Recently, Lady Grey made a post on her blog recounting a story of her relationship and an early snag caused by jealousy. The comments raised up a few interesting points on the situation and how differing views of intimacy helped contribute to the problem.
The post is located here:
The Mistress at the Forever Hers blog also made a post regarding those ideas that is an interesting read and gives some things to ponder.
What I have come to believe is that men and women tend to have differing views of intimacy and this greatly affects what actions they view as being okay and what actions may lead to jealousy. Keep in mind that these ideas I am presenting are general stereotypes that of course will not be true in every case but they do hold true for many cases.
The woman's view of intimacy:
Women tend to view an intimate act as one that carries a shared emotional bond by both parties. During these times both individuals have a similar priority structure for the feelings and needs of the other and in turn, it gives them each a feeling of closeness and connection to the other. Basically, it makes them feel more in love and devoted to one another.
The male view of intimacy:
Men tend to view an intimate act as one that embodies a desire for physical contact with the other party. These include most sexual acts such as kissing, groping, intercourse, oral sex, and the like. Also included would be acts done with sexual intent. e.g. a back massage done for therapeutic reasons would not be intimate, but a back massage done to turn the woman on and touch her body would be intimate.
As you can see, these views don't entirely overlap and in some cases, they can flat out clash with each other. In my opinion, its when one party performs an action that conflicts with the other's view of intimacy that jealousy is born.
When a woman gets jealous:
A woman usually gets jealous when she feels the man has breached his loyalty either in regards to desire or on an emotional level. If a man is overly friendly with another woman, she feels he is attempting to form a bond with someone else and she will become jealous. In the D/s realm, if a man wishes to serve another woman in a non-sexual and simply doing something like cleaning her house, she may believe that he wishes to devote himself to someone else and she will become jealous. This jealousy is, in many cases, quite justified.
When a man gets jealous:
A man usually gets jealous when she feels the woman is engaging in activities he considers of an unfaithful or sexual nature. In many cases it's something she considers completely harmless since her devotion to him never wanes nor does she view it as intimate but he may become jealous whether or not the other party involved has an innocent or ulterior motive. Basically, if he is not the only man that can monopolize her attention, he may get jealous.
In some cases, this jealousy is justified. In other cases, it can be way off base. If she goes to a male massage therapist for a therapeutic back massage, he shouldn't be jealous. If she gets a back massage from that guy at her work that flirts with her all the time, being jealous is quite reasonable... but...
he should consider whether or not she deems it intimate before he acts upon his feelings.
Why the man is usually wrong to feel jealous:
In many cases the man will get jealous because he feels she is being unfaithful if she engages in any act that he would deem (even potentially) sexual and intimate. However, while she may partake in said act, if her devotion to him never wanes, she retains her full commitment to him in her heart. While she might accept the back massage from her flirty co-worker, she merely wants the back massage (even if the co-worker is trying to seduce her). In the D/s realm, if she chooses to spank another male sub, in most cases she doesn't wish to actually love the sub, nor take him into the household. There may be other times where she simply pretends to flirt just to get her way or make a man do something for her without her actually wanting anything to do with him. In these times if the man is jealous it is usually a sign of his ego and pride, and feelings that he should be the only man that can have her attention.
Why the woman is usually right to feel jealous:
Women tend to get jealous when they feel a man's devotion to her waning. He leaves her in his heart, if even for a brief moment. When he flirts he is envisioning himself being intimate with the woman he is flirting with. If he wishes to serve another woman he is envisioning himself being intimate with the other woman. His loss of devotion and heart are genuine causes for concern and jealousy is justified.
Overall, I'm just not a big supporter of male jealousy. If you are a man and able to know and trust how your woman truly feels there is no need to have any fear or resentment when she interacts with other men. If she has to turn elsewhere to get her needs completely met, you should step up and try to fill those needs yourself.