Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Another Reason to Avoid Zimbabwe

A recent entry I wrote on Zimbabwe prompted me to get around to this news item about a father-daughter relationship. Considering we’re talking about a country in which two men can be imprisoned for simply holding hands, it shouldn’t be surprising that consanguinamory is subject to prosecution.

A man Nyamweda Village in Mhondoro has admitted to having an incestuous love affear relationship with his daughter for the past 16 years and siring her child in a case that has set tongues wagging in and around the district.

The man - whose to protect the identity of the child - initially denied the charges when he appeared before a chief's court on July 27.

He, however, gave in after being presented with overwhelming evidence.

This is described as a love affair, not a rape. So why is it a crime? It appears to me to be a lasting marriage situation.

Chief Nyamweda of Nyamweda Village - who presided over the case - last week confirmed fining him three beasts. He said the matter was also reported to Norton Police.

"The matter was brought to my attention. We subsequently deployed investigating officers who brought them before my court," he said.

Later on, the article says that neighbors turned them in. Why can’t people stay out of the relationships of others?

"During the trial, the two denied the charges, but later revealed they have been in love for the past 16 years."

Information gathered last week indicates the incest began after the man's wife died.

The daughter - who was 16 years old at the time - later gave birth to a son who is now 15 years old.

The age of consent in Zimbabwe, at least for heterosexual or lesbian sex, is 16. This is not a matter of rape, cheating, or pedophilia. This is a lasting relationship.

Chief Nyamweda said the man's fine would be used to appease "the spirit mediums of the land".

Really?!? Did they say they were upset? I guess we should be happy the lovers aren't being burned at the stake.

There was no indication that the daughter was anything but a happy, willing participant. There is no indication that their son has suffered (although he'll suffer now, thanks to bigotry), and I would think the police and the news would have noted those things. So what we appear to have here is a family being broken up and punished for no good reason. Zimbabwe, just like the rest of the world, needs full marriage equality so that an adult can share love, sex, residence, hand-holding, and marriage with any consenting adults.
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Explaining Polyamory

GypsyDiver has a helpful write-up about coming out as poly to someone you like, “Telling Someone You Like You're Polyamorous: The Do's and Don'ts.”

The intro can apply to other “prohibited” relationships as well…

It's always hard to tell someone about your non-monogamous relationship. People have very strong opinions on the issue, and you always run the risk of someone you never expected telling you it's wrong.

If the person you’re talking with reacts with condemnation or disgust, then you’ll need to switch from hoping for mutual interest or attraction to damage control. Appeal to their sense of fairness and assure them that you are a responsible person who has thought through this.

Or maybe you're afraid they'll stereotype you before you get a chance to explain.

Stereotypes persist. The only thing anyone can know about someone else’s relationship is…

...If it is same-sex, that the lovers are same-sex.

...If it is polyamorous, that at least three people are involved.

...If it consanguinamorous, that they are close relatives.

No other dynamic or trait should be assumed.

Here are some of the tips. Read them all here.

Do: Tell the person you're interested in early on. Try to drop it in casual conversation: "My husband and my girlfriend and I all saw that movie together, we really loved it." The earlier in the night you tell them about it, the longer you'll have to talk about it.

There is something to be said for simply being yourself, as in not hiding or avoiding something, rather than making some sort of formal announcement. Just about everyone, upon hearing something like the above, will note that something is “different,” provided they are getting the actual meaning of the world “girlfriend.” The person may get quiet as they process the information, or express confusion, or ask a question, which allows for reasonable discussion. It is much less likely the person will throw up their hands and call you sick.

Do: Answer any questions they might have! This is probably new to them, and even if it isn't, they might ask you questions about your relationship or partners. Questions are a good thing; at least they're not judging you.

Don't: Roll your eyes at questions you've probably heard a thousand times. No, it's not cheating; no, it's not polygamy; no, I don't sleep with animals. Just grin and bear it.

Being patient and gracious and gentle can do wonders not only for getting others to be understanding of your needs or relationship, but of polyamory in general and other relationships that are subject to discrimination.
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I'm Toying With the Blog's Look and Layout

Please do not adjust your screen. I'm toying with the blog's look and layout. The background is generic right now; perhaps something more specific and customized will be coming soon.
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Monday, August 29, 2011

Adult Cousins Jailed in Zimbabwe

Can you believe this?

A 39-year-old man and his 23-year-old cousin were on Tuesday thrown into jail for incest. Newman Moyo and Progress Mlalazi of Qhubekani Village in Filabusi pleaded guilty to charges of having sexual intercourse within a prohibited degree of relationship or incest when they appeared before Filabusi resident magistrate Shillah Nazombe.

First cousins, usually heterosexual couples, have the freedom to marry in much of the world, including some states in the US. It is quite common in some cultures. This is so absurd that these two are being prosecuted.

The magistrate convicted them before sentencing Moyo, who is married, to 12 months in jail. Four months were suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.

Assuming Moyo was cheating rather than in an open or polyamorous or dead marriage, it still shouldn't be a criminal matter.

Mlalazi was given an eight- month jail term of which two months were suspended for five years. The remaining six months were suspended on condition she performs 210 hours of community service at Sidzibe Clinic.

Did Moyo's spouse turn them in? We don't know for sure. We only know this...

On August 7, Moyo and Mlalazi’s grandfather, Sunboy Moyo suspected that Progress was pregnant. He interrogated her and she revealed that she had been impregnated by Moyo.

I don't know why this is a criminal matter.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

An Ally Makes a Case for Solidarity

Cory Brunson wrote about "Freethought and Polyamory on Campus."

In celebration and encouragement, i’d like to use my little podium to call on campus freethinkers to reach out to polyamorists both (a) as natural allies and (b) for critical engagement.

Here i want to plug a lot of other people’s ideas and point readers in lots of helpful directions, so i hope you’ll pardon the excessive link/text ratio. Other excellent websites are devoted to the issues — familiar and peculiar — facing polyamorists in various relationship configurations. I’m not a spokesperson for the movement and my experiences and opinions are precisely that. I should also emphasize that i see room only for us to step up outreach to women, people of color, queer and transpeople, and other marginalized demographics. I see confluence here, not competition.

He makes a sensible call to solidarity between polyamorous people and others who are discriminated against, noting that poly people tend to be open to solidarity.
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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Samoa Prosecuting Adults For Consensual Sex

What century is this this again? From Samoa...

A woman accused of having sex with her father has entered a guilty plea to incest in the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Patu Tiavae’su’e Falefatu Sapolu presided over the hearing on Monday.

That judge has to feel at least a little ridiculous presiding over a criminal trial about consensual sex.

The defendant, in her 30’s, appeared for mention where she pleaded guilty.

Incest carries a maximum jail term of seven years.

The woman and her father are both charged with incest.

While the daughter has already pleaded guilty, the father continues to deny the charges.

Seven years for consensual sex? This woman is certainly old enough to choose to have sex. Who is the victim???

The laws need to be changed so that an adult is free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with ANY consenting adults.
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Woman Arrested on Incest Charges in State of Washington

There are several news outlets reporting, but not much information.

A 36 year old Kennewick woman has been arrested for having sexual relations with her 16 year old biological son

Blanca Negrete was arrested following the investigation of recorded phone conversations of a sexual nature between her and her son while he was in the Benton-Franklin Juvenile Center. The investigation then revealed that Negrete and her son had been engaged in sexual activity since November of 2010.

The victim has since been released from juvenile detention and the suspect, Negrete is now being held at the Benton County Jail for incest, and communication with a minor for immoral purposes.

Notice that the charge is incest, rather than statutory rape. No information is given as to why the son was in a detention facility.

From another report

While the victim was incarcerated at the Benton Franklin Juvenile Justice Detention Facility, recorded phone conversations between the victim and his mom* were of a sexual nature.

So if they hadn’t said anything during the phone calls, she may have escaped prosecution.

Another report

A 36-year-old Kennewick woman is accused of sexually assaulting a teen boy from Connell since November.

Blanca Ester Negrete was arrested Tuesday by Kennewick police and booked into the Benton County jail on suspicion of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes and sexual assault.

I’m not sure why the reports stress that she is the biological mother; perhaps to make it clear that she’s not a stepmother or adoptive mother. No information is given to indicate she has been out of his life long enough for this to be a case of Genetic Sexual Attraction. Some state incest laws treat step or adoptive relationships the same as biological relationships when it comes to making incest a crime. From what is said about the phone conversations, it sounds like this was not a matter of forcible assault, but then a dependent minor child can be coerced through other means than physical force.

