Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Male Sexual Jealousy to Deter Partner Infidelity

  • S. LadwigEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3770-1



The jealousy males feel about female infidelity as an evolutionary reaction to internal female fertilization and paternity uncertainty.


When infidelity occurs, males and females experience different biological and social costs. As such, they have developed different reactions toward infidelity. For males, one common reaction is sexual jealousy in order to deter partner infidelity.

The Costs of Infidelity

In species with internal female fertilization, partner infidelity has different costs for males and females. If a male’s mate has sexual contact with other males, the male has a lesser probability of impregnating his mate, and he has greater paternity uncertainty. If the rival male successfully impregnates his mate, the male will have lost the time, energy, nuptial gifts, the female’s parental effort, and the opportunity of mating with other females (Buss et al. 1992). Furthermore, in biparental species, where males...

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida State UniversityTallahasseUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kevin Beaver
    • 1
  1. 1.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA