The Book that Started a Sexual Revolution

Five Years ago, Dr. David Ley, a clinical psychologist in practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico, wrote the first serious examination of the growing sexual lifestyle known as ‘cuckolding.’ Because of it’s unique historical and modern take, it’s become the most quoted source on the topic. Megan Hussey recently caught up with Dr. Ley for the following insightful interview.

It may come as no surprise that the fantasy of having a wild affair with a hot, gorgeous young man is a popular one for many women; and as can be proven by the cult success of films that range from the ever romantic “Bridges of Madison County” to the ever erotic “Unfaithful,” “Thief of Hearts” and “Two Moon Junction,” many a lady dreams of succumbing to and losing herself in the throes of a wicked dalliance.

It also seems that more and more women are acting out this fantasy; indeed, the Huffington Post recently revealed that—according to a report from Bloomberg Businessweek—“the most recent data from the National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey show that women have had more affairs in the past two decades then in previous years. The percentage of men who admitted to infidelity ‘held constant at 21 percent,’ while ‘the percentage of wives having affairs rose almost 40 percent … to 14.7 percent in 2010’.”

So just what do husbands think about the ever increasing trend of wives stepping out and getting it on with hawt, available ‘other men?’  Well luckily, some dudes don’t seem to mind it when their ladies cheat – thus accounting for the overwhelming success of the book Insatiable Wives: Women who Stray and the Men Who Love Them by Dr. David Ley, Ph.D.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the publication of Insatiable Wives, which explores the growing popularity of the ‘cuckold’ or ‘hotwife’ lifestyle.  Ley, a clinical psychologist who specializes in sexual issues, put two years of research into the writing of this book, interviewing couples from across the country about this subject.  He won a 2009 Silver Medalin the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year contest for his efforts; along with a whole new understanding of unfaithful wives and the men who love them.

In the five years since its original publication, your book “Insatiable Wives: Women who Stray and the Men Who Love Them” is still in the top 75,000 on Amazon.Com and has garnered a four-and-a-half star rating at the site; in addition, the book is often quoted and cited in articles that concern the topic of modern relationships.  How do you perceive the impact that your book has had on the perception of women’s sexuality in our culture?

Tied to Economic Independence?

♀Among the Inuit, where women have sexual freedoms comparable to the men of their society, the women traditionally oversee the family’s economy.

♀The government of ancient Sparta, where women were allowed to own land, wrote laws protecting women’s sexual freedom.

♀Among the Islamic culture in 19th Century Morocco, wealthy women often engaged in flagrant affairs, protected from their husband’s anger by the fact that family’s wealth was in the wife’s name, inherited from her family.

♀In 18th- and 19th-century Italy, women had a Cicisbeo or Cavalier Servente, a lover and servant who had “privileged” access to her.

I’m humbled to even have the question asked in such a way. I wrote the book for a variety of personal reasons – I was personally depressed, dealing with managed care and healthcare bureaucracy, and needed a healthy, self-directed project; I encountered couples living this lifestyle, and had my own assumptions challenged; I’d always wanted to publish a book; I found the investigation of this lifestyle to be a fascinating, educational endeavor that taught me a great deal about sexuality, and the wide range of healthy relationships and sexual behaviors.

The idea that the book had a cultural impact is delightful. My book remains the only real scholarly exploration of this issue, though there is increasing attention to it. It’s now recognized that “cuckold/wife” porn is the second most popular porn on the Internet, second only to teen porn. I know my spam mail is filled with emails about lonely housewives (I hope no one blames me for that!) I’m aware of a couple of researchers who are now starting to investigate this phenomenon, in a few different ways, and using my book as a starting point. But, I like to think that my book had the largest impact on people who read it, and said, “Hey, I’m not alone” in their thoughts or desires related to this lifestyle. Further, I’d hope that my writing and exploration helped them to not only feel “not alone,” but that their desires were not diseased or unhealthy, but perfectly understandable and explainable. If I achieved that, in any small way, I feel my goal was reached. Society does so much shaming of people for sexual desires that are quite common, but that we pretend are rare. I’m seeing that change, as more books like mine come out, and more aspects of the media start to explore these taboo topics.

