Earlier this week I was interviewed via e-mail by the founder of Uncommon Journalism… the article is up and it’s bloody brilliant 🙂 Check it out guys.
This is one of the more refreshing videos I’ve seen on youtube, brought to my attention by a friend at ISFME. Enjoy 🙂
Today folks, I’d like to talk a little bit about the double standards that exist in society, namely the fact that consanguinamorous couples are somehow held to a different standard than the rest of society. A double standard by definition is discriminatory, unfair, and usually fairly blatant, it is an expression of thinly veiled bigotry, and it must be exposed as such. In essence, it is a way of saying ‘these rules do not apply to most people, but they apply to you’.
Imagine if somebody said to you, ‘right, I’ve got £100, and you’ve got £100, I am allowed to spend mine but you can’t spend any of yours because I said so’. If somebody said that to you, you wouldn’t just accept it and say ‘oh, okay then’, would you? You’d be more inclined to tell them that it’s your money and you can do as you please with it (although perhaps not so politely, ‘fuck off’ would be my first response if I’m totally honest), and rightfully so. So why, if we wouldn’t accept this kind of oppression financially or socially, would we accept it when it comes to our intimate relationships? My answer is that we shouldn’t.
This in mind, let’s examine the double standards in a bit more detail, so that we can identify when they’re used in a debate, and what’s more, have an answer for them.
DOUBLE STANDARD NUMBER ONE: ARMCHAIR EUGENICISTS
The age old ‘mutant babies’ argument crops up again and again as an objection to consanguine relationships. It’s proponents claim that society has a responsibility to ensure the genetic health of the next generation by preventing pregnancies which may lead to the birth of a child with a defect. On the surface that may sound pretty reasonable to a lot of people… but how reasonable is it?
There are many groups of people who may also be at higher risks of having a child with a defect of one kind or another, or who have a higher chance of the baby being damaged during the pregnancy:
- Women over 40
- People who have inheritable illnesses such as Tay Sachs, Huntingtons Disease…etc
- People with conditions such as diabetes who may have problems during a pregnancy
- People who drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, or take recreational drugs
- People who must take medications which may effect an unborn baby
- People who have certain STIs such as HIV which may be passed to the fetus.
- People who are malnourished or who suffer from eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia
- People who suffer from some mental health issues which could place themselves and their unborn child at risk of injury or death
- People with severe respiratory or cardiac problems which could lead to the unborn baby not getting enough oxygen.
- People who work with toxic chemicals as part of their job (like farmers who spray their fields with round-up or other pesticides for instance)
- People who have been exposed to radioactive materials.
- People with learning disabilities
This list is by no means exclusive, but you get my point, all of the above persons have a higher than average chances of a child being born which has an abnormality of one kind or another. Some of the people on this list will have a higher chance of having a baby with defects than the average incest couple, some may have a smaller chance.
My point is that if preventing the birth of less than perfect children was the REAL aim, then the above groups of people would also be banned from sex and marriage, and yet this is not something we see in society. Why? Because people know that it is unfair and immoral to ban people from sex and marriage because of their medical status or genetics. The REAL reason that people use this argument with regards to incest, but not for the above listed groups is simply that they find it ‘icky’. It is to do with enforcing the will of the majority upon us, it has little to do with true Eugenics if we’re going to be absolutely honest here.
The mutant babies argument is a scientific smokescreen, deployed to disguise obvious bigotry. It’s proponents seem to think that ALL incest leads to deformed babies, when the truth is as follows:
- Of those consanguine couples who choose to procreate, only about 9% of them (assuming first degree relatives) will have any genetic problems, the rest of the babies will be perfectly healthy.
- Many choose not to have children and will use appropriate contraception
- Some cannot have children, if the woman is post menopausal or is otherwise infertile, if the man is firing blanks, or if it’s a same sex relationship.
So, that’s the facts, and now you know them, next time you see some idiot using genetics as an excuse to deny us our rights, you can point these facts out to them and call them out on the double standard.
DOUBLE STANDARD NUMBER TWO: PREVENTING ABUSE BY DENYING CONSENTING ADULTS
This is another one of those arguments that is enough to drive anyone mental. Some people like to claim that all incest should be banned in order to prevent childhood sexual abuse and grooming. Yet they fail to see the complete and utter disconnect in their logic. This is in effect like saying that high school teachers should be banned from having sex just in case one of them molests a child. Makes no sense does it?
I suspect that many of the people using this argument know full well that it is illogical and doesn’t stand up to even the mildest scrutiny, but they do not care because the issue of consanguinamory carries such an emotional charge.
So, what are the facts?
