"Jealousy is a universal feeling. The feeling is normal until it is acted upon and the behavior or actions become irrational… Jealousy does not have boundaries. It penetrates all social positions, intellectual levels, ages, races, and economic strata" (Bernhard, xi). Sexual jealousy is the threat or perceived threat to a deep and committed relationship between two individuals who are physically or sexually involved. Our project pertains
to how gender is effected by sexual jealousy, specifically looking as the different causes and resulting reactions of sexual jealousy in men and women. We have researched several studies, especially many sociobiological studies of jealousy, and formulated the hypothesis that male jealousy tends to react more strongly to sexual indiscretion while female jealousy tends to revolve around emotional infidelity. Other views and hypotheses of sexual jealousy that we came across exclude gender differences. Their exclusion of gender study makes the statement that sexual jealousy comes from a standpoint of humanity, as opposed to splitting it by gender. Even with these various views on sexual jealousy we still felt that the sociobiological perspective presented the most evidence towards explaining sexual jealousy.
Sociobiology explains aspects of human nature in terms of the theory of evolution, based on the 95% existence of the human race in the Pleistocene age. Sociobiology, or Evolutionary Psychology, serves to take a particular behavior (jealousy in this instance) and explain it as an adaptation which somehow enhances fitness in a particular environment. We have chosen to examine the aspects of sexual jealousy from a sociobiological standpoint. This type of jealousy involves a perceived threat to an intimate, committed relationship between two individuals, most often sexually involved.
The basis for the sociobiological standpoint on jealousy deals with paternity confidence and involves the fundamental physiological differences between men and women. Males have a high food intake for their larger and more energetic bodies. Men also have a much greater amount of testosterone than females. The resulting differences is that men are larger, stronger, and more aggressive. The man was designed evolutionarily speaking) to have as many offspring as possible because of a low paternal investment rate and a low paternity confidence rate. Women on the other hand, are designed to have only a few children with a high rate of paternal investment. "Paternal
investment is the energy expended by parents to produce and nurture offspring. More accurately the term refers to the decrement in future reproductive potential as a consequence of present effort" (White and Mullen, 60). The mother always knows who her children are, and has a naturally high level of parental confidence. Her reproductive strategy is to have a few children and protect them; a male's is to have as many children as possible in the hopes that at least a few will survive. As a result his natural tendencies lean toward aggression and displays of physical prowess. This is to attract desirable mates in order to perpetuate his genes, as well as to protect his mate from other males. It also accounts for the male desire to mate with as many females as possible. As a result the male is very concerned with paternity confidence.
In humans, however, sexual dimorphism for males is very low and paternal investment is very high. As a result the male needs to have a very high instance of paternity confidence to make sure his genes are being passed on. As a result jealousy is one of his main weapons in terms of ensuring paternity confidence. This results in many things. Men become very upset, even violent, at an instance of sexual indiscretion by a mate. This is to protect their investment and it is one of the few tools they have to do it
(White and Mullen). Women, on the other hand, have bodies that run on a proportionately small amount of food in comparison to males. They use this energy efficiency for gestation and lactation. Their relatively high paternal investment is to pass their genes on. In the human species, because of low male sexual dimorphism they require a higher level of investment from men. Women raise their children and expect and require resources from their mates. When these resources become threatened, then the woman becomes jealous to protect her interests and those of her children (White and Mullen).
Apparently, jealousy in men is not unfounded. In a confidential survey tracking the sexual behavior and menstrual cycles of more than 2,000 women who said they had steady mates, Baker and Bellis found that while there was no pattern to when women had sex with their steady partners, having sex on the side peaked at the height of the women's monthly fertility cycles. In addition, studies of blood types show that as many as one of every 10 babies born to couples in North America is not the offspring of the mother's husband. Baker and Bellis found that to counteract this that the more time a couple spends apart the more sperm the man ejaculates upon their sexual reunion, as much as three times higher than average (Internet source 1).
