We asked people if they’d cross over that political divide
If millennials have brought progress in any area it’s by destigmitising casual sex. We’re having less sex but the idea of casual relationships has become normalised. However, can we totally treat sex as separate from our identities? Do we have a moral obligation to tip the trash out of our lives? Last year, the girlfriend of a boy who supports Trump was roundly criticised for defending him but is it better if it’s just about sex? To test attitudes, we asked whether people would hook up with our closest thing to Trump – Conservatives.
Rachel Clark-Raee was one of the only people that didn’t automatically dismiss the idea.
“Sleep with doesn’t mean you have to share anything other than sex,” Clark-Raee said. “My OH has right-wing leanings (both fairly close to centre) we do ok. My husband voted Leave and definitely didn’t vote Labour Lib Dem or Green. I voted Remain and Labour in latest election (though not without reservations); broadly speaking, we share values like feminism equality but may differ in how to apply them.
“Phrases like ‘lefties’ and ‘Tory’ get thrown out as insults. In the same way some people use ‘feminist’ as an insult because of a misandrist minority, voting right is seen by many as automatically making them a racist as well. My partner and I frequently have discussions but we treat each other with respect. A lot of the problems between right and left is unwillingness to listen to each other and shutting someone down instead of changing their mind. I would feel someone out on values rather than politics and if they didn’t agree on key points like LGBT, intersectionality, I would stop talking to them right there.”
Values and politics can be distinct. The middle ground can also feel wide for some. In the UK though, there are furious debates being carried out about the impact of austerity. Disabled people in particular have been targeted. Millennials too are generally feeling screwed over by Brexit. For some, that’s understandably a huge barrier.
“‘I think you and your friends don’t deserve to live’ isn’t a turn-on for me,” said social media user Badassperger [username].
“‘I think you and your friends don’t deserve to live’ isn’t a turn-on for me”
Payton Quinn felt similarly.
“I wouldn’t for a second expect them to be capable of respecting me when their political beliefs directly endanger my life,” Quinn said.
Stephen Parry also felt that with some of the extreme policies in the UK, it can be hard to separate the political from the sexual.
“I’d find it hard to be intimate with anyone who supported some of the policies we see nowadays. Couldn’t compromise on that,” Parry said.
Social media user Logist_BCB suggested that sexual relationships can develop – but beyond that a sustainable and long term relationship might face difficulties.
“I don’t think it needs to be a reason not to [have sex], although it does make it harder to get together and have something together.”
Match’s Singles in America survey found 47% of millennials wouldn’t date someone who shared different political beliefs. For a long term relationship that makes sense but many won’t feel comfortable even with the most casual of encounters. Why get someone off after all, if their politics are oppressive to your life?
However, one anonymous social media respondent emphasised that the situation can be complex, and as ace, it was more important to connect with people who held values where they could feel comfortable.
“I think that reducing political beliefs & ideology down to buzzwords (Tory, leftie) fail to account for huge discrepancies in their beliefs, But even within those political parties, I’ve found (when I persuade myself to engage in discussion over frustratedly [sic] RTing anti-Tory stuff) …that the beliefs of others who vote for them (type of person they are; how & why they came to their beliefs, their priorities) are much more complicated (often sharing more common goals than expected, divided by sharply different approaches on how to reach them) than that.
“Certainly from a possibly-ace-possibly-not perspective, it’s important to me that those I become comfortable around, have certain values and beliefs which align broadly with mine re: equality, ability to discuss, etc. But I know that they have different perspectives & priorities in some cases; that’s OK if I can answer ‘are they a decent [inevitably flawed; we all are] person?’ with ‘yes’. I can’t say how I would feel re: extending that to sexual intimacy, because that’s not something which I presently experience or wish to.”
Sex and politics do mix. Whatever decision anyone makes is okay. People have boundaries and they must be respected. Ultimately, millennials are trying to navigate in an increasingly fraught world where austerity is biting hard.