This won’t be a blog to validate non-monogamy or cuckolding, that is a topic for another day. In this blog I am simply exploring the appeal among men and women for a cuckold type relationship. Cuckolding for those new to the conversation is when a woman has sex with another man outside her primary relationship. While I know that other variations exist, I’ll limit the discussion to that scenario alone. A myopic view of cuckolding will help us analyze this more closely without getting too sidetracked by other variations. We can hit those up in a future blog if necessary. I’ll also state up front that I dislike the term cuckold and much prefer the term poly-friending which I see as a better and healthier explanation of this type of relationship. I’m going to bite the bullet and use the term that I dislike. Just know that I wince each time I type it.
Why would a woman want to take a lover while she is in a committed relationship with a man? This defies many of our societal norms and has the potential to erode a marriage/primary relationship. Women in our society are treated as objects to be won and their affection something to be earned or purchased rather than given freely. While the female sexuality is stunted, she consumes birth control drugs that further compound the muting of her sexuality. Taking a lover awakens the sexuality within her and makes her feel desired. To experience chemistry and newness that disappears in even the best committed long term relationship. This is natural, those butterflies don’t stay around forever and they feel good. Really good. Taking a lover allows her to feel those things again that awaken her sexuality and feel new, different and desired. This doesn’t mean that the husband has any flaws whatsoever, this isn’t about him. This is about her and her ability to experience sexuality. The man is her support network; her emotional partner and if she is lucky, her best friend.
Women are arguably more complex when it comes to love. Women experience emotions more intensely then men and share their emotions more freely. While there is an argument of whether the dichotomy is nature/nurture, the difference exists. Many strong emotional male partners recognize this difference and make strides to understand the changes that they can make to help ensure that her needs are fully met. Aside from emotionally supporting her, there isn’t much he can do about things outside of his area of influence such as her work and drama in her family and circle of friends.
Why would a man want his wife/partner to take a physical lover while in a relationship? In our society, the term cuck has been equated to weak and emasculated men but that hasn’t always been the case. Throughout history men have shared their mates in sexual nonmonogamy while maintaining a strong primary emotional relationship with her. If he is committed to supporting her physical and emotional needs; he wants her to be happy. For a closely bonded couple, her happiness is capable of bringing him joy through compersion. Men have an innate need to see their partner’s needs satisfied and cuckolding is a way to ensure that she be satisfied.
For many men, watching his partner is one of the most arousing experiences the he can ask for but what are some common reasons women cite for bringing outside physical intimacy for the female?
- New sexual energy to boost her stalled/struggling libido.
- Boost in her self esteem and sexual self-image.
- Overcoming the man’s shortcomings whether perceived or actual. (impotency, premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, smaller size etc).
- Wanting to fulfill a fantasy that they have discussed.
- Mismatched sexual libidos.
What happens when cuckolding happens for the wrong reasons? What if he is doing it to be manipulative and controlling? What if he objectifies her to the point that he feels he is gifting her wife to another man? This is clearly counterproductive and will leave both partners feeling empty. What if she is doing it to test the waters and escape a relationship she is not fully invested in? If both partners are doing it for the right reasons it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Couples with abandonment issues, relationship anxiety and those who struggle with self confidence should consider keeping this a mere fantasy. Those who feel like their relationship is on solid ground may want to explore this unique relationship dynamic. Go slowly and check-in constantly with your partner. Accept that either partner may pull the plug at any time.
One detail to this type of relationship is the presence of the husband. Should he be present on dates between the wife and her suitor? Should he be present in the bedroom during sexual activities? These are details that should be discussed but my personal opinion is that both are important. It is important for the wife to develop a bond with her boyfriend as most of us don’t find it fulfilling to hop into bed with someone that we don’t have some sort of emotional connection with. If you can develop an emotional connection with your husband present, go for it! Some couples find that the mental spark is present between all three and that is a wonderful way to experience this. On the flip side, some couples separate the husband and allow the wife to have an entirely separate relationship and only introduce the husband to the boyfriend as a formality.
I suppose the biggest concern is jealousy and how comfortable the husband is with that particular emotion. Kev has never been an overly jealous person and agrees that intimacy is something that can be shared without fear of loss. To confront jealousy directly, consider that it may not be a useful emotional reaction. If you look at sexual experiences as a consumable resource. There was one of “sex” and someone else got it instead of me, it is easy to see how jealousy could come into play. If you see sex and love as fluid and potentially limitless then they lose their scarcity. Jealousy is directly connected to fear of loss. If you accept that you want your partner to be happy regardless of whom they are with, the fear of loss virtually disappears.
