Cuckolding can be positive for some couples, study says

(CNN)In our current political climate, the term “cuck” — short for “cuckservative” — has become an insult of the so-called alt-right, aimed at men they view as spineless and emasculated. The slur has its roots in the concept of cuckolding, or having an adulterous partner.

But, according to a recent study by David Ley, Justin Lehmiller and the writer Dan Savage, acting on cuckolding fantasies can be a largely positive experience for many couples, and hardly a sign of weakness.
References to cuckolding appear in literature as early as the 13th century, usually in the form of male characters who fear that their child has been sired by another man during an act of infidelity. Today, however, cuckolding has become fetishized into a powerful sexual fantasy for some men, who get aroused by the idea of their romantic partner engaging in sexual activity with someone else. Women also share this fantasy, but less so than men.
    “This fantasy has been around as long as marriage and sexuality,” said Ley, whose book “Insatiable Wives” addresses cuckolding in heterosexual couples. “But we’re hearing more and more about it these days, and more people are rejecting the social stigma against this fantasy.”
    Indeed, the numbers suggest that cuckolding, or at least thinking about it, is more common than you might imagine. For his forthcoming book, “Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help Improve Your Sex Life,” Lehmiller surveyed thousands of Americans and found that 58% of men and about a third of women had fantasized about cuckolding.
    “Men are more likely to fantasize about cuckolding, and they do it more often — but there are a number of women who have these fantasies as well, which points to the need for more research focused on women’s cuckolding desires,” Lehmiller said.
    Initially viewed as a heterosexual phenomenon, it’s increasingly prevalent among gay men, too. “I’d long gotten letters from straight couples into cuckolding (usually initiated by the husband), but none from gay couples until after marriage equality began to gather steam,” explained writer and activist Savage. To learn more, Savage joined with Lehmiller and Ley for a study of cuckolding fantasies and experiences in 580 gay men.
    Their findings suggest that there are similarities between the way gay and straight men view cuckolding, but clear differences, too. Most notably, interracial and BDSM themes don’t appear to be as common in gay men’s cuckolding fantasies as they are among heterosexual men. The motivations behind these fantasies may also be different.
    Part of what makes cuckolding arousing for heterosexual men is that they tend to view it as a taboo act. “In a society or culture that idealizes monogamy, the cuckold fantasy is a current narrative that is available to people to conceptualize their sexual fantasies,” said Ley.
    But that may not be an influence for everyone. “For gay men, cuckolding isn’t quite as taboo because the norm of lifelong monogamy isn’t so strong in the LGBT community; however, it can still be arousing for a number of other reasons,” said Lehmiller. For instance, fantasies about voyeurism and group sex seem to overlap with those about cuckolding in these men. “It’s a sexual desire that can be easily customized to meet a wide range of sexual needs and desires, whether it’s taboo sex, novelty, voyeurism or something else,” he told me.
    And the emotions surrounding seeing your partner with someone else can add to the turn-on, explained Savage. “It’s not cuckolding if there isn’t an element of humiliation, degradation or denial,” he said. “Our erotic imaginations have the ability to turn shame lemons into delicious kink lemonade.”
    As a sex therapist, one of the more intriguing findings from this study involves the impact of cuckolding on relationships.
    “Overall, our research found that for the most part, cuckolding tends to be a positive fantasy and behavior,” said Ley. “It doesn’t appear to be evidence of disturbance, of an unhealthy relationship, or of disregard for one’s partner.” But there’s an important caveat, added Lehmiller. “We found several personality factors that predict more positive experiences acting on cuckolding fantasies. For those who have a lot of relationship anxiety or abandonment issues, who lack intimacy and communication, and who aren’t careful, detail-oriented planners, acting on a consensual non-monogamy fantasy could very well be a negative experience,” he said. “In other words, not everyone who has a cuckolding fantasy should think about acting on it.”

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    Remember that sometimes just sharing a sexy thought can be arousing enough — you don’t have to follow through. If you are thinking about acting on a cuckolding fantasy, it’s worth stepping back first and making sure your relationship is in a good place and that you have strong sexual communication skills.
    “For men and couples considering the issue of cuckolding, it’s important there be honesty, integrity, communication, mutuality and shared values,” advised Ley. “I’ve seen men who try to trick their wives into cuckolding them, and this never, ever ends up well.”
    For couples who do decide to move forward, it’s important to take things slow. “The reality of watching your spouse have sex with someone else — or knowing they’re doing it, if you’re not there — is often very different than the fantasy. It can dredge up powerful emotions, so take baby steps and keep talking and communicating,” said Savage. “That said, the rewards can be amazing, according to couples who have successfully folded cuckold play into their relationships.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/25/health/cuckolding-sex-kerner/index.html

    Ibuprofen linked to male infertility, study says

    (CNN)Ibuprofen has a negative impact on the testicles of young men, a study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found. When taking ibuprofen in doses commonly used by athletes, a small sample of young men developed a hormonal condition that typically begins, if at all, during middle age. This condition is linked to reduced fertility.