- People who sexually abuse children are usually people known to the child, they may be teachers, relatives, or others who are in some capacity responsible for their welfare. Occasionally, children may be groomed by unknown strangers on the internet.
- Healthy adults of any persuasion have no sexual interest in children
- There are healthy regulars and there are pedophile regulars.
- There are healthy consang couples, and there are pedophiles who molest their own kids.
- Many of the pedophiles who molest their own children do so because those children are more readily available to them then the neighbours kids.
In other words, by discriminating against consenting adults because they happen to be consanguinamorous, they’re missing the target completely! If we’re going to be serious about tackling the scourge of child sexual abuse, let’s all work together on the issue to better identify child molesters and hold them to account for their despicable actions.
Don’t say ‘some people who date family members are pedophiles therefore all incest is bad’, because some regulars are pedophiles too and we don’t say that all sex and relationships are bad because some people are child molesters, that’s ridiculous and such an obvious double standard that I’m surprised anyone still argues this way.
On another note, those who compare us to pedophiles or deliberately conflate the two need an education, because sex between related consenting adults has NOTHING AT ALL to do with pedophilia any more than sex in general has to do with child molesting. It’s bigoted incestophobia, and it’s got to stop, plain and simple.
DOUBLE STANDARD NUMBER THREE: NO NORMAL PERSON WANTS TO DO THAT SO IT SHOULD BE BANNED
If I’ve heard this stupid line of reasoning once, I’ve heard it a thousand times, it’s actually a logical fallacy anyway, the notion that if something is not ‘normal’ then it shouldn’t happen. What exactly is ‘normal’ anyway? Society defines normal as what the majority do. By this definition, homosexuality, BDSM, polyamory, role-playing…etc are ALL ‘abnormal’ in the sense that those who engage in them are minority groups… but we do not legislate to make those practices illegal purely on the basis that those who engage in them are in the minority, do we
So why are incestuous couples singled out for legal abuse? We shouldn’t be! If other non-standard behaviours which harm nobody are legal, then our non-standard behaviour which also harms nobody should also be legal. This is another obvious smokescreen to hide incestophobia.
DOUBLE STANDARD NUMBER FOUR: CHILDREN SHOULDN’T GROW UP SEEING THAT SHIT GO ON, IT WILL HARM THEM/MAKE THEM CONSANGUINAMOROUS TOO.
I’ve heard this bullshit argument quite a lot too, a ‘think of the children’ argument holds no water at all when you consider what children are often exposed to in some apparently ‘normal’ homes anyway. Many of the people screaming this from the rooftops probably have no problem at all letting their tweens and teens watch horror movies or other violence on TV. How can that be not harmful and yet seeing their parents in a loving relationship with a relative be somehow harmful?
What are we trying to protect children from, really? What is most important? Children should not be exposed to seeing explicitly sexual material of any kind, nor should they be exposed to violence of any kind, either on TV or in the home. That’s it, and most people would agree with that assessment.
A child is NOT going to be harmed by seeing healthy adults in a loving functional relationship, regardless of what type of relationship that is.
Likewise the fear of the child turning out consang because his or her parents are is ridiculous, most of the children raised by consang parents will turn out to be regulars. People used to have this very same objection to LGBT people raising children, and most of those kids turned out to be heterosexual.
So let’s stop the fake ‘protecting the children from seeing things they shouldn’t’ double standard, if you’re that worried, stop letting your kids watch horror films, eat junk food and make sure they don’t see any porn online. Don’t hold us to a higher standard than yourself, hypocrite.
If we are to life in a sane and fair society, one which respects everybody’s rights and applies the law in an even handed manner and genuinely protects the young and vulnerable from sexual predation, then incest must be legalized and our people given full equality.
Holding a minority group to a different standard than the rest of society is the height of hypocrisy. It betrays not genuine concern for the vulnerable, but hate and fear of the unknown, get to know us a little better and your fear will be much reduced. It betrays deeply ingrained prejudice that society has allowed to run amok and trample over all sense of logic and fairness. Let’s recognise these arguments for what they are, cruel and unnecessary double standards. Rather than protecting the innocent, these double standards used as a justification for legal persecution are HARMING the innocent.
How, as a society, can we claim to be compassionate and understanding of minorities, when the only minorities that get that compassion and understanding are those which the media tells us to be compassionate and understanding of? As a member of this downtrodden minority I am speaking up to say that we are not happy to stay quiet any more while you jail us and treat us like we’re subhuman, we are not happy being denied the right to be who and what we are openly without fear, and we are not happy with being exposed to bigoted nonsense and scorn. We want our rights, and we will not stop blogging until we get them. It is not us that should carry the shame, it is the society that oppresses us.
