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Jealousy: genetic and/or cultural?

I recently attended the conference of Yousri Marzouki on jealousy, organized by the student association Psych’Aid at the Faculty of literature, languages, arts and human sciences of Aix.

Yousri Marzouki is Lecturer in cognitive psychology there and also CNRS Researcher. He exports his works on jealousy in America. I sent him an e-mail to talk to him about the article that I had written on jealousy and he answered I have read with great interest your blog that I find quite original for our French culture, what can totally explain its success with your faithful readers”.

In “Jealousy, from genetics to culture”, he made an overview on various aspects of jealousy (biological, psychological, anthropological and cultural) by explaining well that all these factors are linked and in permanent interaction. The whole thing on a nice and funny tone.

What are we talking about ? “Loving” jealousy, of course.

In The Tragedy of Othello, Moor of Venice, William Shakespeare described jealousy as a “It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on; that cuckold lives in bliss“. A “green-eyed monster”, of course, but I’m not talking about Ian Somerhalder.

Loving jealousy is indeed sometimes a destructive emotion (eg. crimes of passion) which is the consequence of the fear of losing the love of your life or the exclusivity of his/her love – feeling that is more often established on your imagination than on real facts. From then on, jealousy can self-feed in a irrational and uncontrollable way. Killing the love of your life so he or she doesn’t leave you, it is a weird idea all the same!

When it is permanent or excessive, jealousy is a kind of paranoia linked to a “love” relationship on a possessive or even castrating exclusive mode. Loving jealousy cannot exist if the partners have a true relationship of trust, but this notion remains of course subjective and the sickly jealous person just never can have enough.

Loving jealousy is often similar to possessiveness, sometimes hatred; this feeling exist for men and for women. For example, a jealous woman hates seeing or imagining her partner spending time with other people (expecting, of course, the worst). Not only because she is deprived of his presence, but also because she considers herself as the only legal profitable of the attention of her partner. That concerns us all, this is why it is interesting to talk one more time about this subject, and this time with another angle of attack.

Jealousy is a feeling of exclusivity that can deprive the partner of freedom and put the couple in danger. I have even already seen girls being jealous of the job or of the buddies of their guy. The jealous person gives so much importance to the object of his/her jealousy that he/she loses any notion of moderation. For example, jerks have already assaulted me just because I spoke to their girl (this fear of losing their girlfriend makes some guys go paranoiac).

Infidelity and jealousy.

During his conference, Yousri Marzouki announced to a varied academic public that infidelity and jealousy were an integral part of everybody. We all thus are poor beings under the influence of our genetic programming and of our hormones (while having a certain capacity to modulate all this in particular by our environment). Politically correct people left the room.

But the readers of this blog know it: men are genetically programmed to be polygamous and to reproduce as much as possible. Where from infidelity. Women, them, are programmed to try to reproduce with the best possible holders of genes (in reach) but, also, to make so that they and their progeny benefit from the best possible resources. Sometimes it is not possible with the same partner thus she makes a kid with her lover and manage to make him/her raise by her husband. Unnoticed. Where from infidelity. But well, the politically correct tries to persuade us that it is bad, that it is not natural, to make us feel guilty.

The faithful readers of this blog also know that jealousy involves a whole “emotional episode” including a trouble of personality. This jealousy can be caused by already lived experiences, thoughts, perceptions, memories, but also imagination or questions. The education and the rational faith do not really matter. Jealousy is thus more spread among people suffering from low self-esteem. And as most of people are in this case, jealousy is an almost universal problem. Thus, if our partner does not show himself/herself jealous, should we get worried?

Making close friends (or girlfriends) can thus be followed by an emotional insecurity or a feeling of solitude for some people when these friends interact with others. Thus, to avoid being too jealous, should we avoid being interested in one girl in particular? Where from the image of the womanizer with a broken heart who protects himself from the power women have on him under his tough guy mask. And according to the same logic, should women avoid becoming attached to one guy in particular to be happy and spread?

Infidelity and ejaculation.

Yousri Marzouki also spoke about the Coolidge effect which roughly is that the average time of ejaculation is 5 times shorter during the first sexual intercourse with a new partner than after having fucked her several times. An effect observed with all the male mammals, no complexes to have.

I had already noticed this phenomenon but I thought that it was just because I was less excited. That novelty boosted me. With that said, sometimes when I did not eat, for example, I stay hard 2 hours or then sometimes it is because of the condom (poor girl bombarded). In brief, there are lots of other factors (and I’m not talking about X-Factor).

I am not advising you to don’t eat or to buy bad condoms before visiting a new girl to enjoy more. Anyway, lick her and that will get better then you will have time to reload like that. The second time, once warm, it should come less fast all the same.

