An Analysis of Sexual Jealousy

Jealousy is natural feeling, but very often it is a reason for groundless disturbance. It is very important to understand what jealousy is a fear of change and of the unknown; it is desire to secure control and power in a relationship, fear of loss and scarcity of love. Jealousy is a reflection of our insecurity about worthiness, worry about being successful as a lover; it is uncertainty about the desirability. There is always another feeling behind the jealousy. And this other emotion is much more powerful than the sexual jealousy itself. There always is an unmet desire or a deep dread that these desires will be denied. The key method of elimination of jealousy is to recognize those dreads and unmet desires. Jealousy just plays the role of a finger which points at the needs and fears that we are scared to face. Jealousy is an order of a brain to fight for survival.

While writing this paper jealousy was studied from the point of view of Sociology and Sociobiology that is also called Evolutionary Psychology. Sociobiology studies sexual jealous as evolutionary process, and sociology envisages this issue as cultural, religious and aggregative phenomenon. There were some questions that should have been answered. The most significant of them are as follows: why does jealousy appear and what should be done to avoid this feeling.

Our society believes in three laws of relationships that almost create jealousy even if the person is well-adjusted. The first core belief states that if the partner loves, he or she doesn’t have desire to have a sexual desire to anyone else. The second wrong belief is considering that if the partner is happy in the relationship, he or she will not intent to have any other relationships. The third states that it is impossible to love several people at the same time. If people want to have healthy relationships they should eliminate these beliefs.

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Jealousy is a normal feeling. It is natural until it becomes irrational. There are no boundaries in jealousy. It exists in all intellectual and social levels, races and ages. “Sexual jealousy occurs when individuals know or suspect that their partners have had (or want to have) sexual activity with a third party” (Harvey, Wenzel & Sprecher, 2008, p. 314). Sexual jealousy was chosen as a subject of research to provide new way of elimination of problems that appear in intimate relationships.

There is a difference between men’s and women’s jealousy. Men respond more roughly to sexual indiscretion, and women consider emotional infidelity as more distressing. “One class of behavioral output of sexual jealousy is men’s mate retention behaviors, which are designed to prevent a partner’s infidelity or outright relationship defection, or to what attempts to encroach of the relationship by rivals” (DeLisi & Beaver, 2011, p. 259).Different theories were overthought while writing this paper: literary, scientific, legendary and religious. In order to study the context of sexual jealousy, the ideas of sociobiology should be explained first. Sociobiology studies human nature from the point of view of evolution.

Sociobiology is called also Evolutionary Psychology. It explains jealousy as an adaptation in a definite environment. The differences between men’s and women’s jealousy originate from the basic physiological differences. Males require more food for their more energetic and larger bodies. Men have higher level of testosterone than women as well. As a result of these differences men are stronger, larger, and more aggressive. Evolution created men as creatures that may have as many children as possible as their parenteral investment rate is low. Females were designed to obtain only several offspring and their rate of investment as parents is much higher. Women’s reproductive strategy presupposes having a few offspring and protecting them and men’s are designed to have as many offspring as possible and hope that a few will stay alive. That is why male’s natural striving lean toward manifesting physical power and aggression. The aim is to attract the best females in order to spread his genes and to guard his woman from other men. It also explains men’s attempts to pair with as many women as possible. Males want to attract females and this is the only reason why men want to provide their paternity investment. Only if man’s paternity contribution is high his genes have a chance to be passed on. Jealousy is the main weapon of securing paternity confidence. The desire of reproduction results in upsets, jealousy, even violence. Males want to protect their contribution and jealous often seems to be the most effective tool to do it.

As for the women their bodies require much less food than male’s bodies. This energy is used for lactation and gestation. Human species require more sufficient investment form males. Women require and expect resources from their men. When these resources are threatened women get jealous. This is a natural reaction. Women want to protect their interests and their children’s interests. 

Male jealousy is expressed by violence and attempts to limit women’s sexual behavior as they want to have as many offspring as possible.  “Sexual jealousy is one of the most frequently reported features of violent relationships” (Walker, 2009, p. 181). Male jealous is less influenced by situational factors that show the mate’s interest in the relationships. There is some truth when someone says that jealous means love, or even beating means love. But love equals the desire of reproduction.

Female jealousy is concentrated on male’s investment as they want to increase the facilities for surviving of the offspring. Female jealousy is expressed by anxiety and fear of losing the man, and male jealousy is focused on the danger of the rival and is expressed by aggression.

Jealousy is a basis of human nature. It exists in all cultures of the world and it appears in all religions. For example God doesn’t accept other gods. God is jealous. This is an expression of jealousy that people experienced and transferred on their religious believes. Jealousy is present not only in Christianity. There are numerous stories about jealousy in Greek mythology. There are cases when Gods have had love affairs with mortals and then the revenge of their mates came.

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Jealousy is something that we know well. Everyone is acquainted with it, but on the other hand it is rather strange, it is even fearful. There are a lot of questions concerning sexual jealousy, but the most important is to find out whether people are autonomous beings capable consciously control the instincts or we only follow our natural impulses?  To answer this question while writing this paper religious and cultural contexts and the sociobiological fundamentals of sexual jealousy were researched.