The focus of this blog has always been consensual relationships between adults. The age of consent in the state of Washington is 16, but with conditions. If someone is having sex with a 16 or 17-year-old, they can be no older than 60 months older than the younger person; she has violated this, if in fact they have had sex. They can’t be in a “significant relationship as defined” (my guess is that this was violated). Foster parents are also not allowed to have sex with their 16 or 17-year-old foster children, and school teachers and administration employees can’t have sex with their 16 or 17-year-old students. (So, if you’re 21, it is okay to have sex with a 16-year-old as long as you’re a complete stranger, but not if you’re, say, the aunt. That makes sense, right?)

It looks to me like she could be charged with statutory rape, and as I’ve said before, I would support enhancing such charges if they involve a guardian. Why have a separate law for incest that also criminalizes consensual sex between minors and between adults? The law should be there to discourage and provide restitution for, and protection from, things like sexual harassment, molestation, and assault, not to interfere with consensual sex, especially not in an inconsistent way.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Another Great Explanation and Defense of Polyamory

Here’s another introduction to polyamory, with common questions answered. If you read this blog regularly, you know a lot of this stuff already. But links like this one can be helpful in explaining polyamory to others.

Polyamory literally means "many loves", from the Greek word "poly" (many) and the Latin word "amore" (love). So, a polyamorous relationship is theoretically a romantic (and perhaps sexual) relationship in which there are more than two parties involved and all parties know of each other and consent to this kind of relationship. It is based on romantic love, where sexual activity may or may not be included. It is based on complete and utter honesty and freely flowing communication, and is, in essence, just like any other relationship, except more people are involved.

That’s a pretty good basic overview.

If you truly love someone, you don't want or need anyone else, so going to someone else for sex or love is wrong and it means you don't really love who you're with anymore.

I really love this statement because this is one of the most important obstacles you need to get through to understand polyamory. There are several models of love out there, but I'm going to discuss the two that the statement above points to. The first is the "starvation model", which says that once you love someone, in order to love someone else, you have to retract the love you have from the first person and place it to the second person. It's basically saying that love is an object or like money, because once you give this object or the money to someone, you have less (or none) to give to everyone else.

And this is just not true. Love is not money, love is not an object. Think of it this way. Do you only have one single friend that you love, or do you have more than one that you love differently, but still truly love? Do you only love one of your children with all of your heart, and leave your other one without affection, because you cannot possibly love both at the same time?

Very well said.

The second model is the "scarcity model" which says that once we fall in love with another person, the switch is turned off and we just physically cannot feel any other type of romantic emotion for anyone else until our emotions for the first person disintegrate. And that's just not true. Our emotions don't work as switches, they are more like a spectrum.

Well, you're just being selfish, because you're not choosing and you want them all and you just can't have your cake and eat it too.

How is giving your love and allowing your partner to love other people selfish? If anything, it is the least selfish kind of relationship.

There are selfish people in monogamous relationships and selfish people in polyamorous relationships, but polyamory is not selfish. Monogamy is great for those who need and want monogamy, and it isn't selfish either. What is selfish is to put yourself into a relationship in which you know you will not function well. For some, that is promising to be monogamous. For others, it is going along with polyamory even though you really need monogamy. (And some people are not in a condition to be in any relationship at all.)

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One Way to Help Things Change

One way to help bring about full marriage equality and related rights is through involvement and organization. Sex Positive St. Louis is an example. It started a little over a year ago.

Chris and his wife have lived in Maryland Heights for the past six years—they moved to the suburb the same month they wed.

He and his wife have been polyamorous for three years.

Chris met Holliday through a mutual friend about a year and a year-and-a-half ago, he said. He got involved with the group by going to Sex Positive’s happy hours. Sex Positive lets people explore their sexuality, he said. The people involved with Sex Positive don’t pass judgment, and Chris has made a lot of good friends in the group.

But despite that positive attitude within Sex Positive, some suburbanites are hesitant to join the lifestyle.

Socializing assists organization. If nothing else, it provides emotional support. Involvement can be tricky due to ongoing discrimination, which is one big reason some people have those hesitations.

Sex Positive uses new media to reach out to St. Louis. It has a Facebook page and Twitter account. Holliday said the group's Facebook page has been invaluable for posting events.

Once the events are posted, they leak around the Internet, she said.

Sex Positive also has a traditional website. The website is updated regularly and includes interviews, event updates and blog-type posts.

Holliday said the best way to get involved with Sex Positive is to look at the calendar and attend events.

She suggests those interested show up ready to have their lives changed.

One need not be polyamorous to support the rights of poly people, of course, and even if someone doesn’t want to engage in polyamory, it might be enlightening to meet up with those who are, in a setting in which they aren’t hiding the fact that they are. Polyamorous people also tend to be supportive of other adults in “forbidden” relationships or facing difficulties due to sexual orientation.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Update on Dubai Uncle-Niece Case

There’s been an update to a case out of Dubai that is either consensual consanguineous sex or rape, depending on whose account you believe. Earlier, the uncle in the case denied not only rape, but physical contact with his adult niece. The niece claimed she was raped. They were both charged with incest.

Dubai's highest court Monday upheld a lower court's ruling that a 23-year-old Emirati woman had consensual sex with her uncle, causing her to become pregnant.

The Dubai Cassation Court confirmed a three-month sentence imposed on the woman, A.A., after her appeal was rejected.

She should not have been charged with a crime at all, unless there was proof she filed a false rape claim. If this was consensual sex, it should not be a crime.

The Dubai Appeal Court in June sentenced the woman's 26-year-old Emirati uncle, a policeman, to one year in prison for having consensual sex with A.A.

If it was not rape, then he shouldn’t have been prosecuted.

The judge said the Cassation Court only looks into the legalities of the appellate verdict and not the crime itself.

Here’s how another news source covered this case

Court records said that in February 2010, KS took his niece from her work place at the Burj Khalifa, drove to a remote area in Al Warqaa, then had unprotected sex with her in the car.

AA, who said she was threatened by her uncle, discovered she was pregnant the month after the incident and called KS for help. She told prosecutors he promised to help her abort the pregnancy, but stopped answering her calls.

AA said she told her aunt, the suspect’s sister, who informed AA’s separated parents, records show.

Her father, AS, insisted on reporting the incident and took his daughter to Al Qusais police station in September 2010, when AA was seven months pregnant.

AA told prosecutors her uncle used to pick her up from work and take her to the deserted area to teach her how to drive.

I’m not too clear on what the official law is in regards to gender equality and rape in Dubai, nor the reality of how the culture actually functions, law or not. So I don’t have any idea if this was a consensual sexual relationship and she felt pressure to claim rape, or if this really was a rape, or what. Part of the problem with criminalizing consensual incest as a "sex crime" is that it trivializes the severity of real crimes such as assault, rape, and child molestation. It also gives someone facing criminal prosecution an incentive to claim they were forced into the "crime." Rape and assault are very serious violations of another person, and those who perpetrate such crimes should be dealt with severely. It is an insult to in any way equate consensual sex with rape. Part of the solution is dropping laws against consensual incest. This would help those who have been raped by close relatives from falling under suspicion of having violated the law themselves.
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Monday, August 22, 2011

The Love That Does Not Get Equal Time

Consensual incest, or what I refer to as consanguineous sex or consanguinamory, is underrepresented in major media, and when it is depicted, it is usually in a negative sense. I understand the father-daughter villains in the new "Conan the Barbarian" are presented as incestuous in a way to further their negative portrayal. (If you've seen it, please offer your thoughts.)

But when we get beyond the major media, what do we find? What do we find with user-driven content? A high percentages of searches online involve "incest." One of the most popular series of adult films has been the "Taboo" series, and at websites that feature written erotica, the most, or one of the most popular categories by authors and readers are the incest categories. There are ongoing, popular discussion forums on the subject.

Search question-and-answer sites such as Answerbag, Topix, Yahoo Answers, and GirlsAskGuys, and you'll find no small amount of interest, nor a small amount of claimed participation. Even if some claims are mere fantasy, the indication is that, as formal studies indicate, consanguineous experimentation and consanguinamory are not rare things, and there are many more people who are curious about it.

From the classic mythology of the past to fan fiction today, consanguinamory is something in which there is a high level of interest. There should be more and more positive depictions of consanguinamorous people in the major media.
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

It Is Simple

There are two main things that should determine what kind of personal relationship you'll enter into:

1. What you have to offer

2. Your needs and goals

Nobody else should interfere through law or bullying or discrimination.

That is why this blog argues against laws that criminalize or discriminate against consensual relationships between adults.

For some people, it is a same-sex monogamous marriage. For others, it is a triad marriage consisting of two men and a woman. Some people have found that the love of their life if a long-lost parent or sibling.