    Advil and Motrin are two brand names for ibuprofen, an over-the-counter pain reliever. CNN has contacted Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, the makers of both brands, for comment.
    The Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a trade group that represents manufacturers of over-the-counter medications and supplements, “supports and encourages continued research and promotes ongoing consumer education to help ensure safe use of OTC medicines,” said Mike Tringale, a spokesman for the association. “The safety and efficacy of active ingredients in these products has been well documented and supported by decades of scientific study and real-world use.”
      The new study is a continuation of research that began with pregnant women, explained Bernard Jégou, co-author and director of the Institute of Research in Environmental and Occupational Health in France.
      Jégou and a team of French and Danish researchers had been exploring the health effects when a mother-to-be took any one of three mild pain relievers found in medicine chests around the globe: aspirin, acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol and sold under the brand name Tylenol) and ibuprofen.
      Their early experiments, published in several papers, showed that when taken during pregnancy, all three of these mild medicines affected the testicles of male babies.

      Testicles and testosterone

      Testicles not only produce sperm, they secrete testosterone, the primary male sex hormone.
      All three drugs then are “anti-androgenic,” meaning they disrupt male hormones, explained David M. Kristensen, study co-author and a senior scientist in the Department of Neurology at Copenhagen University Hospital.
      The three drugs even increased the likelihood that male babies would be born with congenital malformations, Kristensen noted.
      Tringale noted that pregnant and nursing women should always ask a health professional before using medicines.
      Knowing this, “we wondered what would happen in the adult,” he said. They focused their investigation on ibuprofen, which had the strongest effects.
      A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, ibuprofen is often taken by athletes, including Olympians and professional soccer players for example, before an event to prevent pain, Jégou said. Are there health consequences for the athletes who routinely use this NSAID?
      The research team recruited 31 male volunteers between the ages of 18 and 35. Of these, 14 were given a daily dosage of ibuprofen that many professional and amateur athletes take: 600 milligrams twice a day, explained Jégou. (This 1200-mg-per-day dose is the maximum limit as directed by the labels of generic ibuprofen products.) The remaining 17 volunteers were given a placebo.
      For the men taking ibuprofen, within 14 days, their luteinizing hormones — which are secreted by the pituitary gland and stimulate the testicles to produce testosterone — became coordinated with the level of ibuprofen circulating in their blood. At the same time, the ratio of testosterone to luteinizing hormones decreased, a sign of dysfunctional testicles.
      This hormonal imbalance produced compensated hypogonadism, a condition associated with impaired fertility, depression and increased risk for cardiovascular events, including heart failure and stroke.
      For the small group of young study participants who used ibuprofen for only a short time, “it is sure that these effects are reversible,” Jégou said. However, it’s unknown whether the health effects of long-term ibuprofen use are reversible, he said.
      After this randomized, controlled clinical trial, the research team experimented with “little bits of human testes” provided by organ donors and then conducted test tube experiments on the endocrine cells, called Leydig and Sertoli cells, which produce testosterone, explained Jégou.
      The point was to articulate “in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro” — in the living body, outside the living body and in the test tube — that ibuprofen has a direct effect on the testicles and so testosterone.
      “We wanted to understand what happened after exposure (to ibuprofen) going from the global human physiology over to the specific organ (the testis) down to the endocrine cells producing testosterone,” Kristensen said.
      More than idle curiosity prompted such an extensive investigation.

      Questions around male fertility

      The World Health Organization estimates that one in every four couples of reproductive age in developing countries experiences childlessness despite five years of attempting pregnancy.
      A separate study estimated that more than 45 million couples, or about 15% of all couples worldwide, were infertile in 2010, while another unrelated study suggested that men were solely responsible for up to 30% and contribute up to 50% of cases overall.
      Meanwhile, a recent analysis published in the journal Human Reproduction Update found that sperm counts of men in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand are plunging. Researchers recorded a 52% decline in sperm concentration and a 59% decline in total sperm count over a nearly 40-year period ending in 2011.
      Erma Z. Drobnis, an associate professional practice professor of reproductive medicine and fertility at the University of Missouri, Columbia, noted that most drugs are not evaluated for their effects on human male fertility before marketing. Drobnis, who was not involved in the new study, has done extensive research into sperm biology and fertility.
      “There is evidence that some medications are particularly harmful to the male reproductive system, including testosterone, opioids, antidepressants, antipsychotics, immune modulators and even the over-the-counter antacid cimetidine (Tagamet),” she said. “However, prescribing providers rarely mention these adverse effects with patients when prescribing these medications. 
      She believes the new study, though small, is “important” because ibuprofen is among the most commonly used medications.
      Though the new research indicates that ibuprofen disrupts the reproductive hormones in healthy young men, she thinks it’s possible there’s an even greater negative effect in men with low fertility. The other OTC drugs concerning for potential fathers are cimetidine and acetaminophen. She recommends that men who are planning to father a child avoid drugs for several months.
      “Larger clinical trials are warranted,” she said. “This is timely work that should raise awareness of medication effects on men and potentially their offspring.”
      Jégou agrees that more study is needed to answer many questions, including whether ibuprofen’s effects on male hormones are seen at low doses and whether long-term effects are reversible.

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      “But the alarm has been raised now,” he said. “if this serves to remind people that we are really dealing with medical drugs — not with things which are not dangerous — this would be a good thing.”
      “We need to remember that it is a pharmaceutical compound that helps a lot of people worldwide,” Kristensen said. He noted, though, that of the three mild analgesics examined, ibuprofen had “the broadest endocrine-disturbing properties identified so far in men.”

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/08/health/ibuprofen-male-fertility-study/index.html