This is the very first guest article on my site, by Rainy, I’ve just copied and pasted her e-mail here.
This is especially for those of us who quietly long for someone in our family, whether they know or not. As always allies and advocates are welcome to read too – you may find something helpful, if someone you know is consanguinamorous and needs advice, or just a shoulder to lean on.
SHOULD I SAY ANYTHING?
The moment we realize that we’ve feelings for a first-degree (or even second-degree) relative… it’s a heady moment. Worry, no small amount of fear, mixed with yearning and hope. Hope that perhaps, maybe, they secretly feel as we do too.
Coming to terms with these feelings is often difficult, as we test ourselves to ensure that what we feel is true. It’s a necessary step, and not entirely bad – many relationships end poorly because people don’t always examine things closely before entering them. If these are things that you worry about, it’s okay. This website was designed for and is maintained by people like us. This article may be helpful in particular:https://consanguinamory.wordpress.com/when-it-starts-overwhelming-love-and-inner-conflict/
If these are feelings that you have since come to understand, then only one significant question remains: should I or shouldn’t I tell them?
The situation is different for everybody. Generational, siblings, and cousins as well; all create different circumstances. More than likely, you know your situation better than I or any others can; all I can offer is insight from my own experiences, in hopes that some of it may be helpful for you.
We grew up together, and from the start we were nearly identical… yet, practically opposites. We hardly spent any time apart, and there was nothing we hid from each other. You could say it was us versus the world!
So, when the time came that it felt like something could and should be said, I knew it wouldn’t break us apart. And I also knew that it was very unlikely to go anywhere, but it seemed important to share such a personal thing with the person who was closest to me, just to be known better. This knowing and sharing, starting from birth, was why it felt important to share, and also why it felt like things would be okay: after all, we were buttercups and bees.
In some ways, I was lucky (and still am). The signs aren’t always easy to spot, and that can leave you feeling hanging, like “are they dropping hints? or am I seeing what I want to see?”. This sort of guesswork can be crazy-making for sure!
My personal experiences tell me (if nothing else) to look at actions over words, and always be sure to keep in mind the person behind them, because things tend to have different meanings between different people. That, and to not make decisions during turbulent times – they don’t always turn out wrong, but it does tend to cloud judgement. Consider your feelings as to the various outcomes, and let them be a measure to how ready you are for those outcomes. We can never be 100% ready for everything in life (and somethings especially), but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
Another thing worth considering is your current living situation, and that of the one you love; it’s important to know who or what you can rely on if you need to, and important to know who may be relying on you.
You may have noticed that this doesn’t give any directions as to whether you should or shouldn’t tell them in the end. That’s because I can’t.
Ultimately, this decision can only be made by you.
WE COULDN’T BE TOGETHER
To say that it’s hard is an understatement. There’s not much that can give relief; I’m sorry for that. You take it one day at a time, one hour, or every minute if you have to. It doesn’t exactly get easier, but in time there is some degree of peace. How long that may take, is impossible to say.
Surely, there are reasons for why they may not feel the same. Fear of discovery. Societal guilt. Love, but not romantic love. It’s no secret that our kinds of relationships have exceptional difficulties to overcome. The first thing to remember is that, whatever reason they had, you did your best. You gave them love (and likely, still do), you took a chance for your heart and for a better future, for both of you. You took the ultimate risk, you were bare and vulnerable with the one you love most. It’s an incredible and amazing thing to do, a brave thing, more so than many people realize. And it hurts, it has to.
Often, when people think of love, it’s hugs and kisses, and the making of memories… and it is these things. But beyond that, it’s sacrifice. To pass over your hopes and dreams for theirs, without expectation of reward of any kind. And so, carry on. Take it slow, learn to smile again. For them.
If it doesn’t abate a little even after a long time – and it may not – getting some physical distance can help give you some space to clear your mind and put things together. This isn’t always possible, limitations and responsibilities being what they are. Putting aside time, if there is any, to close your eyes and emotionally rest can also help, as well as writing down the feelings – it doesn’t have to be poetic or anything. It just helps to get things out.
If you feel this isn’t your way, I understand. It carried me through the hardest times (and many days, still does), but we’re all different, we all have our own path. Hopefully, you will find yours.
IF YOUR FRIEND CONFIDES IN YOU
If you’ve a friend that confides in you their feelings for one of their family, then they trust you more than mere words can say. Perhaps you’re here, looking for ways as to help your friend, or maybe you’re an consanguinamory advocate who wants to be ready should a time ever come for it. In any case, I’m glad to have you.
