Cuckolding and Cuckqueaning: What Are They and What’s the Difference?


Cuckold play is an incredibly popular kink. It’s also a taboo and misunderstood one. Perhaps you’ve heard about it but you don’t really know what it is, or perhaps you’re curious and don’t know how to get started. Let’s talk all things cuckolding and cuckqueaning!

First of all, what is Cuckolding and Cuckqueaning?

Cuckolding is, in the broadest sense, deriving sexual pleasure or kinky gratification from your partner having sex with somebody else.

Cuckqueaning is exactly the same thing! The only difference is that they’re generally used as gendered terms.

Most often, the term “cuckolding” will be used when the submissive or cuckolded partner is a man, while the term “cuckqueaning” will be used when the cuckolded partner is a woman. But of course relationships and genders come in many configurations, so many people are moving away from this binary gendered language.

For the purpose of this article we’ll take “cuckold” to be a gender-neutral term. But when you see them elsewhere, you can generally assume that “cuckquean” refers specifically to a female partner being cuckolded. People of all genders can enjoy this kink, whether in the role of the submissive, the Dominant, or the third party.

Fun fact for the language geeks: the first recorded use of the word cuckold (to mean a man whose wife is sexually unfaithful) was c.1250 in a satirical poem called The Owl and the Nightingale. The word itself comes from cuckoo, a reference to this bird’s tendency to lay its eggs in another bird’s nest.

How common is cuckolding as a kink?

It’s hard to say exactly, because no-one has done a comprehensive study on how common various kinks are. (Can some scientists get on this please!?) But it’s safe to say that cuckolding is a pretty common kink. Psychologist Justin Lehmiller conducted one study for his book Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help Improve Your Sex Life and concluded that around 58% of men and a third of women had fantasized about cuckolding. Pornhub released data in 2017 indicating that “cuckold” as a search term had grown by 94% on the previous year.

Suffice to say if you’re interested in cuckolding, you’re in good company!

So it’s a kind of swinging?

Yes… and no.

Cuckolding and cuckqueaning definitely fall under the umbrella of consensual non-monogamy, which also includes swinging, polyamory, open relationships, and so on. Generally, these other practises wouldn’t be referred to as cuckolding in and of themselves.

What differentiates cuckolding from other types of consensual non-monogamy is:

  • In a cuckolding relationship, the cuckolded partner usually doesn’t have outside sexual partners of their own. (There are exceptions to this.)
  • The kinky or sexual enjoyment comes specifically from your partner having sex with somebody else. (People in mutual swinging or polyamorous relationships may or may not experience active enjoyment of their partner’s outside sexual relationships, but it’s not a requirement.)

Why would anyone want their partner to have sex with someone else!?

Lots of reasons!

This might seem shocking or alien to the staunch monogamists of the world, but it’s true. Let’s look at just some of the reasons this kink might appeal. (This list isn’t exhaustive and if your reasons are totally different, that’s valid too!)

Humiliation: A huge number of sexually submissive people of all genders enjoy humiliation as part of their kink. Shame and arousal are closely related. Therefore some people find it humiliating to watch (or hear about) their partner having sex with somebody else, and that turns up the erotic intensity for them. This might be especially true if your partner tells you that the third party can please them better than you can. For submissives with penises, this is often tied in to the adjacent kink of small penis humiliation (SPH.)

Taboo: Part of the appeal of a lot of BDSM activities is the element of the taboo and forbidden. We live in a culture that pushes monogamy on us as an ideal – and a requirement – more or less from birth. Therefore transgressing that social norm can be incredibly erotically potent.

Jealousy: Jealousy is an extraordinarily powerful emotion. Sexual jealousy features as a recurring central theme in everything from Shakespeare’s plays to modern pop songs to Netflix specials. Many of us will go to great lengths to avoid feeling, or having to deal with, sexual jealousy. For others, though, jealousy has an erotic side to it. Exactly why some people find jealousy erotic is unclear, but BDSM often involves playing with difficult emotions (fear, pain, humiliation) and the intensity of these feelings can have a powerful sexual charge.

Submission: For some submissives, the act of “allowing” their Dominant partner to have other lovers is a sign of submission. Others eroticize the idea of not having a choice – the Dominant is going to do what they want to do, whether the submissive likes it or not.

Voyeurism: Cuckolding doesn’t necessarily have to involve watching your partner’s other encounters – some people prefer to come home and tell the cuckolded partner about their adventures instead – but it certainly can. Voyeurism (getting turned on by watching other people have sex) is an incredibly common kink, and that experienced can be extra intense if one of the people you’re watching is your partner.

Denial or chastity kink: For submissives who are into orgasm denial or chastity play, cuckolding can be an obvious extension of this.. If you’re not allowed to touch yourself or orgasm, watching your partner getting it on with somebody else – and getting all the pleasure you’re not permitted – can be incredibly hot.

In short, there are many reasons people might be into cuckolding, and this list has probably only just scratched the surface of some of the most common. Everyone’s reasons will be unique. Instead, ask yourself: what is it you like about the idea of cuckolding?

Will cuckolding ruin relationships? Is it better kept as pure fantasy?

There’s an unfortunately too common school of thought that says opening relationships (whatever form that openness takes) will ruin them. That simply isn’t necessarily true. In fact, some studies have even suggested that couples who practise consensual non monogamy tend to be happier than their monogamous peers!

So no, cuckolding won’t necessarily ruin your relationship. In fact, it could strengthen it. There’s an enormous caveat here, though: you must make sure your relationship is in a healthy place before you even think about diving in to something like this.