In summary, high male investment explains the relatively weak sexual dimorphism in humans, while the necessity of paternity confidence has led to human males having sexual jealousy marked by violence and consistent attempts to restrict the sexual behavior of women. Female jealousy is centered more on concerns related to paternal investment than on male extrarelationship sexuality per se, as greater paternal investment should increase the chance of survival for the female's offspring. In short, sociobiological theory holds that female jealousy is marked by fear and anxiety over losing the relationship and by an interest in the nature of the rival relationship, whereas male jealousy, focusing on the sexual threat of the rival, is marked by competitiveness and aggression, and is much less affected by situational factors suggesting that the mate is still interested in maintaining the primary bond.
Aside from the scientific studies that have been done on jealousy, there is further proof that jealousy is a fundamental part of human nature: its existence in every culture on the planet as seen through story, literature, and religion. In the western world, the definition of God is a lord who tolerates no other gods beside himself and who describes himself as so jealous that he will visit the "sins" of the fathers upon the children unto
the third or fourth generation (Baumgart, 82). This is the Judeo-Christian's notion of God the Father, not just in whose image humanity was created, but the God who was viewed throughout over three thousand years of Western history as the revealed and therefore true God, and who is mentioned in constitutions, names of political parties, and school regulations? This God is jealous (Baumgart,83). When we consider God's jealousy, we arrive at "the innermost part of the personal and living God, and are led to admiring contemplation of the mirabilia Dei". Jealousy as a "mirabilium Dei," is then viewed as something that is to be admired in God. Therefore, it's not how awful that God is jealous, but how wonderful, for it gives us the excuse to be as well. After all, we are created in his image. Yet, even the notion that we were created in his image works on reverse for the atheist. For the atheist who believes that man created God, jealousy as a common theme towards humanity is again proven because we would naturally create a God in our own image. Therefore, we have the jealous God.
Jealousy is something so well known, everyone is familiar with it; on the other hand, it is something so strange, alien and fearful that it qualifies as a perfect attribute of God. With this line of thinking, God, who is termed "the hidden one" by theologians in many different centuries becomes both understandable and revered. Christians often attempt to explain of God that, "He is jealous, because he loves." This assumes that it is obvious that someone who loves is also someone who is jealous (Baumgart, 84). While this is a rather confusing tangent it has a relevant purpose. It demonstrates the fundamental nature of jealousy in our society as seen in the Judeo-Christian context in which we as Westerners live.
It is not just Christianity, in which jealousy plays a role. Stories abound of jealousy in the religions of Greek and Roman mythology and of the havoc it wreaks. Numerous tales of the affairs of Greek Gods and the revenge their mates take upon those unfortunate mortals touched by another of the Pantheon's love. Many a woman was transformed by Hera, out of her sexual jealousy that Zeus was spending too much time with them and was possibly more mentally connected with these other women. Yet, through it all, Hera never left her mate for another. Another example include Sir Tristram of Lionness and the two Iseults. Sir Tristram died because of a broken heart caused by Iseult who loved him, over another woman named Iseult whom he loved. This story is a sterling example of the sociobiological view of sexual jealousy. Tristram was one of the greatest knights of the round table. He was also the best warrior in Scotland.
Both Iseult's loved him, but he only loved on in return. Knowing that she could not have him, Iseult of the white hands certainly did not want Iseult the fair hands to have him. As a result she ensured his death. There was no sexual infidelity over this matter, rather, Iseult of the white hands was sexual jealous due to the belief that her loved one was more mentally connected to another woman. Jealousy even affected the greatest swordsman
of Japan, Miyamoto Musashi(a Kensai, who sought enlightenment through study of the sword). His childhood best friend attacked him out of jealousy for his success and for the love of a woman. Needless to say, his friend lost. His friend felt dishonor and shame that his childhood fiancee whom he had long since forsaken, had grown to love Musashi. This caused him to attack Musashi (the third party violence). Even the great Shakespeare writes on the subject in Othello when he has Iago relay this warning, "O, beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyes monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on. That cuckold lives in bliss, who, certain of his fate, loves not his wringer; but O, what damned minutes tells he o'er who dotes, yet doubts - suspects, yet fondly loves!" (Othello, III.iii.165) These stories surely demonstrate the cross cultural nature of this human trait. It must be biological in origin to appear in so many different societies, in so many different times and contexts.
