will definitely look unique to everyone who engages with it. It’s highly customisable.

It’s a really wonderful way to subvert gender roles and explore Dom/sub dynamics. When this is done correctly, it allows us to have many an itch scratched. We may desire to be consensually humiliated (or want to humiliate) in a D/s context, for sexual variety, and to explore fantasy.”

How can you introduce cuckolding into your relationship?

Start by being open with your partner, letting them know that this is something you want to try, and explaining what it is if they’re unsure. The important thing is to make sure that everyone involved is comfortable and consenting to what is happening. Cuckolding requires “tons of communication, discussion of safer sex methods, and consideration of the physical and emotional safety of all involved, including the third party,” says Dr. Jill.

“Cuckolding can very much be part of healthy relationships as long as you are both open, honest and content with it being part of your sex lives,” adds Aoife. “The most important aspect of all sexual activity is consent. It is important when someone has a kink or fetish that they are communicating openly with all parties involved, and everyone is happy.

“If it is something that you would like to start off with, it is vital to understand what may be brought up. Seeing your partner with someone else may be quite upsetting so taking it slow is of utmost importance. Finally I would encourage partners to draw out parameters and rules so that there are clear boundaries; perhaps that’s not having sex with someone you know or for cuckolding not to occur in your home.

“If you are both happy and wanted to take the next step, try going to a bar and watching them flirt with someone else. The next step, if that goes well, is your partner having sex with someone else and then recounting the experience to you.”

But Gigi Engle has some thoughts on the term “cuckold’ specifically. “As a clinician, I prefer the term ‘open marriage’ to calling people cuckolds or hotwives because it has very heteronormative implications. And in practice, it’s often the husband who is creating a scenario for his sexual gratification rather than for his wife’s pleasure.”

It can bring couples closer and create a more united bond when this practice is done with excitement and curiosity.” she explains. “CNM takes a lot of work and a lot of talking. It can bring people to a different, deeper level of understanding. Additionally, humans need sexual variety and excitement to sustain long-term sexual interest, and this can be an enjoyable way to get that novelty while staying in a safe, connected partnership. It can build trust and even make you desire your partner even more.”

So, if you’re interested in giving cuckolding (or anything else) a go, follow these steps to telling your partner exactly what you want.

What is cuckolding
What is cuckolding