THE BLOG
09/13/2016 05:20 pm ET Updated Sep 12, 2017

The Expanding Phenomenon Of Cuckolding: Even Gay Men Are Getting Into It

We might think that no one likes to be cheated on, but the truth is, some do! And believe it or not, it gets them off!

In the universe of sexual fantasy, cuckolding -- that is, generally speaking, watching while one's wife or partner has sex with another man, especially one with a larger penis -- is nothing new. In fact, the term has been around for centuries. Traditionally it was only applied to the husband of an adulterous wife. Today it means a lot more.

I've written in the past about straight men having sex with other men in cuckold scenes with a woman present, and loving it. It can be intricately connected to feelings of shame and humiliation for the cuckold, which the cuckolded partner finds highly pleasurable and erotically arousing in the fantasy.

Other variations include "footcuck," where the cuckold is a foot slave to her and the man she's having sex with. Often, when his partner finds a "bull" and brings him home to have sex, the cuckold is forced to get both of them sexually aroused with his mouth and/or hands and watch and often even clean them up afterward.

Sometimes the cuckold masturbates while watching, other times he is tied, gagged and forced to watch. Other times he has to sit in another part of the room and even made to film it and watch it later -- all the while being very aroused. Remember this is all role-play and fantasy.

In the cyber world, cuckolding has gained remarkable ground. In fact, research by neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam found that "cuckold porn" is the second most popular heterosexual interest on English-language search engines! Only the term "youth" is more popular. Which is surprising enough to many therapists, but even more surprising is that the phenomenon is happening within the gay community as well.

Gay cuckolding

Until recently, cuckolding in the gay male community has not been much acknowledged nor even existed. Dan Savage, the syndicated sex-advice columnist, along with David Ley, Ph.D. author of Insatiable Wives: Women Who Stray and the Men Who Love Them, and Justin J. Lehmiller, Ph.D., has undertaken a new cuckolding survey in the LGBT community that, hopefully, will shed a little more light on the phenomenon and discover more about it and how widespread it is.

The main place where gay cuckolding can be found today is on Tumblr and blogs such as Reddit, where increasing numbers of cuckolding entries and images are showing up. Importantly, gay cuckolding is different than having a three-way. In a three-way everyone is equal, whereas in cuckolding one is intentionally left out and taunted or humiliated for everyone's arousal in the fantasy.

What's behind the rise in gay cuckolding?

What interests me the most, however, is if we're seeing a relationship between this and the legalizing of gay marriage, or if it might be a reflection of straight culture infiltrating gay culture.

I suspect that the psychological reasons for gays engaging in or fantasizing about cuckolding will turn out to be similar to those in the straight community. Most sexual fantasies have threads to one's childhoods and pasts. Other times it doesn't and it is just a hot fantasy for no known reason.

Cuckolding's appeal

Cuckolding is yet one more type of "kinkiness" that has been lurking in the background of many people's sexual life. It has elements of power and control. It is on the continuum of domination and submission which can be very sexually arousing.

Inevitably, these urges can come from a place in the psyche which has been shaped by the past both positively and negatively. Most often they can be traced back to things such as childhood abuse. But the source can be as subtle as having low self-esteem -- maybe about insecurity of one's penis size -- or some either positive or negative childhood experience that becomes imprinted and subsequently eroticized, such as being left out of a parental relationship.

Many people -- and therapists as well -- pathologize this saying if it comes from somewhere bad that how could it be any good? But that is not always true for sexual fantasies. The truth is that much of what we all fantasize about comes from our past. Events, experiences and relationships get eroticized later in life.

Going from fantasy to reality

This can be a very hot fantasy to have and to fulfill but needs to be handled with care if a couple decides to make it a reality.

Despite cuckolding's popularity in Internet searches, sometimes things are left better as a fantasy. As long as this is all just in the realm of imagination there isn't a problem ... until, say, the wife discovers the man's cuckold porn searches and becomes disgusted, or the couple has decided to try it without thoroughly talking through the consequences. Then there can be hurt feelings, or unanticipated feelings of jealousy, or the spouse realizes that it turns her off. Then the couple shows up in my office for counseling, where we begin to excavate the underlying reasons for the fantasy. This can happen with gay male couples too.

In my practice I handle cuckolding in the same way a couple should handle opening up their relationship: lots of dialogue and help from books and even therapists, setting boundaries, creating a mutual sexual vision of how things will go, having a safe word if things go wrong, and talking about how it went afterward.

I must emphasize here that there is nothing pathological or unusual about such fantasies. For instance, heterosexual and bisexual men showing off naked or sexual photos of their wives is quite common and so is fantasizing about watching their wife have sex with another man. In the gay community, lots of people get off just sharing penis pictures and like to have three-ways watching each other get off with another guy.

In reality, everyone has one or more "twisted," non PC fantasies. Variations of sexual turn-ons seem to be infinite. The Internet has just allowed us to upload them from our brains onto websites and give us more access to them. In the best of worlds, bringing this all out into the open will help us be more comfortable with our dark fantasies, and contribute to healing the wounds we have suffered in a sexually repressed culture.