We all have our own personalities, our own capabilities, or own desires, our own life paths. I have seem people loudly announce their disgust at the abstract idea of actual relationships I have personally seen to be profoundly loving and beautiful. Someone else's love may seem strange to you, but you don't have to want something for yourself to understand that it is what someone else wants and needs. This is why, instead of arguing over arbitrary details, adults should be free to pursue love, sex, residence, and marriage with any consenting adults. Same-sex marriage should not be banned. Polyamorous homes should not be banned. Polygamous marriages should not be banned. Consanguineous relationships or marriages should not be banned. Let people have their love.
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Saturday, August 20, 2011

NPR Talks With Polygamists

It's a little under ten minutes of audio found at this link.

Talk of polygamy has spread nationwide, partly due to TV shows and news coverage of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs' sexual assault conviction. But some see polygamy as a lifestyle rooted in faith. Two open polygamists discuss why they've chosen such lifestyles, what burdens they bear, and how they feel about pop culture's depictions of polygamy.

Judging all poly people by the crimes of Warren Jeffs is like judging all women by the actions of Casey Anthony.
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Looking At Nonmonogamy From a Monogamist View

Although the focus of this blog is marriage equality, I make it clear that this blog supports the rights of adults to share their bodies, sex, and love as they want to with consenting adults outside of marriage without prosecution or persecution. Some people will exercise their rights by having open relationships. That is why I checked out this article out of New Zealand called “The Allure of Open Relationships” by Hugh Wilson.

In a nutshell, an open relationship means having one significant other, but still being able to sleep with other women.

Eh, more precisely, an open relationship means having at least one significant other, but being free to engage in some sort of sexual affection with other people yet to be determined. He or she is open to new partners, rather than in a closed relationship with one or more people.

The downside is that, if you demand that freedom, your significant other has the right to demand it too.

That’s not necessarily a downside. But just because one person in a relationship pursues or accepts sexual advances with additional people doesn’t mean anyone else in the relationship will want to do the same. Two people can certainly come to the agreement that they will continue to have sex with each other as they both seek sex elsewhere, but they can also agree that one of them will while the other one chooses not to. Plus, someone can ask that someone else only have sex with him or her, while he or she may pursue others; the other person can always decline such an agreement.

If you don't think open relationships are normal or natural, consider this. According to research, 95% of couples value monogamy, but a study by Washington State University found that, among their subjects, 27% of men and 18% of women had been unfaithful during their last relationship. Other studies show a much narrower gap between male and female infidelity.

That is the percentage of people who admit cheating. It doesn’t include the people who won’t admit it and all of the other nonmonogamy that isn’t cheating (one night threesomes, ongoing threesomes, swinging, swapping, polifidelity, etc.)

Not only might it be honest, some experts also believe it's more natural. For a start, humans are mammals, and the vast majority of mammals are not monogamous. In western civilisation, monogamy is the relationship norm. But that doesn't make it natural. Throughout history most humans have been polygamous. Most of that time, it means men have married multiple women.

I don’t think it is worthwhile to argue what’s natural for humans in this respect. I think it is clear from our collective human experience that some people are inherently incapable of being monogamous, to the point of being willing to suffer enormous penalties for not being monogamous. Lifelong monogamy is rare, but I wouldn’t doubt that it is the happiest relationship possibility for some other people. If we were going to base our laws and social conventions on what is natural, then we’d all be naturists (nudists) and none of us would be writing or reading blogs or using any electronics. I support naturism, but wouldn't want it to be mandatory or demanded because it is "natural." Studies indicate that we are naturally attracted to the look and smell of our close relatives, which is one reason why Genetic Sexual Attraction is so powerful.

Ultimately, however, monogamy serves some well. Polyfidelity serves some well. Open relationships serve some well.

From all that, an obvious question is why aren't more of us opting for open relationships? But then, perhaps more of us are. According to Tristan Taormino, the author of Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, "there are far more open relationships than you might think."

But monogamy is still the norm, aimed for, if not always achieved, by the vast majority of us.

Lifelong monogamy is far from the norm. Monogamy in any given time frame is common, and apparently the majority status, but some forms of nonmonogamy are also common enough to be norms.

Over 2,000 years of cultural indoctrination may help to explain that. We've been told for centuries by powerful figures that monogamy is the only acceptable kind of relationship. It's no surprise that the message has stuck. Still, there must be a reason monogamy, rather than polygamy, is preached from the pulpits, and indeed it does have its advantages.

Having the masses in nonconsanguineous heterosexual monogamy was convenient for authorities for many reasons, including reducing challenges to established power. Royalty retained power, in part, through polygamous and consanguineous marriages, and royalty does not like rivals or challengers.

Only by committing to one sexual partner (or more accurately, getting one partner to commit to them) can men be reasonably certain the offspring they are providing for are really their own.

So men who were concerned would insist on monogamy or polygyny. However, we now have contraception and genetic testing.

For many of us, an open relationship may be the fantasy that should stay in the box. It's certainly an alluring prospect, and monogamy may not be our natural state, but how many of us could really handle the alternative?

“Open” and “monogamy” are not the only options. However, I do agree that someone who has a need for monogamy should not compromise.
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Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Top Ten List of Consanguinamory in Fiction

The Mary Sue had “10 of Our Favorite Incestuous Relationships.”

So we decided to do a grid about incest, because who doesn’t love incest?

…Okay, everybody. Everybody doesn’t love incest.

No small percentage of the population today and throughout history has enjoyed consensual consanguineous sex, as everything from youthful experimentation to lifelong spousal-style consanguinamory.

In folklore, where the Greek and Egyptian pantheons are founded on incestuous couples, and incestuously romantic or born heroes abound, not to mention all the examples (or near examples) from the Bible. And we like to put it in our popular culture as well!

There’s a reason for that.

We’d like to thank our runners up, Revolutionary Girl Utena (disqualified not because it doesn’t totally have incest in it like ALL the time, but because we put RGU on almost every power grid), Veronica Mars (because wow, that was complicated), Back to the Future, and Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.

First up? Luke and Leia from “Star Wars.”

But we all know the canonical story of Luke and Leia, the one that gets as far a a bout of tonsil-hockey motivated more by trying to make the other guy jealous rather than deep romantic affection. Let’s talk about the story that was almost canon.

Published in 1978, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye is a Star Wars Expanded Universe novel set between the release of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, intended to pave the way for a low budget made-for-TV sequel, should A New Hope prove less than successful. Which is to say, it was written in that nebulous period where George Lucas wasn’t sure if he was ever going to get to make another Star Wars movie, let alone two. And so he hadn’t really figured out if he wanted Luke and Leia to be a romantic pair or a genetic pair.

Those two categories need not be mutually exclusive in real life, and don't need to be exclusive in fiction.

The list includes, among others, the Lannisters from Game of Thrones, characters from True Blood, and King Arthur and Mongrause.

What I want to see from mainstream media is a prominent, positive consanguinamorous relationship featuring admirable and sympathetic characters, whether it is based on Genetic Sexual Attraction or not. Such a relationship can draw and keep a large audience, and drama can be provided though struggles against unjust laws and disapproval from others.
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Consensual Polygamy is Not Abuse

Referring to Warren Jeffs, Lorne Gunter writes about not liking the FLDS, how things are in Bountiful, nor how the RCMP has responded to allegations of abuses.

But then again, dawdling has long characterized the way B.C. childwelfare officials and Mounties have treated allegations against Bountiful's domineering leaders. Fearful of upsetting the leaders' Charter right to religious freedom, police and bureaucrats have been slow to the point of inert when looking into complaints that children and women have been physically and psychologically abused there.

It would be easier for the authorities to investigate and prosecute abuse if marriages between adults were not criminalized. If adults were free to marry any consenting adults with government sanction and protection instead of prosecution, witnesses would be more forthcoming.

I can see where the courts might accept the argument that polygamy in and of itself is not abusive - that consenting adults could enter into such weird and creepy relationships of their own free-will.

“Weird and creepy?” I wonder what Gunter’s relationships and personal life are like, and if there are people who would think any aspect is weird and creepy? At least Gunter can see that courts might understand polygamy isn’t inherently abusive.

That commentary drew a letter from Nancy Mereska, president of Stop Polygamy in Canada. I can see Stop Domestic Violence or Stop Child Abuse, but Stop Polygamy? Why does Mereska care so much what relationships other consenting adults have? And does she really have it out for polygamy (would she be against, say, a woman marrying two women), or just polygyny? Anyway, in the letter she writes…

The international convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women discusses polygamy and says that parties should prohibit it because of its harm to women and children.

