“Do you think incest and polygamy will be legalized?” – Part 1
I was watching a TV show recently and surprisingly, three characters (two men and a woman) got together in a sexual AND romantic relationship – as in, it wasn’t just a kink, they were serious about it, they even made their relationship official to their family/friends. And it got me thinking, do you guys think polygamy will ever be legalized? And incest? And should they be, and if not, why? Will our society ever see it as acceptable/normal like with gay relationships?
First of all, I’d like to point out that in some ways this debate is moot:polygamy in some form is already legal in many countries, sex with a close relative is legal in some, and marriage to your half-sibling is legal in Sweden. Any push for more legal recognition in other countries would just be a continuation of what already exists.
Futurist, on 25 Apr 2014 – 12:31 PM, said:
I’m honestly unsure about this because there might not be enough demand to legalize either of these two things.
Actually, there’s demand for both, because there are people in either type of relationship (sometimes in both at once), and their relationships are extremely illegal in many places. In some statessimply cohabiting with multiple people of the opposite gender counts as a common-law marriage, and can get all of you sent to jail for up to 10 years.In most Southern states, as well as some states in Australia, a single sex act with a consenting adult you are related to, regardless of whether you two grew up together, can get both sent to jail for life. There is also a growing community of allies, many from the LGBT+ community, who support relationship and marriage freedom for all consenting adults, regardless of any qualifiers.
They’re real people, and under the current legal regime and set of taboos they suffer, sometimes brutally. Just because you don’t personally know of them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. In fact, you may know some and just don’t know you know them. Consanguineous couples especially, are deep, deep in the closet.
I’d also like to point out that according to surveys (and some testimony from people I know), as much as 10% (possibly more) of the population in the US has at least sexually experimented with a sibling (non-coercively, of course). Anyone who advocates for “incest” laws is advocating for throwing as much as a tenth of the entire population into jail.
Death, on 25 Apr 2014 – 8:31 PM, said:
If we could overcome the genetic problems then would incest be accepted? Not advocating for it definitely, because incidence of birth defect is very high (somewhere above 50% I forget and we are talking serious die before you’re 5 years old birth defects and major retardation).
First of all, genetic testing and family planning does allow people to overcome “the genetic problems”. Sometimes there are no genetic problems. Your statistic is also incredibly high, and smacks of stereotypes and not science. Of all the reasonably well done studies I’ve seen, the most pessimistic estimate for genetic problems for 1st degree relatives is 30%. The more realistic estimate I’ve seen is around 11%, […] lower than for some middle aged women. (That’s for a single generation, of course.)
Those are population statistics anyway. Individual couples may be more or less likely to have problems, just like the general population. Also, there are people in the general population who are not closely related, but both possess terrible genetic diseases which they can pass on to their children, but we don’t forbid them from getting married or throw them in jail for having sex. Scientists who know anything about this subject think the eugenic argument is bunk. (I personally find eugenic reasoning to be anti-democratic. It also allows a return to eugenics based on things like race and class). For one, even for the best studies, everyone is aware that their samples are so small and so biased that they can’t really even conduct a statistically reliable study beyond 1st cousins, since in most places closer unions are illegal.
“Major retardation” is not the most common defect anyway. The usual problems are related to the immune system or to basic organ function, like the heart. Most of these children are totally fine, and the ones that aren’t are still mentally normal. Who is anyone to determine that their lives have no value to themselves or society, and should be prevented at all costs, even at the cost of undermining human rights? Besides, not all consanguineous relationships are even heterosexual.
Alric, on 25 Apr 2014 – 7:23 PM, said:
They are stupid laws. You should be able to do whatever you want with other consenting adults. Marriage is just a contract as well, if you want to marry out of love in a straight or gay relationship, or marry for money, or to get citizenship or because you made a bet, all those should be consider valid reasons. The government shouldn’t be deciding who should or shouldn’t get married, they should only be recognizing all marriages people ask them to recognize.
