Illustrations By Somdutt Sarkar
The neighbour’s superior car, your friend’s picture-perfect life on Instagram, someone standing with a guy you’ve had a crush on, a former classmate finding the love of their life when you’re still single — these are things that can make most people experience different shades of jealousy. But jealousy uncoils like a snake at the base of our sexual feelings too. The occasional ‘hmph, you find her more beautiful than me?’ or the ‘don’t talk to him’ are common to hear in a relationship – and to hear about..
But these insecurities about someone from outside affecting your relationship are not the only type. Some forms of jealousies are unusual enough to slip our notice, especially if not discussed openly and so, are left unaddressed and unexamined. Societal conditioning that discourages men from engaging with their emotions also fuels some deep-seated jealousies, which can spell trouble for mental and sexual well-being. Here are some unusual jealousies men experience and how it affects the way they look at themselves as sexual beings.
JEALOUS OF MY GIRLFRIEND’S LOVE FOR HERSELF DURING SEX
In the past, women have told me I was a loser for not knowing how to properly touch them.
Raunaq, 33 years, male, heterosexual
Talking to new people scares me, and meeting them is even scarier. So dirty talking, consensually, with women on Tinder was a great sexual outlet. Whenever a woman would talk about meeting, I’d unmatch. This didn’t work with my ex. She was easily the wittiest and nicest person I spoke to and it was I who ended up asking her out.
But when we started dating, I became jealous of her, particularly of her skills in bed.
I didn’t have too many skills myself, so every time I orgasmed, I’d feel ashamed and angry that I didn’t have as much experience. My experienced girlfriend has been having sex since she was 18, whereas I only started a decade after her, at 28.
In the past, women have shamed me for being a loser and for not knowing how to properly touch them. “Why are you so awkward?” they have asked me. I was waiting for the moment when my ex would also shame me, but it never arrived. Once, when she tried a new move in bed, I just yelled at her which made her cry. I was jealous that she knew something in bed that I didn’t.
I tried to keep my jealousy under control but failed. You can’t just suppress years of insecurity in one go. She tried to understand why I was making things so difficult, but even talking involved letting go of my insecurities, which I wasn’t willing to do. She then gave up on trying to talk to me about my jealousy and broke up with me.
Now, I’m working on it, building confidence with the help of a therapist. I still feel jealous when I think of my ex, but the voice is less loud in my head now. But only after spending two months without her, I realized that my jealousy was not at her sexual experience but at her emotional confidence in her sexuality. I loved sex, whereas she loved herself during sex.
JEALOUS OF MY GIRLFRIEND’S INTENSE MUSIC FRIEND
I never took much notice of this guy at first, but eventually, I started resenting him.
Sagar, 29, male, heterosexual
I have always been possessive — I’ve been told it’s not a nice thing, but it’s just my nature. Three years ago, I was dating my best friend and I honestly thought everything would be great.Except, I’d forgotten how extroverted she was. She would always be attending indie music concerts and parties, while I’d just stay at home and watch movies.
Her favorite gig partner was her college friend. They almost had this silent musical code between them, having grown up listening to the same type of music. I didn’t know half the names he’d (her friend) mention — Ramones and Charlie Parker and all. — as I only doted on old Kishore Kumar songs that I’d listened to with my dad.
I never took much notice of this guy at first, but eventually, I started resenting him. One time, I forced myself to go to an album launch of an electronic artist in Mumbai.It was like watching someone working on a laptop, live. But she and her friend were thoroughly enjoying themselves. I felt a huge stab of jealousy and left without telling them.
She looked puzzled when I complained to her about it, but whenever she tried to include me, it felt like she was trying to spare my feelings. So I just went back to being jealous of her friend even though there was never anything romantic between them. But the fact that she shared what she loved with him irked me no end.
My jealous sulking ultimately got to her and we would fight for petty reasons.Eventually, she broke up with me, but it didn’t affect our friendship. We just realized that as best friends, I feel less jealous of other people in her life. At least now I don’t have to pretend to lose my mind at the next Radiohead album.
JEALOUS OF MY PARTNER’S HANDSOME EASE
I don’t like that men like my boyfriend better in threesomes.
Karan, 18, male, homosexual
I was terrified of having a threesome, but my bisexual boyfriend was very interested in it. We are in an open relationship, so we are free to have sex with anyone besides each other. My partner is super handsome — many girls from college flock to him. Some of them go home with him and some don’t. None of this ever bothered me, until the threesome topic came up.
