Dr. David Ley is a clinical psychologist and author who often writes and speaks about sexuality issues, especially those that others are unwilling to discuss; he is probably best known to readers of this blog as the foremost critic of the “sex addiction” myth, and he writes a blog on Psychology Today entitled Women Who Stray. But since PT can be rather staid, I asked him if there were any topics he wanted to write on, but couldn’t in that venue; this was his reply.
I first encountered the “creampie fetish” in 2007 as I was interviewing for my book Insatiable Wives: Women Who Stray and the Men Who Love Them (2009), which discussed the psychology and biology behind couples who deliberately shared the wives sexually with other men. In that lifestyle the creampie, or a man’s ejaculate, trickling slowly from the woman’s vagina, is celebrated as a sort of Holy Grail, demonstrating the wife’s defilement by another man (though the word defilement sounds much, much meaner than these couples usually intend it). In Insatiable Wives, I discussed the creampie it related to the psychology of this lifestyle. But, over recent years, the creampie fetish is no longer relegated to the cuckold fans, but appears to have gone “mainstream,” popping up in porn and sexuality discussions at a much broader level.
Since 2005, Google searches for “creampie” have quadrupled, with the most frequent searches involving “creampie porn” and “anal creampie.” Pornhub recently released interesting user data, also showing that creampie is a highly sought-after form of porn, especially in more politically conservative states. Jokes about creampies are found in movies and late-night comedy talkshows, and Miley Cyrus even performed at a “Christmas Creampies Concert” in 2012. Despite these interesting data and trends of sexual interest, no one has written about the potential psychological and sociological implications of growing interest in this fetishistic desire (like many of my colleagues, I use the term fetish to describe a strong sexual interest or predilection, and do not imply that this desire is inherently pathological or evidence of disturbed sexuality).
Sperm Warfare is a theory describing behavioral and biological adaptations which exert influence over whose sperm is most likely to fertilize a woman’s ovum. Accepting the premise that humans evolved in a promiscuous, nonmonogamous environment where a man’s sperm had to “compete” with the sperm of other men in a woman’s vagina, sperm warfare suggests that natural selection acted upon the physiology and psychology of males, females, sperm, eggs, sex and procreation. The quantity and quality of a man’s sperm at ejaculation is affected by conscious and unconscious beliefs that the woman might have had sex with another man, and the shape of the human penis works like a plunger to remove the semen of another male, if present. (In zebras, there is an immediate, dramatically expulsive fountain of sperm that the female ejects from her vagina during intercourse with a male – if you don’t believe me check out this video, but be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart). When a man believes that he and his sperm may need to compete, the man is more likely to thrust harder, ejaculate more forcefully, and get physically excited again, sooner, in order to put more of his soldiers onto the battlefield. Deeper, more vigorous thrusts are more likely to dislodge any sperm from another man, or even to dislodge an already fertilized egg. Modern research shows that semen contains surprising levels of psychoactive hormones, and ingesting or absorbing semen is associated with decreased depression. Women’s orgasms act, in part, to exert some control of which man’s sperm is most likely to fertilize them, and when being unfaithful, women are more likely to orgasm with the other man, and to wait at least 24 hours (enough time for conception and implantation) before having sex with their primary mate.
Sperm warfare is a powerful theory, but I firmly believe that human behaviors are complex, and multiply determined, especially when it comes to sexual behaviors. It is rare, in my opinion, that any complex behavior has a single explanation. Aside from the biology and psychology of conception warfare, many people eroticize semen itself. Semen holds a powerful symbolic status, from Onan in the Bible, who spilled his seed outside of a woman’s body in what was probably the first creampie in recorded history, to modern porn where cumshots are augmented with cornstarch cream shot by devices to create impossible gushing jets of ejaculate. Many of the cuckold couples I’ve interviewed specifically eroticized the semen of other men, commenting on it as a powerful visual and tactile symbol of a woman’s sexual connection with another man. Men and women have described with me the tactile feeling of penetrating a woman’s vagina after another man had ejaculated within her, and attributed significant emotional impact to this experience. Among the Romans, where women were forbidden to drink wine, husbands would sometimes kiss their wives to detect the taste of wine in her mouth; similarly, it has been suggested that oral sex might actually have developed as a strategy to detect evidence of sexual infidelity. Cuckold fetishists take this anti-cuckoldry mechanism and turn it on its head, fantasizing about performing oral sex on their wife, while her vagina contains the ejaculate of another man, and celebrating the fact. Those who celebrate cuckolding creampies usually describe the sensuality of dominance, submission, taboo, violating social norms, exploring direct and indirect bisexuality, and the clear visual evidence of their wife’s sexual contact with another man.
But, the current popularity of the creampie is not limited to the cuckolding lifestyle. Beyond the generally relevant reason of sperm warfare, why does it seem to have gained popularity in a mainstream audience? Here are a few speculations, but at this point, we have little evidence or research upon which to evaluate these theories:
- It has been suggested that the demand for condom-free sex in pornography represents people’s desires for fantasy, consequence-free sex of abandon, where STD’s and pregnancy are meaningless. The cumshot, and more so, the creampie, demonstrate visually that the actors are embracing and living that fantasy;
- We are inundated by messages and marketing that porn is fake, and doesn’t reflect “real sex.” While I agree with aspects of that message, there is something very, very “real” and complete about the sex that leaves behind a creampie;
- The quantity of a man’s ejaculate is correlated with the size of their testicles, and is commonly believed to reflect something of the man’s masculinity. When a man leaves a large quantity of semen, enough to be readily visible, is this a sign of his virility, such that the viewer can more readily see the man as iconic?
- Internet porn has changed the pornography industry, creating financially viable niches for genres of porn which wouldn’t have been popular or lucrative enough in the past. It seems possible that there have always been those who were or would be, interested in creampies, but that what has changed is the ability of the market to recognize and respond to this desire, rather than the creation of a new desire.
The fertile fluids of the genitals, semen, and female prostatic fluids, have always been eroticized, and treated as powerful symbols of sexuality and virility. The heady brew of the effects of these fluids, involved as they are with feelings of sexual pleasure and arousal, are intrinsically involved in the physiological and psychological experiences of people. The modern popularity of creampie porn is popular because it expresses and triggers many powerful psychological and biological mechanisms of human sexuality.
*Note – I often write for Psychology Today, but this topic is slightly too edgy for them – I once had trouble after writing about the psychology of a man who put his own semen in yogurt samples he distributed to strangers. I’m indebted to Maggie for the invitation to draft it for her own blog.