Amen! I’d also like to point out that many people don’t feel disgust anymore towards the idea of homosexuality is because it’s seen frequently in public.Many people still do feel disgust at the idea, even when they support same-sex marriage, and many more felt disgust at the thought in the past. It’s a known mechanism, in which seeing another person do something you wouldn’t do makes you imagine yourself doing it. The revulsion felt at that mental imagery causes people to lash out at the people who inspired the thoughts. It’s the same social psychological mechanism, though perhaps for consanguineous sex the revulsion is stronger for some people.
“Naturalness” also isn’t a good rubric for these things. While most animals avoid sex with close relatives in nature, not all do. While most animals have sex with an animal of the opposite sex, not all do. Polygyny, polyandry, and polygynandry all occur in nature. (Polygyny is much more common than monogamy in nature. Should monogamous marriage be illegal?) Which is natural, the majority, or the minority, given that both occur in nature? Besides, neither homophobia, nor the “incest” taboo, occur in nature outside of human culture. Same-sex and consanguineous sex acts are more “natural” by many standards, than the taboos and laws against them.
ayubelwhishi, on 25 Apr 2014 – 06:29 AM, said:
Its still a a taboo for me because you can get better women than your sibling or you mother. I just see incest as a pathetic way to love. Like how does the wheel of your love life land on your sister? Don’t reply on this because I’m too tired to want to get in an argument over it.
On polygamy, i believe it should be legalized if the woman consent with it. But i do not know how a woman would like to love a man who love other woman. It seems like a way to cheat without making her mad.
A lot of assumptions there. What if your mother is the best woman, objectively? What if you meet them for the first time long after you’ve grown up? Not everyone, even the ones who get involved with family, are ugly, antisocial, or can’t get anyone else. Some have already been married before to other people. Besides, “better”? Are we cattle? Are we judging marriage purely by economic status and social acceptance? That’s a great way to produce loveless, alienating marriages. Wonderful for the children, I’m sure, to have one of your parents pining the whole time for someone else.
First of all, “a woman” doesn’t have to agree to anything. In the example for the poll, the union is polyandrous – multiple men, one woman. Why aren’t you asking how “a man” would agree to it, unless you have a gendered conception of promiscuity and consent, where only men want sex with various people, and women have to be cajoled? And it is not “cheating”, by definition. Cheating is having sex with someone else without your partner(s)’s consent. Key to the idea and the term “cheating” is going behind someone’s back. Having sex with a second spouse, whom your other spouse knows and approves of, with the knowledge of your other spouse, is not “cheating”.
People also tend to be less threatened when the other person is someone they know and are friends with. People have different levels of natural jealousy, and jealousy can be mitigated with proper conversation and conflict resolution. People get jealous when they feel their own emotional and sexual needs aren’t being met/won’t be met. Jealousy, for the exact same reasons, exists in monogamous relationships as well. Jealousy is just more obvious in polyamorous relationships. As a result, people who’ve been poly* for a long time are usually much better at dealing with jealousy and talking honestly about their feelings with their partners than many monogamous people.
If “natural” is “good”, what use does it serve as a moral rubric? When people say “homosexuality is unnatural”, they are saying “homosexuality is wrong”. But how does that help the discussion? “It’s wrong because it’s unnatural” is the same as saying “it’s wrong because it’s wrong”. That doesn’t tell us why it’s wrong: it’s again “a description” – a false one in this case, since […] there are 1,500 animal species that engage in homosexual behaviour. The assertion becomes a tautology. But just showing that a supposedly unnatural act occurs in nature does not make it moral either! The entire point is to get rid of linking so tightly “moral” and “natural”: whether something does or does not occur in nature doesn’t aid our deciding whether that act is moral.
After all, wearing glasses, building hospitals and using crutches don’t occur in nature – are these to be considered “wrong” based on that category? If they’re not, why use the category of “unnatural” or even “natural” at all when discussing morality?
|Samaritans celebrating Sukkot
All of these weird eugenic arguments people make about consanguinamory, about people having “too many kids,” are not only creepy, but they’re based on bad assumptions. When people are given easy access to good information on how to manage their families, they usually use it. The results can be amazing.