Mendes (2007) defines “sexual jealousy as the aversive emotional response that is triggered by the real or imagined sexual attraction between a partner in a romantic relationship and a third person (p. 5). Sexual jealousy is a jealousy that happens in romantic relationships. It occurs when one mate suspect that his or her partner has inappropriate emotional of physical intimacies with another person outside their relationship. Sexual jealousy happens when one mate commits sexual infidelity. It is also powerful when one mate suspects that the other in emotional infidelity. Sexual jealousy is universal and is the same for all people, but it even occurs in animal populations, especially some primates. Sexual jealousy serves sociological and evolutionary purposes. Jealousy is one of the most powerful emotions of humans. It is a result of beliefs of the one partner in the relationship that he or she has exclusive rights to a romantic and sexual partner.

People experiencing jealousy may exist in denial, because they are unable to realize the truth that the partner was unfaithful. Extreme emotional feelings of betrayal, pain, outrage, inadequacy and fear occur together with sexual jealousy as a rule. Obsessive behaviors and thoughts and outbursts are common manifestations of sexual jealousy. There are sex differences and they are explained by social structural theory and evolutionary psychology.

Experts of evolutionary psychology often claim that sexual jealousy is a biological imperative. Jealousy in a relationship is a part of the process with a help of which people and some species of animals ensure obtaining the best reproductive partners.  Man and women have different roles in the process of reproduction that is why males and females respond to sexual jealousy in different ways. Males are upset by infidelity in the partner as a rule, because their natural imperative is to reserve exceptional reproductive rights to a certain female. Women are more concentrated on preserving retaining a man as a caregiver and protector that is why women are worried by emotional infidelity of a man. Humans are the only creatures in the world who have reached the point where the y can cognize their evolutionary origins. The claim that not only people’s physiology and anatomy, but also our psychology might have evolved too is even more controversial. This is an evolutionary psychology study. The concept of evolution is strongly associated in people’s minds with Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and his theory of natural selection (Badcock, 2000, p. 1).

Those who support social structural theory consider sexual jealousy as sociological phenomenon.  Socialization can influence reaction of partners to jealousy. Women experience less intense jealousy as a respond to unfaithfulness of the partner, because women believe that males don’t attach emotions to sexual intercourse. On the other hand men believe that emotional significance is important for most women in sexual intercourse. Such attitudes appeared as a result of socialization. “We experience jealousy as a force catting us away rather than as choice or judgment, even if we can, to some extent, control its intensity, its object and its expression” (Smith, 1992, p. 127).

People consider jealousy as one emotion, but it is a bundle of feelings. As a rule jealousy is accompanied with anger, betrayal, agitation, sadness, fear, hurt, anxiety, paranoia, loneliness, depression, envy, feeling powerless, coveting, feeling inadequate and excluded. It is very important to identify what are components of the mix of feelings of a definite case of jealousy. What are the initial emotions a person feels when he or she is jealous? Pointing out the exact elements of the jealousy can be a significant step towards resolving the problem. Are components of jealousy always the same or this mix changes depending of circumstances? For example, one man can figured out that his jealousy is 50% of anger, 20% of fear, 20% of feeling betrayed and 10% of feeling powerless. When he asks his woman to reassure affection, and she provides it, betrayal and anger can disappear. In this case, jealousy became more manageable, as it was much easier to cope with fear and resolve the problem. “General increases in affection can also trigger sexual jealousy, particularly if one suspects that the partner is acting extra affectionate to cover up an affair, to alleviate guilty feelings, or to try to compensate for committing a relational transgression” (Harvey et al., 2008, p. 315).

Our society believes in three doctrines of relationships and these doctrines create jealousy even when people are very steady and well-adjusted. Most people accepted these beliefs even not realizing it. The most efficient way to eradicate jealousy is to identify and review these beliefs. 

The first core belief states that if the partner loves, he or she doesn’t have desire to have a sexual intent to anyone else. According to this belief, any interest that one partner has in another person outside the relationship is a reflection of the strength of his or her love within the relationship. This can be called a quantitative perception of love which equal love strength with the ability to be concerned in having another mate. This belief is absurd. For example, it is impossible for a couple to love only one child. People desire to have a second one and they love this baby as much as they love the first. So, it is a natural thing to love several people at the same time.

The second wrong belief is considering that if the partner is happy in the relationship, he or she will not intent to have any other relationships.  This belief is even more dangerous, because in this case the partner blames himself or herself in the mate’s unfaithfulness. A betrayed partner thinks that he or she was not perfect enough to satisfy his or her mate’s wishes.

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The third belief is similar to the first one. It states that it is impossible to love several people at the same time. According to this belief if one partner gives love to another person, it necessarily means that he or she gives less love to the partner in the relationship. This belief claims that there is a scarcity of love.

These beliefs should be replaced by the following: the relationships could only be enriched by getting love from others, the relationship is overfilled with love and partners can be engaged in other relationships freely without causing deficiency of love in the first relationships, there is an exuberance of love for everyone in the universe.

These beliefs may sound strange and they seem to be almost impossible at a first glance. But such perception of these new beliefs only show how deeply the stereotypes enrooted in our consciousness. But the elimination of these old beliefs is highly important if people want to enjoy relationships that are released from jealousy.

There were some questions about sexual jealousy in the beginning of this research. The aim was to find out the methods that will help to save healthy relationships and avoid jealousy. After studying the doctrines of Evolutionary Psychology and Sociology these methods were found. New beliefs that should replace old ones were created as a result of the studying. These new beliefs states that the relationships could only be improved by getting love from others, partners can be engaged in other relationships freely without causing lack of love in their initial relationships, there is plenty of love for everyone in the universe. Only by following these beliefs the relationships will be healthy and they can be saved for a long time.

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