IN THE AGE OF Shakespeare, the term “cuckold” was used for a man who was unaware that his wife was cheating on him with another guy. Nowadays, you might hear “cuckold” or “cuck” thrown around as immature insults for men who are deemed “weak,” or “beta.” In both cases, the word “cuckold” is linked to a perceived lack of masculinity—which helps explain why the “cuckolding” kink is popular among guys who like to explore power dynamics in bed.
“The term comes from the Cuckoo bird, [and how the] the females deceptively lay eggs in other birds’ nests,” explains clinical sexologist Jill McDevitt, Ph.D. “The verb cuckolding [has been] used to describe the patriarchal fear among men that they would be humiliated and lose social status should their wife cheat on them, become pregnant, and they would raise the other man’s child none-the-wiser.”
What is the cuckolding kink?
In the world of sex, “cuckolding” entails a man, known as a “cuckold,” watching his girlfriend or wife have sex with another man, known as a “bull.” (Sometimes, the cuckold chooses not to be in the same room; instead, he’s “forced” to listen to the bull and his wife have sex from outside the bedroom.)
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“It’s hard to say how prevalent it actually is in practice, but it is a common fantasy,” McDevitt says. Pornhub’s 2021 Year-in-Review reported that searchers for ‘Cuckold’ increased by 168% in 2021.
Why are people into cuckolding?
As with other kinks, the “taboo” nature of choosing to sit back while your partner gets down with someone else is what makes it so appealing for some people. “In a culture that is mostly monogamous, engaging in cuckolding (in fantasy or in real life) can feel like crossing the boundaries of what society says is okay,” says Kate Balestrieri, Psy.D., founder of Modern Intimacy. “Pushing the limits and doing things that are ‘out of bounds’ can add an element of fear and adrenaline to the experience of arousal, increasing the turn-on.”
According to McDevitt, “the arousal that comes from relinquishing power and being humiliated” is one of the main reasons guys are into cuckolding. This humiliation factor is why the bull is typically more “conventionally masculine” than the cuck; they might be in better shape, stronger, have a bigger penis, etc. Sometimes, the cuck’s partner and the bull will verbally humiliate the cuckold, calling them pathetic or making fun of their “small dick”—all consensually, of course. This sexual mindset is a form of masochism.
But cuckolding can also be a form of sadism, depending on how the bull is having sex with the cuckold’s wife. If the bull degrades her—again, consensually—the cuck is essentially role-playing “getting revenge on his partner by pimping her out,” McDevitt explains.
Then there are more lighthearted ways that cuckolding can be arousing. “It could be about getting turned on by watching his partner be turned on or seeing her get to act on a sexual desire she has that he can’t provide,” McDevitt adds. This phenomenon, called compersion, “is a common experience of those who practice consensual non-monogamy, and means to derive joy from another person’s joy, even if it doesn’t directly involve you,” Balestrieri adds.
The appeal of cuckolding could also lie in consensual voyeurism. It’s hot watching two people have sex, and “you get your own private show,” Balestrieri adds.
Then, for some men, cuckolding is a way to explore their sexual orientation. These cucks “may have sexual fantasies about men, but not know what to make of them, or if they want sex with men to be a reality,” Balestrieri says. “Cuckolding gives them access to the experience of being with men, through watching their partner enjoy sex with another partner.” And there are certain cuckolding-adjacent scenes, called “forced bisexual,” where men are consensually “forced” to suck the dick of or bottom for the bull and are humiliated throughout the process.
You may notice that in porn, cuckolding scenes often involve a Black man and a white woman having sex, with a white man as the cuckold. A 2018 article for VICE titled “What ‘Interracial’ Cuckold Porn Reveals About White Male Insecurity” provides a deep dive into the problematic, racist dynamic often perpetuated in interracial cuckolding porn.
Author Zoé Samudzi writes:
The interracial cuckolding genre breathes life into the truism that some kind of sexual attraction, openly acknowledged or not, is often a component of racial contempt. And the genre’s Black thug–filled storylines make clear that this attraction is not simply sexual desire, but an evocation and fetishism of historically racist tropes that allow for a contained witnessing of Black male sexual prowess that white men simultaneously loathe, fear, and envy.
Read the entire article here.
How can I try cuckolding?
Start by exploring the fantasy.
First off, you don’t need to jump into (or out) of bed with a third immediately. Rather, you can elicit a lot of the feelings of cuckolding, like humiliation, just by having your partner talk about a past sexual experience she’s had with a dominant man. (TBH, the experiences don’t even have to be real. She can make up a past sexual encounter, too.)
Your partner can talk about how hung and manly her other partner was, and how much better at sex he was than you are. Simply introducing a cuckolding fantasy into the bedroom through kinky conversation “can give couples an exposure to the landscape of cuckolding that can help them either decide to move forward, keep it in the fantasy realm, or stop altogether,” Balestrieri says.
Then, consider bringing in a bull.
If talking about it makes you even hornier to play out the fantasy IRL, then consider bringing a third. Inviting a bull to the mix requires healthy communication and clear boundaries. “Before you decide, take some time together and outline your hopes, fears, and limits with each other,” Balestrieri says. “You’ll never know what it’s like until you begin, but some anticipatory plans for what could come up can help you both feel prepared and connected throughout the experience of fantasizing, planning, playing, and debriefing.”
When it comes to finding a third, you’ll want to use hook-up apps specifically designed to help you have a threesome. You can check out our round-up of the best threesome apps here, but you might also have success on kink-friendly apps like FetLife and Sniffies. (FYI, Sniffies is specifically for queer men, however, there are a lot of bi men on it; and if you end up moving from cuckolding to “forced bi,” you’ll definitely want a bi man.)
Here are some questions Balestereri recommends you ask your partner before bringing in a bull:
- Is it important to you that the third is unknown to you both, or is it someone you know and trust?
- What will be your sexual health and safer sex practices and boundaries?
- Who will contact the third?
- Where do you feel comfortable playing out this scene?
- What kinds of communication or contact are you open to with the third, after the scene, if any?
- Will the cuck be there in person to watch or take part in the scene in certain ways?
- What boundaries do you each have for the kinds of sexual behavior or role-play behavior during the scene?
- Are the certain turn-on or turn-off phrases to consider?
The goal of asking these questions is so that nothing comes as a surprise. You should know what you’re getting into and everyone should have consented to it prior.
Agree on a safe word.
While you, your partner, and your bull will discuss everyone’s boundaries before getting down, you should also have a contingency plan in place in case IRL cuckolding elicits unexpected discomfort. This is why it’s necessary to have a safe word in place so that anyone can stop the scene at any point, for any reason. After you use the safe word, you can simply say, “I thought I was really going to enjoy this, but as it’s happening, I’m not finding it fun or pleasurable.”
Given the often humiliating dynamic involved in cuckolding, it can be easy to forget that the dynamic/scene is still about pleasure. Everyone involved should be enjoying the experience, and if that’s not the case, then stop doing it.
Is a regular old threesome more your speed? Head here for our favorite positions.