MT. GERIZIM, West Bank — When Ben Yehuda Altif got engaged to his first cousin Mazal, there was no problem winning the blessing of their families or the Samaritan high priest, who leads their ancient Israelite sect. Marriage between cousins is common in the religious community. But there was still an obstacle. Like many Samaritan couples today, the pair had to pass a premarital genetic screening to predict the likelihood of having healthy children. Without the green light from doctors, the marriage would be off. “Doctors said OK, and now we have a healthy, handsome boy,” said Altif, 33, reaching for his wife’s cellphone to show off pictures of their son.
Samaritans, who trace their roots back about 2,700 years, are best known for clinging to strict biblical traditions that have largely disappeared, including animal sacrifice, isolation of menstruating women and, until recently, a ban on marrying outsiders. But after facing near-extinction and being devastated by a high rate of birth defects because of inbreeding, the community is using modern science — including genetic testing, in vitro fertilization and abortion — to preserve their traditional way of life.
“It’s changing our blood,” said Aharon Ben-Av Chisda, 86, high priest of the 750-member Samaritan community, which is split about evenly between the West Bank village of Kiryat Luza near Nablus and the Israeli city of Holon, south of Tel Aviv. The white-bearded priest said genetic testing was breathing new life and optimism into the once-besieged community. He noted that he and his wife, who is a second cousin, had four children before genetic testing was available: Three are deaf and one can’t walk. Most other families at Mt. Gerizim tell similar stories of health problems and handicaps among the older generation, though lately such problems have begun to disappear.Samaritans are one of the world’s oldest religious sects. Similar in practice, beliefs and ancestry to Jews, they follow the Hebrew Torah. But instead of Jerusalem, they revere a temple their ancestors built on this remote West Bank hillside.
Mentioned several times in the Bible, Samaritans are also considered one of the most inbred communities in the world, with 46% marrying first cousins and more than 80% marrying blood relatives, according to research by Israeli geneticist Batsheva Bonne-Tamir, who spent most of her career studying the community. The restrictions against marrying outsiders were less of a problem when Samaritans numbered more than a million in the 5th century. But because of persecution and forced conversion to Islam, their numbers had dwindled to just 146 by 1917. To crawl their way back, Samaritans began having large families of eight to 10 children, and the frequency of first-cousin marriages doubled, Bonne-Tamir found. As the population grew, so did the health problems and genetic defects, including rare blood diseases, Usher syndrome, deafness, muteness, blindness and physical handicaps.
“It was largely a 20th century phenomenon,” said Bonne-Tamir, now retired from Tel Aviv University. Over the last decade, the community also relaxed its restrictions on intermarriage, allowing in about 25 women, mostly Jewish Israelis and arranged matches with brides from Ukraine. Samaritan leaders are reluctant to discuss their gene pool shrinkage, but they estimate the rate of birth defects was once 10 times higher than the nationwide average. By the 1960s, the rate of miscarriage was 10% higher among Samaritan women, one study found. But since adopting genetic testing, Samaritans say the rate of birth defects among newborns today is normal, even though most people still marry inside the community, including to relatives.
“This is enabling us to build a better generation for the future,” said Ishak Al Samiri, a spokesman for the community at Mt. Gerizim.
Like his father, Al Samiri married a cousin. He has two healthy children, but he suffers from a blood disorder and his brother is crippled, both believed to be linked to genetic defects, he said.
Samaritans have long been the focus of genetic research, initially because of their ancient roots. In the 1960s, Israeli scientists began to study the Holon branch of the community, both to assist with genetic defects and to trace their historic lineage.
