Is It Normal To Fancy Someone Who You Actually Really Don't Like?

If you've ever found yourself fantasising about the person who you internally curse every time they speak in a meeting, you may not be alone.

Just weeks ago the British corner of the internet, and possibly your office canteen or WhatsApp group, almost came to blows over the ‘hot priest’ in Fleabag, asking each other and ourselves, can we legitimately fancy someone if they’re being manipulative, controlling and behaving in a way we don’t like?

Now we’re at it again as leftwing Twitter squabbles over whether they fancy ardent Brexiteer MP, Tory leadership hopeful, and “probably not” a feminist, Dominic Raab. It’s time to address the question: is it totally normal to want to do the dirty with someone who you’d go out of your way to avoid sitting next to at the pub?

Of course, it’s not news that many people prefer to socialise with those who echo their political views and values. You can use dating apps that filter by political party affiliation, and the ‘Never Kissed A Tory’ t-shirt has been a sellout online for years. And even for the couples who swear by differing political views to keep things lively, what about a nagging attraction to someone whose personality you really just don’t like?

Have you ever wanted to have sex with the person you internally curse whenever they speak in a meeting, or the celebrity whose name you have blocked on Twitter so you can live in blissful ignorance of their existence? You may not be alone – but prepare to be judged by the other half of the population.

Rachel, who didn’t want her surname to be used, said she didn’t understand her friends who actively went after people they would “slag off” in the same breath: “What a waste of time. It seems so self-sabotaging to me to align yourself with someone who you already know you don’t like?”

Tom, who also didn’t want his surname to be used (there’s a running theme here), said he could only engage sexually with someone who he respected, and if he didn’t agree with the way they behaved outside of the bedroom he didn’t understand why they would want to see what happened inside it.

Indeed, some people believe a close emotional bond with a partner is such an important precursor to any sexual activity that they identify as something called ‘demisexual’, which means you can only feel sexual attraction after you’ve formed those deeper ties.

But sex and relationship therapist Annabelle Knight says not to worry if you find yourself constantly lusting after that ‘hot bastard’. It isn’t as uncommon as you might think.

“We have very little control over who we find sexually attractive, this base level kind of chemistry is difficult to define and seems to come from a very primal, animalistic part of our psyche,” she says.

Emily, who was also keen to go by her first name only, admitted she regularly fancies people in her office who she doesn’t get along with. “One of them is the most arrogant man I have ever met, blunt and genuinely thinks he is god’s gift. He makes me want to punch him in the side of the head,” she says. “But he is hot. I hate you for your arrogance but also it’s damn sexy.”

This isn’t the first time it has happened to Emily. She fancies celebrities and famous writers too for the same reason. “It’s that confidence and ego thing - if they are clever. Ego in writers is hot too even if they are complete c****s.”

“I hope this behaviour is normal because it’s a big part of my life,” she says.

“I hope this behaviour is normal because it’s a big part of my life.."”

And Emily isn’t the only one. One man told us he keeps a mental list of all the people he’d like to “hate f**k” - a term used to describe the act of having sex with someone you despise and definitely won’t be calling the next morning.

One woman admitted she has taken a shine to Dominic Raab since he announced he would be putting himself forward in the Conservative leadership race, despite objecting to everything he stands for.

“Dickheads can still be good looking to me unfortunately,” she said. “I know if I ever met him I’d want to get out within two minutes but I still finding myself wanting to get him undressed immediately.”

Another woman says she has been having fantasies about MP Stephen Barclay for the last few months despite finding herself angry every time she sees him on TV or hears him speak about his politics.

Some find themselves deeply compromised by their crushes. Someone told us that, despite strongly objecting to Israel’s policy on Palestine, they can’t help but fancy the ultra hardline Israeli Prime Minister: “I really fancy a young Benjamin Netanyahu and I find it very hard to reconcile [with my politics].”

So why then do we have these crushes when we know our better judgement should rule them out? Broadcaster and psychotherapist Lucy Beresford sums it up: “When you fancy someone at work or in the public eye who you hate, this could be because their confidence, the traits that have led them to be successful (confident, cocky) are also very compelling.”

Knight says we must also acknowledge that by mentally putting someone ‘off limits’ we make them forbidden and that can be more enticing. “If you mentally tell yourself someone is absolutely out of the question then you could be rebelling against yourself by finding them sexually attractive,” she says.

More than one person agreed. “There are people whose bad views somehow make them more attractive because it feels wrong to want to bone them,” said one anonymous reader, bluntly. Another told us via email: “There are some people I find so disagreeable that I resent their physical attractiveness and dwell on it even more.”

So if you are one of those people for whom sexual attraction is seemingly separate from any other consideration of who you like to share you time with, should you ever actually go there? Beresford says there is only one rule to engagement with the enemy: “Never act on it if your secret mission is to change the person.”