Regardless of what you think of 50 Shades of Grey, it has helped the world get a little more comfortable with its sexuality—particularly in regards to bondage and Dom/sub topics. That crazy fantasy of being tied up that you thought you were weird for having? Millions of others have it, too.
Well, here’s another: millions of men fantasize about watching their wives with other men. It may not be as talked about as a guy’s love for girl-on-girl (“you’re such a guy!”), but for many, it’s as much a turn-on. Want evidence? Just take a look around. On Literotica, for example, the topic (categorized hilariously as “Loving Wives”) is one of the highest trafficked areas of the site. In hardcore porn (of the video variety), there’s a plethora of “hot wife” titles that deal with this theme. And if you don’t buy either of those, you’ve got a fellow fan in me. Something about the high stakes of the fantasy, coupled with the voyeuristic nature of it, is really evocative to me.
Point is, if the thought of your wife playing out of bounds with another man gets your heart racing (among other things), then fear not because you’re not alone.
The emotional punch
For me, this isn’t an easy fantasy. It’s complicated. It comes with a confusing and contradicting set of emotions. There’s excitement, of course, but also jealousy. Even fear. There’s an inherent risk here. Will things ever be the same? Will she still love me when it’s over? I tried to address it when I wrote Leap, when Jack wonders why this fantasy turns him on:
…there were other emotions mingling with all the excitement. Uncertainty was there. Guilt. A reckless thrill he’d only ever felt when doing something he knew was stupid.
And yes, there was jealousy. A lot of jealousy. At times, it nearly threatened to overwhelm the excitement…
With all those swirling emotions, this fantasy can feel like a punch to the gut. It preys on our insecurities, yet the mess it makes of our emotions is profoundly arousing. I don’t understand this reaction—why something that feels so wrong can also feel so exciting—but I know that without it, the fantasy would feel flat.
Sexualizing through voyeurism
The other thing at the core of wife-watching is the watching part. One guy explained it to me like this (paraphrased): Like most men, I enjoy watching people having sex; I also love my wife and think she’s hot; what would be hotter than watching my wife have sex?
I’m not sure I could have said it more clearly. We get to see our wives like never before: through the eyes of that other man. She’s hot. She’s sexual. She’s desired by others. We can watch her move and react in a way that’s impossible otherwise. It’s like watching porn and knowing the actors (at least one of them).
Additionally, watching your wife with another man is kind of the ultimate form of validation, right? Walking into a room and seeing all eyes scan her is one thing; watching him want her so badly as to sleep with her is something magnitudes stronger. And that only increases your desire for her.
There’s some objectifying involved, and maybe a little misogyny. Husbands are imagining their wives acting in ways their wives might not want to act. But fuck it, our desires don’t care about moral high grounds. They swim freely through the darker recesses of our mind.
Monogamy and cuckolding
For me, I like wife-watching stories that come back to the couple, despite all the outside-the-lines play. Jack and Sarah, from Leap, still love each other more than ever. The fantasy comes out of a mutual desire to get each other off. The third guy is like a living prop.
But that’s just me. Many guys who enjoy this kind of thing want it to go further than that… Maybe the husband isn’t so involved. Maybe it’s less about the couple’s adventurous relationship and more about the act of being with another man. This is where the fantasy becomes more of a cuckolding one, and no discussion on wife-watching would be complete without bringing this up.
The impulses spring from similar places: this sexualization of the wife. The cuckold fantasy is just a little more extreme, introducing a power imbalance where the husband either has little control over the situation, he’s humiliated by the wife/her lover for getting turned on by it, he’s treated like a wimp, or all of the above.
That emotional punch I mentioned earlier? It becomes one of the driving motivators of the cuckold. The situation might be really bad, but he’s powerless to stop it from happening, or control his own arousal.
Personally, I don’t want to be humiliated or dominated—not by my wife, and certainly not by another man—so much of the cuckold genre isn’t to my tastes. I’ll admit that aspects of it are hot, though. And always remember, if you do have this fantasy, so do many, many others, both men and women.
Let’s talk about women
Two things. Firstly, many women (particularly wives who have husbands with this fantasy) don’t understand it. I can see how this happens. Lots of questions come up: why do I have to do this to be sexy? if I do this, will my husband expect to sleep with other women? I am married to my husband, so why would I want to be with someone else?
The answer to all those questions? “It’s not you, it’s me.” Seriously. We’re not doing this with ulterior motives. The fantasy is wife-watching, not swinging or swapping. We have it precisely because you are sexy to us. And as for that last question, well, that feeds into this next thing.
Like all fantasies, wife-watching isn’t just a guy’s fantasy. It can’t be. But for women, it’s slightly different. There’s still the notion of validation. Knowing that she’s desired by other men—that she still “has it”—can be a powerful turn-on. While men experience a visceral form of voyeurism, women are getting the flip-side: exhibitionism on a profound level. It may not be for everyone, but like I said to the male readers, if you do have it, you’re not alone.
Wife watching books
I’m not going to give an exhaustive list here (I don’t really have one), but I’ll plug a few books that I’d recommend if you’re into this sub-genre (and welcome suggestions for more). There’s Leap, of course, which confronts the fantasy head on when a couple decide to explore it on Leap Day. While She Watches reverses the role; here, it’s the girlfriend that wants to watch her guy hook up with her best friend. I’ve also got another short story on the subject that should be out shortly.
And please, suggest your favorite ebooks in the comments. All I ask is that they are books, not links back to the free sites.
Update, 4/28/2013: My first novel, Just Watch Me, is one of my finest efforts to capture this fantasy. If you read only one thing by me and are interested in this subject, this is the one to read.