Why Is Cuckolding a Popular Fantasy
Women have had a hard time of things when it comes to cheating, culturally speaking. In most of the societies mentioned in the Old Testament, it is very literally carved in stone that a man can take many wives, but if any of them cheat on him, there is a list of punishments too horrendous to list here that he’s entitled to carry out.
A cheating wife generally renders the man a pariah, or a punchline, as worthy of humiliation as much as the wife that cheated on him. It’s true in totally unrelated cultures. In Ancient Rome, for example, a cuckold – a man who’s been cheated on by a spouse – would be imagined as having deer antlers to symbolize his wife’s infidelity. In Ancient China, and modern China for that matter, wearing a green hat symbolizes exactly the same thing.
Why, then, have fantasies and pornographic material of cuckolding suddenly become so wildly popular?
Research suggests that cuckolding is now the second most popular search topic in heterosexual porn. The same is true on Amazon, where the search term ‘cuckold’ will return hundreds and thousands of erotic books with cuckolding as their central theme. It’s a fantasy that seems to be extremely common, but generally overlooked, because it’s also generally a very private fantasy.
It’s somehow counterintuitive to think of something being so stigmatised but so prevalent at the same time. It’s so common that if it wasn’t so private I suspect it would be considered normal, and that should bring some relief to the countless men on internet message boards asking questions like “is fantasising about cuckolding normal?” and “Is it weird that I want to watch my wife with another man?”
It’s not weird, and it is normal. So what is it that drives these seemingly unorthodox desires?
Other Men Find My Wife Sexually Attractive
We live in a highly “pornified” sexual landscape, and men can’t help but be influenced, by some process of osmosis, the no-holds-barred reality of sex they see projected in front of them on porn sites. It follows that repeated exposure to such exaggerated sexual responses and activities would lead them to include fantasies of their own wives being involved in such boundless, ecstatic sex.
Their wife as an object of sex has an appeal for a vast number of men, and particularly attractive is the thought of someone having sex with here without abandon, without control, cementing her as a purely sexual entity, desired by many, but, when all is said and done, still belonging to him. In this mindset, the fantasy of his wife being lusted after by other virile men, perhaps more virile than him, bestows a kind of power on him over those men.
It’s almost like showing off. To men who fall into this category, the thought of passing his wife round to another man, or men, is like handing the keys to his new Ferrari to another for a test drive in the knowledge that the man could never have it for himself.
This is far from a progressive and commendable attitude, of course, but I suspect it’s true in at least some cases. Similarly true is the waning of desire within a marriage. The clinical psychologist Leon Seltzer Ph.D puts it like this:
“…once a romantic relationship has been domesticated, much of its original luster may have become tarnished. So if, through fantasy, a man succeeds in imagining his wife as a passionate, two-dimensional sex object, such a manner of “un-domesticating” her can restore some of the “shimmering lust” now possibly missing for him.”
My Wife Is In Control Of Her Own Sexuality
Couples who indulge their cuckolding fantasies are often firmly feminist and progressive in their attitudes. Some cuckolds enthusiastically embrace their wives’ rights to express their sexuality with other men, and take a ‘her sexiness is sexy’ approach. It’s a turn-on for these men to have an empowered, sexually liberated, and assertive wife.
In this way, her sexual fulfillment becomes his sexual fulfillment, and the whole dynamic is actually one of intimacy. Her ability to shed her inhibitions gives him a sense of pride in her, and the sexual stimulation comes from knowing that she is open to sexual stimulation.
It’s The Wrongness That’s So Right
When a heterosexual man imagines his wife with other men, visualizing her breaking their marital vows for his sexual gratification, there’s a lot going on that might be called ‘transgressive.’ Willingly imagining himself as a cuckold, and yet fully in control of his own cuckoldry, brings with it a sense of the ‘forbidden’, which is sexy in itself, in the outrageousness of it.
It seems to go against the conventional grain for a man to sexualise and be turned on by the thought of another male having sex with his wife or, perhaps worse yet, offering her for another’s pleasure. Traditionally, such a man would be humiliated, or ostracised. Why should he then create a fantasy in which that very thing happened? In short, because the creation of a fantasy is ownership of it. However scandalous or taboo, to invent a sexual scenario is to exert a kind of mastery over it.
There’s also something loosely masochistic and demeaning about such a fantasy, even while that fantasy is empowering its imaginer. What might be humiliating about picturing his wife pleasuring other men is no longer humiliating in such a context: rather, it’s deeply erotic. In this way, by retaining an element of control over the situation, the man can find himself in a dominant role while being dominated. The complexity of it attracts many men. See also: topping from the bottom.
Sometimes, at least in fantasy, the goal of a cuckold scenario is to be degrading to her. This has some ugly overtones which involve the man picturing his wife as lesser, not as strong, or not as powerful as him, and speaks more to male neurosis generally than a sex act specifically. This can indicate the sexualization of his anger or spite towards his wife, and a desire to show her her own worthlessness.
Such a viewpoint is obviously repulsive, but it can work the other way too, in which it’s the men themselves getting off on being degraded by watching his wife with ‘better’ men. This opens the door to all manner of psychoanalysis which I’m not qualified to talk about. Nonetheless, it’s worth including.
To Sum Up…
Cuckoldry is a swirling mass of fascinating complexity that seems to include and incorporate any number of different kinks and fetishes all at the same time. We are complicated creatures when it comes to sex, and cuckolding is just one of the manifold ways we express our constantly evolving sexualities.
With 16 years in the adult industry, including many years at LELO, it’s fair to say Stu has been around the sex toy block a few times. As LELO’s resident sex geek, he’s been featured in the Independent, the Guardian, HuffPost, Vice, Cosmopolitan, and anywhere people talk about sex. Here on Volonte, he turns his spotlight onto the important events affecting sex right now in a regular op-ed. Views are his own.