Samaritans claim that they are the descendants of northern Israelite tribes that were conquered by Assyrians. Subsequent genetic studies suggested that Samaritan men carry the so-called Cohen gene, linking them to ancient Israelites. For centuries, Samaritans lived in Nablus, but some moved to Jaffa and later to Holon. In 1988, the Nablus community relocated to a village near an Israeli settlement to escape attacks by Palestinians, who viewed them as Jews. Today Samaritans, who hold Israeli citizenship, pride themselves on staying neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This can happen if there’s a sudden, extreme bottleneck. Moderate levels of consanguineous marriage can have little to no consequence on a population’s health stats, as long as the population is large enough and there is still non-consanguineous marriage. If a bottleneck does happen, it can be many generations before all of the deleterious genes from the founder population are eliminated from the gene pool. One of the ways to get around this, as the Samaritans have shown, is to use genetic tests to inform marital and reproductive decisions. If people are worried about children born with disabilities – and I’m assuming they’re genuine here, and not just using this as an excuse to attack consanguinamorous people specifically – then a great way to address those concerns is with widespread, cheap access to genetic testing and family planning. As the Samaritans have shown, if you have that, consanguinamory isn’t much of a problem.
Westermarck suggested that humans have an inclination to prevent other people from behaving in ways they would not themselves behave. On this view, left-handers were in the past forced to adopt the habits of right-handers because the right-handers found left-handers disturbing. In the same way, those who were known to have had sexual intercourse with close kin were discriminated against. People who had grown up with kin of the opposite sex were generally not attracted to those individuals and disapproved when they discovered others who were. […] Once in place, the desire for conformity, on the one hand, and the reluctance to inbreed, on the other, would have combined to generate social disapproval of inbreeding.
– Patrick Bateson, Inbreeding, Incest, and the Incest Taboo
Why do we condemn others for having sex with their relatives? What has this to do with our not being interested in having sex with our relatives? […] We condemn them because by arousing our aversion their behavior causes us pain.
– Arthur P. Wolf, Inbreeding, Incest, and the Incest Taboo
Help for Family and Friends of Incestuous Siblings
“Westermarck suggested that humans have an inclination to prevent other people from behaving in ways they would not themselves behave. On this view, left-handers were in the past forced to adopt the habits of right-handers because the right-handers found left-handers disturbing. In the same way, those who were known to have had sexual intercourse with close kin were discriminated against.”
“From a scientific perspective, we do not know what constitutes normal childhood sexual behavior or feelings. […] Sexual behavior varies drastically among different groups of people due to their moral beliefs, values, social class, and culture. Sexual feelings and behaviors also vary widely among youth due to individual differences and variations in development. […] Some of the behaviors mentioned above are harmful. However, many are socially unacceptable because they would be classified as immoral or indecent by many people, not because they are harmful.”
- Japanese emperor Bidatsu married his half-sister, Empress Suiko.
- Korean king Gwangjong also married his half-sister, Queen Daemok.
- Inca emperor Huayna Capac married his full-sister, Coya Cusirimay.
- Siamese king Rama married four of his half-sisters. (This was in the 1800’s, too.)
- In Bali, to this day, opposite-sex twins are considered natural soul mates, and are expected to get married.
- An aristocratic Athenian woman, Elpinice, was married to her half-brother until she divorced him and married another man to settle a family debt. Upon her death, she was buried with her brother, not her husband. In Athens, familial relation was considered to be passed on through the mother, so if two siblings did not have the same mother, they could get legally married. In Sparta, it was passed on through the father. This shows how contrived and arbitrary our concepts of “blood-relation” and “incest” are. Even now, our taboos are pre-modern.
- Because of the unique, divine status of pharaohs in Egyptian society, it was common for pharaohs to marry within their immediate family, to preserve the purity of their divine bloodline. Pharaoh Tutankhamen was both the product of a sibling marriage, and himself had a sibling as his wife.
- The practice continued under the Ptolemies, and Pharaoh Cleopatra was married to each of her brothers until they died, leaving her the sole pharaoh. By then, the practice of sibling marriage had spread to all classes of Egyptian society, providing the only case in history where full-sibling marriage was not only allowed, widespread. As much as a fifth of all marriages were sibling marriages. The practice continued under the Romans, but was eliminated by Roman pressure: the Romans refused to make anyone who married a sibling a Roman citizen. Egyptian society survived all of this sibling marriage, and is still around today. They have the same number of toes and fingers as everyone else, so clearly it was not as dangerous as the stereotype says.