Isn’t is discrimination against women to tell them they can’t marry the person(s) they want?

The international Convention on the Rights of the Child says a child has a right to know its parents. In polygamy the father is absent.

With full marriage equality, polygamy could be a matter of law; polygamy means marriage. That’s hardly being absent. Notice she does not mention that it is perfectly legal for men to have children with multiple women, as long as he is only married to one at a time, if at all.

In polygamy, women's and children's rights are diminished measurably.

How so? She doesn’t say. She simply asserts it. And diminished compared to what? Certainly not women and children who have been abandoned by deadbeats.

It really isn’t complicated. An adult should be free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with any consenting adults. Domestic violence and child abuse should be prosecuted. What is the problem with taking an approach like that?
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Update on Pregnancy, and More

Pau has given an update on the situation she’s sharing with her half brother. They will soon move and be close to other family again, and they are having a wedding. The pregnancy is going well.

Went to the Dr last week and everything went well. We heard babys heartbeat which was cool. The midwife was really funny. It was the first time we met her and before finishing up she says....So is it something common in your family to sleep with relatives? LOL I should have said yes. But i didnt I explained that I was adopted and we met later in life.

It’s beautiful when a reunion ends up working out so well.

Then explained how he and I are completely madly forever in love and very happy and dont give a damn to some extent I suppose what others think. And she smiled and says its funny how life works but that she could obviously see the love between us. I am truly surprised at how many accepting people we have around us.

May they continue to have good news.

The more people who can see the love in consanguineous relationships, the better. It moves is towards full marriage equality.
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Dear Abby Gets a Polyamory Letter Again

The great resource Polyamory in the News tipped me off to a new Dear Abby discussing polyamory. She gave advice regarding polyamory late last year, too.

The writer, who I presume to be a female (because if the writer was male, that would have been mentioned,) has a husband and a boyfriend, and their V is ready to come out to the boyfriend’s family, having already come out to her own family and the husband’s family.

My husband and I have been together 10 years. We started out as swingers. When we met my now-boyfriend, it became apparent that it was going to be more serious than "play" partners. Our particular arrangement is a "V" triad, meaning I am involved with two (husband and boyfriend), but they are not involved with each other.

My boyfriend is extremely important to us in every way. We all work together to make a very smooth-running, loving household.

What are they dealing with?

My boyfriend's family is conservative and they know he lives with a married couple. We've all spent time together, and I think they like me. Of course, they don't know I'm romantically involved with their son.

Dear Abby wrote…

Because they are conservative, if I were you I wouldn't shatter their illusions. I can almost guarantee they won't embrace you for it. If you feel you must disclose the information, then do it in the same way that you have explained it to me. But don't expect them to jump for joy.

If they are generally conservative, then there is a greater chance they will be upset or even hostile. But some people who are generally conservative are accepting, even supportive, especially when it comes to someone they know on a personal level. That is one reason public polling is moving towards more and more support for marriage equality. The boyfriend’s family seems to like the writer, which is a good sign. If they are concerned, it may be so only in the sense of being protective of his interests. They may want to make sure that he’s not being slighted or disrespected. That’s actually an argument for marriage equality; to make sure the “third person,” or the secondary, has the option of being a legal spouse. Being conservative, they may be happier about the situation if they fully understand that the boyfriend is with someone who cares about them; this is not a casual sex situation.

Rather than making an announcement in a situation like this, perhaps a viable tactic is to simply stop hiding it from them. There’s a difference. Think about the very common scenario of parents of a young woman in a monogamous heterosexual relationship who'd rather not hear from her boyfriend "I'm having sex with your daughter," but they know full well he is, and they might not mind at all having them share a room on visits or family vacations, but they just don't want to talk about it. In the letter-writer's situation,  if the boyfriend's family is confused about anything, they can ask questions, especially if the writer, the husband, and the boyfriend give off the vibe that they are happy to answer questions and alleviate concerns.

As Poly in the News pointed out, Dear Abby is widely distributed, which means it gives polyamory a high level of exposure to be featured in the column. The more that people see polyamory is an option and is right for some people, the better.
— — —

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Polyamorous People Should Not Have to Hide

Anonymous wrote in response to a recent entry

A better question might be why do polyamorous individuals internalize the condemnation of society and the state? Why do they fret upon it when it is so easily avoided? Demanding acceptance from others betrays a lack of self acceptance without which no level of external validation will ever be enough.

While I agree that relationships should stand or fall on their own merits, and that to a certain extent individuals must believe in themselves regardless of what others say, it is recognized that discrimination, harassment, slurs, and bullying are injurious to people. Anyone who has faced these things on account of who they are or the person(s) they love can vouch for this. This is why in many places, including where I live, when someone is treated unfairly or is subject to negative comments in the workplace because of their race or a disability (to name just two), the law doesn’t say “Get over it.” No, the law often sees to it that they are protected and, perhaps compensated.

In many places, these protections are not yet extended to polyamorous or polygamous relationships, though they may be extended to same-sex monogamous relationships. The law does not recognize and in some cases criminalizes polyamory, providing needless burdens and obstacles and inequality in treatment, let alone failing to protect against discrimination and bullying.

It is a matter of civil rights. Throughout the history of the struggle for civil rights, those who have been mistreated could have accepted their lot in life rather than working for change. Women could have accepted that they couldn’t vote. African-Americans could have accepted that they had to go to inferior schools, drink from a different fountain, and give up their seat in the front of the bus. But they didn’t, and we’re all better off for it. We are all going to be better off when an adult can share love, sex, and marriage with any consenting adults, as fewer people will be frustrated, cheating, or hiding, and more people will be happy and have the stability they want.

This is about freedom and equality. Every person should have it.
— — —

20/20 in New Zealand to Feature Genetic Sexual Attraction

It will be airing Thursday 18th August 2011, 9.30pm TV2

The show follows a group of everyday people who have found themselves in a passionate affair with a long lost sibling, or parent they thought they had lost through adoption.

With the rise in sperm donation, and children of adoption growing into adults, and seeking birth parents, this is a story that could become more common.

Most of the people 20/20 speaks with are in hiding, but others are starting to speak out about their relationships, and are fighting for the right to stay together.

Genetic Sexual Attraction is almost always a very painful experience, as people experience a very intense attraction unlike anything they’ve felt before, often without warning. Sometimes the attraction is not mutual (which is always painful), sometimes it is. Mutual attraction can be especially problematic when there are existing vows and commitments to others that make acting on the attraction cheating of otherwise problematic. Sometimes those experiencing mutual attraction have negative feelings due to personal or external disapproval of consanguinamory, and there are many places where consanguinamory is a criminal offense.

It is the position of this blog (and many people who realize what century this is) that consenting adults should be free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage regardless of their biological relation, and as such, those experiencing GSA should be able to live openly in consanguinamorous relationships or find other ways of dealing with their attraction without interference from the law.
— — —

Monday, August 15, 2011

Another Columnist Asks Why Polygamy is Banned

Nelson Jones asked, “Should the state sanction or condone polygamous unions?”

He starts off by citing the Jeffs trial, but then gets more well-rounded in his approach…

More than 80 per cent of societies listed in the Ethnographic Atlas accepted polygamous unions. Of course, the balance of the sexes means that most marriages, most of the time, will be monogamous. But the concept that monogamy is the only natural or morally allowable type of union is a fairly recent and specifically Western one.

Various forms of polygamy have been around throughout all of human history.

The marriage/civil partnership system discriminates, more clearly than marriage alone, against those who prefer to live in non-couple relationships -- including polygamous Muslims, polygamous Mormons, polyandrous Tibetan Buddhists (if any such exist in this country) and polyamorous hippies.

There are people who don’t match any of those descriptions who are polygamous or polyamorous.

There seems little reason in logic for the current legal position.

There isn’t; not if we take the freedoms of consenting adults and the notions of equal treatment under the law seriously.

Why not recognise polygamous marriages, and indeed any other form of intimate union that people wish to enter into?

That’s a good question.

In a liberal society, it is no business of the state's how people conduct their private lives. Some object to polygamy out of the belief that it disadvantages women. But that is not necessarily the case. Some women may actively prefer to be part of a polygamous household, which can have distinct advantages (for example, sharing the burden of childcare) over the standard monogamous unit. As long as there is no coercion involved, the most serious downside may well be in the state's refusal to recognise polygamy and thus give all partners equal rights.

He’s obviously referring to polygyny when he writes of polygamy.

Responding to that, and to an angry comment by a woman who is against polygamy (or at least polygyny), Richard wrote…

The only experience I have of multiple relationships is a friend of mine who is in a polyamorous relationship consisting of three women.

Do please tell me how legal recognition of that relationship favours men?

