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Insatiable Wives: Women Who Stray and the Men Who Love Them

4.2 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1442200302
ISBN-10: 1442200308
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Consensual nonmonogamy is bursting out of the closet, gaining wider attention from therapists, researchers and the larger public. One particular kind of nonmonogamy, the hotwife/cuckold dynamic, shows how some people express and explore their sexuality by taking a less-trodden path. This book serves as a great introduction – not just in providing some important basic information and a meaningful context, but by emotionally accompanying the reader who might be taking their first intellectual steps in understanding the hotwife / cuckold dynamic or understanding consensual nonmonogamous sexuality in successful long-term relationships. (Richard A. Sprott, Ph.D., executive director of CARAS (Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities))

What is most compelling is not the sexual titillation, found aplenty in this book, but being taken along on Dr. Ley's clinical journey, exploring controversial aspects of sexuality. (Carole Lieberman, M.D., M.P.H., Psychiatrist and Bestselling Author of Bad Boys: Why We Love Them, How to Live with Them, and When to Leave Them)

Well-written and thoroughly researched, Ley’s survey of an evolving marriage lifestyle highlights qualities vital to any relationship, especially honest and consistent communication. (Publishers Weekly, Web Exclusive Review October 2009)

Recommended. (CHOICE, April 2010)

Insatiable Wives is an intimate, erudite exploration of the "hotwives" or "cuckold" phenomenon.... The book is well-written and well-researched.... It's engaging enough to be a "beach book" (the cover will get you some odd looks from the next towel over) and substantive enough to serve as an excellent sexological resource after you've shaken the sand from its pages. (Contemporary Sexuality, June 2010)

Ley has written a valuable and important book. Regardless of what your values and preferences may be, this book is thoroughly engrossing and impressive in its thoughtful, disciplined, informative approach. Western culture and psychological theories have led us to think that no man will tolerate his wife having sex with other men, but this book shows that in fact such practices have existed across cultural and historical boundaries. Some men not only tolerate but positively enjoy the amorous adventures of their wives. The mixture of history and science, anecdote, and interview makes this a truly remarkable book. Anyone interested in the range and breadth of human sexual activity, whether from personal curiosity or professional interest, will find this well-written and carefully researched book to be enlightening and entertaining. (Roy F. Baumeister, professor of psychology, Florida State University)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (October 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442200308
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442200302
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,922,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Giving sociological, biological, and historical evidence, a controversial new book reveals how being scandalous might just be your nature - and how you've been tricked into believing it isn't!

Any attempt to review Dr. David Ley's "Insatiable Wive - Women Who Stray and the Men Who Love Them" is met with fierce quandries. Should it be approached from a clinical stand point so the importance of the book's message isn't overly sexualized? Or should it be written in the hot nasty style such subject matter conveys in people's minds? Should we highlight the interviews with real couples who live a cuckolding lifestyle or do we concentrate on the historical theories and facts as to why some women - many women - aren't hardwired to be monogamous?

Writing for The Examiner, Sadie Smyth describes Insatiable Wives as an in-depth look at the psychological, biological and sociological forces that impact the decision-making process of men who find sexual and psychological fulfillment in the knowledge that their wives maintain relationships with other lovers, as well as the motivation behind the women's choice to do so. In other words, it seeks to explain why many women in relationships sleep with other men and why their boyfriends and husbands love them for it! The book also highlights in detail the resulting female sexual empowerment that arises within the not oft-spoken of dynamic of cuckoldry. That empowerment, as the book details, is often tied just as closely to economics as it is to sexuality.

Ley explains that female sexual freedom throughout the history of the world ties directly to the economic independence enjoyed by women in society. So, among the Inuit for example, where women could pursue sex with other men, the women traditionally oversaw the family's economy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a follower and fan of Dr. Anapol for many years. Frankly, I thought she had given up hope in creating acceptance of responsible nonmonogamy ("polyamory"), but this work is absolutely the SOURCE for balanced, insightful, well researched and documented TRUTH about how many humans behave in the 21st century...in other words, the idea of two virgins marrying for life is a bit passe'. And she proceeds to discuss why responsible nonmonogamy is difficult and why it is rewarding. She clearly reports on aspects of polyamory that are troublesome, such as how attractive this choice is for sex addicts. Yet she also details the biological elements of human behavior that validate multiple partners. This book should become a textbook for therapists of every persuasion. It could change the very nature of counseling. It will require every reader to look carefully at the belief that monongamy is the norm and multiple partnering is pathological.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is actually inaccurately titled, as it is the men who convince their partners to explore multiple sexual partners, with the provision that the men watch or experience vicariously (through photographs, film, or partner's description) the details of these extra-primary-relationship couplings. Thus, the book should be titled Insatiable Husbands rather than Insatiable Wives. In any event, this is a fascinating introduction to an important sexual phenomenon, which is qualitatively different from conventional understanding of what is derisively referred to as "wife swapping," which is informatively explored in Gould's "The Lifestyle."

The book's content is informative, provocative, and even penchant. However, the organization of this material is somewhat disjointed. The chapters could be sequenced in a more logical manner so that understanding builds systematically from one major idea to the next. The chapters on history and literature, for instance, might be presented earlier in the text so that the reader achieves a cultural and historical grounding in the phenomenon before considering its current manifestations and pragmatics.

I am also a bit disappointed that the references are spotty. Most of the key references are documented in the bibliography, but not all. I depend on bibliographies to locate additional pertinent information, and it is a bit of a nuisance to do so on only skeletal in-text references.

However, at the very least this is an interesting, much needed contribution to the sexuality literature and is certainly accessible to the general reader as well as an important reference for specialists.
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Format: Hardcover
Have you ever deliberated to click the "It's Complicated" relationship status on your Facebook profile? A twinge of guilt masked with exhilaration swirls through that impending keyboard click. Depending upon your reasons for hesitation, you might unconsciously subscribe to a polyamorous lovestyle.

What is Polyamory? Author Deborah Anapol defines polyamory as "having an intimate relationship with more than one person at a time." As opposed to swinging, which is consensual exchange of partners for recreational sex, polyamory seeks to cultivate multiple relationships beyond that of erotic escapades. For those with extraordinary emotional capacity to nurture numerous relationships simultaneously (or serially), Anapol presents polyamory as an admirable option to traditional monogamy.

Controversial as this subject may be, polyamory does not define itself as a grassroots replication of the adamant 60s era free love promiscuity. Polite company eschews talk of religion, politics, and sex - especially the misperceptions surrounding polyamorous living. News media has erroneously portrayed this lifestyle as a deviant sexual preference attacking the foundation of the nuclear family. Polyamorists would defend their consensual choice by all parties involved to live and love freely.

Anapol, a clinical psychologist and decades-long polyamorist, guides the apprehensive poly* and monogamous reader through an eleven-chapter topical exploration of modern polyamory. In Chapter One, she defines polyamory for the sexually sheltered and mildly curious. Chapter Two discloses the types of people who choose polyamory and why. This is a deciding chapter for the reader whether to continue exploration or drop the probing altogether.
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