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Sexual Politics

About the author: Allison Leigh is a pornographer, producer, polyamorist, and professional kinkster. When sexuality is business, business is fun! 

From how we do it to whom we do it with, sex is personal – but is it linked to our politics?

The stereotypes about our political personalities are ubiquitous, especially in the United States. From the promiscuous, birth control using Democrat who supports Planned Parenthood, to the truck balls owning, toxically masculine Republican affirming his “alpha” position by ridiculing his perceived enemies as “cucks,” our views on politics are often linked (in appearance, if not in actuality) to our views on sex. But what kind of sex are Republicans and Democrats actually having? Do our preconceived notions of the parties line up with what’s really happening in their fantasies?

I was surprised to see this discussion on a recent episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, a longstanding comedy-news talk show. Though the findings were reduced to a quick punchline, the study Colbert referenced was real. Published in a book entitled “Tell Me What You Want,” Dr. Justin Lehmiller surveyed 4,175 adult Americans from all 50 states, collecting data on a variety of different situations, people, political figures and other potential turn-ons. The analysis shines an interesting light on the American sexual psyche.

Republicans, for instance, were more likely to fantasize about activities that involve sex outside of marriage like infidelity, orgies and partner swapping, including 1970s-style “key parties” and modern-day forms of swinging. Republicans also reported more fantasies with voyeuristic themes, including visiting strip clubs and practicing something known as “cuckolding” which involves watching one’s partner have sex with someone else, specifically someone who is better in bed than you are. This is the origin of the term “cuck,” which has become a popular pejorative in modern Republican and “Proud Boy” online communities.

Democrats, on the other hand, were more likely to fantasize about sexual activities that involved power dynamics, such as BDSM. In fact, the largest bedroom disparity between Republicans and Democrats was their interest in masochism – enjoying pleasure through the experience of pain. Spanking, bondage, and dominant/submissive roleplay were far more likely to titillate Democrats than Republicans.

Dr. Lehmiller’s theory about these differences between the parties boils down to a mainline through the human psyche regardless of politics – the appeal of taboo. It’s easy to see where these marked disparities may come from when viewed through this frame. Republicans are guided by a party platform that touts the “sanctity of traditional marriage,” which would make any sort of non-monogamous exploration verboten. Meanwhile, Democrats may be drawn to power exchange because their party so staunchly stands for equality. Dr Lehmiller writes, “The appeal of the taboo stems from a long-standing principle of psychology known as reactance – which stipulates that when our freedom is threatened and we’re told we can’t do something, we want to do it even more. Many a parent has discovered this principle and used it to their benefit in shaping behavior through reverse psychology: Frame the desired act as something your [offspring] isn’t allowed to do and you just might get what you want.”

There were many similarities between the fantasy lives of those surveyed, as well. Markedly crossing party lines was the inclination toward trying new things, whether they be new partners or new experiences. Additionally, almost everyone surveyed reported that they enjoyed situations and scenarios where they felt validated and competent, indicating that we seek to fulfil our emotional desires even in our fantasies. Behind all of our political slogans and kinky fantasies, it would seem that humans are still striving to meet the same set of psychological needs.

While one cannot jump to conclusions about our sexual proclivities based on survey alone, it’s important to note this data and frame it within the greater spectrum of knowledge. Our sexuality is of course not solely the product of our politics – but this research shows that the two appear to be linked. It stands to reason that the frame with which we view the world would also be the frame with which we view ourselves – and our sexuality.

This post first appeared on


Brehm, J.W. (1966). A theory of psychological reactance.

Lehmiller, J. (2018, August 28). Tell Me What You Want.

Lehmiller, J., Scher, B., Greenfield, J., and Alberta, T. (2018, October 27). Republicans and Democrats Don’t Just Disagree About Politics. They Have Different Sexual Fantasies.

Schwartz, D. (2016, August 01). Why Angry White Men Love Calling People “Cucks”.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. (2018, November 03). Republicans And Democrats Have Different Sexy Thoughts.

Urban Dictionary (n.d.). Truck balls.

Members Comments (3)


HaleHortler 3 months ago

As a NatSoc, I am definitely into a fair number of kinks. There are plenty that I consider too extreme, bizarre, or weird. I'm not into the whole infidelity thing though. For me, it is about enjoying your lady in different ways to complete a relationship.

Perhaps if more people explored real free speech and real freedom of thought, maybe they would have less of an immature fixation on taboo for the sake of taboo.


Borbonicon 3 months ago

That is all very interesting and also reveals the addictive nature of promiscuity.There are some that choose to hold themselves apart from such activities,myself among them,the long term benefits of which are quite numerous,as in increased mental clarity,zero risk of infection,no unwanted progeny,the happiness of a pure life,an expanded spiritual horizon and so on and so forth.
It has also been observed from much personal experience that those drawn to excesses of this nature are almost invariably of questionable character,and become a problem to themselves and everyone around them.
Still,it all has to end somewhere,and it often ends in tears,or advancing years no longer permit such indulgences.
I have it from a number of authoritative sources that the human form of life has broader perspectives to consider,which involve long term benefits when the individual is ready to reckon things out and get away from merely living for sex.


spiritof42 4 months agoLifetime member

This sentence deserves a comment: "Democrats may be drawn to power exchange because their party so staunchly stands for equality."

As Orwell famously stated in Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” ― George Orwell, Animal Farm.

Power politics and equality of opportunity are diametrically opposed. What they mean is equality of result. Then the sentence makes sense.

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