If one wants to argue that polygyny favors men, that is one thing, even though there are women who sincerely and independently want that. But to argue against allowing women as well as men to marry the persons they want, regardless of gender, on the grounds of it somehow being bad for women, is ridiculous. We see this over and over, with someone asserting that a woman couldn’t possibly want the marriage they are being denied by law, when there are intelligent women capable of taking care of themselves who really do want the law to recognize their marriage, whether it is to one woman, or two men, or her own father.

An ADULT should be free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with ANY consenting ADULTS. Consent is only possible with gender equality under the law, protection against domestic violence, and the freedoms to divorce or NOT marry at all.
— — —

Leave Brooke Hogan Alone

Here we area again, with someone questioning whether famous adults have an “incestuous” relationship. This time, it Brooke Hogan and her father. As reported in The Sun

The star was forced to defend her bond with the ex-wrestler on Twitter following suggestions there was something sick about her closeness with her father.

The snide rumours were fuelled by Brooke taking her dad to the unveiling of a series of shots of her modelling naked for animal rights charity PETA.

Hulk, real name Terry Gene Bollea, had pretended to be embarrassed by the black-and-white snaps of his daughter writhing around naked in a cage last Thursday.

Mind you, or many years, he put his own body on display wearing nothing more than skimpy tights and boots. And don’t these gossips realize that there are many naturists who hang out in the buff with family members? Are they criticizing all of them, too?

In 2008, Hulk drew criticism after being snapped applying sunscreen to his daughter's backside.

The Hogans may or may not have a “sick” relationship. I don’t know; I don’t know them, nor have I communicated with them. But there’s nothing wrong with him seeing her in this PETA campaign, nor should anyone have a problem with them being affectionate, seeing each other nude, or even consanguinamorous. They are adults. Consanguinamory is not sick. Abuse is sick.

I have written about these sorts of things here, here, and here.
— — —

Oppose Abuse, Support Love

I advocate for the rights of consenting adults to love, sex, residence, and marriage, including in the form of same-sex relationships, polyamorous relationships (more than one partner) and consanguinamorous relationships (close relatives), otherwise known as incest.

I vehemently condemn rape, sexual assault, and coercion against anyone of any age, and I vehemently condemn adults and significantly older minors molesting or having sex with minors. Child abuse is unacceptable. Forcing children into “marriage” with adults is unacceptable.

There’s a difference between fun sex, loving sex and abuse . Unfortunately, both are often lumped together under the word “incest.” There’s no comparison. A parent, grandparent, or some other older relative molesting a child should bring severe criminal sentences. A loving and consensual sexual relationship between adult siblings or between a parent and adult children shouldn’t be criminal and should be eligible for marriage.

Likewise, some have tried to depict polygamy as a certain form of patriarchal polygyny between older men and minor girls. A man “marrying” multiple minor girls (or just one) should be locked up. An adult man and two adult women choosing to build a life together should have their marriage recognized by the law, if that is what they choose. The same goes for three women, or two men and a woman, and others.

Rape, assault, and molestation are and should be crimes, as they are perpetrated against someone who doesn’t or is unable to consent to being sexually touched. But while some rape is incestuous, not all incest is rape or molestation. Consensual incest is an expression of love, and it should not be a crime.

If you have been attacked, assaulted, raped, or molested, please know that you are not alone and there is help. You should not be ashamed. Your attacker should be ashamed, and convicted, whether a family member, a stranger, or someone somewhere between.

One of the groups that can help is RAINN - Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network. Yes, the name does nothing to remove the negative connotation from “incest,” but they can still be helpful.

Another resource is Survivors of Incest Anonymous. Again, I wish the name was different, but I’m just glad there is help for anyone who was raped or molested by a family member.

Perhaps you have been experiencing some attraction to a family member, especially one you were previously separated from for a long time. Or, perhaps you aren’t but know of a family member who is feeling that way towards you or someone else. Whether those feelings are wanted, unwanted, or you’re not quite sure, you can find some support, sympathy, and advice at the GSA website.

But if you have, or are, experiencing attraction and love with a consenting family member, or have chosen a polyarmorous relationship, don’t let anyone put you down or interfere with your happiness. While we have a ways to go to reach equality under the law, consanguineous love and polyamory can be a beautiful things. In a world with abuse, bitter family rifts, estrangement, and rampant divorce, we should never discourage loving intimacy.

(This is adapted from my page Against Abuse.)
— — —

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Let's Make It Happen Sooner Rather Than Later

If you support full marriage equality and the general right of consenting adults to share love, sex, and residence, you can support these rights in any number of ways.

Promote full marriage equality On Facebook:

Group: I Support Full Marriage Equality!

Causes: I Support Full Marriage Equality!

Solidarity - Support people in your life who are LGBT, polyamorous, or in consanguineous relationships, especially if they are being discriminated against or rejected or are somehow struggling. Support from family members and friends is especially helpful.

Seek Organized Help and to Help – There are various civil rights and sex-positive organizations and events that already exist that should, in solidarity, welcome you if you need help or want to help. Your local Gay-Straight Alliance, PFLAG, or other LGBT group or event is one place to go. Some there might not be welcoming of poly or consang people, but others might have a sense of solidarity. (I will not financially support any organization or event that doesn’t support full marriage equality; equality just for some is not equality.) If you are an organizer, make sure you are being inclusive and showing solidarity.

Academic Research – Support and participate in research related to these matters, or, if you are a researcher or professor, consider related topics for research.

Vote – Support these rights with your vote.

Legislation – Ask your legislators to support privacy and freedom for consenting adults; ask them to repeal senseless laws against victimless crimes like polyamory and consensual consanguineous relationships. If you are a legislator, put together a bill that repeals outdated and unjust laws that tie up needed resources.

Law Enforcement/Court Cases – Don’t arrest and don’t prosecute people for victimless crimes like consensual private sex. If you are on a jury, nullification is an option, which means finding someone not guilty even if they have broken the law, beause the law is injust.

Media Feedback and Appearances – Thank media companies whose productions support these rights, and admonish those whose productions perpetuate prejudice and bigotry. Speak with the media to promote marriage equality, after preparing.

Speak Up – Support these rights in online comments and discussions, calls to talk shows, letters to editors, and so on. Answer polls and surveys in which you can express your support for these rights. Speak up in personal conversations when the topic or related topics come up; let people know you support the rights of consenting adults to pursue happiness.

Be mindful of terminology being used. Draw clear distinction between child abuse (child brides, child molestation) and consensual relationships. Do not let people equate, for example, adult siblings in a consensual relationship to rape of a minor child by a parent. Call out anyone who neglects solidarity by throwing others under the bus.

Share This Blog! – Spread the word about this blog. Follow us and link to us.

Tell Us! – Alert us to something we’ve missed, alert us to the existence of your blog, tell us what you think, or share your personal experiences with us.

Full marriage equality will happen. But we need your help to get there sooner rather than later.

(This has been adapted from my page How You Can Help.)

— — —

Friday, August 12, 2011

Coming Out As Poly When Monogamous Fronts Are Expected

Once again, I direct you to Polly’s great blog. This time, she wrote about “Coming out and out and out,” explaining that coming out is a process, not an event.

I have found that I no longer think of my family as a big deal, so when I mention my two partners off-handedly to people who don't know us, I get some strange looks. And I end up having to backpedal a bit, and decide whether I will fill in the blanks for them. Sometimes I have conversations that are annoying (like the one I mentioned in my last post), and sometimes people are amazingly good at going with the flow. Occasionally, I am aware of active hostility towards our family style, and that I am being labeled as The Slippery Slope Result They Warned Us About. Interestingly, we've had the most difficulty in our extended family circles, and almost complete ease with our friends. Strangers are a mixed bag.

I’ll get back to that below.

I recently registered our children for school and sports and such, and it's always a challenge to make it clear that we have three responsible adults at home, while trying to fit our information into forms that make monogamous assumptions. I end up putting one adult or another into the area reserved for ex-husbands or wives who should be kept in the loop about a child's activities, but putting the same address and contact information down.

I’m thinking forms like those should be organized with “First Contact, Second Contact, Third Contact, and Fourth Contact,” or something like that, which could fit not only poly people, but when there are two legal parents and two stepparents. There could also be a box to check that indicates which of the contacts MUST be contacted.

Read the whole thing, especially if you want a sense of what polyamorous people, especially parents, have to deal with every day because of assumptions that everyone is monogamous (even though we all know people don’t really believe that just about everyone is monogamous.)

The subtle/gentle approach to coming out to someone close or to a group can be good.

