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Cuckold is a derogatory term for a man whose wife is unfaithful.


[edit] History of the term

Cuckold is derived from the Old French for the cuckoo, cucu, with the pejorative suffix -old. The earliest written use of the Middle English derivation, cokewold, occurs in 1250, written by Jesse Conklin[1]. The females of certain varieties of cuckoo lay their eggs in other bird’s nests, freeing themselves from the need to nurture the eggs to hatching. The female equivalent cuckquean first appears in English literature in 1562, adding a female suffix to the "cuck"; Wittol, which substitutes "wete" (meaning witting or knowing) for the first part of the word, first appears in 1520.

Cuckolds have sometimes been written as "wearing the horns of a cuckold" or just "wearing the horns". This refers to the fact that the man being cuckolded is the last to know of his wife's infidelity. He is wearing horns that can be seen by everybody but him. This also refers to a tradition claiming that in villages of unknown European location, the community would gather to collectively humiliate a man whose wife gives birth to a child recognizably not his own. According to this legend, a parade was held in which the hapless husband is forced to wear antlers on his head as a symbol of his wife's infidelity. Whether or not this actually happened is unknown but the phrase has survived (also see the Italian insult cornuto).

Ca. 1815 French satire on cuckoldry, which shows both men and women wearing horns

In French, the equivalent term is porter des cornes, which is used by Molière to describe someone whose consort has been unfaithful. Molière's L'École des femmes (1662) is the story of a man who mocks cuckolds and becomes one at the end. In Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (c.1372-77), the Miller's Tale is a story that humorously examines the life of a cuckold.

[edit] Cultural usage

In many countries "horns" are a metaphor for suffering the infidelity of a partner, not limited to husbands in modern usage. The gesture of the horned hand can be used to insult the cuckold.

The Italian equivalent is cornuto, sharing the same double entendre with the English word cornuted, asserting both featuring horns and cuckolded. Its use is playful and lightheartedly derisive, with little or no particular efficacy in scorning someone during confrontations as it is lacking earnest damning credentials, potentially leading all parties to a chuckle and smothering the feud at its inception. A pervasive metaphor parodies the use of cornuto to great effect: il bue che dà del cornuto all'asino, meaning the ox labelling the donkey cornute, equivalent to pot calling the kettle black.

In Portuguese, the terms corno ("horn") and cornudo or chifrudo ("horned") are used to spite or mock the cheated male partner. The expression corno manso ("tame horned") is used to indicate those men who, although cheated by their partners, come to accept it as a fact of their lives.

The Spanish word cornudo is used to describe a male partner whose female partner is sexually unfaithful. A consenting cuckold, cabrón, has such an offensive nuance that it is a taboo word rarely used with its original meaning, "billy goat". However, according to the tone and the relation to the addressed, it can be even laudatory.

In Hungarian the term is felszarvazni, meaning 'to put horns (on sby)' and in Romanian is incornorat, meaning 'wearing horns'.

The Chinese term for "cuckold" is literally translated to "wearing a green hat" (戴綠帽, dài lǜ mào).[2] It is because of this that it is extremely rare to see any Chinese man wearing a green hat.[3]

Chinese Roman Catholic bishops, who in ecclesiastical heraldry would normally have a green galero above their arms, have dispensation to use some other color of galero on account of this custom. Violet is mostly used for Chinese bishops.

In Trinidad and Tobago, the term "horn" is used in conjunction with cuckolds, or anyone of either sex who has a cheating spouse. Other uses include "to horn" (to sleep with someone else's spouse), "horning" (the act of cheating on your spouse), "horner-man" (a man who is sleeping with someone else's spouse) and "horner-woman" (a woman who is sleeping with someone else's spouse), "to get horn", "to take (a) horn". It is usually used in a pejorative sense. Numerous calypsoes have been written about the topic; the most famous being "Horn Me Sandra" by the calypsonian known as Lord Kitchener.

This horn analogy extends to Turkey, where the cuckolded husband is termed boynuzlu, "horned one". But it also includes the females that are cheated on.

A similar analogy exists in Greece, using the term "κερατάς" meaning "horned one".

[edit] Cuckoldry as a fetish

In contrast to the traditional definition of a cuckold as a married man whose wife cheats on him without his knowledge, a cuckold fetishist is aware of his partner's activity and derives sexual pleasure from it.[4] This knowledge and tolerance of his partners activities makes the male in such relationships a wittol, properly speaking. But among fetishists the pose of reluctance—the victimization of the cuckold—is a major element of the kink so the more familiar word is used. In the fetish cuckolding subculture, the female is typically sexually dominant, while the male takes on a submissive role, only becoming involved with her or her partner when she permits it—sometimes remaining altogether celibate. Other arrangements are certainly possible, however.