A lot of the truths that apply to romance between regulars is true between family members. This may seem strange on the surface, but let’s look at it like this… if they were asking you for advice concerning feelings they had for someone (say perhaps, another very close friend) but were worried that things could become complicated if they did, what would you say?
It is true that there are other considerations, and in that regard things are different. Ultimately, as a friends, our desire is to see them home safely and happy, and spend some good times together. We can give our friends our opinions, advice, wisdom (if we’re lucky to have any), best wishes and personal feelings on the whole thing… but in the end, they are their own persons. Past that, the most we can do is stick by them and well, be good friends.
On being a shoulder to lean on… of the things we hear most often (“there are other fish in the sea”, “maybe you’re meant to be with someone else”, “it’s time for you to move on”, “they still love you as a friend”, so on), who wishes to hear these at all? especially after something like that. When giving consolation, remember that, before anything else, they were in love and now their heart is broken. Handle it as though it were your own heart. You probably know this already! but it’s worth saying, just in case.
Should you not be renowned for people skills or fuzzy-warmth, it’s okay – in all likelihood, your friend knows this already. If they trusted you enough to tell you, then you’re close to them regardless. Be genuine, and be a good listener if you can. It usually helps.
We’re so fortunate to live in a time where the world is so interconnected, that there is a place for people like us. If you ever find that a friend has feelings for one of their family, show them here. Often feeling alone in this world is one of the things that makes getting through it the hardest.
Thank you all very much for taking the time to read this, hopefully you have found some thing of help or comfort in it. Also, thank you Jane Doe for hosting this article, and for the many others you have also written. It’s very much appreciated!
Very much love for you all,
– Rainy (a pseudonym)
Remember when I wrote that equality is only equality if it applies to everyone, well on that same topic I would like to add more. You see, true equality can only be achieved if all consenting adults stand together in solidarity, and not nitpick amongst themselves. I raise this issue because all too often people (especially LGBT people) are afraid that supporting us would hurt their cause because of the massive public opposition to consanguinamory. The fear goes that the conservative right wing bigots would point to such support and say ‘see, see, I told you that would happen, we’re on the slippery slope’. Never mind that the slippery slope fallacy is a nonsense.
Let me explain why supporting us is not going to harm LGBT rights, or polyamorous rights, and will in fact ensure the rights of all consenting adults in the long term.
Much of the opposition to consanguinamory, polyamory and LGBT are rooted in the same old tired arguments, we’ve heard them all before, but here is a list:
- The Ick factor, many people find it gross and disgusting – this is not a valid reason, it is merely a reflection of most peoples sexual and relationship preferences.
- It’s against somebody’s religious beliefs/It’s a sin – Again, an invalid reason, not everybody has the same religious beliefs and even within a single religion there are differing opinions. Religion should have no bearing on the legality or illegality of a relationship.
- Children brought up around that will be mentally harmed or will become LGBT/poly/consang themselves – Not a good reason, and actually this one is already debunked because there is plenty of evidence that most people adopted and raised by LGBT people turn out straight, why would that be different with regards to polyamorous and consanguinamorous people?
- It’s not natural – There is the underlying assumption that everything natural is good, and everything unnatural is bad, when that is not at all the case. Belladonna is very natural, but also very poisonous. Computers and airplanes are very unnatural, but very useful. Oh, and for the record, homosexuality, consanguinamory, and polyamory are all observed in the animal kingdom, so yes, it’s natural.
- There is a health hazard involved – People express this in different ways with regards to LGBT, Poly and Consang. With homosexuality the bigots cite STIs being spread through anal sex (as if vaginal sex never transmits a disease despite evidence to the contrary), with polyamory they cite that multiple partners causes the spread of STIs (despite the fact that if there is polyfidelity and if everyone is disease free then there is nothing to spread regardless of the number of people involved), and with consanguinamory they cite the mutant babies argument despite there being a 91% chance of a perfectly healthy baby even amongst first degree relatives.
- That shit being legal will lead to pedophilia becoming legal, or it will encourage pedophiles. We’ve all heard this one in articles, and we all know it’s a load of irrational scaremongering shit, the authors of such articles probably know it too but would never admit it. We all ask for the full equal rights of CONSENTING ADULTS to be respected, child molesting is and should always remain a very serious crime.
Well, you get the idea, we’re all up against the same wall of idiocy, and we can break that wall down together much more effectively than we could if each group stands alone. It would also be very hypocritical of us if we DIDN’T support poly and LGBT people, because if those arguments are invalid for us, how could they be valid with regards to other groups? They cannot be. Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that some people are consanguinamorous AND poly or LGBT, so what service would we be doing those people if we did not universally support other groups of consenting adults?
