When Democrats Date Republicans: Love or War? By Dr. Helen Fisher

By Dr. Helen Fisher, Biological Anthropologist

If Republicans and Democrats can’t get along in the government, then they definitely can’t get along in the bedroom, right?  In this second annual Match.com survey of Singles in America, we asked over 5000 single men and women of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, regions of the country, sexual orientations and age cohorts what they “must have” in a partner. We then correlated their “must haves” with their political affiliation— as either a conservative Republican, moderate Republican, moderate Democrat, liberal Democrat, Independent or Libertarian. Wow, are there ever differences!

We found that significantly more conservative Republicans singles say they must have someone of the same religious and ethnic background, someone with the same values and attitudes about money, and someone who wants to marry.  Liberal Democrat singles, on the other hand, must have someone with a sense of humor and who has life of their own, someone who can communicate their wants and needs, someone comfortable with their own sexuality and with the same level of education, and someone who respects them.  And while conservative Republicans are turned off by a date “with strong opinions,” this trait turns a liberal Democrat on.

Not a natural match, it appears. But let’s say you’re a male liberal Democrat who has just met a gorgeous, smart and amusing conservative Republican and you’re heading out on your first date. What can you expect?  Well first off, she will expect you to pay the bill.  And if you try and make a move, forget it—you’re not likely to get to first base.   Conservative Republicans are far less likely to approve of kissing in public— but they aren’t squares. Almost 49% of single conservative Republicans have had a one-night stand (as opposed to 65% of liberal Democrats).  And although conservative Republicans have had the least amount of sex over the past 12 months, they are the most likely to achieve orgasm 91% to 100% of the times they make love. A curious statistic, you might think, but good sex requires being relaxed. If you delay sex in order to get to know someone first, as conservative Republicans tend to do, you are more likely to be comfortable when the kissing begins.  And perhaps those with more traditional values also have less self-doubt, another trait that could lead to a mental calm—and fireworks in the bedroom.

But does one’s political affiliation matter in the world of love? Not in courtship.  Only 17% of men and 20% of women said they “must have” someone of the same political party, while  over 65% of singles said they “must have” someone who respects them, and someone whom they can trust and confide in.  We are all looking for the same basic things. But don’t expect your date to change his or her political views as they get to know you: Almost half (46%) of those surveyed by Match.com hadn’t altered their political beliefs in the past 10 years; and 95% hadn’t changed their political opinions because of a relationship.  Moreover, new research indicates that one’s political orientation has deep genetic roots.

So if you begin to date someone with a radically different political perspective, I recommend you make a few ground rules at the start. I like the slogan “Let’s agree to disagree.” Then save your political discussions for nights out with like-minded friends and focus on the “sweet spots” in your budding partnership.

About Dr. Helen Fisher
Dr. Helen Fisher is an internationally renowned biological anthropologist and one of the world’s leading experts in the science of human attraction. In addition to serving as the scientific advisor for both Chemistry.com and Match.com, Dr. Fisher has authored many articles in scientific journals and published five books including Why Him? Why Her? (Henry Holt and Company; 2009).  As a research professor in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University, she focuses on the role of biology in human sex, love, and marriage.

Find out more about the Singles in America study here!