Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at the Kinsey Institute, recently published data from “the largest and most comprehensive survey of sexual fantasies ever conducted in the United States,” and among the topics studied was the preferences of subjects who identified as Republicans or Democrats. What Lehmiller found was a clear division between the sexual fantasies of members of each party, according to Rolling Stone.
The study found that Republicans tended to fantasize about sex outside of marriage, which according to Lehmiller include “things like infidelity, orgies and partner swapping, from 70s-style ‘key parties’ to modern-day forms of swinging.” Republicans also tended to favor more voyeuristic fantasies such as watching one’s partner have sex with another person.
Democrats, on the other hand, largely had fantasies that involved power dynamics such as bondage, domination, and sado-masochistic sexual relationships (BDSM). Lehmiller found that on the BDSM spectrum, Democrats diverged from Republicans the most in their fantasies involving masochism, or deriving pleasure from pain.
Lehmiller speculates that party values hold the key to divergence in fantasies between Republicans and Democrats. In his article in Politico, Lehmiller suggests that sexual fantasies are derived from the forbidden fruits that we cannot have. Thus, for Democrats who value equality, the power dynamics of bondage between the dominant and submissive partner(s) is antithetical to their values, and therefore fertile ground for sexual fantasy. Conversely, the Republican Reagan-era “family values” of marriage and monogamy makes infidelity and multiple partners tempting taboos.
“Nothing makes us want to try something like being told you can’t do it,” said Lehmiller. “This is why taboos, no matter what they are, often become turn-ons.”
One of the quirkier findings of the survey was the fantasizing about politicians. One in 10 of the respondents admitted to sexual fantasies involving a politician, with about a third of Democrats being willing to cross the aisle and engage in a relationship with a Republican politician, while only half that number of Republicans were willing to do the same. The top political object of fantasy for both Republicans and Democrats was Sarah Palin. Republican subjects also named John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Nikki Haley, while Democrats favored Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton.
Despite the clear division between Republican and Democrat sexual fantasies, Lehmiller noted that respondents in the two groups exhibited far more similarities than differences. Lehmiller reported that members of both parties fantasize about sex several times a week, are intrigued by novelty, seek to meet a range of psychological needs during sex, and that fantasies involve one’s current partner far more than someone outside of the relationship.
“There’s far more that unites us than divides us when it comes to sexual desire,” he said. “If only Congress could be as bipartisan as we are in our sexual fantasies.”