Male Jealousy is Rooted in Ancient Fears

There are many forms of male jealousy but just one lies at the heart of it all – sexual jealousy. It developed as a response to early human survival needs. Today, men continue experiencing jealousy because much like many other behaviors it is systematically taught to them by parents, teachers, theologians, society and the media.

That’s not to say they are victims, they’re just programmed that way.  At the heart of this taught emotion is the ancient need to know that his offspring are genetically his. In early human development a man invested much energy in assuring the safety and security of his mate and their collective offspring. He also invested time and energy hunting. He needed to know that he wasn’t risking his life and spending his energy for kids that weren’t his. This points to the idea that male jealousy is most often about sex.

In their 1992 study, Buss, Larson, Westen, & Semmelroth discovered that modern males and females have different jealous hot buttons. While males tend to be jealous about sexual infidelity, females are jealous about emotional infidelity. In some very
simple ways this probably helps to explain why men often have a double standard when it comes to sexuality. It’s okay if he enjoys the pleasures of another woman, but not okay if she gives herself to another man.

In ancient times there weren’t paternity tests and genetic coding so men resorted to jealous behaviors to help ensure their bloodlines. In today’s world of tubal ligations and birth control pills men are not as likely to be concerned that the offspring they are raising
is theirs. Still, sexual jealousy persists and if a man is ever to successfully manage the primal emotion of jealousy he must first address his feelings of sexual jealousy.