Sexual and romantic jealousy in heterosexual and homosexual adults

Psychol Sci. 2002 Jan;13(1):7-12. doi: 10.1111/1467-9280.00402.


Several theorists have claimed that men are innately more upset by a mate's sexual infidelity and women are more upset by a mate's emotional infidelity because the sexes faced different adaptive problems (for men, cuckoldry; for women, losing a mate's resources). The present work examined this theory of jealousy as a specific innate module in 196 adult men and women of homosexual and heterosexual orientations. As in previous work, heterosexuals' responses to a forced-choice question about hypothetical infidelity yielded a gender difference. However no gender differences were found when participants recalled personal experiences with a mate's actual infidelity. Men and women, regardless of sexual orientation, on average focused more on a mate's emotional infidelity than on a mate's sexual infidelity. Responses to hypothetical infidelity were uncorrelated with reactions to actual infidelity. This finding casts doubt on the validity of the hypothetical measures used in previous research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Heterosexuality*
  • Homosexuality*
  • Humans
  • Jealousy*
  • Love*
  • Male
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*