Analysis of the angular distribution of extensil mechanical stress, sigma e, generated in cytoplasmic membranes by an external oscillating electric field, is presented. Theoretical considerations show that sigma e is directly proportional to the local relative increase in membrane area and/or to the local relative decrease in its thickness. The magnitude of this stress depends on the position of the analyzed point of the membrane in relation to field direction. The maximal value, sigma eo, is reached at the cell "poles." The magnitude of sigma eo depends on electric and geometric parameters (in particular on field frequency) of the system studied. The foregoing analysis can be applied to quantitatively describe the destabilizing effects of the electric field on the cellular membrane, leading to its poration, fusion, and destruction.