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Madonna-Whore Complex And Retroactive Jealousy

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by Jeff Billings in Retroactive Jealousy Blog
July 18, 2016

I’m guessing many of you guys have come across the term Madonna-whore complex while researching retroactive jealousy. As it turns out, a Madonna-whore complex and retroactive jealousy are often very closely interlinked. 

So in this post I’m going to break down exactly what a Madonna-whore complex is, how it relates to retroactive jealousy and finally what you can do about it. So let’s dive on in!

What Is A Madonna-Whore Complex?

In a nutshell, to suffer from a Madonna-whore complex means simply to divide women into two camps:

  • Camp 1: “Madonnas” — women they regard as pure, innocent, virginal and dismissive of sex. The kind of woman you’d invite back to meet your mother and eventually marry.
  • Camp 2: “Whores” — well, the name just about says it all. Women they regard as dirty, sluttish, exciting and sexually promiscuous. The kind of woman you’d never bring home to meet your mother and only date casually.

In broad terms, men with a Madonna-whore complex draw a very definite distinction between both camps, with women they desire being in the first, and women they respect being in the second.

A woman in their eyes can’t be in both camps. She has to be either a saintly figure who’d never dream of giving a guy a blowjob in a bar toilet, or a man-eating slut who’d happily give one every weekend.

The term usually refers to men but women can suffer from this black and white view of female sexuality too.

I hope straightaway you can see the folly in dividing people up in this way, whichever sex you are.

In fact, in society as a whole we tend to buy into this outdated way of looking at modern relationships and sexual behavior.

Men often fall victim to retroactive jealousy when they discover to their surprise that the girl they’re dating isn’t a “Madonna” who’s only slept with three guys.

And women fall into the trap of lying about their sexual history for fear being labeled as “sluts”.

The term “Madonna” by the way, refers not to the 1980s pop icon, but to the woman who supposedly gave birth to Jesus without ever having had sex — Mary of Nazareth. (So much for abstinence being a 100% foolproof method of contraception.)

Much of our understanding of the Madonna-whore complex comes from Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychoanalysis. Freud himself coined the term and wrote: “Where such men love they have no desire and where they desire they cannot love.”

Being Freud, he believed of course that the reason men felt this way related back to their moms: a man develops a Madonna-whore complex as a reaction to not being able to cope with feelings of affection once felt for his mother in a sex partner.

Therefore he divides women into the two diametrically opposed camps mentioned earlier — virgins and whores.

Granted, we tend to not take many of theories too seriously anymore, but his Madonna-whore complex is alive and kicking in the 21st century. And it’s maybe a major reason why you’re suffering from retroactive jealousy.

The Madonna-Whore Complex And Retroactive Jealousy

A large part of the reason why men suffer from jealous thoughts about their girlfriend’s sexual past when it comes to casual sex, and not the sex they had within a committed relationship, is due to the Madonna-whore complex.

If you’ve divided women up in two camps in which they’re either pure and innocent or sexually promiscuous and slutty, it’s no wonder you’re having a hard time reconciling your wife or girlfriend’s past sexual behavior in your mind.

To be jealous of a woman’s sexual history — her one night stands, her threesomes, her sex buddies, etc. — is to pass judgment on her.

It’s to ascertain that a woman can’t be the pure, kind, gentle homebody you want to marry (or have married) and be sexually active and exciting at the same time. She has to be one or the other.

As I’ve discussed before, the two key emotions driving retroactive jealousy are fear and judgment and the Madonna-whore complex falls squarely into the latter.

If you’re feeling upset, angry and judgmental about your wife or girlfriend’s past sex life, it’s time to stop. It’s time to get leave your Madonna-whore complex behind.

How To Get Rid Of A Madonna-Whore Complex

Retrograde jealousy over a woman’s sexual history is most likely due to deep rooted views on female sexuality that are hard to break.

The reason they’re so hard to break is both to do with nature and nurture.

On the one hand, men have been programmed through evolution to be naturally wary of other males when it comes to our partners.

And on the other, they’ve been programmed by society to buy wholeheartedly into the Madonna-whore complex.

Social norms, behaviors, customs, TV shows, films, songs, etc. have all reaffirmed in our minds over the centuries that chaste women are the ones you marry, and promiscuous women are the ones you just have a bit of fun with.

MADONNA-WHORE COMPLEX

In order to begin to release the grip the Madonna-whore complex currently has over your mind, it’s important to realize that it’s based on an absurd view of female sexuality and behavior.

For a start, no woman is either solely a Madonna or a whore. Every woman on earth has elements of both in her personality, and so to divide them all up into one or the other category is just silly.

The so-called Madonna is capable of cheating, kinky sex and “sleeping around”. Likewise, the so-called whore is capable of being faithful, engaging in boring sex and raising a family.

This may sound obvious to many of you, but you’d be surprised by the amount of guys I get posting messages on my blog or sending me emails about how if a girl has been with 30+ guys she could never be marriage material.

If you’re one of them, I suggest taking a look deep inside yourself and asking yourself if you’re being fair. Is it right to judge women for expressing their sexuality in much the same way as men have been doing for centuries?

With the advent of the sexual revolution in the 1960s and the subsequent availability of the pill, women were freed from the Madonna stereotype. Previously, men only had sex with “loose women” for fun, and would never marry them. But now, times have changed.

Women have since gone on to become sexually empowered and enjoy “sleeping around” just as much as the average guy. Is there anything wrong with this? Or are we being judgmental and stuck in the past to believe this isn’t how women should behave in the 21st century?

Realizing what’s going on in your head, how you’ve divided women up into two separate categories, and your unreasonable expectations of them, can certainly go a long way toward ending your Madonna-whore complex.

Reading this blog post may offer some momentary enlightenment and/or relief. However, as with retroactive jealousy ocd, it’s virtually impossible to stop a Madonna-whore complex simply by thinking about it.

The best approach to take is action.

When it comes to a Madonna-whore complex, it’s important to not lose sight of the fact that the girl you’ve married or intend to marry can be both a faithful homebody and a sexually adventurous being.

Embrace this fact by embracing sex and making sure your love life doesn’t grow stale. Use the opportunity to realize that a healthy sex life can coexist with a settled, loving relationship.

The last thing you want is to start craving the “whore” while remaining with the “Madonna” and end up having an affair.

I detail in my course “Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy 101” and book “The Ultimate Retroactive Jealousy Cure: How To Stop Being Jealous Of Your Partner’s Past in 12 Steps” just what actions you should be taking every single day to rid yourself of retroactive jealousy and a Madonna-whore complex.

Both products are full of practical, hands-on exercises that will help you reshape the way you think about female sexuality and, more importantly, yourself.

MADONNA-WHORE COMPLEX

1 Comment
  1. Jimmy says:

    This is really interesting angle, hadn’t thought about this. Thank you Jeff.

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