Prominent Republican women can't get no satisfaction. Can psychological research help?

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The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, March 12, 2009. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's Addiction in Society blog at

Republican Women's Sexual Frustration

Prominent Republican women seem to have a hard time gaining sexual satisfaction.

As I have previously written, Cindy McCain just does not come across as a hot tamale in bed; her relationship with hubby John seems distant and - well - cold (have you ever seen the two hug, or dance, or caress one another - like the Obama's regularly do?). Even her drug preferences - she was charged with palming off prescriptions from her charity - are downers and painkillers that don't suggest sexuality (think Rush Limbaugh).

Recently, the McCain's 23-year-old daughter Meghan has been griping about her lousy love life. Perhaps this is because her own mother is infinitely better tailored, coiffed, and turned out than she - although certainly less alluring and warm. One fetishist who was fixated on her mother ickily propositioned the younger McCain. "One extreme fan of my mother's recently told me I could be 'his Cindy' and then asked me if I ever wore pearls because they probably would look as good on me as they do on my mother." In addition, for Meghan, "nothing kills my libido quite like discussing politics."

Meghan is having a hard time finding sexual role models among Republican women. The beautiful and brilliant Ann Coulter won't serve. At 47, Ms. Coulter has never been married - the My Life section of her Web site mentions no relationships of any type, and instead lists her best-sellers. As I understand her evangelic Christianity, combined with her singleness, she abstains completely from sex. (Query to theologians: How far are single Christian women allowed to go?) But Meghan is unlikely to turn to Coulter for direction in her sexual life in any case, since she believes that "certain individuals continue to perpetuate negative stereotypes about Republicans. Especially Republican women. . . the biggest culprit? Ann Coulter."

Republican women's sexual and relationship difficulties are surely manifested most seriously by the case of Mary Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Although the Bush/Cheney administration supported a constitutional ban on gay marriage and relied on anti-gay sentiment to get elected, Mary has been in a committed lesbian relationship since 1992. Yet in 2000 when Cokie Roberts brought up to Lynne Cheney Mary's having declared herself gay, Mary's mother abruptly objected that her daughter had "declared no such thing," indicating this idea was a media invention.

Good daughter that she apparently is, Mary nonetheless ardently supported her father and his administration. Having previously been a member of the Republican Unity Coalition, a gay advocacy group, she resigned to manage her father's 2004 Vice Presidential re-election campaign. People have naturally been puzzled by the gulf between her political affiliation and her personal life. In 2007, Ms. Cheney delivered a baby, but when asked about her child, she responded, ""This is a baby... This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate by people on either side of an issue. It is my child."

If that alligns her sexuality with her Republicanism for you, then you're a better pyschologist than I am. The Republican party may be rife with divisions in 2009, but the Republican female libido is in even worse shape. As far as I can tell, Republican women don't have an easy time with their sexuality whether married or single, celibate or available, gay or straight. I'm aware that (a) women are more likely than men to be Democrats, (b) Republicanism itself is on the wane, like some nearly eradicated disease. But that still leaves a lot of seething female sexuality out there. If researching this topic isn't worth an earmark or two, then I suggest we rethink our national priorities.