Episode 10: The Psychology of Cuckolding

September 24, 2020 by Justin Lehmiller

Sex and Psychology Podcast
Sex and Psychology Podcast
Episode 10: The Psychology of Cuckolding

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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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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