monthly column from lifestyle author/activist
Steve Mason

Lifestyle On-Line

The Green Eyed Monster

Earlier this week, I did my first on-line radio/TV broadcast. Friends assure me that this is where the future is at! A few more years and one screen will serve all our needs; computer, phone, TV, VCR, fax, etc. That may well be but, for now, the future remains. . . in the future. Depending upon whom I asked, reception ranged from nada to a small, shaky picture of dubious quality. On the other hand, I just tried my first Swinger's Directory on CD-ROM and found that to be a more promising technology. Personal ads come complete with color photos, video, sound and even E-mail computer links. The down side is that it takes forever to run through all the Click-Here-Click-There options and reminds me of the Press-One-Press-Two voice mail systems. Spend ten minutes diddling with the damn thing and you wind up getting cut off. Perhaps there are times when it's simply best not to try and improve on "the old fashion way."

And speaking of old fashion, the questions I was asked during my high-tech, LIFESTYLES On-Line interview were pretty much identical to those I was being asked a decade and more ago. But isn't sex illicit. . . immoral. . . sinful even? No, no and no. I keep telling people that sex is one of those little treats Mother Nature occasionally provides; like lobster only cheaper. Hey, but anything THAT good has got to be bad, they say. Not necessarily, I say. And soon it's same-old, same-old. Despite the ability to send me sailing around the world in gigabits, the Dark Age notion that Sex is Evil somehow remains fixed in New Age minds. So let me take a moment to yet again reassure my audience on at least one particularly recurrent theme: JEALOUSLY.

Isn't it normal to be jealous of a mate having sex with a stranger?
Actually, jealousy has its emotional roots in a child's fear of being replaced as the object of a mother's attention. As such, it's really quite an infantile response - smacking as it does of insecurity and instability. I always find it odd that while being jealous of your stuff is recognized as the immature behavior it is, being jealous of your spouse, on the other hand, is seen as an indication of true love. Nonsense! Being jealous is not only selfish but a clear refutation of your partner's desires. And I also find it odd that this refutation is so selective. You can have a new car my Dear because I truly love you but you can't have a new sexual experience without me flying into a rage and calling a lawyer. . . for openers. Why not?

Well what if he/she likes her/him better than me?
Well what if? I should think that if you really love someone, their feelings should come first. In other words, if my spouse hits the lottery of love, how can I complain? She feels her life would be better there but I'm going to keep her here. . . and say it's because I love you. . . and keep a straight face. . . Is it really possible to be that self centered and truly believe you love someone?

Well what if he/she likes her/him better than me?
Well what if? I should also think that the sex/love association would eventually come to be seen as the questionable link that it, in fact, is. You can love lots of people with whom you would never dream of having sex and vice versa. Sex can be new, exciting, different, fun and even better or worse but that should hardly spell L-O-V-E to anyone past the age of fourteen. Grow up!

Well what if he/she likes her/him better than me?
Well what if? Is it possible that I might be drawn from my happy life by some siren's sexual song? Frankly, if a roll in the hay causes you to run away from home - home couldn't have been all that hot. Only a spouse with deep seated feelings of inadequacy would imagine their mate running off with the milkman. . . or milkmaid.

After dealing with a few of the more common questions callers will ask during interview shows, I like to talk about the up side of jealousy. This is something most people never consider - that what destroys some relationships can actually serve to strengthen others. Medical science has now moved into the sexual arena big time and made some remarkable discoveries. For example, if a chimpanzee believes his female has had sex with another male, his subsequent love making with her will be significantly more intense and his ejaculate will contain significantly more sperm. This makes perfect sense. In a penis competitive species (like primates and their closest relatives - humans) the male will try to get his seed farther up into the female's vaginal canal if there's the possibility that another male's sperm might beat him to the egg. Swingers are well aware of this phenomenon and it may well explain the fact that swingers tend to have longer lasting marriages. There are few things that, once jealously is put aside with other childish things, stimulates a man more than seeing his woman on her back with another man. Again and again swingers will tell you what a turn-on this is and how the couple's later love making will be both incredibly intense and incredibly satisfying.

In fact, one theory has it that mates who continuously and unjustifiable accuse each other of infidelity do it as an unconscious prelude to the great sex that follows. In a way, this explains the "Kiss & Makeup" theme that couples sometimes employ. They get sore about something because it then feels so good to come together again. In some cases, this scene is played out more tragically when a husband accuses his wife of being a whore, proceeds to rough her up and then takes her sexually. On some level, he's pretending there's another man because few things get him off as well. Unfortunately, very few people (including your media therapists) understand this and so the benefits of - indeed the need for - extramarital partners gets lost in the one-penis-one-vagina-fifty-years litany. The bottom line here is that in any risk to benefit ratio, the "Well what ifs?" associated with that green eyed monster called jealously typically fall far short of the potential gains that rarely ever get mentioned.