There are some people who will be disgusted, and may even rudely express their disgust or disapproval. There's no pleasing such narrow-minded finger-waggers, no matter how gently you speak the truth about yourself.

Others may be caught off guard and might be clumsy in their initial reaction, but the more they think about it, the more friendly and supportive they are. That is why full marriage equality will happen.

Some people just do not care either way. All they care about if whether your presence makes life more difficult for them or not. ("As long as you don't smell bad and aren't otherwise annoying, I don't care!")

And then there the people who immediately say "Cool!" or "I knew it!" or... even... "Hey, you're like us!"

It is still hard for most LGBT people to come out; they still face much backlash. However, LGBT and civil rights organizations have amassed much experience that can be of help to polyamorous people and consanguinamorous people when coming out, so anyone who wants to come out, whether as LGBT, poly, and/or consanguinamorous, should learn from those who have gone before.
— — —

Religion and Sex

Macha over at Life As a Reader takes a look at religions getting into your bedroom and policing people’s genitals.

I don't mean to say that a system of morality wouldn't of course say something about sexual responsibility, or that religions who profess themselves to be founded in an ethical philosophy shouldn't have anything to say on the subject, but I find it interesting that such incredible specificity of what is right and wrong sexually, where other matters of morality are left open to interpretation a great deal more.

Yes, this one area does seem to warrant much attention.

Macha strikes the heart of the matter with this, I think…

Why would a religion seek to control or have influence in this aspect of human experience? Because of its importance to each person. If you can control who gets to have sex and when, if you connect sexuality to salvation if you convince them that only you have the knowledge that makes their sexuality permissible, people will do anything to please you.

It is no coincidence that so many iron-fisted religious leaders turn out to be rapists and molesters.

It is extremely unusual, and for most people unnatural, to go through life without sex. There are people who have little or no interest or drive, and they should be allowed to live their lives that way (as opposed to being harassed into marrying or partnering.) But most people need sex for their well-being.

A significant percentage of the population does not fit into the heterosexual, monogamous, etc. box, and trying to is going against their most basic nature as people.

Wherever the population has the freedom of and from religion, it is fine with me if a religion has highly restrictive sex rules for followers. If an adult wants to subject themselves to that, that’s their choice.

But when it comes to children who do not have a choice, it can get to be abusive... being taught to be ashamed of their bodies, that enjoying the beauty of others is bad, that masturbation is wrong, that fantasies are wrong, that every sexual act must be for the purpose of making a baby within a monogamous marriage (older or otherwise infertile couples who are married followers get a pass as long as they act like they're going to make a baby, even though they can’t), that even kissing before marriage is wrong, that being LGBT is wrong, that being polyamorous is wrong, that mutual, consensual exploration between siblings close in age is grounds for banishment/prosecution/therapy/drugging/whipping... virtually nobody in the world is going to meet all of those restrictions.

And so, many followers in such repressive traditions are hoping that by not questioning the religious leaders, their "sins" will be excused.

There are some great churches and temples and everything else out there, of course, that are not like that, and if someone needs a weekly session at a church or temple of whatever, and they don’t fit into the small box, they should go to one of those accepting faith communities.
— — —

Thursday, August 11, 2011

He’s on Cloud Nine

Below is my interview with “cloudnine” about his consanguinamorous relationship. He notes that some of his answers are graphic (though I don't think they are all that graphic), but he felt like he had to tell it “like it really is.”

— — —

Full Marriage Equality is Better For Society

Arthur Dobrin references the conviction (on sexual assault charges) of Warren Jeffs and asks, “What’s Wrong With Polygamy?” Child abuse is wrong; polygamy is not, provided the adults entering into it are doing so by choice.
There is no defense for sexual assault, whether it is with a spouse or stranger, someone of legal age or a minor. So the conviction is valid and there is no standing behind the defense of freedom of religion. Religious freedom only goes so far; it doesn’t cover assault.

This should make sense to anyone.

But what about polygamy, the aspect of the case that made it headline-worthy, which has been banned in the United States by a unanimous Supreme Court decision in 1878? The FLDS is not alone in wanting to legalize polygamy here. The Libertarian Party wants to decriminalize it in the name of freedom.

Many other people do, too. Keep in mind polygamy is more than just polygyny.

Dobrin goes on to write about how, in some places, marriage seems to be customary mostly for reproduction and the spouses are usually closer to, and generally more affectionate with, other people, such as friends and siblings, than each other.

Polygamy was still fairly widespread when I lived in Kenya. I knew one man—the wealthiest person in the district—who had thirteen wives. I found nothing inherently wrong with such an arrangement. The problems were practical ones, not theoretical. The questions about polygamy were whether all the wives were treated fairly, whether each was treated with dignity and respect.

Monogamy is often executed poorly, but that doesn’t mean it should be banned.

Somehow, this is the conclusion reached…

In the Reynolds decision, the Court said, “Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order.” Given what I know from experience, polygamy would not lead to the furtherance of social duties or contribute to good order. Let the laws against polygamy remain as they stand.

What? Maybe I missed something, but the last two sentences didn’t follow from the rest of the article. Polygamy can further social duties and contribute to good order, especially if it reduces cheating, divorce, and absentee parenting/abandonment. Let adults enter into the marriages they want, with the spouses they want. There will be more stability, more happy people, less cheating, fewer people trying to force themselves to be something they’re not, and fewer people used as beards. It will also be easier to get witnesses to come forward and prosecute abusers.
— — —

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Another Person Notices That Consanguinamory Should Be Legal

Jamie Fairlie asked, “Why is Incest Illegal?”

It is the position of this blog that there should not be a law against incest per se, so as to punish consanguineous sex and consanguinamory, but rather charges of child molestation or rape of a minor should be enhanced if perpetrated by a guardian. Consensual experimentation between minors close in age, and consensual sex between adults should not be a crime.

But let's see what Fairlie wrote, prompted by the father-daughter couple recently sentenced in the UK.

The judge said when sentencing them that “There appears to have been a relationship that involved genuine affection,” but then went on to say that it was “abhorrent to society at large.” Why is this being deemed as acceptable?

If the ongoing fight for LGBT rights has taught us anything it is that no matter what the opinion of society at large is about certain sexual practices they should still be legal between consenting adults. To say that an activity is not something you would wish to partake in yourself should be illegal when it does not affect anyone beyond those taking part is simply bigotry.

Right. It is Discredited Argument #3.

As far as I can tell there are two arguments those who support the current incest laws use to back up their position. The first is that it makes it easier to convict people in the case of non-consensual abuse. This argument clearly makes no sense. Non-consensual sexual abuse is already illegal. If there are problems obtaining convictions then there is a serious problem, but it will not be remedied by making something else unrelated illegal. It would be like making jay-walking illegal in order to make murder prosecutions easier.

Good point.

But it becomes worse than illogical when someone who has not committed an abuse is prosecuted and ends up in prison – it becomes unjust. Failure and laziness on the part of prosecutors and legislators to properly address a problem has lead essentially innocent people being jailed.

People are being jailed because they love each other.

The second argument against incest is that any resulting offspring from such a union would have a higher chance of having a disability.

That is Discredited Argument #18.

This line of argument has a name: eugenics.

The idea that a particular person or couple should be banned from breading on the basis of the lightly genetic health of their offspring has been around for a long time. It is, however, widely recognized as an abhorrent restriction of a person’s freedom and human rights. If we invoke this as an argument for the continued ban of incest then surely we must extend it to other individuals and couples who have similar or higher chances of producing disabled children. I for one find that suggestion horrific.

Nobody should be banned from breading; I like bread. It is yummy. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Our prisons are full. We are spending an inordinate amount of money on them while simultaneously cutting vital public services. Why are we still locking people up for who they want to have sex with?

Jealousy, envy, arrogance, ignorance, irrational fear.

— — —

Another Person Discovers Polyamorous People Aren't Shallow

Tricity Vogue takes a general, introductory look at polyamory.

Polyamorous relationships are uncategorisable by their very nature, coming in an infinite variety of combinations, but the one thing they all have in common is that they’re not monogamous.

And that they are conducted under the informed consent of all involved.

This doesn’t mean that polyamorists are all commitment-phobes. Quite the reverse, in fact. In the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section of alt.polyamory serial monogamy is referred to as ‘trading people in and out like baseball cards,’ whereas polyamory means ‘not refusing commitments because something better might come loping down the path’: in other words, more commitment rather than less, because you’re committed to more than one relationship.

