A Cuckold Guide: How Cuckolding Became a Modern Fetish

Posted by Charlie Nyx on

Slave being cuckolded
When you’re locked in a male chastity cage, having penetrative sex with a partner, using your cock, is off the table. But your partner’s desire for this sort of sex, and their desire to keep you in chastity might mean finding other options.
Exploring the cuckold fetish is one such option. Couples wanting to work around cage commitments and penis-in-vagina sexual urges may look to this fetish for erotic satisfaction. The cuckold fetish may also suit those who are into consensual chastity humiliation.
If you're aroused by the thought of seeing your partner with someone other than you, you may want to learn how to cuckold and make it part of your relationship. This guide is a good place to start.
You’ll find out:
  • What cuckolding is and isn’t.
  • The history of the cuckold and the origins of the horned imagery.
  • What’s involved with the modern cuckold fetish and how it’s been embraced by the community.
  • Why some sections of society continue to use the word ‘cuckold’ as the ultimate emasculating insult.
  • The difference between cuckolding and other consensual non-monogamy.
  • The connection between chastity and cuckolding.
  • How to introduce cuckolding into your relationship.
Let’s start with the basics and a bit of a sex ed history lesson (my favorite) before exploring what cuckolding means today.

The History of the Cuckold

Historically, and in much of today’s mainstream culture, ‘cuckold’ is used to insult, shame, and emasculate men who appear to have failed in their duty of owning and controlling their wives. In earlier times, a wife being intimate with someone other than her husband suggested lustfulness, disobedience, and lack of respect for him. In short, ‘cuckold’ is a word befitting a misogynistic era where women were considered property.
The word derives from Old French, ‘cucault’, which in turn comes from ‘cucu’ meaning cuckoo; a bird notorious for laying its eggs in other birds’ nests and leaving that unsuspecting bird to rear the cuckoo chick.
Cuckold appears to have made its way into English in 1250. However, it wasn’t until it was commonly used in famous plays and broadside ballads, in the 16th and 17th centuries, that the stigma of being called a cuckold really took off. Perhaps you first met the word ‘cuckold,’ along with the imagery of the cuckolded husband wearing horns, when studying plays such as Othello and Much Ado About Nothing, in school. Cuckoos don’t have horns, so how they came to grow out of the heads of wronged husbands, is up for debate.
One theory attributes the horns to the story of Diana and Actaeon as told by the Ancient Roman poet, Ovid. In the story, the hunter Actaeon sees Diana, the virgin goddess, bathing. As punishment for his intrusion, she turns him into a stag—complete with horns—and he’s killed by his own hunting hounds.
Another theory for the cuckold horns likens the wronged husband to horned animals such as bulls or cockerels, that are often castrated. A castrated animal is considered non-aggressive, weak, and impotent.
Interestingly, not all cuckoldry was considered equal, according to history major James Moorhead’s essay, Cuckoldry in Early Modern England. He concludes that some cuckolding offenses were more serious than others, with the severity of the adultery being reflected in the size of the husband’s horns. Minor cheating,(whatever that was) meant the husband only had small horns. But other men grew large, beastly horns as a result of their wife’s extra-marital actions.
Moorhead also found evidence of a cuckold brotherhood in English literature. These men tried to own the term and support each other through their downfall. Some overcame disgrace by having, “handsomely curried [the cuckold-maker’s] hide and sent him packing.” Apparently, beating up your wife’s lover was the way to escape shame. (We don’t recommend this.)
“Evidence exists that suggests there was a cuckold brotherhood—men who tried to own the term and support each other through their downfall—and even some who overcame disgrace by beating their wife’s lover. (We don’t recommend this.)”
Given its history, the word, cuckold has always been intended as an insult. But as is the way with language, and the beauty of the internet, it’s power as an insult has changed. Most recently, cuck has been adopted by supporters of the alt-right, who toss it about to insult not just men who have been cheated on, but any man with progressive thoughts. While it’s easy to see why ‘cuckold’ continues to be an insult, its reinvention as a modern-day fetish is less clear.
Nautilus Chastity Device

