The cuckoo bird is notorious for two things. Their hollow cry is a familiar warning of the clock striking a new hour. They also gave us the concept of the cuckold.
Female cuckoo birds have a habit of laying their eggs in other birds’ nests. Mr. Cuckoo returns to his nest to find eggs he didn’t fertilize. Where has Mrs. Cuckoo been? For shame!
What Is Cuckoldry?
Cuckoldry traditionally referred to a married man with an adulterous wife. Like the cuckoo bird, most men didn’t find out about the affair until their wives bore a child by the paramour.
As sexual attitudes changed over the years, cuckoldry evolved into something else. Today, it’s more often known as a fetish or form of consensual non-monogamy. Modern cuckoldry involves a man who enjoys his wife being sexually involved with another man. A husband will often make arrangements for his wife to have sex with another man while he watches. In this scenario, the husband is the “cuck,” the wife is the “hotwife” or “cuckstress,” and the extra man is the “bull.” It’s important to note that everyone involved in these fetish dates has consented. It’s not adultery.
Cuckoldry isn’t always a husband or boyfriend watching his wife or girlfriend. A “cuckquean” is a woman who enjoys watching her husband have sex with another woman (the “cuckcake”).
The prevailing theory is that cuckoldry is a preemptive coping mechanism for a partner’s adulterous desires. In other words, it’s a way to eroticize a man’s fear of his wife having an affair. If he thinks it's hot, he won't experience jealousy. If that’s the case, gay men should have no interest in cuckoldry since the risk of adultery is minimal due to a lack of evolutionary motivation.
Are Only Straight Men and Women Into Cuckholding? Researchers Look for Answers
Does that mean only straight men and women are interested in cuckoldry? One team of researchers were determined to find out. Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D., David Ley, Ph.D., and sex columnist Dan Savage set out to better understand gay men’s interest in cuckoldry.
The study included 580 gay men who self-identified as having cuckolding fantasies. They answered questions about the frequency of fantasies, how long they’ve had them, whether they’ve acted on them, and how the fantasies have affected their relationships. They also rated the importance of various elements within cuckolding fantasies.
It turns out that gay men are quite interested in cuckoldry after all: 84% percent of men in the study reported having a cuckolding fantasy at least once a month, with 35% having them daily. The nature of their fantasies include elements of involvement. Most men fantasize about observing their partner with another man, versus hearing about it later, or from another room. More than half of the men reported wanting to see their partner be a “bottom” in anal sex activities.
Interracial themes are prevalent in straight couples' cuckolding, but only 1% of the gay men in the study mentioned it. So, what is important to them? They prefer a bull with a large penis, that their partner gives and receives oral sex (and receives anal sex), and that they’re both satisfied in the end.
Additionally, 77% of the gay men who fantasized about cuckoldry shared their fantasies with a partner. Of the men who did this, 80% of them had an agreeable partner. Let that be noted by any men out there who have been too timid to speak up. The study’s primary researcher, Justin Lehmiller, notes that, “If you're thinking about acting on a cuckolding fantasy, it's worth stepping back first and making sure your relationship is in a good place and that you have strong sexual communication skills.”
About half of the men have acted upon their fantasies. Of those who did, 65% had an experience that was better than they expected, and 30% had an experience that was about on-par for their expectations.
Many Participants State Cuckolding Made Their Relationship Better
One significant finding is that 74% of the gay men who acted on their fantasies said it improved their relationship. Dr. Lehmiller stated, “There's a common tendency to assume that if you or your partner are sleeping with someone else that your relationship will necessarily suffer, but that isn't what we found. What we see is a consistent pattern: most people report that mutually-agreed upon outside sexual engagements tend to enhance their primary relationship.”
He did note that men with specific issues might have a negative experience if they act on their fantasies. Some of those issues include relationship anxiety, abandonment, poor communication and careless planning.
Bottom Line? Cuckoldry Isn't Just for Heterosexuals
So what can we take from this study? It’s clear that gay men fantasize about cuckoldry (and are interested in it). Cuckoldry ain’t just for the straight folk. A scenario that seems to emerge is a man's partner being dominated by a well-endowed bull through anal sex. By the end, both partners are well satisfied. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?
If the theory of eroticizing men’s fear of adultery doesn’t apply here, then why are gay men interested? Dr. Lehmiller thinks it might have something to do with sexual gratification. “It provides a convenient way to gratify multiple sexual desires at once. For example, for someone who is into group sex, has a submissive streak, and a lot of voyeuristic urges, cuckolding might be especially appealing. There isn't just one thing that everyone finds appealing about it. It's a sexual desire that can be easily customized to meet a wide range of sexual needs and desires.”
The popularity of cuckoldry porn has risen in recent years. This study sheds some light on the demographic of consumers of that porn. It also tells us that we need to check our stereotypes. Cuckoldry is no longer an offensive practice meant only for adulterers. It isn't a fetish just for the heterosexual crowd. Cuckoldry is an inclusive type of sexual play enjoyed by couples of all backgrounds. And now, thanks to research, we have the data to prove it.