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-   -   Gender-Specific Jealousy (Double Standard) (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=44045)

Arius 04-03-2013 03:12 AM

Gender-Specific Jealousy (Double Standard)
Hey Everybody.

My poly partner is a bisexual cis female. I am a hetero cis male. For some reason, I get jealous when she has sex with men, but not women. If it's a man, I often feel anxious, insecure, and get really bad mental pictures. I'm worried that his cock will be bigger than mine. I'm worried that he'll be a better lover. But when she's with a woman, I just feel happy for her. I don't care if the woman is the best lover she's ever had and leaves her quivering with pleasure in a pool of ecstacy. The idea of them being together turns me on.

It seems to me that this kind of gender-specific jealousy is normal. Does anyone know why?

My only theory right now is that I've been programmed to see other men (but not women) as a threat.

But more importantly, does anyone know how to get over this? I would like to be as comfortable with my partner having sex with men as I am with her having sex with women.

Octopus 04-03-2013 03:20 AM

I like to think of it as a positive thing. Having the positive example of how you feel towards female partners can be a goal state to aspire towards. It shows to you how you are capable of feeling joy and compersion for her.

Why? Culture & socialisation. Patriarchy.

Arius 04-03-2013 03:29 AM

Thanks for your thoughts, Octopus.

Do you mind elaborating more on how patriarchy is involved? I have considered this as a possible significant contributing factor before, but my thinking on it is fuzzy at best.

Octopus 04-03-2013 03:37 AM

In terms of gender roles, you may see men as a "threat" and women as "harmless" because society has taught you that men are aggressive and strong - the aggressor and seducer, and competition for "the women" is part of that.

In terms of sexual orientation - part of the traditional view on how people should conduct their love life is monogamy, and another part of it is heterosexuality. The part of you that has abandoned this traditional view by embracing polyamory is also embracing all deviations (:rolleyes:) from heteronormativity (and therefore - sleeping with other people = great! sleeping with women = great!).
But, there is a little bit of old thinking "left". Rejecting anything that is not the norm. Which is when the "ugh" feeling kicks in (sleeping with men = bad). But, when your wife sleeps with a women, that situation is already so far removed from traditional-old-"ideal" norm because of the same-gender-interaction that the "ugh" doesn't kick in. See what I mean? :)
In a similar vein, some people feel that homosexual sex is playful and sexy and fun, but heterosexual sex is 'meaningful' and part of 'a greater romance'.

Now, I am not saying you actually think any of these things at all. I am saying we are all conditioned by our cultural upbringing and that may influence our emotions some times.

nycindie 04-03-2013 03:41 AM

It's patriarchal in the sense that you don't see women as just as much a threat as men could be. If there is a part of you feeling competitive, you consider a man a worthy opponent but a woman doesn't really count, cause that's just fluff and fun. Patriarchy belittles women's worth and value and stature in all ways. Your girlfriend would never leave a man for "just a woman" kind of thinking (not saying that she would leave you at all, since this is poly, but that is how our thought processes have been programmed in western culture). Somewhere in there, there could possibly be thoughts like, "Women with women - that's not a real relationship," or "A man would be the superior choice," in addition to all the dick-comparing nonsense men are taught to engage in.

I'm tired right now, so that's about as eloquent as I can get. But your topic is common and there are numerous threads here about others' similar experiences, for further reading.

Marcus 04-03-2013 03:43 AM


Originally Posted by Arius (Post 194402)
My only theory right now is that I've been programmed to see other men (but not women) as a threat.

Your theory isn't likely to get much better. The "normal" heterosexual male perspective is to consider other males as a threat and females as a threesome lol


Originally Posted by Arius (Post 194402)
But more importantly, does anyone know how to get over this? I would like to be as comfortable with my partner having sex with men as I am with her having sex with women.

You are on the right track just by asking this question. Good for you!

For me, when I have that nagging feeling of jealousy I lean on my most applicable mantra. I have a few, but for this one I lean on "That's not mine". This one reminds me that they are fully functional humans who are living out their lives, which is preferable. "That's not mine" reminds me that what I am doing is having a possessive response to what they are doing; that I am tricking myself into thinking that I have some level of entitlement about how they are spending their time (which I decidedly am not entitled to).