Along the same lines, do you believe that your book has impacted women’s sexuality itself?  Has it given them permission to explore their fantasies and the boundaries of their relationships?  Do you think that women are more inclined to cuck these days, and/or more inclined to talk about it?

leyBy and large, I believe that the cuckolding lifestyle remains something primarily driven by male desires and interests, in that it is largely men who initiate it as fantasy, it’s primarily men who feed its popularity on line.  I have now encountered a few women who were interested in this, from their own sexual desires, so perhaps this is changing, as these “cuckoldresses” begin to more openly assert their desires.I think that this ultimately connects to a larger shift in women’s ability to identify and seek their own sexual desires. During the early years of the feminist revolution, women who identified a desire for sex with men, much less many men, would have been seen as feeding into male desires for the perfect wife: the “hostess in the living room, slut in the bedroom.”  But now, the growth in acceptable female sexual range and recognition of the depth and breadth of female sexual desire makes this an empowered option for women.

After being concealed and whispered about for so long, it seems that women’s sexuality is finally in the spotlight.  Written erotica is more popular than ever; we’re going to the movies to see Magic Mike, watching the show Gigolos on TV and reading Scandalous Women online.  Overall, do you think it’s important for people to discuss women’s sexuality and bring it out into the open–and how do you think your book has played a role in this?

Absolutely, even the silly popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey shows that we are accepting and acknowledging a far greater range of female sexual behaviors. Look, some women desire power and control in sex, and some women want to be taken. Many want both of these things, at different times with different men. Centuries ago, most women had very little control of their sexual lives.

Just a few decades ago, it wasn’t acceptable for “sexually-liberated women” to express a desire to be sexually submissive to a man. But, modern female liberation truly allows women the ability to choose for themselves what they want sexually. Where sites like Scandalous Women, and books like mine, really feed this cultural shift is through educating women about these sexual options available to them, and through helping men to recognize how incredibly sexy a woman can be, when she is actively and thoughtfully pursuing her own sexual desires.

There’s another fascinating cultural dialogue happening much more these days, around monogamy. Movies and television shows are exploring whether sexual fidelity is actually a critical part of a healthy relationship. Recent films like Friends With Benefits, Fling, Hall Pass, etc., are all inviting viewers to ask themselves whether sexual fidelity really is mandatory or necessary. Now, all these films usually end up with the moral Hollywood message that monogamy really is best and necessary. But, the question is now being raised, more and more, and viewers get to leave those theaters, or pause the Netflix, and talk with their partner about those issues. They get to ask whether the “movie” of their relationship really has to end that same way. The gay marriage revolution has also begun raising this issue, or will soon. 70% of male homosexual relationships are not sexually monogamous. The definition and expectations are all now up for debate, up for dialogue, and up for people to begin making their own decisions. It’s all very exciting to be a part of.

What kind of reader response have you received since the release of “Insatiable Wives,” from wives, husbands and couples?  Do you plan a follow up?

Bobbi rated it 4 of 5 stars

OK, the lifestyles might be way out there for some people. But the biology, history, and religious aspects delved into regarding female sexuality left me – proud to be a woman physically. Maybe for the first time. And it’s written by a man. So there you go.

Kevin rated it 4 of 5 stars

I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I enjoyed this. I stumbled across the author’s blog on Psychology Today and was persuaded to read his book. I’m not in the market for a lifestyle change, but I found it interesting and, yes, titillating in a weird way.

I have some favorite reviews. Perhaps it’s silly, but I’m almost brought to tears by the one by the woman who says, in a positive way, that my book made her proud to be a woman, and that she was surprised that it was written by a man. That my words could have such an impact on a person’s life truly makes me glad for all the long hours of work. Makes it all worth it.