Having experienced this type of relationship personally, the act of being intimate with my boyfriend made me fall deeper in love with my fiancé. The three of us were closely connected from the very start and the relationship stared as a friendship and eventually moved in together to weather the pandemic lockdown. My primary relationship was a constant and neither of us questioned our commitment to each other. The primary sexual relationship would at times be my live-in boyfriend and at other times would be my fiancé Kev. Sometimes the sexual experience would involve all three of us and other times just two would participate. The wonderful thing is that both guys left the sexual experience up to me and that was incredibly empowering. I think the freedom to feel safe while surrendering myself to my desires made me feel closer and more open and mentally able to accept love.
My relationship with my boyfriend, Andrew was a great chapter in my life but it ended when he moved away. You can read more about how it developed on blog posts that began just over a year ago. It started with a game of ping pong and became so much more than that. I love being in the spotlight and this experience was the epitome of being the center of attention. While they didn’t argue or fight about spending time with me, it was clear that I was the midpoint of the polyamorous v with Kev being my primary. There is a whole language to polyamory, check out this poly glossary for an introduction to poly terms. We had planned to visit Andrew in August but the whole Covid/delta variant situation disrupted our travel plans. We have now rescheduled for November, hopefully we can make it work. I wonder if all three of us will pick up like nothing happened or if there will be some situational awkwardness to get over. I know Kev and I are looking forward to it. We do facetime from time to time and that never seems awkward so hopefully things are normal.
For many couples, a poly relationship of any kind violates much of what they hold dear in a marriage. Some women don’t have an innate need for attention or validation from anyone but their husband. All I ask is that you be open minded and have conversations to see if this is something that you might want to consider. If you decide to move forward, plan it as a one-time thing and follow the experience with lots and lots of communication. If you find that it meets your unique needs then continue until it stops meeting your needs. Have open communication with your third wheel so he understands that his involvement may be intermittent. If he wants to be involved, the stop and go nature is something that he will simply need to accept. Aside from the guidelines that you set, there are no rules when it comes to this sort of relationship. This means all three of you can go out and any mixture of twos can go out as well. Closeness between all three partners will discourage jealousy, resentment and keep the lines of communication wide open.
Can cuckolding be a validation of love? I think it can. While I don’t think including another in a relationship means that either partner must compromise, I do think the adjustment to “normal” in a relationship requires an open mind. That open mindedness can only come from a broad view sense of relationship that can only come from a place of love. While I make a case for a physical relationship outside of your primary relationship in this blog, it isn’t right for everyone. My perspective comes from a very intimate cisgender, heterosexual relationship. Not all relationships mirror ours and that is ok but I can’t write from a relationship perspective other than my own.
I don’t think I would have a problem with the physical jealousy. In fact it would play well into the dynamic of chastity and denial. My fear (which would drive my jealousy) would be around the loss of the emotional connection.
Did/do you compartmentalise, Emma? Or is there another dynamic between you and Kev that mitigates this risk? Emotional connections are so wonderfully unpredictable!
“My fear (which would drive my jealousy) would be around the loss of the emotional connection.”
I’m right there with you brother.
Locked Unloaded, I am interested to see how Emma answers your questions from a woman’s perspective. From a man’s perspective, I think your fear that your fear that your wife might transfer the emotional connection she has with you to the other guy is normal. That may be a danger for some couples. But, for what it is worth, my own experience was the opposite of that. In our case, my wife’s freedom to explore her sexuality with other men seemed to deepen her emotional and sexual connection to me. If I understand what Emma has said, she has had a similar experience with Kev. Maybe she can explain the reasons from a woman’s perspective.
Emma, thank you for another great post on a topic dear to my heart. I think you explain the emotional dynamics of this kind of relationship very well. You define cuckolding as “when a woman has sex with another man outside her primary relationship.” To distinguish cuckolding from “swinging” or “open marriage”, I would just add that in a cuckolding relationship the husband is expected to be faithful to his wife.
I understand why you don’t like the term “cuckolding”. My wife doesn’t like that term either. “Cuckolding” is something a wife does *to* her husband, so it makes the husband’s experience central. Your term “polyamorous friending” emphasizes the wife’s perspective. On the other hand, I think the term “cuckolding” is useful because it has a domination/submission connotation. By laying claim to the privilege of enjoying extramarital sex while formally denying that privilege to her husband, and maybe even limiting his sexual activity with her, the wife acquires a powerfully dominant status in the marriage. If that D/s vibe is absent, the arrangement is perhaps closer to the “hot wife” phenomenon.
