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Estranged bedfellows: Liberals, conservatives also split on sex, romance
Serotonin is a chemical neurotransmitter produced by the body that is believed to influence social behavior and feelings of well-being and happiness.
“Among those traits, Republicans are less comfortable with the unexpected,” Ms. Fisher said. “They like order, predictability and the familiar.
“Moreover, Republicans are quite concerned with values, following the rules and being respected, more traits that are founded in the serotonin system. So when faced with a ‘must have’ question, they may think only in terms of values and regard sense of humor as less essential.”
The contrasts extend to courtship and cohabitation. Conservative Republicans — particularly women — were less likely to engage in office romance, less likely to approve of kissing in public and more likely to want to take a man’s name in marriage and expect a man to pay for a date regardless of who initiated it.
Liberal Democrats, on the other hand, were significantly more likely to maintain a separate bank account from a romantic partner, have regular nights out with friends and value separate interests and personal space.
Liberal Democratic men also were far more likely to date someone from a very different family structure and commit to a partner who was a decade older.
“Independents were the least likely to tell a date how they vote,” Ms. Fisher said with a laugh. “That’s why they’re independents!”
In the bedroom, conservative Republicans were much as you’d expect, less likely to approve of sex before marriage, friends-with-benefits arrangements and one-night stands. They also were less likely to have participated in the latter.
That said, the gap between the two groups was hardly enormous: 49 percent of conservative Republicans said they have had a one-night stand, compared to 65 percent of liberal Democrats.
While conservative Republicans were less likely to have had sex in the past 12 months — one-fifth had had no sex at all — they also were more likely to experience orgasms.
According to Ms. Fisher, that number dovetails with both groups reporting the greatest sexual satisfaction within a committed relationship, either marriage or cohabitation.
“The one requirement for achieving orgasm is being relaxed,” Ms. Fisher said. “My hypothesis is that conservative Republicans have very clear values, and when you have that, you’re simply more relaxed. That plays out in the bedroom. Conservative Republicans also are more likely to not have sex on the first date. They get to know the other person, and as you do that, you’ll be more relaxed.
“Moving from courtship to committed relationships, people are more likely to be in love and not just sexually attracted to each other. A couple has a whole support system. They have a dog at home. Good sex is linked with those kind of relationships.”
Perhaps the most striking point of red-blue romantic division came when those surveyed were asked about dating someone with strong opinions: Conservative Republicans were more likely to consider that a turnoff, while liberal Democrats were more likely to label the same quality a turn-on.
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About the Author
Patrick Hruby is an award-winning journalist who holds degrees from Georgetown and Northwestern. He also contributes to ESPN.com and The Atlantic Online, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. Follow him on Twitter (@patrick_hruby) and contact him at PatrickHruby.net.
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