Do Your Political Beliefs Impact Your Sex Life? Here’s What the Research Says.

Published: JULY 4, 2024
Whether we realize it or not, what we want in the bedroom is statistically related to our political values.

In the labyrinth of human sexual behaviors, myriad factors determine why we like what we like. Your likes and dislikes outside the bedroom, your personality, your early experiences, and even your family background can go into the algorithm of what sexual behaviors, kinks, and fetishes ultimately speak to you.


But what about your political beliefs? How does your sex life correlate with your stances on climate change, the economy, and beyond? 

Believe it or not, there is research that explores how our political beliefs inform our favorite sexual activities, and the results are... revealing, especially considering this year's divisive election season.

How do your political beliefs translate to your sex life?

Fewer things are more pervasive in popular culture than politics and sex. When you really think about it, it’s surprising just how many contemporary issues that divide Americans have sex at the center. Sex education in public schools, same sex marriage, and reproductive rights are commonly up for national debate, and highly scrutinized by the American electorate. Essentially, if you vote, you’re regularly making political decisions that have to do with sex whether you realize it or not.


Research shows that conservatives gravitate towards more traditional views on sexuality. Polling from the Pew Research Center shows that they favor abstinence education tend to support traditional gender roles within the family system. On the flip side, liberals tend to support comprehensive sex education and champion LGBTQ+ rights. Our political affiliation also shapes our stance on sexual health policies

One study conducted for Personality and Individual Differences by Hatemi, Crabtree, and McDermott, sought to explain how these differing values might manifest in our personal sexual preferences. Participants from both sides of the aisle were polled on a range of behaviors like risky sexual activities, their number of sexual partners, the age of their first sexual activity, and their satisfaction with their sex lives. They also reported their party identification as well as their choice in the most recent election so researchers could identify correlations and patterns. 

The researchers' findings suggested strong associations between certain sexual behaviors and political beliefs. It turns out, whether we realize it or not, what we want in the bedroom is statistically related to our political values.


The connection between political beliefs and sex

What does the research say about how these correlations might play out in the bedroom? While Republicans tended to engage in sexual behaviors associated with traditional norms, Democrats are more comfortable with the adventurous and unconventional. 

“Individuals who report higher levels of traditional sexual behaviors, such as missionary sex and kissing on the mouth, generally have more conservative political orientations, particularly social conservatism,” Hatemi, Crabtree, and McDermott assert in their work. “In a similar manner, individuals who pursue a more diverse set of sexual behaviors, including using sex toys and engaging in S&M, tend to be more left.” 

While this may feel obvious to anyone who is tapped into the political atmosphere, the nitty gritty of these findings provides more fascinating surprises. For example, liberals masturbate more frequently than conservatives across the board. Liberals are also more likely to have sex while intoxicated, or with a stranger. In fact, there’s a direct correlation between indulging in “riskier” sexual behaviors and a more relaxed view on national security.


Meanwhile, Republicans who reported riskier tastes, such as infidelity without a condom, may still hold conservative views on the same topics. 

“Overall, people who pursue a more diverse set of sexual behaviors, have more partners, engage in more risky sexual behaviors… but who are less happy with their sex lives are more likely to be left of center in most ideological domains,” research explains. “In a similar vein, people who have fewer partners, less risky sexual behavior in general, but who are happier with their sex lives tend to have more conservative political values." 

Contrary to popular stereotypes, this study also found that conservatives are having a lot more sex. In spite of having fewer partners, they’re getting it on more frequently, and with more satisfaction than their liberal counterparts. 


But not all analyses presented by this study are so cut and dry. Individuals polled occasionally exhibited both liberal and conservative tendencies. For instance, self-reported conservatives shared similarities with liberal social attitudes when it came to sexual behaviors, while social liberals didn’t shy away from displaying conservative views in other political spaces.

As such, the research proposes that sexual preferences and political beliefs may influence each other through dispositional pathways. Simply put, if you self-select into a liberal leaning social group who indoctrinates you into a local swingers club, your worldview may trend one way and your sexual preferences may follow. 

“In many ways, [our findings] challenge popular tropes,” the researchers assert. “The public and media tend to talk about liberals and conservatives as though each of these groups is constituted by individuals who are all one kind of person. Our results belie such identification.”


What does this mean for your sex life?

In the thick of an election year, politics are everywhere – on the news, in your social feed, and leaking into your bedroom. So what can you take from this research about the correlation between your political beliefs and your sexual tastes?

Take this opportunity to reflect on your beliefs, and whether there are any areas where your political values might clash with your sexual preferences. Are there things you want or don't want in the bedroom that you're avoiding because they don't align with your worldview? Remember: The key to sexual expression is remaining open-minded and curious about different sexual experiences.

Don’t be afraid to step outside of that comfort zone, and brainstorm with your partner how you might bring more zest into your sex life. A good way to tap into this is creating a sexual wishlist with a partner. What kinks, roleplaying scenarios, or props have you always wanted to explore, and haven’t had the chance to?

Or maybe you want to talk to your partner about maintaining or returning to more traditional sexual values. If that's what feels good for you, don't stay quiet just because you think you're supposed to want a more adventurous sex life.  

When having these conversations, recognize that your partner may have different political beliefs that influence their take on intimacy and sex. Respecting these differences and engaging in non-judgemental communication can mitigate any conflict that may arise. 

No matter your political background, prioritizing honest communication about your sexual desires is critical to a healthy relationship. There is no one “right” way to approach intimacy or sex. Work on embracing the diversity of human sexuality to explore what feels right, free from any stereotypes that may be associated with your political beliefs. 

The takeaway

It’s hard to ignore the polarization that ramps up during election season. Suddenly, those political differences between you and your friends, family, or partner feel more pronounced than ever. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a chance to have some real, honest talks about your values and how they play out in your relationships. 

If you’re taking a moment amidst election buzz to evaluate how your beliefs might be intertwined with your bedroom antics, keep in mind that differences in political platforms can lead to deeper conversations and deeper connections with our intimate partners. Your sex life isn’t doomed if you learn that opposing values make one of you partial to missionary and leave the other reaching for the handcuffs. If you understand and respect each other’s differences, common ground is more feasible than it seems. 

Elizabeth Kirkhorn

Elizabeth Kirkhorn is a writer and essayist living in Manhattan. She is a graduate of The New School's MFA in Writing and currently lends her voice to a Creative Strategy Role at Dotdash Meredith, where she focuses on health & wellness brands. Elizabeth's writing spans a wide range of kinks and curiosities, and can be found on, MysteryVibe, Byrdie, and beyond. Elizabeth's personal passions include creating fetish content that's friendly and accessible to all...

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