You make a good point that the husband in this arrangement needs to be able to move beyond the kind of jealousy that most men would feel. You mention that Kevin is able to handle the situation, and even to get pleasure (compersion) from your extramarital pleasure, because he isn’t the jealous type. I can identify with that. I too experience compersion. Yet, it isn’t entirely true to say I don’t experience jealousy when my wife is with another man. I do. Especially when my wife teases me that the other guy is better endowed for the purpose of penetrative sex. But I must be masochistic because I experience jealousy in a positive way: it arouses me.
My wife has introduced me to a couple of her lovers, but she has never allowed me to be be present when they are in the bedroom. She says that sex is better for her when it is more private. But she does tell me about it afterwards. I would say that her having lovers has deepened the emotional bond between us. Talking to me about her excitement before a date or about the experience afterwards brings us together. And assisting her to get dressed for a date—for example, helping her to decide which panties are sexiest—feels wonderfully intimate.
You are undoubtedly right that cuckolding isn’t right for everyone and that there are no set rules for how to do it. But one ingredient is probably essential: open and honest communication about feelings.
I find it interesting that you acknowledge in a round-about way that the relationship you’re in technically falls under ‘cuckolding’ but still will not refer to it that way because of how society stigmatizes the man who is the primary partner in that kind of relationship. My question is if this whole blog has been about reframing or uprooting a lot of societies stigmas why bend to this one?
Traditionally, “cuckold” has been an insult, a term of dishonour and ridicule. People would laugh at the man whose wife made a cuckold of him because he was not man enough to satisfy her himself or, at the very least, to keep her under control. Nowadays, there are many forms of polyamory that don’t involve the stigma of cuckolding. A man in an open marriage is not a cuckold. A man who enjoys having threesomes with his wife and other men is not a cuckold. The cuckold lifestyle is distinct from the “hot wife” lifestyle because the former embraces the traditional cuckold stigma as an exciting form of humiliation play, whereas that stigma is irrelevant the later. I call myself a “cuckold” because I am turned on by the feeling that the other man who has sex with my wife is humiliating me. My wife pushes that button, for our mutual pleasure, by teasing me that penetrative sex with other men is more satisfying because my penis is too small to satisfy her. Sometimes she emasculates me by having me wear panties to show that I am less “manly” than her lover. Humiliation play like that might look cruel to some people, but to a man who is into cuckolding, it is extremely erotic. From what Emma has said about her relationship to Kevin, I understand why she would reject the term “cuckolding”.
From what Emma has said about her relationship to Kevin, I understand why she would reject the term “cuckolding”.
Of course I fully support anyone calling anything they want, whatever they want. I agree with you when you say:
“The cuckold lifestyle is distinct from the “hot wife” lifestyle because the former embraces the traditional cuckold stigma as an exciting form of humiliation play, whereas that stigma is irrelevant the later.”
In all things, effective communication AND comprehension is important. I think we can all agree with that. One of the problems today, in all things, is the use (or misuse) of words or terms that we happen to personally find distasteful or not to our liking. If the generally accepted definition of the term cuckold includes humiliation of the husband, be it a truthful intention to humiliate, or used in a “I don’t really mean it or feel this way” way, to playfully press against his boundaries for a perceived intensifying effect, the humiliation factor still exists. As such it would make logical sense that the man (even Kev) is indeed a cuckold, even though the widely accepted reality of the definition of a cuckold might be distasteful. In other words, a rose is a rose, with all it’s thorns even though there may be a preference to call it a carnation.
Does Kev’s arrangement make Kev happy and more in love with Emma? That of course is for each them to decide individually and as a couple. All indications are that Kev does indeed exist blissfully in his arrangement with the woman he loves, whatever they choose to call it. And that is a beautiful thing.
“I call myself a “cuckold” because I am turned on by the feeling that the other man who has sex with my wife is humiliating me. My wife pushes that button, for our mutual pleasure, by teasing me that penetrative sex with other men is more satisfying because my penis is too small to satisfy her. Sometimes she emasculates me by having me wear panties to show that I am less “manly” than her lover. Humiliation play like that might look cruel to some people, but to a man who is into cuckolding, it is extremely erotic.”
Communication WITH comprehension is vital in all aspects of life, and you sir have clearly communicated your desired lifestyle in way that can be clearly understood without further explanation. A rose is a rose.
