If a recent survey is anything to go by, party affiliation might reveal more about you than just your politics – it might say something about your sexual fantasies.
Justin Lehmiller is an assistant professor of social psychology at Ball State University, Indiana. For his latest book, he asked 4,175 adults from California to South Carolina, what turns you on? Volunteers were asked to confess how often they fantasized about certain people, places, and things, from masochism to Barack Obama.
So, what did he find? While people from all political persuasions reported fantasizing several times per week, self-identified Republicans get off on themes surrounding infidelity whereas self-identified Democrats prefer BDSM.
Though these fantasies may appear to be vastly different, the "underlying processes" may, in fact, be the very same, Lehmiller says. That is because both are driven by things the individual can't (or shouldn't) have – basically, they are things each party considers taboo.
Take the Republican fantasy of infidelity, for example. The GOP runs on a platform idolizing the nuclear family and, consequently, traditional notions of marriage. This means activities like extramarital affairs, orgies, and partner swapping (whether that be the "key parties" of the '70s or their 2018 equivalent) are strictly off-limits (at least theoretically) – and that makes them exciting. It may also explain why there are more Republican than Democrat members of Ashley Madison, the dating service for people already in relationships.
Along similar lines, Republicans are also more likely to fantasize about strip clubs, cuckolding (ie watching your partner have sex with another), and other things of a more voyeuristic nature.
In contrast, the Democrats are a party that strives for greater social, economic, and political equality – and yet, they fantasize about machoism, bondage, and dominance-submission play. Lehmiller reckons it is the blurring of consent and imbalance of power in BDSM that makes it taboo (especially when a man and a woman is involved), and also exciting, for Democrats.
This is just a theory and as Lehmiller points out, there are many other things that affect what turns people on (or off) but it is interesting to see that there is a correlation along the political divide.
And though Republicans and Democrats have their differences (inside and outside the bedroom), Lehmiller also found certain similarities. People across the political spectrum appreciate novelty and variation and like to feel desired and valued. What's more – and ever so cutely – most fantasize about current romantic partners more often than they do celebs.
But sticking to the theme of politics, roughly 10 percent of people from both parties fantasize about elected officials, with Sarah Palin winning the prize for "most commonly fantasized-about politician" for both parties. John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Nikki Haley won second, third, and fourth place for Republicans, while Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton came second, third, and fourth place for Democrats.
It's not just sexual fantasies that separates the two sides of the aisle. Other surveys have shown Republicans prefer classic rock and country (think: Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blake Shelton), while Democrats are more likely to listen to Bob Marley and The Beatles, and you're more likely to spot a Republican at Grainger or Pottery Barn than Forever 21 or Urban Outfitters.