P1: LMD/GFQ/GOQ/LMD P2: GEE/FYZ/GDP
Sex Roles [sers] PP201-342135 July 10, 2001 12:8 Style ﬁle version Nov. 19th, 1999
Sex Roles, Vol. 44, Nos. 5/6, 2001
Sexual Jealousy in Heterosexuals, Lesbians,
Virgil L. Sheets
and Marlow D. Wolfe
Indiana State University
The present study tests various hypotheses about effects of gender and sexual
orientation on jealousy. One hypothesis is derived from an evolutionary per-
spective and implies that the stimuli that elicit jealousy are sex-linked and inde-
pendent of sexual orientation. Several others are based on a sociocultural per-
spective and imply that the experience of jealousy is linked to social experiences
and beliefs that differ for men and women and for homosexuals and heterosex-
uals. To test these hypotheses, we examined the relative distress reported by het-
erosexual and homosexual participants while thinking about a partners’ sexual
vs. emotional inﬁdelity. Participants were predominately Caucasian and in-
cluded students at a Midwestern state university and attendees at a regional gay
and lesbian conference. The results reveal that all groups except heterosexual
men experience greater distress when confronted with a partners’ emotional
inﬁdelity. This pattern contradicts the evolutionary hypothesis that the experi-
ence of romantic jealousy is sex-linked. However, our multifaceted attempt to
identify social experiences or beliefs that account for the greater sexual jeal-
ousy of heterosexual men relative to everyone else was only partly successful.
Jealousy is a complex human emotion that is provoked by a perceived
threat to an exclusive dyadic relationship (Daly & Wilson, 1983). Although
the emotional experience of jealousy may involve varying degrees of sadness,
Data for this paper were part of the second author’s master’s thesis at Indiana State University,
and previously reported to the Midwest Psychological Association, April, 1998.
Present address: Department of Psychology, University of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Department of Psychology, Indiana State
University, Terre Haute, Indiana 47809; e-mail: email@example.com.
2001 Plenum Publishing Corporation