Opening up a relationship can make a good relationship stronger, but it absolutely will expose the cracks in a bad one. So get your house in order first. See a therapist together if you need to. Talk about your relationship openly. Ensure you’re both feeling happy, healthy and satisfied. We’ll talk more about how to start a cuckolding dynamic shortly.

If you decide that you want to keep your cuckolding kink as pure fantasy, that’s also completely okay. Many people have kinks that they decide not to indulge for one reason or another, and having a rich fantasy life is just as valid a way to express yourself sexually. You can watch cuckolding themed porn, read erotica, dirty talk with your partner, and let your imagination run wild, without ever involving a third party at all.

We want to try it! What next?

Okay, so you’ve decided to give this cuckold kink thing a go. The first thing I’m going to tell you to do is take a deep breath, and slow down.

You and your partner need to have tonnes of conversations before you even think about making your cuckolding fantasy real. Dirty talk and sharing fantasy can absolutely be a part of this and can be a lower-stakes way to explore how you really feel about it. If you thought hearing your partner fuck somebody else would be really hot, but hearing them just talk about it makes you feel sick to your stomach, that’s information you really need to know.

But you also need to have conversations out of the bedroom when you’re not feeling horny. Talk about why cuckolding excites you and what you want to get out of it. One of my favourite negotiation tricks for kink is asking not just “what do you want to do?” but also asking, “how do you want to feel?” Talk about your fears, too. What could go wrong? How will you navigate it as a team if it does?

Ground rules are vital, and should be set and agreed long before you ever think about making your fantasy real. Consider the following when setting your ground rules:

  • Where will play with external partners happen? At your place, or theirs? At a sex club? At a hotel?
  • Will the cuckolded partner watch, or just be told about the experience afterwards?
  • Any guidelines on who is or isn’t eligible to be the third party? (Only a specific gender, no pre-existing friends?)
  • How will you protect yourself and your play partner(s) from STIs?
  • If anyone involved is able to get pregnant, what birth control will be used?
  • Are any specific sex acts off the table with the external partner?
  • How will you let each other know if there’s a problem or one of you wants to renegotiate the arrangement?

Once you’ve got your rules in place, then you can jump in.

I truly can’t reiterate this enough: go slowly. Don’t dive straight into a full cuckolding dynamic overnight. Don’t plan for the dominant partner to have a full, lengthy sex session with someone else the first time you try this.

Try just having your partner kiss someone else in front of you at first. Try going out to a club and doing some sexy dancing, grinding or making out on the dance-floor, with no intention of going any further. Afterwards, debrief and talk about how you both felt. Another middle ground to explore is for the dominant partner to dirty talk with someone online, swap nude photos, or sext.

My number one principle of trying a new kinky activity is this: it’s always better to come away from an experience thinking “I would have liked to do a bit more” than to come away thinking “shit, I went too far!”

Baby steps will pay off in the long run.

How do we even find another person to play with?

You might be surprised just how many people would be totally on board with what you’re offering. Do be honest with anyone you’re considering inviting to play, though. Explain the situation and give them the opportunity to opt in or out with all the information available. Consent must be informed in order to be meaningful. Pretending to be single or misrepresenting your relationship isn’t cool – this is involving somebody else in your kink without their full consent.

So how do you find someone who is going to be down with this kind of dynamic? Here’s a few avenues you might like to explore…

  • Advertise on a BDSM specific site, such as Kinky Hookup or Fetlife. (Check the rules first – only post personal ads in spaces where it’s allowed!)
  • Use a swinging site such as Kasidie or Fabswingers.
  • Get involved in your local kink scene. As you get to know people, the right candidate might just present themselves.
  • Start going to kinky play parties, dungeons, or swingers’ clubs.
  • Approach an existing friend who you know to be open-minded and sex positive (beware the possibility that it will fundamentally change your friendship, though. It might make it stronger but if something goes wrong, it could blow up in your face.)

Curious? Here are some fun possibilities.

As you’ve seen, cuckolding and cuckqueaning are incredibly popular fetishes. So if this is your fantasy, don’t worry – you’re not weird and you’re not alone! I thought I’d end by sharing just a few of the ways I’ve seen cuckolding dynamics play out. Perhaps they’ll give you some inspiration.

  • Scenes where the submissive partner is tied up and watching, so that they cannot touch themselves or join in. May or may not be combined with the use of chastity devices.
  • Remote scenes where the Dominant is having sex with their lover, while the submissive watches via a live video link or listens in via phone.
  • The submissive helping the Dominant to get ready for a date with their lover – for example, shaving them, washing their hair, applying their makeup, polishing their shoes, or ironing their outfit.
  • The submissive being involved in foreplay – for example, by orally serving the Dominant and/or their lover – and then being pushed out when play progresses.
  • The Dominant and their lover playing behind closed doors, and then the submissive bringing them refreshments or serving them a meal when they’re finished.

There are endless ways to play with cuckolding kink, from the fairly safe to the very edgy. Have fun exploring!

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Amy Norton

Amy Norton is a British sex blogger, sexuality journalist, adult product reviewer and occasional erotica author. She is a queer feminist, a polyamorous swinger, and a submissive. Amy founded the website Coffee & Kink ( in late 2016 and has bylines in Sex Tech Guide, Lovehoney's Headboard, Loving BDSM, Kink Academy, and many more.You can follow her on Twitter @CoffeeandKink and Fetlife @-CoffeeandKink-.

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