- Egypt, however, was not the only place to extol such unions. In the old traditions of Zoroastrianism, consanguineous unions were seen as especially sacred, because they reflected the consanguineous creation of the first gods. The practice was called “xwēdōdah”. “According to the Pahlavi Rivāyat […], three primordial xwēdōdahs provide the mythical prototypes for the human ones. […] [The last,] that of a brother and sister producing further pairs of brothers and sisters is like that of Mašī and Mašyānī.” At one point Zoroastrianism was the most widespread and powerful religion in the world. Because of Zarathustra’s preachings, Zoroastrian rulers entered into consanguineous marriages from time to time.
- The Seleucid emperors of Iran started to marry their sisters, like the Ptolemies in Egypt. The first such empress of the Seleucid Empire was Laodice IV. She married her oldest brother, whom accounts say she loved dearly, and bore him a daughter. When he died, she married her second oldest brother, and bore him three children. When he then died, she married her youngest brother, and bore him two children. There are no records stating that any of these children were anything but healthy.
- Helena, Queen of Adiabene, came from a Zoroastrian family, and was married to her brother King Monobaz I, a vassal of the Parthian Empire of Iran. As an adult she converted to Judaism, while remaining married to her brother. She and her brother are mentioned in the Talmud for their generosity towards Judea, sending gifts to the Temple, and sending food in times of famine. She bore her brother two sons, and later in life moved to Jerusalem. Both of their sons became known as righteous kings, and friends to the Jewish people.
- Many Polynesian societies had royal families who practiced sibling marriage. Not only was it common, but the early periods of all modern societies may have been ruled by royal sibling couples.
- Like other Polynesian cultures, it was common practice in Hawai’ian society for royals to marry within their own family. The practice was actually encouraged by Hawai’ian elders. When Christian missionaries came to Hawai’i, they tried to crush the practice. The last Hawai’ian king to have a consanguineous relationship was Hawai’ian king Kamehameha III, the first Christian king of Hawai’i. However, he didn’t succumb to the wishes of the missionaries. At an early age, he had fallen in love with his sister Nahi’ena’ena, and wanted to marry her. Because of opposition by the missionaries, he did not, but he also held off marrying the preferred choice of the missionaries for many years. “Bingham learned that even after King Kamehameha III of Hawaii accepted Christian rule, he slept for several years with his sister, Princess Nahi’ena’ena — pleasing their elders but disturbing the missionaries. They did it, says historian Carando, because they loved each other.” He only married the wife favored by the missionaries after his sister had died.
- The Romantic poet Lord Byron had an affair with his half-sister Augusta Leigh. The evidence points to Augusta Leigh’s third daughter Elizabeth, as being the child of Byron.
- The love between Artemisia II and her brother Mausolus was so profound, they became symbols in Greek writing of love and devotion. Mausolus was a rich Greek vassal of the Persian Empire in what is now Turkey. Under the reign of he and his sister, their territory flourished, and they built many monuments. Their final monument was so glorious, it became known as one of the seven wonders of the world: a giant tomb, to house their ashes. (It’s from “Mausolus” that we get the word “mausoleum.”) When her brother Mausolus died, Artemisia’s grief was so great that she ritually drank a bit of his ashes every day. She ruled well for two years, but eventually wasted away from sorrow. Her ashes were sealed in the Mausoleum with what remained of her brother’s. Their tomb would last for over a thousand years, amazing everyone who saw it.
- The sister of Mausolus and Artemisia, Ada, also married their brother Idreus. She was deposed by the third brother, Pixodarus, but was reinstated by Alexander the Great when she adopted Alexander as her son and heir. She was known as a ruler who was beloved by her people.