I’d like to ask non-consang LGBT and Poly people to have a good think about it, and to offer their solidarity to us, because we’re extending the arm of friendship here and we would like everyones rights to be upheld and respected. It’s going to be much easier for all of us if we fight the good fight united. If you are the head of a human rights group that currently supports LGBT or Poly, then you might want to give us a shout too because myself and others within this community are interested in networking with you and educating people.
In light of many of the recent articles on the internet, I’ve noticed that some people are saying that it is legitimate to deny us our equal rights because ‘incest isn’t an orientation whereas homosexuality is’, to sum up their consensus. Of course, they’ve jumped to conclusions which are as usual inaccurate and based on ignorance of the facts. Time to set the record straight.
I’ve been in and out of incest communities online for my whole adult life, and I have over decades worth of observational experience from speaking to others, in addition to my own personal experience… so I know what I’m talking about. Over those years I have noticed some common threads amongst quite a sizeable number of consanguinamorous people. I will list those here:
- Many of the people who have had experiences of consanguinamory were against incest until they themselves fell in love with a relative.
- Many people grew up knowing that something was ‘different’, but didn’t know exactly what until it happened, and then it all fell into place and made sense.
- Many people report that regular relationships pale by comparison and feel empty and unfulfilling.
If you doubt that this is evidence that consanguinamory is an orientation, let’s compare this to evidence for an accepted and known orientation, homosexuality.
- Some gay people were against homosexuality until they fell in love with a member of the same sex, especially in cultures where homosexuality was criminalized.
- Most homosexuals realize that they are different at some point during their adolescence.
- Homosexuals cannot feel fulfilled in straight relationships.
What about polyamory… let’s check that one out too.
- Some poly people were against polyamory until they fell in love with more than one person, especially in cultures where people are expected to be monogamous.
- Some of them realize during adolescence that they are different.
- They cannot feel fulfilled by pretending to be monogamous.
Anyone spot the pattern here? You’d have to be blind not to. The most logical conclusion from this evidence would be that ALL THREE are orientations, this is hard-wiring that we cannot control and that we do not ask for. Knowing how much trouble, including legal trouble that consanguinamory can cause, why would anyone actively make the choice to be consanguinamorous? Nobody would, people do not invite persecution into their lives willingly (unless they are masochists, but that is a whole other topic entirely).
What I am promoting here is an understanding that I think everyone should have, that not all people are wired up the same, and that if you happen to be consanguinamorous, that’s okay. You have absolutely nothing to feel ashamed of and there is nothing wrong with you.
Whether something is an orientation or not ultimately should not matter with regards to it’s legality, the persecution of consenting adults would be equally abhorrent even if none of the above were orientations. I just thought that the misinformation out there about us ought to be challenged, and that includes the misunderstanding about consanguinamory as an orientation.
Quite often these days, especially with some of the lazier journalists, whenever incest is mentioned they fail to mention whether the participants are consenting adults or whether it’s a case of child abuse. Not only do I find this incredibly lazy, it’s also highly irresponsible because it gives the public the impression that all incest is the abusive variety when that is not at all true. With this in mind, I would like to clarify what abuse actually is so as to enable the reader to know whether a particular relationship is an abuse case or not.
There is a world of difference between two consenting adults, an adult abusing a child, and two children or adolescents of very similar age having a mutual exploration experience. In all three scenarios when the participants are closely related it can be labelled as ‘incest’ but just applying that label gives no clue as to which type of incest is being talked about.
This shouldn’t concern the law at all and unfortunately it does at the moment, that’s got to change for a start. By definition this type of incest is non-abusive and exists in both GSA and non-GSA forms. It is also falsely conflated with child abuse when people fail to mention in their articles that both parties are consenting adults.
Similarly aged minors
This happens most frequently between siblings, where they experiment with each other instead of classmates at school. While minors having underage sex is ill advised for a whole other bunch of reasons (such as lack of emotional readiness), it is not necessarily abusive because both participants are able to give the same level of consent, neither has power over the other. Minor siblings who have been participating in incest with each other should be treated the same way as unrelated minors who have had sexual experiences together should be… with compassion and understanding, and with a good talking to about the reasons for the age of consent. It should be discouraged of course, but throwing the book at these teenagers is complete overkill and does more harm than good.
Childhood Sexual Abuse
This occurs when a grown man or woman decides to molest a child. The abuser is nearly always well known to the victim, and sadly it’s often a parent or another much older relative that is responsible. Somebody who does something like this to a child needs locking up, because children cannot consent to sexual activities with an adult. How can a child refuse an adult who has power over them? He or she cannot without feeling that they did something wrong. Even in cases where the adult is not overtly physically violent or threatening, there is still psychological trauma that is borne by the child.
