I had an interesting discussion the other night with a friend over beer….
In one corner, a swinger friend: jealousy is a useless emotion and setting aside jealousy is the key to happiness
In the other corner, an engineering buddy: jealousy has been the motivator of every significant cultural and economic advance in human history.
The argument goes this way. Pro-jealousy folks say that some level of envy is critical in driving us to want to achieve and have more. On the surface this seems like facile consumerism, but he argues it more broadly. The scientist is driven to work through the night on a new drug vaccination because he wants to achieve a status be sees other scientists attaining, but which he has been denied thus far. His desire for this status and the driver for his inventiveness is, really, jealousy. And the world gets a new vaccine as a result.
For the swinger, jealousy is the source of irrational conflict. They see couples who feel and express jealousy as a source of drama, tension and conflict that turns fun evenings into ruined evenings. In this conversation (last night) my friend took this farther, to say that jealousy is bad not only in the swinging sexual milieu, but in all aspects of life and society. Hmm?
My take: jealousy is natural and, in many instances somewhat useful. The real questions is what we get jealous about. I have real respect for swingers who have managed to not have natural sexual interest and expression be a source of jealousy. It is not that they are incapable of jealousy. It is that, for them, their relationship is not compromised by outside sexual interest and expression, so they do not feel jealousy in that regard — well done.