Failing that (which sometimes happens) I move on to compersion. "I want her to experience the things that make her happy". This one reminds me that what she is doing is what I WANT her to be doing, which is enriching her life and experiencing joy.

Octopus 04-03-2013 03:46 AM

Hah! Edited my post to make it clearer but meanwhile nycindie also said everything I wanted to say. :)

Tonberry 04-03-2013 05:08 AM

I know that a lot of people don't like Franklin Veaux, but I find this article helpful in a general sense.

Not a lot of specific practical advice, though. The advice seems to be, don't just endure it or you'll be miserable, but don't forbid it either. Allow it, but then ask for reassurance, and retrain your brain so that men aren't seen a threat because you trust that your partner will make decisions that take your well-being into account, that she loves you, etc.

Ultimately, I think a way to get over it will be for you to get over the fear of not being the best. If you can reach a point where you can think "if the guy is better in bed than me, stronger, better looking, and his dick is better... so what? Good for her."
For that, you need to know what's being triggered, what you're afraid of, and follow the train of thoughts.

You're worried, for instance, that a guy might have a bigger penis. Why? What bad outcome would follow? It itself, it's not scary, unlike you have the largest penis in the world some guys will be better-endowed. Why is it scary? Do you fear it would make you less valuable in her mind? Do you fear she might think "why did I bother with him? He has a small penis!"
Fear don't have to be rational to be crippling, so be willing to admit that you're afraid of something that, when you say it out loud, sounds ridiculous.

Whoever she dates, he or she will be better than you in some ways and worse in others. You're the sum of everything. Is the size of the other guy's penis scarier to you than whether he shares an interest with her you don't share, and they can talk about it for hours? Or the idea that, say, they are a similar size and she can wear his clothes?
These examples are random. But penis size is random too. It's just been ingrained that bigger is better, which depends on the taste of the woman, and the skill of the man. And I think that has a lot to do with why you don't have a problem with female lovers: they don't have a penis at all.
Although, they actually might have several. And if you're so worried about size, well, the penises they might have are probably bigger than yours, because they rarely sell average-sized toys. And if all else fails, they have fists, too.

ThatGirlInGray 04-03-2013 05:23 AM

I don't have any further advice to add, but perhaps something to contribute to the "Why?" side:

After a very, umm, ....interesting conversation with the relative of a friend regarding sex and reproduction (during which he actually said, "Reproductive sex is real sex. Non-reproductive sex isn't" !!!) I wonder how much of your reaction is biological.

Our logical brains aside, we do still have some reactions and interactions in our society that are based in biology. Thought I'm fairly certain some of your reaction is social conditioning, could some of it be that, biologically, a male is a reproductive threat, while a female is not? Another man could impregnate her; his sperm could win (yes, logically if you're using birth control and practicing safer sex this is unlikely, but we're not discussing rational thoughts here). A woman does not present that risk. (Of course, this reasoning falls apart if you also struggle with the thought of oral sex with a man. I don't know if that's the case or not.)

I'm no scientific expert, and I'm not saying that a biological reason would be impossible to get over, it just might be even harder to uproot than the societal reasons.

cinnamonswing 04-03-2013 08:03 AM

i can see why someone would attribute this reaction (or at least parts of it) to patriarchy but i think this is not just a reaction men have towards woman-woman relationships but also many women have towards man-man relationships. thinking that it is less of a threat if your partner has sex with someone that is not of your gender, period. so maybe it is more of a heteronormative thing. but i also think it has a lot to do with not wanting to feel like you could be replaced.

for me, i try to work through these feelings by thinking about my own views on lovers. i only have sex with men and it's not like i'm on a quest to find the biggest penis out there and that's all that matters ;) every person i am with is unique and can never replace anyone else. person A might do something that i like more than when person B does it, but person B might have another trick up his sleeve that person A does not do. also, sex for me is so much about body chemistry. sure, you can learn moves and positions, but in the end what works with one person might not work with the next. since everyone is unique, the connection when two people come together will also be unique. some connections will work better than others, but that is not because one person is better than another. so that would be my advice, try to think about how you yourself view the different women you have sex with and see that it is not a competition. noone can replace you.

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