‘Cuckolding’ is one of those sex terms that you’ve probably seen pop up somewhere on the internet (hello, porn sites), but you might never have known what it actually means. As the world becomes more woke to all kinds of monogamy, polyamory, and everything in between, people are becoming more and more open about enjoying cuckolding in the bedroom. So, here’s everything you need to know.
What is cuckolding?
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.
How is cuckolding different from polyamory?
Cuckolding differs from other forms of consensual non-monogamy (CNM) 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.
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.
The modern-day usage of the word ‘cuckolding’ as a fetish differs from its origins, as the cuckold is aware of and is consenting to their partner sleeping with another person.
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.’
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.
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.
As well as the cuckold, the partner who is sleeping with somebody else can enjoy cuckolding because it means they get to experience sexual variety with somebody else, and they can show their partner first-hand what they like.
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 require ‘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.
‘To start off with trying out cuckolding, maybe ask your partner to describe a fantasy about having sex with a different partner. That can be past partners, people you or they fancy or even a celebrity. Sometimes this may be enough for both parties and they have no interest in taking things further.
‘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.’
So, if you’re interested in giving cuckolding (or anything else) a go, follow these steps to telling your partner exactly what you want.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan UK
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