- A sister: “We knew we couldn’t hide it from our parents forever. We didn’t want to hide it, but we were nervous about talking about it with them. However, they figured out something was going on before we told them. Looking back, I’m not surprised. We spent lots of time together and they knew we weren’t seeing other people on a serious level. Plus they could just tell there was something between us. […] So we had a long talk. A lot was said, but luckily they didn’t get angry. They finally said we could live the way we wanted if it was that important to us. It took time, but they have come to accept us. I think the fact that they’re going to become grandparents helped them to accept us being together as a couple. We’re expecting our first child, a daughter, and I couldn’t be happier with my life. Having a child was a big decision for us, but I know we’ll be great parents.”
- A brother: “The way I ultimately decided to be with her was when a girl told me about her twin, Jesse, who had committed suicide when their relationship was discovered and they were forced to separate. I realized how similar she sounded and knew one thing for certain. Nothing should stop true love. People are born into families not of their own will, and just because someone was born with them shouldn’t mean they can’t love each other. […] I want [other people] to open their eyes and mind. […] I have asked people what’s wrong with our relationship, but all they say is that it’s wrong or disgusting without giving any reasons. Something they seem to forget is that stopping true love is also morally wrong. I believe they’re the kind of people that people in the future will look back on the same way they look at people who were against interracial marriage.”
- A sister: “My parents didn’t want another child and they were going to have an abortion, but afraid of my grandparents, they had me and gave me to my uncle and aunt. […] I was a naive 16-year-old [when I met and fell in love with my brother]. My [adoptive] parents caught on pretty quickly. It was a major disaster. […] They said I proved I wasn’t their daughter. It felt like my entire life had ended. [My brother and I] had been talking about moving to England before and it only seemed like the logical decision at the time. My brother said my real family missed me so much and they’d love to have me, so I packed my bags and I left. […] Apart from the time we spent together and away from [my real family], our life was awful. We couldn’t sit next to each other and we weren’t allowed to go places alone. Everything we did prompted a remark about how disgusting we were. I think his parents thought I was ruining his life. […] I came back to America. It was the worst flight of my entire life. I was being separated from the one person I loved most in the entire world. It was terrible. I think I cried the entire eleven hours. […] I don’t understand why anyone has to give someone such a tough time for loving someone. I think it was hard on [my brother], but he promised me that we’d move out one day. But there was constant bickering, constant fighting in the family. I think for me the worst of it was when my dad told me that they should have had an abortion. I’d hit rock bottom. I was forced into therapy. It was suppose to help me with not having feelings for him anymore… […] I just want to go on a date, to get engaged, to have the children that we named two years ago.”
- A sister: “We all love for the same reason: our hearts and souls tell us that the person we are with is the right one for us. Follow your heart, listen to your soul. When you know your heart, mind and soul speak as one, it’s right. Love never judges anyone, so don’t judge until you fully understand. We may be related, but look past that, see us for who we are. He’s my brother, yet he’s also my bear. He’s a Grizzly in his fight to give disabled people the right to lead as normal a life as you and me, yet my Teddy Bear when he’s in my arms. Don’t discriminate [against] us, don’t judge us. We have a right to live and love, just like everybody else does.”
- A sister: “He is my brother, best friend, partner, lover and the only person on the planet that can push me to the point that I want to strangle him while I am curled up on his chest. I can’t imagine being without him and he has said […] to me that we would run away if we had to. […] I am his rock and he is mine. […] The disadvantages are huge, such as the inability to behave like a normal couple around family and friends, and not being able to tell people how happy you are. The family are constantly telling us that we should find ourselves someone special […]. […] On the flip side I think that the advantage is the level of trust. We know each other better than we know ourselves sometimes. He has my back and I have his. We protect each other from the outside world. Our bedroom is our bubble. No one can hurt us in here.”
- A brother: “We understand your concern, we respect your beliefs. But this is our life. You can’t separate us simply because you want to. We will continue to live the way we choose. We are not trying to “disrespect” you or anyone who’s had a bad experience with incest related abuse or anything of the sort. But we feel like there is nothing wrong with what we’re doing. We’re just as normal as any other couple and we know that many who have actually taken time to meet us will agree. […] [Getting married] would be a dream. We’ve experienced physical and mental abuse due to our relationship, even in the workplace. Also the fact that we cannot have the marital benefits that many couples do have, even unrelated gay couples here in Canada. It’s very difficult. But so far we’d just like the ability to be together and feel safe doing so.”