Modern Cuckolding and the Fetish Scene

It’s tough to pin down exactly when cuckolding became a fetish. But, returning to Moorhead’s essay, there’s evidence that, even in Shakespeare’s day, watching one’s partner frolic with another, was a turn-on for some.
Cuckolded husbands who weren’t ashamed of their horns may have actively looked to grow them. A man who condoned his wife’s affairs was called a wittol. Society at the time considered wittols to be worse than cuckolds. But for men who happily encouraged—and sometimes even tried to profit from their wife’s willingness to sleep around, there was great pleasure to be found. Today, the fetish community may call this hotwifing. (Or outright pimping if financial gains are being made. Gulp.)
This Shakespearan era context is helpful. But we still need to answer how cuckolding became a modern fetish.
Well, the kinky community is well known for embracing pleasures considered outside cis-hetero monogamous societal norms. Be it a foot fetish, the chastity cage-wearing fetish, or the sissy fetish, the community’s progressive mindset, and ambition to reclaim derogatory terms means they have a way of making them their own.
Furthermore, wider society is also starting to question what’s “normal” when it comes to sex, and monogamy is steadily being dismantled as the only relationship style. Mainstream media is becoming bolder in its coverage of consensual non-monogamy (CNM). Well-known publications acting as permission-givers, are fueling CNM curiosity. So if you’re a curious couple, perhaps your urges to be with someone else (or watch your partner be with someone else) aren’t so out there.
Confirmation that monogamy is on the downswing may also be found in a 2023 YouGov poll, which revealed that 34% of Americans describe their ideal relationship as something other than complete monogamy. Open relationships are on the rise. So the new question is, what relationship styles are available?
“34% of Americans describe their ideal relationship as something other than complete monogamy.”
Source: 2023 YouGov poll

The Differences Between Cuckolding and Other Styles of CNM

CNM is the umbrella term for any relationship that isn’t monogamous. It includes relationship styles you may have heard of, such as:
  • Polyamory.
  • Monogamish.
  • Throuple.
  • Swingers.
And, yes, cuckolding. As with any relationship, cuckolding’s dynamics and how well it works depend on the desires and boundaries of the people involved. So while there are lots of labels for different CNM styles, you and your partner(s) can interpret each one to meet the needs of your relationship. What’s important (and the common defining factor) in all CNM relationships is their departure from monogamy.
Open Relationships
In an open relationship, the couple is generally romantically exclusive, but sexually open. They have sex with other people while their partner is present, or independently of their significant other. If more than a physical bond does form between a partner and someone they have sex with, that relationship is valid but tends to play second-fiddle to the central relationship.
Polyamory
Polyamory rejects the notion that you can only romantically love one person throughout your life. It’s about fulfilling your romantic needs by finding love with many different people, rather than relying on one person to be absolutely everything to you. Polyamorous relationships allow you to accept people for who they are, rather than hoping they fit a mold or trying to change them to be something they (or you) are not.
Hotwife
Hotwife is similar to cuckolding in that the female-identifying partner has sex with other people while their significant partner watches or is somehow involved in the hook up. The main difference between the two fetishes is that hotwifing maintains some level of misogyny. It dispenses with the humiliation aspect of cuckolding via the notion that the husband “gives” his wife to others for them to enjoy.
Swinging or Lifestyle
Couples into swinging or ‘the lifestyle’ are generally looking for short-term trysts and hookups. Each partner, no matter their gender, can engage in sexual activity with others, not just the female-identifying partner.
These aren’t the only CNM relationship styles. There are many more labels for non-monogamous relationships, such as egalitarian polyamory and relationship anarchists.
Labels can be helpful, but they can also be restrictive. If you don’t feel that any label fits perfectly, don’t worry. Pick and choose from a few different ones to make them your own. The main thing is that you and your partner (or partners) are happy and have an agreed understanding of how the relationship works.
The Pleasure in Being Cuckolded
With so many different relationship formats, why might a couple find cuckolding hotter (or a better option) than any of the others? To answer this, you’ll need to look at things like:
  • Your beliefs about relationships and how they work.
  • Your sexual preferences and sexuality.
  • Your past relationship experiences—what you liked about them and what you didn’t.
What you discover here will influence why and how you might choose cuckolding.
Sex blogger, and open adorer of the cuckolding fetish, Girl On The Net suggests there are lots of reasons a guy might be into it. In her piece Cuckolding: the least sexy word for one of the sexiest fetishes she writes:
“Guys I know who’ve enjoyed it cite a range of reasons why it’s hot: they get off on their partner’s pleasure. They get off on the pure visual of it: watching two people fuck and knowing exactly what one of them likes – like a personalised, explicit live show performed just for them. And some of them – yes – they like the conflict.”
Unpacking the Cuckolding Conflict
This is the conflict between the joy a cuckold feels when watching their partner with another versus the desire to be the only person who can give their partner everything they need.
It’s an internal conflict. One that acknowledges it’s not always possible to be everything your partner needs. That getting complete physical and emotional satisfaction from one person creates a lot of pressure. This pressure tears at the heart of what we’ve been taught about monogamy and the sanctity of sex. For many people, finding pleasure elsewhere while in a relationship, and condoning that so-called affair, is considered taboo. But it can also be extremely liberating for those who take part in the fetish.
But it’s not only the conflict, humiliation, or the live private sex shows that make cuckolding appealing. It’s also an opportunity to explore your sexuality. Sometimes the only way to satisfy a curiosity and decide if you like something or not, is to try it. Being in an intimate scenario with someone of the same gender present, without necessarily having to be physical with them, lets you safely explore same-sex attraction.
Your Dark Secret Chastity Device

