In a society where monogamy is the norm, and jealousy is treated like a sign of how much you care, open relationships, polyamory, and swinging are outliers. But those aren’t the only fantasies or lifestyles that fall outside of the dominant paradigm. Cuckolding is also a common fantasy and doesn’t stay just in the realm of porn and erotica. Many people are acting out this desire in their own lives. The fetish based social network, FetLife, has countless groups dedicated to cuckolding.
If you haven’t heard of it before, cuckolding, generally, refers to a man being cheated on by his wife. But that fails to capture the nuance of the cuckolding fetish. Like all BDSM, what moves cuckolding into the world of kink is that it is done consensually, with the full knowledge of all parties involved. In fact, it often happens at the request of the cuck — the man being “cheated on” or left out.
So what’s the appeal of cuckolding?
Like everything to do with human sexuality and psychology it’s complicated. I turned to a FetLife group focused on cuckolding and put out a call for people willing to answer a few questions. The response was immediate—dozens of people across genders and sexualities reached out to talk about their interest in cuckolding—from people who kept it in the realm of fantasy to those who had decades of experience in real life.
One strong theme among the people who responded to my inquiry was that of submission and humiliation. Joe says, “I really like the submissive aspects of [cuckolding] and the humiliation. It’s a rush knowing you can’t satisfy your wife, so she’s turning to another man.” But he goes on to say, “Like so many things, the fantasy doesn’t always line up with the reality, what matters is that we’ve found a way to engage in this lifestyle that is enjoyable for all parties involved.”
Although cuckolding is often considered primarily a male fantasy, there are exceptions. Miss Zelly says, “As a polyamorous Dominant female, cuckolding made a great deal of sense to me. It is subversive to vanilla status quo expectations of what ‘a good woman’ does and is therefore liberating and empowering.” Another woman, Wicked Maggie, says, “After my divorce, I had no desire to enter into any kind of monogamous arrangement or to follow traditional relationship models. So when [my partner] described cuckolding to me, I was intrigued that the idea seemed to fit what I desired.”
Cuckolding is still somewhat taboo in both the swinging and kink scenes
It will come as no surprise that cuckolding fetishists have the same struggles as anyone else looking for a third party for a threesome or other arraignment. When both sides of the couple have particular desires or requirements, it becomes twice as hard to find a partner. JC told me about an 18 month relationship he was in where they explored cuckolding fantasies at length, but never found a suitable bull (the term used for the man who guest stars.) Not to be deterred, JC and his partner did the best they could with what they had, and used dildos as a stand-in, along with dirty talk and humiliation to bring their fantasy to life.
As more themes emerged, I was surprised to see so many similarities with polyamory. People spoke of cuckolding strengthening their relationship and improving communication within the primary couple. According to Spank, “To be a committed cuckhold one has to adopt the view that love transcends sex.”
NookieNotes explained further, saying, “It’s made it more intimate, more trusting, more loving. The experiences we have shared have brought us so much closer together, given our relationship a depth that neither of us has had before, and shown us that there is no threat to our relationship from without.” And Joe said, “I know it’s cliche, but it’s helped improve our communication with each other.”
Cuckolding is getting more media attention these days, as a variety of fetishes and lifestyles are coming further out of the closet. And as with so many things once considered outside what is normal or acceptable, people with this fetish aren’t so different from people with any other fetish, or any other open relationship style.
Stella Harris is an author, educator, and coach who focuses on sex, kink, and intimacy. Through her writing and teaching she explores the complex world of love and lust and strives to help people explore their sexuality safely and free of shame. You can learn more about Stella on her website, stellaharris.net or follow her on Twitter @stellaerotica
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