To explain why the political parties differ so vastly in their sexual tastes, Lehmiller looked to each party’s values. He wrote that we fantasize about forbidden fruit, that which we cannot have. So Democrats value equality, and domination and submission seem antithetical to those values, making them forbidden and therefore ripe grounds for fantasy. Since Republicans value sex within the bonds of marriage and single partner sex, the idea of multiple partners and infidelity turns them on.
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“Nothing makes us want to try something like being told you can’t do it. This is why taboos, no matter what they are, often become turn-ons,” Lehmiller wrote.
The survey also asked participants to name politicians they had fantasized about, and the results revealed that we are sometimes bipartisan in our fantasies. Of the one in ten who admitted to fantasizing about a politician, nearly one in three Democrats said they had fantasized about a Republican, while only 17 percent of Republicans said they fantasized about a Democrat.
The most frequently mentioned politician fantasy was Sarah Palin. Other popular choices included John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Nikki Haley for Republicans, and Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton topped Democrats’ list after Sarah Palin. (Lehmiller noted this data was collected from 2014-2015, before Donald Trump rose to political prominence.)
But while we are a nation divided by politics and sexual fantasies, Lehmiller pointed out that we are more similar than we are different. “There’s far more that unites us than divides us when it comes to sexual desire,” he wrote. “If only Congress could be as bipartisan as we are in our sexual fantasies.”