Cuckolding is a sexual practice in which one is aroused by the idea of watching or listening to their partner have sex with someone else. I’ve written quite a bit about cuckolding on the blog, but most of my previous posts on this subject have focused on men because pretty much all of the research out there on cuckolding (and there isn’t much to begin with!) has only looked at it from the perspective of men who have this sexual interest.
So what about women? How many women are into the idea of cuckolding? And are the factors that draw women to it similar or different from the factors that draw men to it?
I can speak to these questions from the data that I collected for my book Tell Me What You Want. I surveyed 4,175 Americans about their sexual fantasies and cuckolding was among the many interests I inquired about.
I asked about two different types of cuckolding fantasies—fantasies about watching your partner have sex with someone else (which I’ll refer to as voyeuristic cuckolding), and fantasies about having sex with someone else while your partner watches (which I’ll refer to as exhibitionistic cuckolding). Here’s what I found in terms of the prevalence of each of these fantasies based on gender and sexual orientation:
· 26% of heterosexual women had fantasized about this
· 42% of non-heterosexual women had fantasized about this
· 52% of heterosexual men had fantasized about this
· 66% of non-heterosexual men had fantasized about this
· 45% of those with non-binary gender identities had fantasized about this
· 40% of heterosexual women had fantasized about this
· 58% of non-heterosexual women had fantasized about this
· 50% of heterosexual men had fantasized about this
· 55% of non-heterosexual men had fantasized about this
· 48% of those with non-binary gender identities had fantasized about this
As these numbers reveal, cuckolding fantasies in general (both voyeuristic and exhibitionistic) are quite common; however, there are some interesting gender differences.
In general, women are more likely to fantasize about exhibitionistic cuckolding (being watched by their partner) than they are to fantasize about voyeuristic cuckolding (watching their partner).
By contrast, men are more likely to fantasize about voyeuristic cuckolding than they are exhibitionistic cuckolding. While the numbers above for heterosexual men are quite similar in terms of whether they’ve ever fantasized about either form of cuckolding, a pretty sizable difference emerges when you dig a little deeper and look at the frequency with which they report having each type of fantasy. Specifically, 24% of heterosexual men said they fantasize about the voyeuristic kind often, compared to just 12% who said they fantasize about the exhibitionistic kind often. The numbers are similar for non-heterosexual men (29% vs. 14%, respectively). So twice as many men say voyeuristic cuckolding is a frequent fantasy of theirs compared to exhibitionistic cuckolding.
In short, there seems to be a gender difference in the types of cuckolding roles that are most appealing to self-identified men and women. Why is that? We can’t say for sure, but one possibility is that women in general are more likely than men to picture themselves as the object of desire in their sexual fantasies. By envisioning themselves in an exhibitionistic role, one necessarily becomes the object of desire, unlike when one takes a voyeuristic role. So maybe this speaks more broadly to the ways in which men and women tend to see themselves in their fantasies.
While there appears to be a gender difference in preferred cuckolding roles, the profiles of men and women who are into cuckolding are quite similar in many ways.
Across genders and sexual orientations, both voyeuristic and exhibitionistic cuckolding are linked to:
· Having more positive attitudes toward sex (erotophilia)
· Having a preference for thrilling and risky sexual experiences (sensation seeking)
· Seeing sex and love as separable (an unrestricted sociosexual orientation)
· Having more BDSM fantasies in general
· Having more fantasies about group sex in general
· Having more fantasies about consensual non-monogamy in general
· Having more fantasies about voyeurism and exhibitionism in general
· Being older
However, there were a few gender differences that emerged. Specifically, for heterosexual women only, there was no link between cuckolding fantasies and self-esteem. By contrast, for men of all orientations and for non-heterosexual women, having cuckolding fantasies was linked to reporting higher self-esteem. In other words, straight women were the one group for whom cuckolding fantasies were not linked to how they felt about themselves or their level of self-confidence.
Also, among heterosexuals, men were more likely to report voyeuristic cuckolding fantasies to the extent that they identified as Republican; by contrast, women’s cuckolding fantasies were unrelated to their political affiliation.
Lastly, for men—regardless of sexual orientation—being high in the personality trait of conscientiousness (i.e., being detail oriented and a planner) was linked to having more fantasies about voyeuristic cuckolding; however, for women there was no such link between cuckolding fantasies and conscientiousness.
It’s not entirely clear why these differences emerged, but they do point to the possibility that there might be at least some gender differences in the factors that propel interest in cuckolding.
This a very preliminary look at the nature of cuckolding fantasies and how they vary across gender. More research is certainly needed, but these findings tell us a few important things.
First, cuckolding fantasies are quite common across genders and sexualities—this isn’t a rare or uncommon sexual interest. Second, the types of cuckolding scenarios that people fantasize about most are related to gender, with women fantasizing more about having sex as their partner watches, and men fantasizing more about being the watcher. As discussed above, perhaps this is a function of broader differences in the ways that men and women tend to see themselves in their fantasies.
Lastly, the “profile” of people who are into cuckolding actually seems to be quite similar for men and women in terms of their sexual attitudes, their age, and the other types of fantasies that they tend to have. Thus, while men and women tend to prefer different cuckolding roles, what draws them to cuckolding in the first place seems to be more similar than it is different.
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