Two weeks ago I went on a date with a man who, after we’d got the small talk out of the way, declared himself an enthusiastic supporter of a late 20th century dictator. And not even one of the cooler ones, like Fidel Castro or Scar from The Lion King. I was disturbed by this information but instead of taking him to task – pulling out Wikipedia and sassily reading out a list of atrocities – I calmly finished my drink and invited him back to my flat, where we made that foul, grunting, two-backed beast.
When I told a friend of mine what had happened, she accused me of only caring about politics when it affected me directly. Had my date instead said something nice about Michael Gove, she suggested, I’d have launched into an excoriating rant before storming out. I was flattered by this characterisation of myself as political firebrand (if a selective one), but I’m not sure it’s true. Had my date been a plain old Tory, I’m pretty sure I still would have taken him home, put his penis in my mouth and stimulated it to the point of ejaculation.
The answer to the question "should you date someone with bad politics?" is so obvious it barely seems worth discussing. Of course not. The disparity of your values will make any relationship unlikely to work, and the chances are they’ll be a cunt anyway. But what if you just want to get your end away? So here is a fun Q&A to help you decide what’s more important: your deeply held political convictions, or your disgusting sexual appetite?
SHOULD YOU FUCK A TORY?
I’ve never encountered someone involved in Conservative politics whom I found attractive. This is because there simply aren’t any. Although the same could be said for left-wing politics, or centrist politics, or any kind of politics at all. People associated with the Conservative Party are pallid, devoid of patter and terminally unfashionable, so it’s unlikely to be much of a dilemma deciding you don’t want to bang them. But aren’t we lying to ourselves if we claim that everyone on the right is unfuckable? Who among us hasn’t strolled through the city and felt a twinge of desire, and attendant self-loathing, for some cold-eyed Patrick Bateman in a tight blue suit, or a husky-voiced Chelsea siren named Bella?
Allow me to be pious: everyone who supports the Conservative Party is a terrible person. They are complicit, however tacitly, in social murder, degradation and suffering on an unimaginable scale. Dating a Tory? Unforgivable, shameful stuff. Being friends with a Tory? Oh, good heavens no! Having sex with a Tory because you fancy them, and you think it’ll be fun, and it’s been... God, how long has it even been since you last felt the heat of someone else’s skin? Life is tedious and lonely, the moments of joy so vanishingly rare – aren’t you owed a spot of erotic bliss? Don’t you deserve to feel the profound safety that comes with resting your head on the chest of someone with pecs, even if they subscribe to the Spectator?
Anyway, this you can file this under “drinking dairy” and “buying cocaine” in the list of “things which are morally suspect and you probably shouldn’t do but, really, how much difference is your abstinence going to make in this one instance?” Not shagging Tories is not a substitute for meaningful political activism. Maybe we need to introduce a points system whereby spending the day at a left-wing rally or volunteering at a food bank offsets the moral cost of rimming someone who stans Jacob Rees-Mogg.
But what even is that moral cost? Is fucking someone really an endorsement of their politics? Is it crossing a picket line? Listen, I’m a man of considerable personal integrity and I hold no truck with scabs (hi, everyone who watched Eurovision last weekend!) but having sex with a Tory isn’t the same thing – it’s hard to see who, or what cause, you’re letting down. So if you want to fuck one, just do it, and enjoy it. But then leave them on read for the rest of their days, forever wondering where that loony leftie went – the one who gave them the best fuck of their life. That’ll teach them for believing in trickle-down economics.
SHOULD YOU FUCK A FASCIST, A NAZI OR A MEMBER OF THE ALT-RIGHT?
No. We can debate the ethics of shagging Tories until we’re blue in the face, but it’s necessary to draw a line somewhere. You need to imagine that your genitals are a university debating society with a strict no-platforming policy.
There’s a history, particularly within certain subcultures of the gay community, of fetishising the Nazi aesthetic. I can just about understand the extreme masochistic appeal of eroticising those who would destroy you, but I have to say I find it distasteful. Yes, a shaved head can look pretty sick, and yes, Doc Martens make nice shoes, but if you’re wanking to images of the swastika, you need to have an ice-cold bath and a stern chat with yourself.
Besides, the alt-right of today bear little resemblance to the scowling, jack-booted alphas of gay porn. They’re smarmy losers with nasal voices and milkshake-sodden suits. Many of them are vloggers, too, and you wouldn’t want to fuck a vlogger at the best of times. Consider the absolute state of Count Dankula: an appallingly dressed man who reminds me of every 18-year-old mosher in my hometown who, in a desperate bid to win their approval, would buy bottles of Glen’s for underage girls. Or rape joke-lover Carl Benjamin, a man with the vibe of a regional Games Workshop manager.
I wouldn’t fuck someone on the far-right for the same reason I wouldn’t fuck a serial killer: it represents such a howling personality flaw, such a deep-seated coldness, that I would simply feel unsafe – even in the unlikely event that I found them attractive. I’m not convinced about the political utility of a "sex strike", a topic which has already been sharply dissected elsewhere. But some people just don’t deserve to get laid, and ought to be ostracised as much as possible. I don’t know who needs to hear this but: don’t fuck that Nazi.
SHOULD YOU FUCK A CENTRIST?
If we’re talking about dyed-in-the-wool, politically engaged centrists then, I mean, you could. There’s not really a moral angle here, but the sex is bound to be terrible. They would only choke you at your most explicit request, and even then they’d do it in such a fumbling and apologetic manner that it’d just be embarrassing for both of you. There are few things less erotic than being a Labour moderate.
But there’s an important distinction to be made here. In my experience, most people you encounter who aren’t particularly interested in politics but have decent values (your mum, say, or your childhood best friend, or a colleague you’ve bonded with over how much you hate a different colleague) tend towards a tepid but well-meaning centre-leftism. Maybe you’re lucky enough to inhabit a milieu populated exclusively by people with impeccable socialist credentials, but I live in a little known place called “the real world” – and let me tell you, not everyone here is a communist. It would be ludicrous to abstain from sex with someone just because they’ve never read a Verso book.
In some ways, someone not being interested in politics is actually preferable. Some of the most abusive, predatory (or simply boring) men I’ve ever encountered have had perfect left-wing values on paper. And to what extent is "being interested in politics" even a virtue? If all it amounts to is spending every day on Twitter righteously dunking on Toby Young to your 700 followers, all of whom already think he’s a prick, then it’s barely even a hobby.
Someone having lame, banal or insufficiently radical politics shouldn’t be a precursor to sleeping with them. Unless they’re a member of Change UK, in which case they’ll probably end up making a blunderous – and possibly even racist – gaffe just as you’re about to come.
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.