I thought I’d address this because it crops up pretty often when stories are run by the mainstream media, and sometimes in the online replies to such stories. There seems to be a general impression that people aren’t able to consent to sexual relationships with family members, especially their parents. It’s time I gave some proper perspective here.
At the age of eighteen, a person is allowed to legally consent to all of the following:
- To join the armed forces and fight (and possibly die) for their country.
- Buy and consume alcoholic beverages.
- Buy and use tobacco.
- Be judged as an adult if suspected of a serious crime.
- Enter into legally binding contracts, including marriage.
- Have sexual intercourse.
- Star in a porn movie.
In fact, he or she is permitted by law to consent to an orgy with ten people they just met at a sex party if that’s what they want to do. So how can it be that they are suddenly unable to consent to sex with their relatives? Doesn’t compute does it.
As a matter of fact, the idea that anyone would be unable to consent to sex with a relative but perfectly able to consent to the above list is deeply insulting. It is bringing a persons ability to make their own choices in life into question. In effect is infantilizes the person and makes the outrageous assumption that society’s arbitrary rules and regulations are a one size fits all umbrella of behavioural norms. Those who live outside of those norms are treated as heretics, for these norms are enshrined not just by social custom, but by legislation.
In effect, the underlying assumption that there is no such thing as consensual incest is ridiculous at best. Actually it’s like saying that sex = rape, when that’s very clearly not the case at all… it really is THAT STUPID. One would have thought that this would be obvious, but apparently not to a large number of people.
For the most part this is levied against intergenerational consanguinamoruous couples, where there is a perceived power imbalance; but if somebody can consent to sex with any other person many years their senior, or with a person who is vastly more wealthy, or with their boss…. then why not their parent? In fact the power differential between parent and adult offspring is SMALLER than with the latter two examples. So I ask again, why, if I am allowed to have sex with my boss if I choose to, am I not allowed to have sex with my father? Makes no sense does it?
Oh, I hear you say, but you could be manipulated or brainwashed into liking it. REALLY? For serious? Let me put this into perspective using my real life experience. I’ve had ONE consanguinamoruous relationship with was loving and perfect, and I’ve had many regular relationships ranging from good to terrible. There has only been ONE relationship in which I was manipulated and abused, and that was with a regular. Having experienced both healthy and unhealthy I know the difference. My consanguinamorous relationship with my dad was very healthy and loving.
My point is that consanguinamorous relationships are not unhealthy or manipulative or abusive JUST BECAUSE THE PARTNER IS RELATED TO YOU. They may be healthy or unhealthy depending on the persons involved. Obviously I would advise anyone in an unhealthy relationship to get out of it, whether their other half is related or not. But ultimately, both consanguinamorous and regular relationships may be healthy or unhealthy depending on the people, it has nothing to do with whether or not they are related, and everything to do with the personality of the two people. Some people are just toxic, and that applies whether they date a relative or an unrelated person. I would advise anyone NOT to date anyone they know to be toxic, whether related or not.
The other main tactic to try to deny the existence of consensual incest is to compare it to child rape. Now, children are below the age of consent for a start. They are both psychologically and physiologically not ready for sexual relations. Children do NOT have sexual feelings as adults understand them. They may be curious about gender differences and they may be curious about how babies are made… but that is in no way an indicator as to their readiness for adult relationships. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prude and I do believe that children should get an age-appropriate honest answer when they ask anything about sexuality and reproduction (‘daddy gave mummy a special seed to grow into a baby’ is all that a small child needs to hear if they ask how the baby got there if you’re pregnant). That said I do NOT believe that children must know all the details, at least not in their formative years. Older children will learn about sex in sex education classes anyway, so the exact mechanics need not be taught anyway by parents, but the parent must be willing to answer questions that their children have honestly and frankly if they have a question. Hiding sexual information from kids can do more harm than good, it’s better that they get the right answers from you than the wrong ones from their mates at school. These innocent questions should always be treated as such, and honest answers should always be provided by caring and responsible adults, parents particularly.
That said, when those children are autonomous adults in their own right, fully formed and ready to take on the world, if they choose a parent as their partner, then how the hell is that bad or wrong? Of course adults can manipulate other adults, but how likely is that for a parent to manipulate the person they have raised to be an independent adult? The chances are pretty slim. I fell for my dad for the person he was, his sense of humour, his laid back and chilled out personality, the fact I could talk to him about ANYTHING and he would ALWAYS be there for me, we had so much in common on every conceivable level, we wanted the same things out of life… everything about him was perfection to me. We connected on so many levels it was indescribable, and for somebody to tell me I was not able to consent simply because his is my parent… it’s beyond an insult… it’s just vile and disgusting that anyone would think I wasn’t’ consenting.
IN CONCLUSION, I will say that comparing consenting adult incest with child rape is both outrageous and disgusting, and that anybody making that outrageous comparison should be willing to debate with me on the issue. If you’re one of those people reading, I’m ready for you, bring it on. If you’re a consanguinamorous parent who is involved with their adult-child, please don’t be discouraged, not everyone is against you, and certainly not our community.If you’re a consanguinamorous offspring reading this, you’ll need to give extra love and support to your parent/partner. These relationships are so difficult, but only because the world has made them that way, so don’t let the haters win!