However, while the above two paragraphs are more than adequate in showing the existence of jealousy in many different cultures it is not the only evidence; but it does demonstrate the universality of the emotion, and often how this emotion is caused and reacted to differently by gender. Even though, there is further scientific proof on the subject. In one study, for example, Buss asked males and females to imagine that their mates were having sex with someone else or that their mates were engaged in a deep
emotional commitment with another person. Monitoring his subject's heart rates, frowning and stress responses, he found that the stereotypical double standard cuts both ways. Men reacted far more strongly than women to the idea that their mates were having sex with other men. Women, on the other hand, reacted far more strongly to the thought that their mates were developing strong emotional attachments to someone else.
The three of us met in Sam's room to discuss what needed to be included in
our survey. It was decided that we would ask the following questions:
Are you male or female? What is your sexual Preference?
These questions were necessary to determine gender. The sexual preference
question was included because we had not yet decided to exclude it from our
study. Although we gathered information on our tested subjects' sexuality,
we chose not to split our study by this information because sexuality does
exactly fit into the mold of sexual jealousy in terms of sociobiology. We
agree in that even though a person may not be attracted to any member of
their opposite sex, they still have their own respective sex's evolutionary
psychology and will should accordingly to their gender. Also, we had so
much data to begin with that these extra variables wouldn't necessarily
assist us in our study.
Do you consider yourself a jealous person?
This question was decided upon to determine if what people thought about
themselves was consistent with their actions.
Have you EVER felt feelings of sexual jealousy? And if so why? (please
circle or explain all that apply)
a) Infidelity on the part of your partner
b) Partner spends too much time with a third party
c) You felt like partner was more mentally connected to another
d) Your partner mentions that they are attracted to another person
To determine gender differences it is important to know what feelings
caused the tested subjects to feel sexually jealous. This question provides
these above listed possible causes.
Please take one of the above mentioned times when you felt sexually jealous
(list as a, b, c, d, or e) and circle or explain what your actions were.
a) Ended relationship
b) Anger towards partner
c) Violent towards partner
d) Anger towards third party
e) Violence toward third partner
f) Forgave partner
g) Stayed with partner
These questions provided a number of possible reactions toward the
subjects feelings of sexual jealousy. They were designed to allow us to see
the different reactions between men and women.
Have you EVER made someone sexually jealous of you? If so, what was their
sex? How did you create these feelings? (please circle or explain all that
a) You participated in sexual infidelity with another partner
b) You spent too much time with a third party
c) You were more mentally committed to another
d) You mentioned how you were attracted to another person
Please take one of the above mentioned times you caused someone to feel
sexually jealous (list as a, b, c, d, or e) and circle or explain what were
your partner's actions were.
a) Ended relationship
b) Anger towards you
c) Violent towards you
d) Anger towards third party
e) Violence towards third party
f) Forgave you
g) Stayed in relationship with you
The original intent for both of the above questions was to receive more
information involving both the causes of, and the reactions to sexual
jealousy. We figured that by asking if the subjects had caused someone else
to be sexually jealous of them, we would be able have more information as
to how different genders act and react towards jealousy. Both of these
questions were later eliminated from results of our study due to many of
the subjects non-heterosexual preferences.
As for circulating the survey itself we handed it out in the NSII lecture on a Wednesday. Every Western major in attendance filled it out. There were twenty-six there that day. Josh handed his surveys out at the Miami University Gay Lesbian Bisexual Association meeting. He returned six surveys to us two weeks later. We then compiled our research results using StatView. We tabulated everything into yes/no questions because they would be easier to formulate that way.
We divided our results into six sections and they contain the totals from the most important questions in our survey. Each section is individually numbered and include at least two of the following: pie charts, observed frequencies, expected values, and/or summary tables (including the chi squared p-value for that section). All of the information provided in each of the sections relates both to gender and either a cause to inciting sexual jealousy or a reaction to a feeling of sexual jealousy. Each of the
causes or reactions that we chose to convey from our survey have a direct tie to what the sociobiological arguments for sexual jealousy would expect from a male or female standpoint.
Section 1 simply displays the breakdown of totals for the men and women we
surveyed. The left side of Section 1 provides a pie chart which visually displays the totals below it and how four more women were surveyed than men. The chart to the right relates the observed frequencies for the tested subject's gender and sexual orientation. The observed frequencies between gender and sexual preference were included here in order to provide an alternate hypothesis, or alternate explanation, as to why many of our expected results did not fully support our gender-split sociobiological
theory towards sexual jealousy.
