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The cuckold, a dying breed except in family sitcoms

Cuckoldry was a sport popular in Medieval Europe, particularly England, before football, baseball, or basketball took over, in which attractive young married women had sexual affairs with men other than their husbands, thereby earning for their spouses the title of cuckold and entitling him to wear a pair of deer or moose antlers. Thereafter, they were said to be horny.

The cuckold is the fool in some Tarot decks. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the librarian Rupert Giles was once a cuckold when he had sex with himself in a magical ritual that Willow Rosenberg called, in his honor, The Rite of Masturbation. It was also known as the Rite to Testicles.

edit Decreased allusions

Cuckoldry, as a comic device, has declined since the Middle Ages, as adultery, despite the Ten Commandments, continues to increase among the general population. Critics contend that the practice has become too commonplace and, therefore, too familiar to be comical to today's audiences and readers. For the same reason, venereal jokes are seldom the rib-ticklers they once were. As a result, writers have had to rely on the old standbys of comedies, such as fart jokes, allusions to bodily functions, and references to sweat and other body secretions. For some reason, jokes about semen, in particular, like women kicking men in their testicles, continues to get belly laughs, particularly among women. For their part, men seem to prefer jokes about women's breasts. "Anything with tits in it will get a titter," Robin Williams assures actors and scriptwriters.

edit Revival

Like the codpiece, cuckoldry could make a comeback, among teenagers who are as sexually active as any adult, if not more so, but typically do not marry before the age of seventeen and, therefore, cannot cuckold or be cuckolded. For them, the sport remains a novelty and, is, therefore, apt to be amusing--at least for a while. For this reason, many teen comedies are likely to show mothers cuckolding their teenage sons' and daughters' fathers, and many a rack of antlers may be worn on American sitcoms that focus on the family.

President Bill Clinton, who is from Arkansas and is, as such a literary philistine, tried to revive cuckoldry by having oral sex with Monica Lewinsky. Although the act was adulterous, only wives can cuckold someone, and only husbands whose wives are unfaithful can become cuckolds. It doesn't work the other way around, but nice try, anyway, Mr. President.

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