In a consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationship — an umbrella term encompassing cuckold relationships — a couple agrees that the wife can have more than one sexual partner, while the husband remains monogamous. He accepts this position because he the thought of his wife with another man is sexually arousing. Cuckold relationships are one form of CNM that is gaining widespread popularity.
Although interest in cuckold relationships appears to be on the rise, cuckold relationships continue to be widely stigmatized, with people tending to see them as inferior to monogamous relationships in most ways. This is interesting when you consider that research comparing the quality of cuckold relationships to monogamous relationships reveals few differences and suggests that cuckold relationships results in just as much relational satisfaction. Findings like this suggest that perhaps those who view cuckold relationships as inferior simply have a difficult time imagining the potential benefits that these relationships afford.
So what exactly are the benefits of a cuckold relationship anyway? And how are the benefits similar to or different from those afforded by a monogamous relationship?
Many benefits emerged for cuckold relationships. These included:
· Family and community benefits, such as having a larger social network and the ability to share responsibilities.
· Trust, or being able to be open and honest with another person.
· Better and more frequent sex.
· Feelings of love.
· Strong communication.
· Commitment, or the ability to depend on another person for support.
Interestingly, two unique benefits emerged when people described cuckold relationships that did not emerge when people described monogamous relationships. These included:
· Diversified need fulfillment, or the ability to have needs met that might otherwise go unfulfilled. The basic idea here is that when the wife has just one partner, it is difficult for her to get all of her sexual needs meet by just one person. Although one might think the same is true for the husbands, in the case of cuckold relationships, the husband’s sexual needs are met through his wife’s outside sexual activities. Cuckold relationships offer the ability to meet a diverse set of needs without putting too much pressure on any one person.
· Personal growth and development, or the ability to have more personal freedom and autonomy. The thought here is that, in a cuckold relationship, the wife has expanded opportunities for growth and development as she interacts with different partners and discovers more about herself and her needs. The husband is afforded a chance to face his demons head-on.
Cuckold relationships involve a degree of mental masochism in which feelings of jealousy, shame, inadequacy, etc are all transformed into intense sexual arousal. These relationships offer him a chance to explore those feelings in greater-depth and to transmute them into something life-enhancing and affirming,
In summary, although cuckold relationships are heavily stigmatized, they offer several benefits and appear to result in just as much relationship satisfaction as monogamous relationships. And desire claims to the contrary, there is no evidence to suggest that cuckold relationships are unhealthy or that people interested in them have any greater incidence of mental disturbance or abuse history.
With up to 20% of the male population interested in cuckold relationships, it will be fascinating to see how this alternative lifestyle arrangement presents itself in society at large.