Section 2 shows that the sexual infidelity of their partner was a cause for sexual jealousy more so for woman than it was for men. The observed frequency is about one more than the expected values for women that said "yes" to the sexual infidelity of their partner causing them to feel sexually jealous. Like wise, all of the other numbers in the observed frequencies were close to one off of the expected values. This result goes
against what would be expected for our hypothesis, yet, the p-value for this comparison shows that there is nearly a 36% chance that this resulting pattern could be explained by random chance.
Section 3 follows along the lines of our hypothesis by showing that women become sexual jealous more often than men when their partner spend too much time with a third party. This question relates to our sociobiological notion that women are more inclined to feel sexually jealous over the loss of emotional commitment rather than sexual commitment. Yet once again, the observed frequencies were all off by one of the expected values. While these expected values were more towards our hypothesis in that they showed that less women were expected to feel sexually jealous when their partner
spends more time with a third party, there was not enough of a discrepancy to provide a p-value at or below .05. This results with a p-value that is rather high (around 48%), telling us that this observed pattern could once again simply be random chance.
Section 4, and the two sections to follow it (Sections 5 and 6) relate the reactions to sexually jealous feelings in both men and women, as opposed to the causes mentioned above. Section 4 shows, when sexually jealous, which sex reacts with feelings of anger towards their partner. Our sociobiological hypothesis contends that males would be the ones to typically react with anger due to their higher levels of testosterone and innate desire to protect their partner from other males desiring sexual attention, yet what we found overwhelmingly seems to prove the opposite. Instead, these results show that woman reacted with a much greater amount of anger towards their partners than men. The observed values were nearly four whole points off of what the expected values presented, resulting with and extremely convincing p-value of .0075. Clearly, our test proves that amongst the people surveyed, women were found to react much more often with jealousy.
Section 5 relates the results for whether any of the tested subjects reacted with violence towards their partner. Just as we expected with the section on anger, we thought that males would respond in this way. Indeed, this is what the graphs show. There were no women that responded with violence while there was one male that did. Yet, again, the numbers were so small that the p-value runs nearly as high as .25, showing that there is about a 25% chance that these results are random.
Section 6 compares the reactions of the different sexes forgiving their partners for making them feel sexually jealous and whether that sex then showed a tendency to stay with their partners. We would expect that women would be more likely to forgive and stay with their partners since sociobiologically they would benefit from assistance in raising a child and paternal investment from their partner. Our results were very interesting. Males in fact showed that while many forgave their partners for causing a
feeling of sexual jealousy, a fewer number actually stayed with their partners, meaning that even though some of the men forgave, they did not remain with their partner. Women showed equally surprising results. While, in general, they were less likely to forgive their partners, half of them stayed in the relationship regardless. These results reflect the sociobiological hypothesis of sexual jealousy, but as with much of the
prior mentioned data, the p-values for both the forgiving of the partner and the stayed with partner results were well above .05.
The first thing that we found was that our secondary research was not supported by our primary research. There were some major discrepancies in what we found for the survey and what we had for our hypothesis. Originally our hypothesis was that men and women react differently to different jealousy stimuli. Men would be more upset than women by sexual indiscretion and react by becoming angry, violent, and usually end the
relationship. Women would be more upset by the thought of their partner becoming more mentally dependent on another. They react by withdrawing and becoming quiet so as not to lose their partner. Their tendency is to stay in the relationship and try to fix things.
According to our survey of Western students and M.U.G.L.B.A. members, this
is not always the case. Out of the five relevant sections to causes and reactions to jealousy, two went against our hypothesis, two were in support of it, and one showed aspects of both supporting and discrediting us. Sections 2 and 4 went against our hypothesis in showing that women tend to become sexually jealous more so when cheated on than men do, and that they react more often with anger towards their partner than men do. Yet, at the same time, sections 3 and 5 supported our hypothesis by showing that women become more jealous when a great deal of time is spent with a third party than men do, and that men react to sexual jealousy in a violent manner more
so than women. Finally, the last section, section 6, shows aspects of both supporting and denying our hypothesis. This section proved us wrong in showing that men tend to be more forgiving of their sexual partner after becoming sexually jealous, while at the same time proving us ri
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