The desire for the male to enjoy being cuckolded is more related to sexual gratification and less about interpersonal ideals (respect, commisary, between the partners). Sometimes this is part of the their sexual fantasy because they gain sexual arousal through being humiliated. Other times the husband finds pleasure through that of his wife. In a broader context, the contrast between a cuckold and the additional male participant is sometimes used to summarize an individual's personality or behavior and the variability commonly seen in male libidos: the cuckold or beta male suggesting a lack of masculinity or alpha male representing that missing masculinity.[citation needed]

The wife and extramarital participant may both enjoy attempting to actively include him in the act of cuckolding as much as possible through serving her. Some common themes include praising her appearance, attempting to stimulate her sexually at the same time as the additional participant, and generally being engrossed in her enjoyment. It is common for the male to be more absorbed with the female's pleasure than his own. It is common for a cuckold to perform cunnilingus immediately after his wife has had engaged in sexual relations with the extramarital participant. This is called "cleaning up" and often involves facesitting.

The wife who enjoys cuckoldry is sometimes referred to as a hotwife or cuckoldress.[5]

Cuckoldry is sometimes used in Japanese hentai games and other media. In this context it is often known as netorare, or NTR, which uses the kanji 'ne' meaning "to sleep" and the word 'torare' meaning "taken". While sometimes taken as a fetish, it is often used to evoke an emotional response of jealousy and rage or humiliation and despair.

[edit] Theories in evolutionary psychology

In his book Sperm Wars, Robin Baker speculated that the excitement and stimulation of the cuckolding fetish emerges from the biology of sexuality and the effects of sexual arousal on the brain. According to his theory, when a male believes that his female mate may have been sexual with another male, the male mate is prompted by biological urges to copulate with the female, in an effort to "compete" with the other males' sperm. The effects of sperm competition are well documented.[6] Further, when initiating sex, the male mate thrusts harder, deeper and longer, in efforts to remove the sperm of the other male, and is biologically driven to have sex multiple times. While he may be unable to have sex more than once under usual circumstances, the cuckolded male is prone to repeated sexual efforts. Meanwhile, the wife enjoys greater sexual stimulation, first by her other male lover and second by her cuckolded husband. In addition, the wife enjoys the neurochemical "highs" triggered by entering into a romantic or physical relationship with another lover. These highs include the effects of oxytocin and other neurochemicals which trigger excitement, euphoria and other feelings common to the beginnings of romantic relationships. These neurochemicals change over time, and as a relationship persists, with neurochemicals changing to ones that promote bonding, planning and nurturing. When a wife takes a new lover, she triggers the neurochemicals of a new relationship, bringing home excitement to her husband.[7]

The above exposition is contraindicated by the hypothesized foundations for jealousy in evolutionary psychology, which is rooted in the idea that men specifically will react jealously to sexual infidelity on the parts of their mates.[8] Far more often than being sexually aroused, extreme and enduring anger to the point of committing a crime of passion is documented by partners finding their spouse's infidelity. These crimes even lead to the social and legal permissibility inherent in the concept of a crime of passion, whereby culpability and legal punishment is reduced, sometimes even annulled entirely, due to the extenuating circumstances of what is construed as a natural response to an outraging stimulus. The popularity of the cuckold fetish actually calls into question the universality of this evolutionary interpretation and theory,[citation needed] suggesting that differential responses to jealousy are possible, and perhaps even adaptive. One theory suggests that some men may accept a Hobbsian bargain, accepting that their wives will be unfaithful, in order for a lesser male to secure a female mate of higher evolutionary value than he could have, if he required and enforced sexual fidelity.[9]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Sommer, Matthew Harvey (2002). Sex, Law, and Society in Late Imperial China. Stanford: Stanford University Press. pp. 218. ISBN 0804745595. http://books.google.ca/books?id=E6ClbegXuWUC. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  2. ^ Sommer, Matthew Harvey (2002). Sex, Law, and Society in Late Imperial China. Stanford: Stanford University Press. pp. 218. ISBN 0804745595. http://books.google.ca/books?id=E6ClbegXuWUC. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  3. ^ Gee, Marcus (29 August 2007). "Green hats and other ways to blow a deal in China". Scripps Newspaper Group Online. http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/26365. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  4. ^ "Savage Love: Gentlemen First". http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=643679. 
  5. ^ Ley, David (2009). Insatiable Wives: Women Who Stray and the Men Who Love Them. Rowman & Littlefield. 
  6. ^ Baker, Robin (1996). Sperm Wars, the Science of Sex. Diane Books Publishing. 
  7. ^ Ley, David (2009). Insatiable Wives: Women Who Stray and the Men Who Love Them. Rowman & Littlefield. 
  8. ^ Harris, C. R. (2002) Sexual and romantic jealousy in heterosexual and homosexual adults. Psychological Science 13(1), 7–12
  9. ^ Ley, David (2009). Insatiable Wives: Women Who Stray and the Men Who Love Them. Rowman & Littlefield. 

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