Cuckolding and Male Chastity, Why the Two Fetishes Fit Together So Well

Common themes in these two fetishes are hard to ignore. Both the modern cuckold fetish and the chastity fetish position the male as submissive. The woman’s pleasure takes center stage.
Both fetishes have elements of humiliation and emasculation, and challenge the patriarchal view of manhood and the importance of virility as part of being a man. Male chastity prohibits the use of a caged penis, and cuckolding implies the inability to satisfy your partner completely so she has to seek physical pleasure elsewhere.

4 Tips for Keeping Cuckold Play Safe and Sexy

While I’m not a relationship or sex counselor, I’ve written about sex and fetishes for almost a decade, and can recommend some broader fetish and BDSM play safeguarding steps to ensure you explore cuckolding safely and enjoyably.
Tip 1: Discuss the Kink
When approaching a new kink, the essential first step is to establish where each of you is in your understanding of it, and what’s involved. An open discussion about why you find it hot helps establish whether or not you’re both turned on by similar themes within the fetish. For example, one of you may be keen to be watched while the other thinks being absent and hearing about the sex is the turn-on.
Tip 2: Set Boundaries and Limits
In much the same way you’ve written a chastity contract, create one that specifically outlines the boundaries and limits each of you has when it comes to cuckolding. This will help manage expectations and keep the two of you on the same page. You may discuss or consider some of these things when it comes to limits and cuckolding.
  • Should any third person you invite to play be known to you or an anonymous stranger?
  • Are there any words or phrases the cuckold is uncomfortable with when it comes to humiliating and degrading them?
  • Is the cuckold allowed to join in at all, or where will they be during the act?
  • Are there are sex-acts the partner or cuckold isn’t comfortable with doing or seeing?
  • How will you handle the situation if romantic feelings develop?
  • Can the cuckold and the bull interact?
  • Are you comfortable playing in your bedroom, or should it be somewhere neutral?
What you need to include will largely be influenced by your current relationship, possibly your personality, and how you see the relationship evolving as you explore this fetish together.
Tip 3: Keep Communicating
How you feel when you think or fantasize about a fetish can be very different from how you feel when it’s actually happening. So, as you explore cuckolding, it’s important to keep talking. Say what you’re enjoying or not, and what you may want to change.
Tip 4: Take Precautions and Get Tested
Exploring intimacy with people outside your relationship can be exciting and thrilling. But it would be shortsighted not to acknowledge that the more people you play with, the greater your chances are of catching an STI. If you’re playing with multiple bulls, then using condoms and dams, as well as going for regular STI tests ensures you stay healthy and avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Starting to Explore the Cuckolding Fetish

So now you know, the modern cuckolding fetish is a far cry from its historical origins that debased and derided men and women alike. Contemporary cuckolding is no longer about the man being unknowingly cheated on. Instead it’s a consensual form of non-monogamy. But that’s not all that’s changed about cuckolding.
Couples that enjoy the fetish have found ways to cuckold without involving a third (or fourth, or fifth) person. At least not right away. It’s possible to enjoy cuckoldry as a twosome as you feel your way around what turns you on and off about the fetish. For example, you may begin by reading cuckolding fantasies to each other, or use realistic sex toys to get yourself off while your cuck watches.
Want more inspiration to ease your way into it?, read Mistress X’s Cuckold challenges and hotwife dares.

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About The Author

CHARLIE NYX

Sex is full of emotion. But since the days of Masters and Johnson, it’s also a scientifically studied subject, with research aplenty. And it’s this sex education and sciencey aspect that attracted Charlie Nyx to a career as sex writer, educatior and journalist.

In their own words

“My own sex education was abysmal. Growing up in the South of England (UK), school taught the mechanics of sex with a bit of scaremongering thrown in for good measure. My parents handed me two books on the subject. And that was it.

As a young adult I discovered a whole world I had no idea existed. A world full of play, fantasy and fucking good sex. Oops, pardon my language. But it lit a fire in me to want to do more. To promote better, well-researched information about sex. 

I’m happily married, monogamous, identify as she/they, and I don’t partake in the chastity lifestyle with my partner.”

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