Sexual Jealousy and Sexual Infidelity

In David Boonin (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Sexual Ethics. pp. 93-110 (2022)
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Abstract

In this chapter, Natasha McKeever and Luke Brunning consider (sexual) jealousy in romantic life. They argue that jealousy is best understood as an emotional response to the threatened loss of love or attention, to which one feels deserving, because of a rival. Furthermore, the general value of jealousy can be questioned, and jealousy’s instrumental value needs to be balanced against a range of potential harms. They assess two potential ways of managing jealousy (which are not mutually exclusive)—firstly by adopting a policy of monogamy and secondly by engaging in emotional work. Neither of these methods is easy, and neither will solve jealousy altogether, but Brunning and McKeever argue that the second strategy should be taken more seriously.

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