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Cuckolding: From Forbidden Act to Fiery Fantasy


Cuckolding: From Forbidden Act to Fiery Fantasy

To the close-minded, cuckolding might seem like the ultimate betrayal. But to practitioners, it’s one of the most thrilling forms of sexual role-play.

Cuckolding — and the insult derived from it, cuck — might seem like a product of the modern world’s interest in kinks, fetishes, and progressive relationship styles.

But the word traces its roots all the way back to the Middle Ages, and cuckolds appeared in the stories of everyone from Geoffrey Chaucer to William Shakespeare.

So what exactly is cuckolding, and how did it evolve from a Shakespearian punchline into a well-loved kink?

What is cuckolding?

The word “cuckold” comes from the Old French word for the cuckoo bird, which is known for laying eggs in the nests of other birds. It’s also a reference to the sound of the male cuckoo’s call, which you’re familiar with if you’ve ever been around a cuckoo clock at the top of the hour.

In Chaucer and Shakespeare’s days, being called a cuckold wasn’t a compliment. And since we still see insults like “cuck,” “beta cuck,” and “cuckservative” hurled around online to describe people (usually men) the name-caller views as weak, it’s clear the negative connotation hasn’t been completely lost to time.

People referred to as cucks aren’t usually proud to wear that label. But for others, the connotation is entirely positive: Modern cuckolding is a form of consensual non-monogamy (CNM), sometimes known as ethical non-monogamy (ENM), where one partner (the “cuckold”) takes pleasure from watching their partner (the “hotwife”) engage in extramarital sexual activities with another person (the “bull”).

Don’t let the term hotwife fool you: Although cuckolding is traditionally seen as a male-driven fantasy, people of any gender or sexuality can assume the role of cuckold, hotwife, or sexual bull. What’s important is that everyone involved is taking part consensually.

Cuckold versus hotwife: What’s the difference?

Cuckolding is a type of CNM, but it’s important to note that not all CNM relationships involve cuckolding. A cuckold, for example, isn’t just someone who’s OK with their partner sleeping with someone else. For cuckolds, knowing their partner is having sex with another person — or even watching them do it — is in itself a source of sexual pleasure.

That pleasure also ties into the word “hotwife.” What’s perhaps more enticing to a cuckold than the act of being cucked is that their wife (or partner) is hot enough for someone outside the relationship to sleep with her (or them).

In this type of relationship, the cuckold and hotwife aren’t equals — but that’s by design. Their dynamic is based not just on trust and sexual freedom but on BDSM-related kinks and fetishes like erotic humiliation, voyeurism, and a complex form of power play.

How common is cuckolding?

More common than you might think! But according to studies conducted by sex researchers Justin Lehmiller and Mariëlle de Goede, cuckolding is far more common in the U.S. than in Europe.

Why? Lehmiller and de Goede have a theory: While many Europeans don’t view things like open relationships and partner-swapping as taboo, the opposite is still true in the States, and studies show American men are more likely to cheat than women (at least in older adults).

Plenty of women still cheat on their male (or female or nonbinary or trans or genderqueer) partners, of course. But in the U.S., there’s a common (if untrue) understanding that monogamy is the ideal relationship type and that men, not women, are more likely to be cheaters. 

These beliefs make the idea of female partners having sex outside the relationship taboo, especially when the male partner encourages the infidelity. And for some people, says de Goede, “The forbidden is incredibly arousing.”

How does cuckolding work?

At its core, cuckolding requires mutual consent and constant open communication. It’s not just about sex — it’s about exploring boundaries, desires, and sexual fantasies together. 

Beyond that, cuckolding dynamics can vary from couple to couple. Here’s a breakdown of some of the different types of cuckoldry:

  • Forced cuckold: In a form of consensual non-consent (CNC), the forced cuckold pretends they’re being cheated on against their will (but they’re really in on the game).

  • Dominant cuckold: Like a director on the set of a movie, the dominant cuckold runs the show, telling their partner who to sleep with and what sexual acts to perform.

  • Submissive cuckold: Here, the hotwife is in charge, dominating their partner, who gets a sexual thrill from submission.

  • Humiliation cuckold: The fact that the hotwife is making a fool of the cuckold by cheating on them is a total turn-on for both parties.

  • Chastity cuckold: By incorporating bondage into the game, the chastity cuckold loses the power to pleasure themselves — or to stop the bull from pleasuring their hotwife.

  • Voyeur cuckold: The voyeur cuckold gets off on watching their hotwife in the act, reveling in their partner’s desirability and in their own powerlessness and humiliation.

  • Sissy cuckold: For the sissy cuckold, emasculation is part of the fun. Their partner might even engage in pegging or make him wear women’s underwear — and he loves it.

  • Threesome cuckold: This type of cuckold will sit back and watch for a while. But their ultimate goal is to join in — with consent from the hotwife and bull, of course.

Why do couples enjoy cuckolding?

As we mentioned earlier, the taboo factor is a big draw for many people. Breaking societal norms and engaging in what’s often considered a forbidden activity adds an exhilarating edge to the experience.

Power dynamics are also a huge part of the cuckolding world. Many people who participate in BDSM take pleasure in humiliation, dominance, and submission, and becoming a cuckold or hotwife is a thrilling way for couples to explore those kinks.

For some, the feelings of competitiveness or jealousy that arise when watching or imagining a partner with someone else are a turn-on. But there’s another emotion that can be just as appealing: compersion. In the context of CNM relationships, compersion is the opposite of jealousy — it’s the feeling of immense joy one takes from the joy of someone else, even (or especially) when that joy comes as a result of their partner having sex with another person.

How to explore cuckolding (safely)

Intrigued by what you’ve read so far and ready to learn how to cuckold? Follow these tips to ensure a happy ending for everyone involved.

1. Do your homework

You’ve taken an important first step by reading what we’ve shared with you here. But don’t stop there. Get your hands on all the information you can find, and consider joining online forums or in-person BDSM communities to find people you can go to with questions or for support.

2. Talk to your partner

Honest communication is the bedrock of a successful cuckolding relationship. Share your fantasies, boundaries, and concerns, and don’t move forward unless both partners are on the exact same page.

3. Don’t forget the bull

A bull who doesn’t know they’re a bull can’t fully consent to the relationship. If the cuckold isn’t watching, you don’t necessarily need to explain your cuckolding dynamic to the third partner. But let them know up front that the hotwife is in a CNM relationship so they can decide whether or not to participate.

4. Agree on a safe word

Safe words are a must when power dynamics are involved. Choose a random word that won’t get mistaken for dirty talk, then use it as an emergency stop button if someone decides their boundaries have been crossed.

5. Take it slow

Rushing into cuckolding has a tendency to backfire. Dip your feet in by enjoying some cuckoldry-themed porn or erotica together before trying the real thing.

6. Use protection

Unless you’re in an exclusive relationship, using protection is a non-negotiable to prevent both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Male condoms are a must if there are penises involved, and we advise using a dental dam if one or more partners have a vagina.

Explore your fantasies with Quinn

Erotica is one of the best ways to get a feel for a new kink before diving in headfirst. And when you’re listening to erotica instead of paging through a book, it’s easy to share the experience with a partner. That’s why we made Quinn, the audio erotica app created by women for the world. If you’re interested in threesomes, bondage, or infidelity, the wide range of erotic content on Quinn is a great place to start.

To access thousands of audio stories and guided masturbation sessions, download the Quinn app for iOS or Android.

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