I decided to comply and experiment, even though I wasn’t ready for this. My boyfriend, however, is two years older and is less terrified of having more than one man or woman in his bed. Although I was terrified, I wanted to please my partner. So did the man he brought home for the threesome. My boyfriend’s guest wouldn’t even kiss or touch me as much as he did my partner. I felt so jealous and angry, but I didn’t say anything.
The second time my partner brought home a girl for a threesome, I yelled, “Have you forgotten I’m gay?” I was insulted and felt jealous again.
But it wasn’t just the physical rejection that made me jealous. I was jealous that my partner was so much more likable. Even the people he had sex with (alone) would sit and have long conversations with him, but this never happened to me.
I also felt stupid for being jealous of my own boyfriend. So I decided to have a conversation with him about it one day after a jealous breakdown. He understood immediately and stopped bringing men home. But that still didn’t stop me from feeling jealous.
It was only after continuous conversations and by confronting my feelings that I feel much better now. I might even be open to a threesome sometime soon. But this time, on my own terms.
Jealous of my boyfriend’s EASY identity AS A CIS MALE
I seek validation the way he gets it from people.
Ameya, 25, transman, homosexual
Dating as a transman has not been easy for me. At parties, people would look at me strangely and talk behind my back. Everyone would flirt with each other but somehow not with me. But meeting my current partner changed everything. During our courtship, he never really focused so much on me being trans, as much as on me just being.
So it’s very difficult for me to tell him that I’m actually so jealous of him. As a cis male, he has no trouble being accepted for who he is. How do I tell him multiple rejections have made me very insecure? Plus people’s reactions don’t help. One time, he introduced me as his boyfriend to his colleagues and they give him a strange look, almost as if to say, “Tujhe aur koi nahin mila kya?”
I try to cope with this by reminding myself that my partner did not ask for this treatment. I tell myself that I can’t find a better person than him, not just because he accepts me for who I am, but because he doesn’t reduce me to my sexuality or gender. But still, I seek validation the way he gets it from people. I don’t talk about this to him because I’m afraid I’ll lose him.
One good thing did come out of house parties (which are always aplenty in the fashion industry we’re in). I met some more transpersons and talked to them about my feelings and realized it’s totally okay to feel this way. They recommended a lot of books about sexuality in transpeople and it gives me confidence in my choices, the most important one being him.
I INSISTED ON POLYAMORY AND THEN GOT JEALOUS OF MY PARTNER’S FLUIDITY
I’m all for channel surfing but I still wanted to be the primetime lover.
Sahil, 29, male, heterosexual
I lived in Russia for seven years and its dating culture changed the way I look at relationships. Women in Russia are very forthcoming about their intentions and it’s very common to be in polyamorous relationships. So I tried it out and fluidly dated multiple people at the same time. Any primary partner I had in Russia came with zero drama.
When I moved back to Bangalore last year, it was quite an adjustment to the culture here. I started dating this girl I met through a mutual friend because she was polyamorous and shared my sensibilities. It was amazing. I’d found it hard to find other Indian women who were that open about sex.
However, it turned out that I had not figured how deeply traditional I myself am. Apart from me, there was this one other guy she enjoyed having sex with. They used to work together in the same software company. I had no problem with it till I realized that she spent more time with him than she did with me. I got super jealous. She started getting emotionally close to him and enjoying his company a lot. They’d go out to movies and drive around the city.
The kind of poly relationships I’ve been in are ones where you have one primary partner and then you have secondary/tertiary partners. I felt like I was no longer her primary partner — her ex-colleague was.
When I tried talking to her about it, she laughed it off. But I was still jealous. I realized that I was fluid sexually but not very fluid emotionally. I wanted her affections all to myself and I wanted to be her primary partner. In my past relationships, I’ve always had a primary partner, some sort of an anchor. Without it, in this relationship, my jealousy took over.
We drifted apart soon enough. Not because of that guy, but because we just lost interest in each other. Funnily enough, even after we broke up I couldn’t digest the fact that she’d sidelined me for him. Right now I’m questioning where I stand with polyamory, and more importantly, where I stand with emotional jealousy in polyamory. I don’t want another such episode of jealousy with someone else.