Many of these poor youngsters are brainwashed into believing that it’s perfectly normal for adults to have sex with children, it’s been normalized in their brains because the abuse has happened for so long and they got used to it as a means of coping with the trauma.Traumatic Bonding and Stockholm Syndrome come to mind. This is what is meant by grooming, where the child is conditioned to believe that they want to have such sexual contact when in fact they do not. The child comes to firmly believe that they wanted it from the outset, despite the opposite being true. This psychological aspect of child sexual abuse is as terrifying as the physical aspect of it. When these children reach adulthood they often say ‘well we’re consenting adults’ as if all of the abuse they endured has vanished. Many of them come to realize this and seek help from other survivors of abuse, and some of these survivors bring their abusers to account. Occasionally, a victim never breaks free of such conditioning, and because of how normalized it has become in their minds, they then go on to abuse their own children, thus the cycle of abuse comes full circle.
People who do this kind of thing to their own children are extremely fucked up individuals and they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. It’s never acceptable regardless of whatever excuses they dream up to justify the unjustifiable.
All journalists, when writing any articles about incest, should specify which of the these three categories the particular case belongs to. It really does make a huge difference. Those who falsely conflate consenting adults with child abuse are extremely offensive and they are deliberately confusing the two in the public mind. This is incredibly damaging all round. Anyone who does these things should think before they put their fingers on the keyboard.
Note: If anybody reading this has been a victim of childhood sexual abuse, there organizations which are able to help you and provide you with the right sort of support and counselling. Here, here, here and here are just four such places.
Oh dear, we’ve got another one here folks, another right stinker of an article in which the author appeals to lack of official research to defend her ridiculous claim that GSA doesn’t exist, labelling the term pseudo-scientific. Obviously this woman hasn’t dug particularly deep, nor has she spoken to anybody who has experienced GSA, and to make matters worse she piles on the hate. Okay let’s begin:
Last week a minor eruption of media coverage surfaced about an incestuous couple in New Mexico who is fighting criminal prosecution and a court order keeping them apart since sex between a parent and child is illegal. Monica Mares gave up her son, Caleb Peterson, when she was 16 years old, and they reunited after he became a legal adult. The relationship swiftly became romantic, and the government intervened, forcing them to separate and charging them both with a crime.
Except that he wasn’t a child, but a grown man capable of making his own decisions. The action of the government are persecutory, unnecessary and cruel.
But Mares and Peterson are defending themselves by claiming that it’s not incest, but something called “genetic sexual attraction.” This is a term that that surely sounds scientific.
Genetic Sexual Attraction is a phenomenon that occurs to around 50% of reunited adults. It may or may not lead to sex which is biologically incestuous, however, it is sociologically not incest because the separation means that the had no chance to develop the Westermarck effect. And yes, it IS a genuine phenomenon.
Certainly, much of the reporting on this case makes “genetic sexual attraction,” or GSA, sound like a scientific phenomenon, beyond the control of the people involved. Take, for instance, this reporting from Mic:
Their story fits the standard definition of GSA, which is when the child grows up separated from the parent, and then sexual attraction consumes both of them when they’re finally reunited as adults. There is not a ton of research on the topic, but a generous estimate reported by one GSA forum said it occurs in as many as half of all post-adoption reunions.
I suppose by contrast, everyone else is in complete control over who they have feelings for and fall in love with :eyeroll:
A “standard definition”? Offering statistics, even as an “estimate”? Other media coverage used words like “phenomenon” or “raising awareness” — language that implies that genetic sexual attraction is a measurable, demonstrable reality, as opposed to some half-baked pseudoscientific nonsense that people dreamed up to justify continuing unhealthy, abusive relationships.
Except that we’re not talking about abusive or unhealthy relationships. We’re talking about normal functioning adults who meet as adults and then fall in love and have a relationship just like anyone else. A relationship does not become abusive just because two people share many common genes.
Just because there isn’t much research into this yet does not mean that it doesn’t exist. Think about this logically, the non-existence of a thing cannot be proven by lack of research, that doesn’t make any sense now does it. I’d have thought your argument would have been somewhat stronger, but as always bigots are unable to disguise their bigotry.
“Signs of pseudoscience?” asked Carol Tavris, social psychologist and co-author of “Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me),” over email. “Look for biological buzz words — genetic, neuro- (attached to anything), hormonal, hardwired — that are used to make a claim about some complex activity, solely on the claimer’s personal experience (anecdote) but lack any scientific research to back up that claim.”
Added Tavris: “And attraction and sexual behavior are about as complex as you get.”
