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Why People Find Cuckolding So Shocking and Offensive

A form of BDSM, but not necessarily adultery.

Recently, Jerry Falwell, Jr. resigned his post as president of Liberty University. He did so not because he had controversially refused to require students to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to campus during the pandemic. He didn’t resign because many students and faculty chafed at his long-term efforts to silence social dissent on, and sometimes off, school grounds. Nor was it because he had posted a photo of himself with his pants unzipped on social media.

He resigned because he’s into cuckolding and people found out.

Make no mistake, this was not the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The other issues listed above were easily ignored, glossed over, minimized, covered up, or forgiven by the conservative Christian community in which he operates. But inviting a pool boy into his bedroom so Falwell could watch him have sex with his wife was too much. If he had cheated on his wife? That could be forgiven, even in deeply conservative circles. But, somehow, being cuckolded by his wife made him a person who could no longer be trusted.


As a Ph.D. sexologist and psychotherapist with over 25 years of experience treating sex and intimacy issues, I find myself wondering why cuckolding is so taboo.

Technically, a cuckold is the husband of an adulterous wife or a male who is unwittingly raising children who are not his genetic offspring. In this sense, being a cuckold is not something any man wants to be, and the men who qualify are typically regarded as weak, ineffectual, and deserving of their fate. The basic thinking is that not only are they not "man enough" to stop their wives from cheating; they’re fools who don’t even know they’re being humiliated.

But that is not an accurate description of cuckolding in its 21st-century kink/fetish sense. Instead, we are talking about men experiencing sexual pleasure while watching their significant other have sex with another man. That, apparently, is what Falwell is into. That is the behavior in which he and his wife and the pool boy engaged. [NOTE: I do not consider the kink/fetish version of cuckolding as adulterous when the behavior is consensual for all parties and not a secret within the relationship.]

In the kink/fetish version of cuckolding, the man being cuckolded is fully involved in the event. He knows about it, enjoys it, and typically masturbates while it’s taking place or immediately after. Often, the man who is being cuckolded is "forced" to watch his partner being unfaithful. In such cases, cuckolding is a subset of BDSM. The male "victim" is masochistically turned on by the "humiliation" of his wife’s behavior.

Interestingly, most cuckolding fetishists I’ve worked with over the years are men who, in other areas of life, are quite successful, often with power and dominion over others. I see similar characteristics in men who enjoy being with a dominatrix. And there is nothing inherently wrong with either of these behaviors. Being cuckolded or dominated in other ways is, for some, a natural and healthy part of the sexual spectrum. If the behaviors are mutually consensual, legal, and not creating problems for any of the participants, who am I to judge?

Most cuckolds I’ve worked with, whether they’re engaging in it personally or simply watching it online (porn) while fantasizing about doing it in-person, say it’s a release from the stress of their lives. To give themselves over in this way is freeing. In all other facets of life, they feel they must be in control no matter what. For these individuals, letting go and letting another person take charge sexually has the same effect in terms of relieving day-to-day stress and anxiety as a good therapy session. And frankly, I find that easy to understand.

Generally, men who enjoy being cuckolded are confident their wife loves them. They do not worry that she will fall in love with the third person and decide to leave them. They know that for themselves and their significant other, cuckolding is a game, a kink or fetish that makes their sex life more enjoyable. No more, no less.

What I find odd about cuckolding is not that people consensually engage in this behavior, it’s that so many others find it unnerving. In this respect, it’s become one of society’s final sexual taboos – though less so by the day, courtesy of the Internet. We’re even starting to develop a slang language around cuckolding. Cockbulls are men who perform the cuckolding. Cuckqueens are women who like to be cuckolded. Hotwifing occurs when a wife actively pursues other men – flirting, wearing revealing clothing – while in the presence of her husband. Etc.

As a therapist, I view consensual cuckolding the same way I view any other kink or fetish. If someone has a kink or fetish and is OK with it and how it manifests (or doesn’t) in their life, so be it. If someone is struggling with a kink or fetish, however, my job is to help them work through their discomfort.

I do not ever judge, nor do I ever attempt to change or eliminate the desire (because no amount of therapy or any other tactic will dislodge an arousal trigger once that trigger is revealed). Instead, I work to help that person accept the kink or fetish as a natural and healthy part of their arousal template. Then I can help them decide whether to act on it or push it aside to focus on sexuality that better fits their values, relationships, and life goals.

Facebook image: Motortion Films/Shutterstock

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