Another favorite response was by a guy who basically said “Ley took a salacious topic, and made it boring.” I love that. Weird, right? My goal was to approach this in a responsible, thoughtful and grounded way. I once picked up a book called “Erotic Lifestyles.” I was hoping it was a thoughtful exploration of different sexual lives. Instead, it was thinly veiled erotica. Erotica is fine, but it doesn’t move the conversation forward. If someone views my book as boring, that’s great, because it means I made this into a serious conversation. In a serious conversation based on facts and research, the questions raised by this lifestyle can’t simply be dismissed by calling it perverse, and labeling these women as sluts, and their men as cuckold weaklings.

What other books and projects do you have on the horizon?

Well, for the last couple of years, I’ve been embroiled in a protracted battle with the sex addiction industry. I actually wrote that book as a follow-up to Insatiable Wives, basically exploring and depathologizing high libido males. That book, and subsequent related publications, have catapulted me into a national dialogue about whether sex and porn really are as dangerous and damaging as media morality suggest. My goals in this are the same as with Insatiable Wives, in my attempt to stop the stigmatizing and moral panics over “different” sex. I think the labels of sex addict, nymphomaniac, porn addict, hypersexual and on and on, are shaming and damning. They are just like being called a perv in middle school.

My goal is to empower people to responsibly define healthy sexuality for themselves, knowledgably and thoughtfully, and to give them the tools and language to discuss this with the people in their lives. I’m currently at work on a new book, tentatively titled “A Gentleman’s Guide to Responsible Porn Use.” It will probably be an e-book. I’ve loved publishing my books, but I think that the debate is happening in different spheres now, on Youtube, and social media. I want to reach people there with my ideas.

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”1442200316″] Clinical psychologist Ley forges into new territory to examine the long-lived, but little-known “hotwife phenomenon.” In extensive interviews with couples, Ley discovers educated, successful individuals with strong, healthy marriages in which wives are allowed, and expected, to sleep with other men. These couples demonstrate high degrees of communication and mutual respect while also asserting that the lifestyle, initiated by the wives, has strengthened their marriages. Interviews lead Ley to track the origins of monogamy and the reasons why “female sexuality was constrained in our society and history,” including analysis of the term “cuckoldry,” the evolution of laws designed to protect the family, and the Madonna/whore dichotomy, alongside the medical and societal costs of keeping women under sexual lock-and-key. Well-written and thoroughly researched, Ley’s survey of an evolving marriage lifestyle highlights qualities vital to any relationship, especially honest and consistent communication. [/AMAZONPRODUCTS]


[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B008NF2Z5W”]This is an extremely controversial book! It pushes a lot of hot-buttons that people have, triggers a LOT of fears, jealousies, and past memories. A reader will have either an extremely favorable or an extremely defensive response, because of how explosive this subject matter is and based on their own past experiences. I STEAL WIVES is the only book to ever address, from an insider’s perspective, the single most EXPLOSIVE yet least talked-about issue crippling relationships in America today: Why women cheat, and why it is happening far more than anyone wants to admit, or even realizes…also why women don’t want to talk about it and why men are terrified to even think about it. Research now shows that female infidelity is on the rise, rivaling that of men.[/AMAZONPRODUCTS] [AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”1587613379″]For anyone who has ever dreamed of love, sex, and companionship beyond the limits of traditional monogamy, this groundbreaking guide navigates the infinite possibilities that open relationships can offer. Experienced ethical sluts Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy dispel myths and cover all the skills necessary to maintain a successful and responsible polyamorous lifestyle–from self-reflection and honest communication to practicing safe sex and raising a family. Individuals and their partners will learn how to discuss and honor boundaries, resolve conflicts, and to define relationships on their own terms. [/AMAZONPRODUCTS]
Previous articleNicky OMG! jams a fusion of styles
Next articleSex Party 101
Megan Hussey is a feminist erotica author known for writing paranormal-based fantasy romances, with more than 30 titles in print, audio and e-book forms through Class Act Books, Melange Books, Metaphysical Erotica publishing, Phaze books and Xcite Books UK, and for her work behind the scenes in the women’s erotica industry, having written for companies such as Playgirl, Chick Media, Eden Fantasys, Good Vibrations and Trejix Toys. Many of her stories revolve around fantasy characters such as mermen, and strong, real woman heroines.