Friday, March 8, 2013

A Natural Attraction

The journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin published the results of a study by R. Chris Fraley and Michael J. Marks that has received some almost-mainstream media attention. The study indicates that we are sexually attracted to our close relatives on a physical basis.

From Wired:

In a series of experiments where subjects viewed photographs of their opposite-sex parent or a photo morphed with their own face, researchers found that people are turned on by photographs of people who resemble their close genetic counterparts.

“People appear to be drawn to others who resemble their kin or themselves,” said psychologist R. Chris Fraley of the University of Illinois, lead author of the study published July 20 in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. “It is possible, therefore, as Freud suggested, that incest taboos exist to counter this primitive tendency.”

If we are driven to spread our genes, then wouldn’t it make sense that we’d be attracted to the people who share some of those genes? Or, if my father is genetically predisposed to be attracted to women with a certain look, wouldn’t it be possible that I have those genes, too, and so I’d be attracted to someone who looks like my mother?

It makes sense that there is some natural or social mechanism that mitigates this to prevent young siblings or parents of minor children from doing things that subvert other parental or sibling responsibilities, in addition to most people not being pedophiles. But that mechanism isn’t needed beyond a certain age.

The Huffington Post also mentioned the news.

While rare, some coupled relatives have come out of the woodwork in proof of this theory. In 2008, father and daughter John and Jenny Deaves were featured on 60 Minutes episode about genetic sexual attraction. Not only did the two admit to having an amorous relationship but also to conceiving children together. They live in South Australia.

While it isn't an uncommon experience, only a few people have come out publicly with their accounts of GSA. Most people are afraid to, and for good reason, given how people are currently treated in most places in the world if they come out.

The blog at Discover Magazine also covered the story.

Fortunately, none of this coverage I found back when this was fresh was overtly bigoted.

So should there really be laws and social hostility towards something that is natural? Some people strike out against attractions they do not share or do not understand. We see that when it comes to interracial or same-gender attraction, and we see it when it comes to this.

No comments:

Post a Comment

To prevent spam, comments will have to be approved, so your comment may not appear for several hours. Feedback is welcome, including disagreement. I only delete/reject/mark as spam: spam, vulgar or hateful attacks, repeated spouting of bigotry from the same person that does not add to the discussion, and the like. I will not reject comments based on disagreement, but if you don't think consenting adults should be free to love each other, then I do not consent to have you repeatedly spout hate on my blog without adding anything to the discourse.

If you want to write to me privately, then either contact me on Facebook, email me at fullmarriageequality at yahoo dot com, or tell me in your comment that you do NOT want it published. Otherwise, anything you write here is fair game to be used in a subsequent entry. If you want to be anonymous, that is fine.

IT IS OK TO TALK ABOUT SEX IN YOUR COMMENTS, BUT PLEASE CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY AS I WANT THIS BLOG TO BE AS "SAFE FOR WORK" AS POSSIBLE.