Most polyamorous people are not superficial people. In fact, they are more willing to “take a chance” on someone who might not turn their head at first glance, and in doing so, may find a lifelong love with whom they have a wonderful relationship. Conversely some monogamists won’t consider someone they don’t find highly physically attractive at first glance, because they are expecting one person to meet all of their needs, and they see their One And Only Partner's physical attractiveness as a reflection or indication of their own. Most of us have known someone, who for at least part of their life, was unhappily single because he or she refused to risk developing an emotional attachment to someone who didn’t meet their ideal look. In some poly relationships, you have the ability to still be open to finding that “eye candy,” who may also turn out to be a good companion.

Coming out as a polyamorist is not unlike coming out as gay. In some ways, poly people are even more marginalised in society, since civil partnerships can only be made between two people, and you can only have one legal next-of-kin. Social systems are set up for singles or couples, and polyamory is outside most people’s frame of reference.

So true. “Singles or couples” is the assumption made.

After reading and talking about polyamory, I’ve come away with the impression of a group of people who are thoughtful, fair-minded, diplomatic, and, most of all, honest. Not all their relationships work out, but they think it’s worthwhile to keep trying, because they believe in what they’re doing. Polyamorists are pioneers, explorers. And whether or not we follow them down the path they’re taking, the things they’re finding out at the coalface of relationship experimentation can be applied to all bonds, whether sexual or not. After all, if you believe, as polyamorists do, that intimate relationships are equally valid whether or not they include sex, then more or less all of us are polyamorous in one sense. Anyone who’s got a close friend who knows them inside out, and who they’d drop anything for, has already got a relationship just as important as the one with the person they happen to have sex with. That’s if you look at it from outside the monogamous romantic model that most of us have accepted from childhood.

The more people give fair consideration to polyamory and talk with someone they know is polyamorous, the more polyamorists will be free instead of discriminated against and marginalized.
— — —

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Going Casual

While I argue for freedom for consenting adults when it comes to law, discrimination, and bullying, including the freedom to casual sex, I don’t personally endorse nor discourage casual sex. I strongly endorse communication, NOT violating existing vows, and taking precautions. Looks like Erica Chase thinks along these lines, too. She wrote about considerations to make when it comes to casual sex, including that different people mean different things by “casual,” which is one reason why communication is important.

Some people think of casual as “we are sleeping together and I can sleep with other people,” while others are more of the variety “if we want to sleep with other people, we split with no hard feelings.” Still, fewer think that casual means “I have a significant other, but we are in an open relationship, and we’re casual so you don’t really need to know about them.”

Talk it over…

If you want to enter into a casual relationship with a clear conscience, make sure you are up front with the other person if you are sleeping or intend to sleep with someone else. This allows the other person to give informed consent.

Protect the friendships you value…

Jumping into bed with your friend may seem like a great idea when it’s late and you’re lonely, but taking a few minutes for conversation can save a lot of heart ache.

While you may think that everything is casual, your friend may be looking for more. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Being honest with yourself about what you are looking for from your friend is important as well. Lying to yourself about what you want, or sleeping with a friend in the hopes that sex will make them change their mind about you is both manipulative and likely ineffective.

She writes much more, and if casual sex is something you are considering (or already doing), it is worth a read.

There’s a stereotype that men enjoy casual sex and women don’t. This is a very broad generalization. Men in general may find it easier to enjoy casual sex without negative emotions, but some men find they need exclusive, committed, serious relationships to enjoy sex, and some women thoroughly enjoy casual sex at one time or another in their life. Some people try to make women feel guilty, usually while leaving men alone when it comes to the issue. That’s part of the tendency of some people to play sex police and try to manipulate others. If someone, regardless of gender, finds that casual sex is not for them, he or she should be supported by true friends in making corresponding decisions. (For example, do not let them run off with a stranger after they've both gotten a little drunk.) But if someone finds it is something they enjoy and it meets their current needs, they should not stick around for finger-wagging by anybody.
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Monday, August 8, 2011

Clarissa is An Ally

Clarissa, who explains that she is very much monogamous if she is in a relationship at all, responds to a reader’s question asking for her opinion on polyamory

I could never be in a polyamorous relationship, just like I could never be in a lesbian relationship. I do, however, firmly believe in everybody’s right to find sexual happiness and fulfillment the way they want. For me, polyamory is neither better nor worse than monogamy. It’s a way of being that other people prefer and that makes them happy. And I celebrate that.

Thank you, Clarissa! If only more monogamists took this approach.

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Still Fighting Against Bigotry and For Civil Rights

Jacquie Georges writes about “Black LGBT Marriages and Interracial Marriage.” She starts off referencing a September 2010 piece, and explains she had to be more reserved in that piece. She is blunt in this more recent writing, calling on African-Americans to support the same-sex freedom to marry.

Every argument I heard against interracial coupling is similar to the argument against LGBT coupling-the worrying about the children being raised by such coupling, the fact that it’s against “nature” and “God” plans, it will affect society, and the “destruction” of family values (my head is echoing “blah, blah, blah, and blah”). The pagan half of me that was raised as a child (paternal side) told me that LGBT is as natural as being heterosexual. Being raised by my pagan father allowed me to be exposed to gods, goddesses, lwas, and spirits, who are LGBT and had many different marriages and unions that are acceptable.

The arguments against marriage equality haven’t changed much over the years.

As black, heterosexual marriage to “each other” (among black folks) and “outside each other” (among other ethnic groups) became our civil right, so, too, is it with LGBT black folks. As our ancestors did not ask opponents for recognition of their marriage to believe in their way or perception of god or marriage; they simply asked that it be respected. It is the same for LGBT and interracial couples, just respect it –you don’t have to understand it or agree with it.

Allow others to have the marriages that are best for them; the marriages they want. How does it hurt anyone else is two African-American sisters and a Latino man enter a triad marriage?

One minute, the social conservative black community are wagging their finger of DL (gay and lesbians who are “closeted”, down low, and marrying heterosexuals to forge “security” and societal acceptance) for reckless sex practices (since safe sex practices are rarely talked about) that infects many AA, particularly women, with HIV/AIDS and then, the next, they want LGBT to deny who they are and “choose” and/or “practice” a heterosexual “lifestyle.” If that is not disassociation compounded with multiple personality disorder, then I don’t know what is. One minute, they want LGBT to “come out” and the next, they want them to “stay in.” It is likewise with marriage. One minute, they want society to endorse marriage as a “healthy” relationship and children “need” a two-parent home. The next, “Wait, the two-parent home must be the same race/religion/gender/class/creed.” Moreover, there is a list of “what is not.”

Stop oppressing people, forcing them into the closet. Stop denying people who want to get married that legal freedom. You'll see more stability, and more children raised with more loving parents.
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Some Young Women Can and Do Consent to Sex

I welcome comments, including ones disagreeing with what I write. But in commenting, someone may expect a response, sometimes in the form of a whole new entry. This is one of those times.

Anonymous left a comment on this entry, which is one about the "Steve Wilkos Show" featuring a father-daughter couple.

As I wrote in that entry…

Britney was 18 when she began having sex with Morgan after being reunited with him. That makes her an adult. She can consent to have an abortion at an age younger than that. She can sign up to serve in our armed forces. Either we take the age of consent laws seriously or we don't. Either we say an adult woman can make her own decisions or we don't. Either we take the freedom of consenting adults seriously or we don't. Which is it going to be?

Macha made a great comment...

I think this is partly rooted in the prejudiced and false belief that women (especially young women) don't want and aren't interested in sex, so if a younger woman is in a sexual relationship with an older man, she must have been coerced, ergo the man is just an abuser. Our society doesn't want women to have the power to consent. We perpetually deny the possibility that women have the ability to make conscious and deliberate choices about their sex lives, infantilizing them from womb to tomb.

Now let’s look at the comment left by Anonymous…

Essentially, you guys are supporting incest with the justification of "love".

We support the rights of an adult to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with ANY consenting adults. Consensual interactions between adults should not need justification. Those who want to restrict such interactions should be the ones explaining why such restrictions are necessary.

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lesbians Have Voices. And Sex.

Stephanie Schroeder asks, "When Will Gay Men Shut Up and Listen?" The explanation:

Writer Stephanie Schroeder says it's time to end the myth that lesbian relationships begin with a U-Haul truck and end in sexlessness.

I don't think it is gay men that perpetuate that myth. I think people of various genders and orientations have kept that myth alive. But then I don't pay as much attention to gay media as the writer.

By the tenor and content of many gay media reports today, it appears as if the conversation in the queer community about sex is only by and about gay men like Dan Savage, and (somehow) by extension, how perhaps straight couples are learning new models of partnership from gay men’s relationships.

In reality, queer women are indeed talking about the same things gay men are talking about vis-à-vis sex and relationships. And it’s more likely that lesbian-feminist thought and action is as much (or more) of a template for “alternative” sexual habits among heterosexuals than gay male sex/relationship rituals ever were.