- A sister: “I’d like to ask them to please try and understand us and get to know us before they pass any judgment on us. We hurt no one and keep to ourselves. Brothers and sisters can and do fall deeply in love with each other. We’re only human and we lead normal decent lives; we’re productive members of society and just like anyone else, just trying to get by. And I’m hardly a victim. I do what I do out of love.”
- A brother: “I would definitely say it’s a natural thing. It wasn’t until early teen years we really became aware it’s taboo, but for me it just always felt right. You hear everyone talking about finding the “one”, I can’t help it that I did and she just happens to be one [of] my sisters. I still find it strange that so many have the incest fantasy/fetish. We fantasize about being a “normal” couple. I am aware that the nature of our relationship does make it kinky to most, though I don’t see it that way. […] We cuddle, we are very affectionate, and I think we make our friends sick with the amount of love we have – these friends only know us as a couple.”
- A brother: “[My sister and I are] lovers. We’ve been making love together for over two years now, and as far as either of us is concerned, we’re a couple, like anyone else. Obviously, we keep this secret between us publicly. My sister moved in with me because she was having problems at home, and our parents support this because since she left home, her grades are up, and she’s no longer depressed. The relationship is absolutely consensual, and always has been. […] I’m planning to have a vasectomy soon also, since we don’t want children. [S]ince it’s always a secret thing, I’ve never spoken to another couple in the same situation […].”
- A sister: ”[…] Daniel’s wedding day didn’t upset me at all. It was his 30th birthday six months later which really got to me, as he stood there with his wife Alison while they greeted the guests. I can honestly say that that was the only time when I felt real envy and wished desperately that it was me standing beside him, arms round each other as we showed the world how much we loved each other. […] By the time he met Alison he was working and I was a student. […] [It] came as a shock when he told me he wanted to marry her. However, I was more shocked when he said: ‘You only have to say and I won’t marry her, but then I want us to stay together and not see anyone else. We could be the old boring brother and sister who never got married, but ended up sharing a house because no one else would have them! I know this is meant to be wrong but I’ve never felt anything so right.’ After hours of discussion we agreed that it was time to stop the sexual side of our relationship […]. […] [It] pain[s] me that what appears so lovely and natural to me would be regarded as abhorrent by most people.”
- A brother: “We felt nothing but love and passion for each other. […] There was no pressure. That was new to me. For once in my life I was at the most comfortable I’d ever been […]. […] I have had relationships in the past that have felt like one person leads another. It always felt like there was a power dynamic, either from my part of theirs, but with my half-sister, nothing has ever felt so mutual and natural. There was no feeling like it. It’s so hard to describe in so many words. […] Having to hide away has just been very exhausting and anxiety producing. We know we haven’t done anything wrong to anybody; we haven’t harmed anybody either, yet we feel like were criminals on the run just waiting to be caught. […] At times there’s been a lot of heartache and tears, […] yet even with all that in mind, it’s not something I’d trade for anything in the world and I’ll happily fight whatever comes our way, even a jail sentence if I have to, just to be with her, because I couldn’t ever be happy being without her. […] I had a friend […] [who] was in a long-term relationship. […] He found out his girlfriend of eight years was actually his full-blood sister. […] When she looked into it, that’s what they found out. Everyone on both sides was against it, wouldn’t hear a thing about it. To please people they broke up but lived a good few months in nothing but the worst possible agony I could imagine. […] He used to tell me it felt like an invisible rope pulling him towards her. Eventually they both caved in and couldn’t bear to be without each other ever again. For most it was weird. For me, it was the sweetest thing I’d ever seen. It actually made me tear up. They live abroad now and because they have different last names, they managed to get married; credit to them.“
