The Psychology of Cuckolding — Sex And Psychology

Cuckolding is a sexual practice in which someone is aroused by the idea of watching or listening while their partner has sex with another person—and it’s a surprisingly popular sexual interest. In the survey of 4,175 Americans’ sexual fantasies I conducted for my book Tell Me What You Want, I found that 52% of heterosexual men and 66% of gay and bisexual men had fantasized about this before. In addition, 26% of heterosexual women and 42% of lesbian and bisexual women reported having had this fantasy at least once. So why is cuckolding so popular?

In this episode of the podcast, I spoke with sex therapist Dr. David Ley, who has literally written THE book on cuckolding, titled Insatiable Wives. He and I have also collaborated on a scientific study about cuckolding (co-authored with sex advice columnist Dan Savage), which was recently published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Dr. Ley is a clinical psychologist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he directs a large behavioral health and substance abuse outpatient program. He is also one of the media’s go-to experts on all things sex.

We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including:

  • What does a typical cuckolding scenario look like?

  • What’s the difference between cuckolding and “hotwifing?”

  • Why are so many people drawn to cuckolding in the first place? Why do some find this idea incredibly erotic, whereas others find it to be threatening?

  • Why is there a political link to cuckolding—specifically, why do conservative men seem to fantasize about the idea more than their liberal counterparts?

  • What has research revealed about cuckolding in same-sex relationships?

  • Why is research on cuckolding so controversial?

  • What’s the future of cuckolding, especially as norms surrounding relationships and marriage continue to evolve?

To learn more about Dr. Ley’s work and writings, check out his website here.

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