These kind of wonderful dynamics don’t become as main stream as they should probably because of women having suspicion of their partners motives. I imagine that most women if presented with this opportunity would think that it is a round-a-bout way for the man to be with other women and think that it wasn’t about her needs/desires. What I wonder is if it can actually be helpful for women who have relationship anxiety, worry about infidelity, ect. That maybe if she had the opportunity to establish outside relationships, she would not be so worried about what would happen if the relationship between the two main partners ended. Knowing that she has other options could maybe bring a sense of calm and peace. Especially for maybe a woman with borderline personality disorder or something of the like.
Anything that a couple decides together, that does no lasting harm to them or others, and that furthers their pursuit of what they say is important to them can be a validation of love. That includes cuckolding. This goes two main ways, and they both seem to be becoming more openly practiced in secular societies.
In the first broad category, a couple never takes a “forsaking all others, for as long as we both shall live” vow. That’s Emma’s situation – the relationship was openly a sexual triad before she and Kev were married. Neither of them ever promised to be sexually exclusive to each other, and Andrew never promised not to move away someday. Validation of love? Certainly, they agreed so at the outset.
The second broad category is when a couple makes a formal vow to each other before a presider and all assembled “to have and to hold…forsaking all others” (which means there will be sex and it will be exclusive between them), and then their agreement is either modified by mutual consent or violated later on. It’s these arrangements in this second broad category that are more interesting to me, and they are far more varied. They’re also potentially more problematic and more likely to feature maladaptive behaviors. Validation of love? Certainly possible, as is anything by mutual agreement.
“That’s Emma’s situation – the relationship was openly a sexual triad before she and Kev were married.”
Wait, did I something? Did Emma and Kevin get married?
Emma’s reference in this posting to Kev being her fiancé at the time Andrew was her boyfriend (in the somewhat distant past, since she tells us that the arrangement ended when Andrew moved away) led me to deduce that Emma and Kevin are now married. If they had once been engaged to be married but never followed through with the marriage, then, in telling the story now, she would be unlikely to identify him as having been her fiancé at the time.
Hindsight is 20/20. If they never married but they’re still together, she would have a different description now for their relationship at the time.
We are engaged with no date for which to perform the requisite nuptials. We aren’t in a hurry but I know he is my forever partner.
Oh man! I’m wondering what your wedding night/honeymoon would be like. I’m guessing it won’t be what we traditionally think of. Lol.
I should add that Emma may dislike the term “cuckold” for additional reasons unrelated to a historically derisive or pejorative meaning regarding human relationships, even without realizing it. The word “cuckold” has two percussive consonant “k” sounds. Such words are unpleasant to most ears, and even in writing or reading the word, we usually have the sound of it in our minds, whether we realize it or not. The word “cacophony” is itself unpleasant sounding for exactly the same reason. One may enjoy or not mathematics, but the word “calculus” has an unpleasant ring to it even to those who enjoy that particular discipline.
The word “cuckold” derives ultimately from the sound of the call of the male common cuckoo bird, and was applied to the human arrangement because of the cuckoo’s particular nesting habits.
Like most people, I’m not a big fan of the sound of multiple percussive consonants in a single word either, but replacing a simple two-syllable noun with a hyphenated four-syllable verb form (in this case, a gerund) will be a tough sell. Perhaps it’s best to simply use the word “cuckold” in a positive way, and over time it’s meaning will change from derisive to simply descriptive. It’s already changing.
“Perhaps it’s best to simply use the word “cuckold” in a positive way, and over time it’s meaning will change from derisive to simply descriptive. It’s already changing.”
Very nicely said my friend. It’s kind of like the use and perception of the word manipulate in that it has an immediate negative connotation for many (most) people even though manipulation is something everyone does everyday. If you manipulate someone from a good place and with a good heart, the result is positive for everyone concerned, yet the use of the word is usually associated in a negative context.
I am afraid I would not be able to do this. Everything Stephie has taught me about sex is that it is nothing if it is not about making love. Making love is about the intimacy, the sharing of our love, and the emotional bond. Even though I give her an orgasm one way or another nearly every night, which she enjoys immensely, she says what is important is the closeness and intimacy we feel together.
If she came to me and said she needed more excitement and “a newness” in bed and she would like to do it with another man and there would be no emotional connection, just the excitement it would mean everything she taught me about sex is a lie.
If she said she needed something more intimate or loving than I was giving her and rather than working with me to find a way to fulfill her emotionally she would just find it elsewhere I would be devastated. I would feel like I was becoming her default setting, the one she comes back to after “HE” fulfills her other emotional needs.
