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It's no longer in common usage, but the word cuckold refers to a husband whose wife has cheated on him. Cuckold is also used as a verb. You can make a cuckold of someone if you have sex with their partner without their knowledge. Or you could be cuckolded if your partner cheats on you.

The Oxford English Dictionary traces the term back to the 13th century and if you read Shakespeare in high school you probably came across the term dozens of times.

Can Anyone Be a Cuckold?

Most of the historical references for this term refer to heterosexual relationships, with the husband being  the cuckold as a result of an unfaithful wife.  But that may be as much about who was written about and how fidelity was thought of in marriage (where a husband might have other sexual partners without it being a big deal).   Since infidelity and betrayal knows no gender bounds it seems reasonable to use the term for all kinds of committed relationships and all genders, if one wanted to use the term at all.  But historically speaking a key element of the term is that the cuckold is someone who is the fool, a person to be made fun of, a weak person.  Interestingly while there may be elements of this still in our cultural understand of infidelity, the story about adultery, cheating, and infidelity in the age of day time talk shows and social media, has changed.

The Cuckold Fetish

More recently, there has developed something of a community and genre of erotic story and fantasy role play involving the cuckold. If you search for terms like "cuckold stories" or specifically "cuckold hotwife stories" you'll find a host of audio, video, and text materials detailing sexual encounters where a man discovers his wife having sex with another man.

By some accounts cuckold is one of the most searched for porn terms by heterosexual men.  And sex advice columns are full of examples of women whose boyfriends and husbands have asked them to play out this fantasy.

In the fantasy role play version of cuckolding, the husband either hides in a closet or arranges to "walk in" on his wife having sex with another man.   Given that most of theses stories are consensual fantasies about something that isn't consensual (the true cuckold is one because he had no say and was betrayed without his knowledge and against his true desire) there shouldn't be anything wrong with them.

But when you dig into the cuckold fantasy it's hard not to note how many of these stories and videos involve complicated (and sometimes problematic) depictions of race, class, and gender.

Also Known As: cheating, infidelity

Common Misspellings: cuckhold