Alternative Lifestyles

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 357-372

First online:

Jealousy in sexually open marriages

  • Bram BuunkAffiliated withCatholic University

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One hundred twenty-five men and 125 women, all Dutch and mostly liberal middle-class, responded to a series of scales measuring present, past, and anticipated jealousy as well as a variety of variables thought to be correlated with jealousy. All respondents were or had been in a sexually open marriage in which one or both partners had had an extramarital involvement. Women were more jealous than men. A variety of negative and positive consequences of spouse's extramarital involvement are presented. Individual and marital variables such as self-esteem, age, emotional dependency, and marital satisfaction were only weakly related to jealousy if at all. Only two of four major perceived causes for the reduction of jealousy in the relationship were related to jealousy anticipated in future jealousy-provoking situations. The findings are discussed in connection with sex roles, the threats that trigger jealousy, and a theoretical model of jealousy presented elsewhere.