- A sister: “We were so happy to finally talk and when we met in person, the second we looked at each other it was very emotional and overwhelming. We hugged for what seemed ages, like we never wanted to let go. There was an instant connection. I felt closer to him than I’d ever been with anyone. […] I’d never felt so loved and cherished up until that moment. We could tell how much we meant to each other. Our eyes lit up, our endless smiles said it all. […] It’s the most happy, comfortable, special feeling I’ve ever felt. He feels the same way. We have so much love and respect for each other. We cherish every moment we spend together. I’ve never felt so loved and this close to someone in all my life. He means the world to me and I mean the world to him. The way we look into each other’s eyes, how they sparkle for one another shows just how deeply in love we are. When he holds me, I never want to leave his arms. Even when we’re apart it feels like we’re connected invisibly somehow. I know not many people have or will witness love like ours. I’m thankful to experience this. […] We see each other as siblings, soul mates, and partners. We are fully committed to each other. I couldn’t see myself with anyone else and he says the same too. […] We intend to stay together no matter what. We are in love and our bond is unbreakable. It might not always be easy and we can’t predict what will happen in the future, but together we are strong. We will fight for our right to live as we should be entitled to, as any other happy couple, no matter what it takes. […] I’d love nothing more than to have the freedom to live this way together. We’re not happy when we’re apart; it hurts a lot and I always long to be in his arms.”
“Perhaps no opinion, upon subjects of a medical character, is more widely diffused among the public, or more tenaciously held, than that the results of the marriage of blood relations are almost uniformly unfortunate. This opinion has been so long held and so often reiterated, that by sheer force of these circumstances alone it has come to be regarded as an unquestioned and unquestionable fact.”
“If ‘natural’ is ‘good’, what use does it serve as a moral rubric? When people say ‘homosexuality is unnatural’, they are saying ‘homosexuality is wrong’. But how does that help the discussion? ‘It’s wrong because it’s unnatural’ is the same as saying ‘it’s wrong because it’s wrong’. That doesn’t tell us why it’s wrong: it’s again ‘a description’ – a false one in this case, since […] there are 1,500 animal species that engage in homosexual behaviour. The assertion becomes a tautology. […] The entire point is to get rid of linking so tightly ‘moral’ and ‘natural’: whether something does or does not occur in nature doesn’t aid our deciding whether that act is moral. After all, wearing glasses, building hospitals and using crutches don’t occur in nature – are these to be considered ‘wrong’ based on that category?“
“[…] [S]cientists have rejected the explanation that [the] incest taboo is a social mechanism that reduces the risk of congenital birth defects. One of the reasons is, findings have concluded that recessive or defect-carrying genes in a population may increase or decrease in instances of inbreeding. The frequency of birth defects depends on the availability and effectiveness of healthcare in a population. A recent genetic report also stated that children of unrelated parents have a 3% to 4% risk of having serious birth defects, while the offspring of first cousins have only a slightly higher risk of about 4% to 7%.”
“[…][If] the data [from my meta-study] are censored to exclude physical and mental abnormalities among the male and female parents, and major disparities with respect to young and advanced maternal age, few differences remain in the overall health outcomes recorded for [the children of the consanguineous group and the children of the control group].“
“There are siblings who are together right now, providing each other love, comfort, support, or their first sexual experience in a safe and reassuring environment. The biggest problem with sibling consanguinamory seems to be the prejudice and sex-negative attitudes of others. In most cases, trying to force consanguinamorous siblings apart only makes things worse. It can be a mutually beneficial way of bonding, expressing their love for each other, learning, and discovering their sexuality; it may even be a beautiful, lifelong romance. Let’s not let ignorance cause needless concern or repression.”
- Advice from Full Marriage Equality, to family and friends of the consanguinamorous.
- Full Marriage Equality’s answers to frequently asked questions.
- Advice from Full Marriage Equality, to consanguinamorous couples themselves.
- From my blog The Final Manifesto, all posts tagged “consanguinamory.”
- My blog, The Final Manifesto (Blogspot) (Tumblr)
- Full Marriage Equality (Blogspot) (Tumblr)