Except that many many anecdotal pieces of evidence create a large picture when put together. I agree that research in this area is very scarce, and there are very good reasons for that: by and large people experiencing GSA don’t want to open up because of the kind of bigotry and hate they face, not to mention the risk of being locked up by the state for nothing more than falling in love.
You want more research? Fine, then campaign to legalize incest so that such research can be done without so much fear. The taboo and peoples irrational reactions towards it are the reasons for the lack of research you cite.
It didn’t take much digging for me to discover that genetic sexual attraction is not the scientifically determined phenomenon that its proponents portray it as, starting with the fact that the vast majority of these stories have been percolating out of tabloid publications like the Daily Mail and not from legitimate news sources.
Well this article of yours isn’t exactly the bastion of scientific truth either, it’s thinly disguised bigotry. The Daily Mail did a far better job of trying to find out the truth than you have, and for that they deserve our thanks.
Nicolas DiDomizio at Mic admitted “not a ton of research” exists to back up claims of genetic sexual attraction, but that is an understatement. A better way to put it is that there is no real research supporting the notion that sharing genes with someone makes you more likely to want to have sex with them.
Then you didn’t do much research at all did you? Take a look at this article for instance, which contains the results of some such research. Didn’t dig very deep did you if you couldn’t find it.
I couldn’t find any studies or mentions of this supposed phenomenon in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or scientific articles with an in-depth look at it.
Oh right, so if something isn’t mentioned in a manual, it doesn’t exist? You are aware that such manuals are continually updated, some entries are added and old ones which are no longer considered disorders are deleted… you did know that… right? GSA is NOT a disorder anyway, it’s a genuine phenomenon which is a normal response to a separation and reunion.
The “generous estimate” came not from a scientist or any other kind of expert but from a random website that claims to have obtained the number from “some studies” but declines to point out who conducted them or where they were published.
Even if it is far fewer than 50%, and the original studies aren’t found, that still doesn’t detract from the wrong that is being done to those to which it applies when they are denied equal rights.
While I haven’t read every paper published throughout time, even the most ardent proponents of genetic sexual attraction have not produced a shred of evidence that some people who are biological relatives are are more likely to be sexually attracted to one another than to those they are not related to.
Then take a look at the article I just referenced, you might find it quite illuminating.
For a couple of decades now, stories like Mares and Peterson’s have cropped up in the news periodically and followed the same basic pattern: a defensive couple, pseudoscientific posturing, poorly sourced statistics and no actual evidence that any of this is due to genetic sexual attraction and not unhealthy choices and abusive behavior.
Well, now we’ve presented you with some evidence, how about you at the very least explain how and why you believe GSA relationships are unhealthy or abusive, and no, pointing to the fact that they share common genes does not count.
Again, consensual sex does not become abusive just because the participants are closely related.
Some searching around revealed that the term “genetic sexual attraction” can be traced not to a biologist or a psychologist but a woman named Barbara Gonyo, who coined the term in the 1980s. She is not a scientist or a doctor but simply a woman who met her son whom she had given up for adoption when he was in his 20s and she in her 40s.
By her own account, Gonyo sexually desired her son.
So, she labelled the phenomenon, that’s bad why?
Rather than accept that her feelings might simply be an unhealthy reaction to an unusual situation, she simply made up a biological-sounding term to describe them. It’s an understandable urge because it lessens the personal responsibility for these feelings, making it seem like they are being caused by something out of one’s control. But journalists should be careful to not be suckered into believing that something is scientific just because of science-y-sounding terms.
Except that it isn’t unhealthy, it’s a normal reaction. Also, people generally DON’T control who they fall in love with. How did you choose your partner? I doubt you sat down and chose that person logically, rather you went with your feelings.
Further digging around on the subject of genetic sexual attraction reinforces how flimsy the evidence for it really is. One major site purporting to “educate” on the subject has a books section, but a click on the recommendations leads not to psychological research but to a series of incest-based romance novels with names like “Love’s Forbidden Flowers.” The Kinsey Reports this is not.
In no way did she claim that the books she referenced were scientific research, they’re just interesting books that some people might enjoy reading. The articles on the site are there to educate, the books are there for recreation. We enjoy love stories too you know.
A small, overlapping series of blogs and social media accounts are pushing this pseudoscientific theory, and it’s essentially the same story everywhere: a lot of links, but no real research. There are a lot of comparisons to being gay, without acknowledging that incest is not an orientation like homosexuality. Big, science-y sounding words are used, but the evidence is mostly self-reported and anecdotal, not collected scientifically by researchers.
Actually, it IS an orientation for some of us… we need the double love bond that only exists in consanguinamorous relationships in order for it to feel right to us. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but it does for some of us. So yes, it IS an orientation. Even if it wasn’t, that still wouldn’t be a good basis for denying people their rights.