I am sure that those of you who find polyamorous arrangements as good for your relationship will see me as insecure and lacking self-confidence. That I am denying my wife something that might be exciting and wonderful for her. You are probably right on all counts.
Fortunately Stephie has never broached the subject and I hope she never feels so unfulfilled by me that she needs to.
I have a question for you @Emma. If Kevin came to you and said that you were no longer enough woman for him and he needed the excitement of someone new to fill his emotional needs. And he said you would always be his #1 and come back to you but he needed a second lover, would you be willing to share him? I admit this is highly unlikely but a question that I believe you need to be able to answer. Are a man’s emotional needs really less important than woman’s needs?
Stephie has always been able to tell me what she needs emotionally and I hope I have been able to learn to always make her feel complete and loved. I sincerely hope she is not just settling for what I can give her and it is never quite enough.
Dave, everything I have taught you about sex and love is the truth. It is not about the excitement of the orgasm. It is about the more lasting feeling of love in its most intimate form.
I do not have to settle for anything less than wonderful when we make love. You have learned well. You will always be my work in progress and our love making will only continue to get better with time. I love your insecurity. It just makes my job easier because you respond so well to my every desire. I do not need or desire anyone else.
I found three main pillars of a solid cuckold relationship in your essay.
Why would a woman want to take a lover while she is in a committed relationship with a man?
Taking a lover awakens the sexuality within her and makes her feel desired. To experience chemistry and newness that disappears in even the best committed long term relationship. This is natural, those butterflies don’t stay around forever and they feel good. Really good. Taking a lover allows her to feel those things again that awaken her sexuality and feel new, different and desired. This doesn’t mean that the husband has any flaws whatsoever, this isn’t about him. This is about her and her ability to experience sexuality.
[Women have a natural ability to love more than one man both physically and emotionally.]
The man is her support network; her emotional partner and if she is lucky, her best friend.
[This is vital to the experience. It is far different than a single woman with multiple lovers. When she has the long term safety and sanctuary of a marriage this guarantees a safe harbor she can always rely on and return to. Her husband is an emotional partner sharing the joy of her New Relationship Energy(NRE), a cheerleader for her adventures, and her best friend as always; with the good and bad.]
Why would a man want his wife/partner to take a physical lover while in a relationship?
For a closely bonded couple, her happiness is capable of bringing him joy through compersion. Men have an innate need to see their partner’s needs satisfied and cuckolding is a way to ensure that she be satisfied.
[After a few years together, the newness wears off and a routine sets in. Even the most caring and romantic of a husband is still the same person to her. This is where eyes naturally start to wander. This can either create great conflict, or that caring, romantic fellow can realize the spark for them is the newness and thrill that another man’s interests in her ignites. Yes, many of us men are innate pleasers when it comes to all women, most especially to our partners.]
Can cuckolding be a validation of love? I think it can. While I don’t think including another in a relationship means that either partner must compromise, I do think the adjustment to “normal” in a relationship requires an open mind. That open mindedness can only come from a broad view sense of relationship that can only come from a place of love.
[Love brings lust, lust brings love. Extra lust from an outside lover brings more feelings of love. She feels more loved, you love her for it more, she loves you more.]
[Part of the journey for men and women is first the intense pair bonding. Once that is established, the woman often evolves back into a natural role of the capability of loving more than one person. The men mature slower, they often retain an immature possessiveness akin to adolescents. So we end up with a zone of conflict (5-10 years and/or post children) that takes time to resolve. Both men and women are excited and fantasize about sex with others. All our eyes and minds wander. What we do with that energy and the threat it might bring to our existing relationship determines if this brings conflict, or compassion and compersion. It is not what we were told growing up, but it is a “fact of life” none the less that needs to be addressed much more.
A man needs to respect her passion for others just as she needs to respect the passion he feels from hers. He is not less of a man for relishing in her lust with others, instead he has matured to a more sophisticated level of love and devotion to her.]
Can cuckolding be a validation of his love for you?
In some cases, yes it can, however every couple’s situation is different. In others, the male becomes stimulated by seeing his wife or G/F having sex with another man, in others, the dominant female, seeing her husband or B/F becoming submissive after time in a chastity cage, simply takes charge and cuckold’s him, after telling him (tactfully) that he doesn’t measure up, and she needs a bigger man to satisfy her, and she continues to do so when she encounters little or no resistance from him. Validation or no, I predict cuckolding will slowly grow in popularity as FLR’s do.