Jealousy and evolutionary psychology.

The purposes of jealousy would be to urge people to guarantee their reproduction and to protect their progeny. We are thus really few things in front of our instinct. We already knew it thanks to evolutionary psychology and to what we need to communicate to seduce. But this behavior must be a fucking evolutionary advantage if it is still present in all of us.

The striking fact of the conference is that apparently women are more afraid that their spouse has feelings for another one whereas men are more afraid that their partner sleeps with another one. It came true with my girlfriend (open relationship): she doesn’t care if I sleep with other girls as long as I do not become attached to them. It pisses me off a little more that she sleeps or has slept with others. But well, I am fair play. Moreover it is interesting to realize that we can be jealous of an ex.

The above figure illustrates “the universality” of both sexes reaction in front of sexual infidelity. The below figure illustrates the explanation supplied by evolutionary psychology for this “universal” reaction. (Slides gracefully given by Y. Marzouki)

It is, I think, again related to evolutionary psychology: men are programmed to don’t want to waste their resources for raising the child of another one (except in the case of adoption – being deceived it is to raise the child of another one by thinking that he/she is yours, it is not just that your wife got fucked by another one). As for the women, they are programmed to try to have access to the resources and to the protection of the man, for them and their children (even if they are not HIS children).

Jealousy and ejaculation.

Men would be more unfaithful than women. We understand why, in theory. We understand that the guys reproduce with their official partner and, if they also can, with a mistress. It’s easy, it doesn’t last 9 months. But needs to know that about 10 % of the children have not for biological father the one who raises them (source : Aux frontières de la vie: pour une éthique à la française Documentation française 1991 p. 73.). And also, now, the law is really in favor of the woman, thus financially it is hard to pay pensions and everything. I think that all in all, men are not necessarily winning with this system. The morality is : it is a better idea to donate some sperm! 😉

France would be the fifth most dangerous country in the world for married couples, with 43 % of adulteries. It is maybe because of loose clubs, dating sites and social networks that make all this easy and discreet. There is also the fact that girls want “to stand out well” (they want to seem “purer” than they are in fact) with their husband and thus maybe let off steam out of their house. We also wanted that the Woman is our equal thus she fucks, has fun and sometimes cheats on us. It’s the game !

But as for myself, I do not really buy it when I see that for the guys, having sex is an assault course and that for the women it is just a question of saying “yes” or “no”. I have already fucked some girls in couple and they were not the most difficult women in my sexual career. Except that they will probably not admit it during a statistical survey whereas the guys, maybe, will even invent some conquests.

Jealousy and culture.

I remember the story of a prince who had 10 000 women in his harem. He kept them but couldn’t fuck them all: the point was that other men cannot have them. Jealousy can thus serve to spread our genes more and better than the other genetic competitors.

Yousri Marzouki also taught me that in other cultures far away from us: it is the women who are polygamous. Polyandry is accepted there, it is the case of tribes Mosuo in China and Yanomami in Amazonia. Jealousy is thus non-existent there (or then very badly seen because it would mean criticizing their way of functioning: social pressure is inverted compared to our area). As for myself, that would not probably have disturbed me to be Cleopatra’s sexual slave.

Even more “improbable”: in some tribes, the father is absent in the life of his child. He just gets the woman pregnant. It is the case with the Trobiandais (in Oceania) where, once been born, the child is raised by his mother and his maternal uncle. All their sexual life is very different from the one we know in West (if you want to know more about it, check Malinowski’s works).

Attraction, culture and instinct.

Finally, he also speaks about other forms of attraction like those who are turned on by intelligence (the sapio-sexuals) or those who are attracted by everybody (pan sexuals).There are poly-lovers too, I’m not kidding, don’t be mad at them it’s just the way they are. Mystery in The Game describes himself as a poly-lover, by the way. It is very interesting to know that all this exists, that allows to step back, especially the real asexual (who are not necessarily ice-cold).

The attraction for the alpha male or for the not-too-stupid-hottie is the most general thing but there are thus other logics of attraction, rarer. The thing is we cannot go into all these details with the Game because it is statistical: we act on what will give us the greatest level of success with the largest number of women.

To don’t be discouraged, let’s not forget that according to Helen Fisher’s works, love is not the fruit of the feelings, but a simple physiological need, just like hunger or sleep…

Jealousy and literature.

In the literature, a study of jealousy is proposed in Un amour de Swann (Marcel Proust.)

Jealousy and threesome.

So, after the show, I asked all the couples if they were up for a threesome.

How to sexualize your conversations with unknown women ?

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