As for the comparison to homosexuality, it’s valid. Much of the bigoted hate levied against us are EXACTLY THE SAME OBJECTIONS that people used to have against the legalization of gay sex. The only different one being the mutant babies argument, but of course, unless you’re going to ban all sex that might produce less than perfect children then that is a lot of the population that you’d be denying their rights. All we’re asking for is equal treatment under the law.
The dangers of this pseudoscientific approach became evident last year, when New York’s Science of Us blog published an interview of a woman in an incestuous situation, with the title “What It’s Like To Date Your Dad.”
Why is it a ‘danger’? If she wants a relationship with her father she should be allowed to have one.
The article started off with the usual evidence-free pseudoscientific framing of genetic sexual attraction as being rooted in nature and practically instinctual. But after one reads the actual interview, a different picture emerges — of a young woman who sounds like she’s being manipulated by her father into a controlling incestuous relationship; the red flags are flying everywhere.
So, let’s take a look at the red flags then.
She’s only 18.
So she is an ADULT. Either an 18 year old can consent to sex, or she can’t… if she is able to consent to sex with an unrelated man who is older, why not her dad?
He groomed her sexually by pretending he was just cuddling or playing.
So flirting and cuddling is a form of grooming then? Warning to any men out there, if you hug somebody you’re obviously grooming them for sex, apparently… my God how fucking stupid that statement was.
She was a virgin when they first had sex.
Everyone is a virgin until they have sex for the first time. You cannot be implying that virgins can’t consent, surely?
His ex-girlfriend pretends she’s her mother, that sort of thing.
well she would be an ex stepmother so I can’t see why that’s even an issue.
It’s a good example of why journalists need to be cognizant of the difference between science and pseudoscience. Any fool — clearly — can throw a bunch of big, scientific-sounding words around to justify behavior that people would otherwise see clearly as ill-advised or immoral. But journalists don’t have to let them get away with it.
Well you haven’t provided any science either, all you’ve done is attack a valid label and reveal yourself as a bigot who is very unknowledgeable on the subject you’ve chosen to write about.
For those interested, here is Keiths take on this sorry excuse of an article
There is sadly a perception in the mainstream that only ignorant, uneducated, or unemployed poor people are going to engage in incest, or be affected by GSA. Naturally the mainstream media more often than not tries to maintain that perception by reporting any and all incest in that light. This perception is also further upheld by the fact that wealthy people who fall foul of these outrageous laws, can afford the types of lawyer which are more often than not able to get the case against the defendants dropped pretty quickly. With this in mind, if you’re consang and poor, you’re more likely to bear the full wrath of the law than your wealthy counterparts.
In truth, a minority of people from ALL backgrounds can experience GSA or consensual incest. We are a very diverse people and we come from all ethnic, socio-economic, political, cultural and religious backgrounds. All consanguinamory requires is the absence of the lack of the Westermarck Effect, and this can potentially affect anyone. In fact, many of us who have had such experiences would have previously believed the societal bullshit about incest and GSA.
With this in mind, anybody out there reading this article who has previously piled on the hate when it comes to consang couples should bear in mind that unknown to them, they might personally know somebody who is consang. It could be a neighbor, a work colleague, a close friend, even a member of their own family. Would this person be any less loved and any less of a person because of their orientation or relationship choice? No, their sexuality changes not a thing, except potentially your misconceptions. When you hate on one consang couple, you hate on us all, a group of people you may know little or nothing about. Spare a thought for a moment, what if somebody very close to you is consang, and hears you going on a rant about a consang couple you heard about in the news and how disgusting they are. How would you make that person close to you feel? What if that person was your parent, your sibling, or your own offspring? Your rejection of that couple on the news is also a rejection of them and an attack on their identity. I’m calling you to compassion and understanding, and to the rejection of hate.
Naturally, many of us within the community are very concerned about our public image, not least because it directly ties in to how the public react to us. I’m concerned about that too which is one of the reasons I set up this website to set the record straight and to educate people about this topic. Education is very important, and only by education and by showing solidarity within the community can we achieve the public awareness shift required to bring about the much needed legislative changes. An attack on one of us is an attack on us all, and so any and all couples who have had the courage to brave a media storm and mass incestophobic hysteria, for whatever reason, should be universally applauded and held up as ambassadors of the cause regardless of their background or situation. In the end, the truth will win out, those of us on the frontlines of the battle will see to that, watch this space over the coming couple of decades. Until the job is done, however, we must stick together as one community, one global family of consang people in mutual support and unconditional acceptance of each other putting aside our differences and disagreements about anything else.