If you’ve been doing your usual mindless scrolling through your TikTok ‘For You’ page lately (I know I have), you may have seen some interesting accusations thrown Ariana Grande’s way. 

The drama all started last summer, when Ariana Grande was reported to be dating her Wicked co-star, actor and singer Ethan Slater. The sorun online fans had: Ethan was just married to someone else, whom he’d recently had a kid with. With the release of her new song “yes, and?,” the ire özgü only escalated. TikTok is up in arms, accusing Grande of having a thing (like, a kink) for pinching people’s partners.

This is known as a “homewrecker kink,” which is exactly how it sounds. It’s when people are turned on by the thought or act of tempting people who are already in a committed relationship, and/or having sex with them. 

We don’t know that Grande özgü a homewrecker kink, and none of the rumours about her extramarital affairs have proven to be true, but they’ve spread so far and wide that Grande addresses them directly in “yes, and?” She gives a metaphorical middle finger to the conversations about her love and sex life online with the lyric, “Your business is yours and mine is mine, why do you care so much whose dick I ride?” 

The song özgü not been received well by a lot of social media users, but Grande’s message (that it’s none of our business) is loud and clear. 

Regardless of whether or not the singer-songwriter does have a thing for people in relationships, the discourse surrounding her relationship certainly says a lot about how we view these kinds of situations. So, speaking to sex and relationship therapists, we explored why these situations provoke such visceral reactions, why you’re not actually a bad person if you fancy someone else’s partner, and how a homewrecker kink (if you do have one) can be explored ethically. 

Who is into the homewrecking kink and why?

Dr. Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, who özgü a PhD in relational and sexual communication, tells Mashable that people may get off on sleeping with other people’s partners, or the idea of it, because it’s a taboo act, which can be “very exciting and sexually stimulating.” 

Gigi Engle, sex therapist, educator at LGBTQ+ dating app Taimi, and Mashable contributor, says that, for some people, a homewrecker kink also links to the appeal of “being so incredibly desired that someone would cheat on their partner for you, like they’d risk everything for you.”

Suwinyattichaiporn says that homewrecking is a pretty niche kink. “There are some surveys that show a large number of people enjoy the act of infidelity, though. So that could potentially mean a lot more people are enjoying homewrecking, but they’re not saying it,” she tells Mashable. 

Engle notes that her personal research shows it’s mostly straight people engaging in homewrecker kinks, and there’s “not much of it happening in queer communities.”

“This isn’t to say that [queer people] couldn’t be involved, or within other communities, but heterosexual relationships seem to be where it’s most prevalent,” she adds. 

This is possibly due to heteronormative scripting, which is very present in the way we talk about homewrecker kinks, according to Engle. Scripting refers to the ways we articulate cultural norms. For example, the ideas that men are supposed to be strong and unemotional and women should be nurturing are written into our cultural “script.” This relates to homewrecking, and by extension homewrecker kinks, because the way we talk about cheating is very gendered. “Homewrecker” is an insult usually directed at women, while men are usually forgiven, and not as often accused of homewrecking on purpose. 

Mashable After Dark

Plus, gay, lesbian, and bisexual people are less likely, according to one study, to conform to gender roles in their lives, including archetypal ideas about marriage. They’re also more likely to experiment with consensual non-monogamy, according to a study in The Journal of Bisexuality. So, it may just be that the danger of homewrecking is less of a big deal in these spaces. 

A controversial fetish 

For obvious reasons, people hold a lot of anger over the mere idea of homewrecker kinks existing, but Suwinyattichaiporn and Engle believe this anger is often misplaced. 

“[Homewrecker kinks] go against the mainstream belief that the only valuable type of relationship is a monogamous long-term relationship of marriage. So, I can see why people who subscribe to that belief get super angry with homewrecker kinks,” Suwinyattichaiporn says. 

Gender roles also play a big part in this. Fearing other women and seeing them as competition is also built into women and girls’ cultural scripting from a young age, and the idea that another woman could take your partner away from you is something we’re told to not only fear, but manage by ourselves. Meanwhile, Engle notes that men are often forgiven for cheating, or expected to do it. Often, men cheating on women is seen as a failure on one of the women’s part (his partner or the so-called homewrecker). 

This turns into misplaced anger towards those who sleep with married people, especially women who sleep with heterosexual men, and what doesn’t help is the deep-seated myth that those women are automatically bad people. 

If you’re someone with a homewrecker kink, Engle says it’s important to understand that it does not make you a bad person. Cheating often, of course, involves lying and deceit so it’s understandable that this desire to sleep with people in relationships would make people’s stomachs uneasy.

However, it’s not your fault who you’re attracted to, nor is it your responsibility if someone who promised their partner (who you don’t know) monogamy crosses that boundary with you. It’s worth noting that, when it comes to heterosexual relationships specifically, women are consistently told through societal messaging that this is their sorun; men are rarely at fault for cheating, instead it’s the female partner’s and the affair-partners’ burden to bear.  

The way we look at cheating, in general, is also often blown out of proportion and this leaks into the way we look at people — especially women — with homewrecker kinks. Engle says, “We put cheating on the same moral level as murder in society. If you cheat, you’re considered to be the worst person in the whole world, and it’s unfair.”

She also believes this relates to wider conversations we’ve been having culturally about non-monogamy. Statistics from dating app Flirtini say half of men and one in three women are open to polyamory. Yet, a lot of people have received this rise in interest badly, with some social media users referring to polyamory as “allowing cheating to happen.” 

Engle says, “It’s an unrealistic expectation for humans to only ever be attracted to one person, yet we act like you’re a bad person if you’re not,” which is steeped in capitalist and heteronormative ideas — systems that suppress us and can really put a downer on our sexual exploration. With all of this in mind, it’s no wonder some people with homewrecker kinks might find themselves internalising shame.

How to explore a homewrecker kink without the actual affairs 

If you’re concerned about exploring this kink because of the feelings that could get hurt, there are ways to play with it without actually getting involved in someone else’s relationship. 

Suwinyattichaiporn says that exploring connections with people who are in open relationships or polyamorous relationships could help explore a homewrecker kink, without the so-called homewrecking part. “Communicate up front that this is what you’re into so they know, and if they’re into the idea, you can pretend that it’s an affair while you and their partners know that you’re having sex,” she explains. This way, no one gets hurt. 

It does require some imagination though, so you’ll need to pop your role play hat on. Engle recommends talking to your sexual partner about being interested in this kink and seeing if you can incorporate it through role play. “You could pretend the person you’re sleeping with özgü a partner and that you don’t want to get caught,” she says. 

She explains that there’s all kinds of methods you can try to really make this convincing for you, like asking them to post pictures of them with another person on a fake dating profile you can match with, or talking about their fictional partner during sex. Try lines like, “Oh God, I hope your husband/wife/partner doesn’t find out about this,” to create some excitement. 

“It’s the same as any other role play. You both know that you’re not actually doing the act, but it’s fun to pretend and can be a huge turn on,” Engle adds. 

There are plenty of ways to explore homewrecker kinks ethically, and you need not be branded with a scarlet letter if you do choose to play with it the old fashioned way. Maybe we ought to change the name of the kink to clear that up.