“I Would Never Sleep With a Trump Supporter”
The impact of political views on hooking up
Posted Jun 19, 2018
"I would never sleep with a Trump supporter, though I slept with a few Bush supporters." —A liberal single woman
"I would not be able to marry a man who is a leftist, even if I found him very attractive—although most of the men I have slept with are leftists." —A conservative divorcee
"I can't stop hooking up with Trump supporters." —Korey Lane
Political views are vital in choosing spouses, but their role in hooking up is less clear. We may not want to live with our political enemy, but what's wrong with having sex with him?
Factors that are relevant to this issue are (a) the depth of the relationship, (b) the negativity seen in the political view, (c) the person's support of this view, and (d) the person's traits that are unrelated to the political view.
The depth of the relationship
The depth of our relationship with someone determines the types of traits that are relevant to us. The deeper the relationship, the more the traits of this person become relevant. Thus, in choosing a spouse, many more profound traits of the person are relevant than is the case in choosing a sexual partner.
Hence, spouses, and romantic partners, in general, show strong similarities in political and religious attitudes. Our conservative divorcee makes clear she would never marry a leftist, but most of her lovers have been leftists.
Are we to understand that leftists make better lovers? As I am not aware of any research supporting this claim, I tend to account for her feelings by noting that in the short term, opposites attract, but that in the long term, similarity is more significant.
Of course, casual sexual relationships come in different flavors: one-night stands, booty calls, fuck buddies, and friends with benefits. While in the case of friends with benefits, political issues are likely to be relevant, one can have a one-night stand without a lot of talking, and especially not about political issues.
The negativity seen in the political view
The depth of the negativity seen in a given political view, and its connection to moral issues, is another factor in deciding whether or not to sleep with your (political) enemy. Political attitudes are associated with moral ones, but the connection can be of various degrees. The negativity can refer to major issues, which are related to significant immoral, criminal deeds, and minor issues, which are more a question of taste.
Let's take the liberal woman mentioned above: She does not consider her disagreement with Trump a matter of politics as much as a matter of good versus evil. Hence, although she would never sleep with a Trump supporter, she slept with a few Bush supporters; apparently, her opposition to Bush's conservative policy was indeed a matter of politics rather than profound moral lines. She even mentioned in a nostalgic tone that the conservative president Ronald Reagan was the president who enlarged, more than any other president, American national parks.
The person's support of this view
The depth of the person's support of the negative view is another relevant factor in deciding whether or not to hook up with someone supporting the "wrong" political view. There are, of course, various degrees of support. Thus, one can support the "wrong" view while criticizing some basic elements of this view, but thinking that there is no better choice. Alternatively, one can show extreme and absolute support in the "wrong," and this will be evident even in the first meeting, thus being a big sexual turn-off.
The person's traits
The qualities of the other person are also very significant in determining whether to pursue a sexual encounter. If the person is kind, sensitive, and considerate, it will be easier to initiate the sexual encounter despite his "wrong" political view.
The problem here is somewhat similar to that in loving a criminal. In Britney Spears' song (written by Martin, Shellback, and Amber), she says, "He is a hustler, he's no good at all, he is a loser, he's a bum, he lies, he bluffs, he's unreliable, he is a sucker with a gun," but Mama, I'm in love with him. She further explains that this love "isn't rational, it's physical," but, she continues, he is OK for me. Loving a criminal may be sexually exciting in the short term, but for moral people, the immoral nature of the criminal will significantly hinder establishing a flourishing romantic relationship.
If the person is highly sexually satisfying, then even if your head says that he is the wrong person as he has such an appalling political view, it is quite hard to stop hooking up with him. As Korey Lane (2017) nicely puts it concerning her hooking up with a Trump supporter, this is probably not a sustainable relationship that she would have in the long run, but "for right now, I can highly recommend hooking up with someone whose politics you hate. As long as you don't forget to vote."
Polarized political views
"When I was young, I certainly spent too much time with hustlers, bums, and suckers. However, these guys were not in favor of any radical political views, at least as far as I know. And if I do not know about their political views, it does not seem to have been important to me at that time." —A married woman in her 50s
"If we begin to exclude Trump supporters and his ilk from our sexual interactions, soon we will have to abstain from sex altogether." —A married woman
Our society seems more politically polarized than ever, and politics is a popular partner in the bedroom. Should we have the feeling of sleeping with the enemy while having sex with a person with a different political view?
There is no golden rule for when to wed someone with opposing political views (though extreme opposition tends to be destructive) and when to keep the relation at the level of a hook-up. There are many factors to consider, and each has various degrees. However, since we are dealing here with a combination of two emotions, namely, love and hate, I would guess that following the heart here would often be the way to go.
"I sleep with a Trump supporter every night, but I am happy to have a lover who is different, as I love to talk a lot with my lover." —A liberal married woman
Does Trump's apparent success in Singapore open more romantic horizons for his supporters? Probably so, especially if endures. At the same time, the liberal woman's romantic horizons may be further shrinking.
Korey Lane, “Help, I can't stop hooking up with Trump supporters.” Glamour, September 8, 2017.