Uh-oh. Play nice!

When Sapphic-leaning sisters are sitting around talking, rest assured we are often discussing sex and relationships, and likely even lusting after the gal sitting next to us. Lesbians and bisexual women at, for example, the annual Scholar and Feminist Conference at the Barnard Center for Research on Women, or even the annual Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, are continually thinking about, theorizing, and telling the truth about queer female relationships, both in the home and between the sheets. And we are pursuing those relationships—whether casual, committed, or anywhere in between.

Duly noted.

Susie Bright a pioneering sexpert in the queer women’s community, is still writing about sex and monogamy and the falsehoods of relationships for the Huffington Post—and she does so by including sexuality issues relevant to lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals, something gay columnists like Savage rarely do.

There’s also lesbian Felice Newman and queer sexpert Tristan Taormino (whose Village Voice column ran for a decade), and bisexual Betty Dodson (who has been peddling her feminist sex education for women for six decades). There are dozens of books published between these three women alone.

And, after “having sex with 3,452 men, 371 women, and 83 1/2 trans people,” Annie Sprinkle came out as eco-sexual, a bent that’s interesting to say the least. Her eco-sexual wedding to another woman, Elizabeth Stephens, and their post-queer “sexecology” philosophy (exploring the places where sexology and ecology overlap) is ripe for broader cultural interpolation and interpretation about women and sexuality.

She has plenty of say. She's tired of marginalization. I definitely support diverse lesbian voices getting a platform. I don't think any prominent gay men need be silenced to do this. The more the merrier, and hopefully, the more freedom to marry, as well!
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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Equality Just For Some is Not Equality

Kudos to the American Psychological Association for calling for the legalization of (some) same-sex marriages.

This is a freedom to marry: the same-sex freedom to marry.

Dr. Clinton Anderson, APA associate executive director, said that the timing of the resolution is an indirect result of several states' legalization of marriage.

"We knew that marriage benefits heterosexual people in very significant ways, but we didn't know if that would be true for same-sex couples," said Anderson, who is also director of the APA's Office on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns.

Now that six U.S. states permit same-sex marriage, researchers have been able to conduct studies with those couples.

This is widely being called support for full marriage equality, because it supports marriage over civil unions. However, it isn't really full marriage equality as there would still be same-sex couples who could not legally marry; cousins, for one example, or closer same-sex couples brought together through Genetic Sexual Attraction. Also, this still denies poly people the right to marry the persons they love.

Equality just for some is not equality. We need full marriage equality so that an adult can marry any consenting adults.
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Friday, August 5, 2011

More Details of Prosecuted Consanguinamorous Relationship

Here's more coverage of the Butler-Yates sentencing for consensual sex.

The headline gets it right: "Man jailed for sex with consenting daughter."

Andrew Butler, 47, was jailed for 10 months and ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years after reuniting with Nicola Yates, 26, who he had not seen in 20 years.

Sex offender? What danger is he to anyone?

The latest charges come after Yates moved into Butler's home in 2008. She had told her family that she had a new boyfriend but did not reveal his identity.

Her step-sister Natalie went through Yates' mobile phone during a visit to their house and found sexually explicit photos of the couple.

Invasion of privacy, that snoop.

She showed the pictures to Yates' mother who recognised Butler and reported him to police.

Jealousy, much?

Officers arrested the pair in September last year after recovering text messages on a phone at the house which were "evidence of a sexual relationship which had taken place".

They also recovered a laptop with sexually explicit pictures of them both as well as cards and a love letter.

They're in love! So what??? More people should be so lucky.

Judge James Burbidge QC said today: "I accept from everything that I have read about you both that you appear to have a relationship with genuine affection but it was an illicit relationship.

So the judge can see the love, but still enforced the absurd law.

"It is a relationship regarded as abhorrent by society in general for understandable reasons."

Such as...? They never seem to be able to explain that.

He said Butler was a manipulative individual and accepted that Yates was immature and vulnerable.

You know, adult women can't possibly be capable of making decisions about their own bodies and relationships, right?

He added that aggravating features included the harm it had done to the families involved and that they had had a child which was aborted.

What harm? Notice, they don't explain. And isn't abortion legal there?

Some of the comments...

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Update on Father-Daughter Couple Prosecuted Second Time

I still can’t believe the authorities are wasting resources punishing consenting adults for loving each other, but here we are. Here’s the latest on the case I already covered with this post.

A 47-year-old man and his 26-year-old daughter have been sentenced for the second time for having sex.

Andrew Butler and Nicola Yates, both from Birmingham, pleaded guilty in July to having sex with a relative between 2008 and 2010.

Butler was sentenced to 10 months and Yates was given a 26-week suspended sentence at Birmingham Crown Court.

The charges shouldn’t have been filed in the first place. Why can consenting adults work out this matter for themselves? Actions like this keep so many consanguinamorous lovers in the closet. Many of them have great relationships, but they rightly fear discimination, bullying, and prosecution.... prosecution... for the "crime" of loving each other. Everyone involved in this prosecution should wake up and smell the coffee (or tea) of the twenty-first century.
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If Warren Jeffs is a Rapist, Would it Be Okay If He Had One Wife?

I am strongly in favor of protecting people, especially minors, from predators. But I am weary of every headline about his trial, like this one, referring to Warren Jeffs as a polygamist. The story is about rape allegations, and yet the headline refers to Jeffs being a polygamist.

Have you ever seen these news agencies print a headline like, "Monogamist Rapes 15-Year-Old Neighbor?" Of course not. If Jeffs is a rapist, there is enough to condemn him. There is no need to perpetuate stereotypes about polygamists. Very few polygamists are rapists. Polygamy doesn't cause rape. Rapists cause rape. The only thing all polygamists have in common is being in, or wanting to be in, a marriage or set of marriages that involves more than two people.

UPDATE: According to today's verdict, Jeffs IS a rapist.
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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On the Down-Low?

julianna wrote at Yahoo Answers about issues she’s having with her boyfriend...
Last night I was having a really emotional conversation with my boyfriend. He admitted to several things including his lying about giving up pot/alcohol even though he led me to believe he'd stopped using. He also told me he'd almost slept with a girl (as in cheating on me) but couldnt go through with it. Very upset, I asked him if there was anything (anything) else that I should know and that I wouldn't be mad whatever it was.

This blog isn’t about pot or alcohol consumption. But let’s say this woman was a vegan and it was really important to her for her partner to be a vegan. (This blog is also not about nutrition or animal rights, but work with me here.) If he admits he’s not vegan, doesn’t it stop right there? And she expects monogamy, and he has a little trouble with that. Why the need for more questioning? Of course I believe in her right to stay in this relationship if she wants to. But I don’t think she should.

At this point he said that what he was going to tell me makes him "crazy" and a "psycho." basically he said he had been attracted to members of his family lately (I assume he means his two sisters or mother but probably sisters) and that when he was drunk awhile ago he called one of his sisters and asked for sex (but they never did anything.) I am okay with this mostly because nothing happened although I do worry that something might happen.

The issue here isn’t his relation to these women. Again, it is that there is an expectation of monogamy and monogamy does not suit him, at least not when he’s drinking, which he does.

The weird thing is, that scenario is strangely hot to's a fantasy of mine--a brother and his sister being together.

It happens. It also isn’t uncommon for someone to find that hot.

I just need to ask the advice of anyone out there on how to talk to him about it and if I'm doing the right thing by staying in a relationship with him. I know it's bad that he lied so I would appreciate it if that wasn't mentioned; I'm mainly wondering about the incest part.

Unfortunately, the question was too vague. What did she mean by “talk to him about it?” Does she want to find out if something went on in the past? Does she want to have some sort of polyamorous relationship where he can be with one of his sisters as long as she (the asker) is involved? Or does she just want to tell him she finds the idea of brother-sister sex arousing?

She later added…

I honestly didn't think it was that bad that he was attracted to them as long as he didn't actually sleep with any of them.

But that doesn’t definitively clarify the matter. Is the problem the cheating?

Alexandria Troy had the best answer, according to the asker…

While biology apparently prevents humans from wanting to mate with the close relatives they live with (a form of reverse sexual imprinting known as the Westermarck effect), there can certainly be exceptions to it.

Mating is one thing. Not all sex is done with the intention of forming a lasting or reproductive relationship.

Regardless, there really isn't a "norm" to fantasies--the way you're thinking is probably not as strange as you may assume. Your boyfriend would make a phenomenal case study. In fact, I personally don't think you should dump him, unless you want to experience being single for a while. If I were you, I would view this as an opportunity to explore human sexuality and the way the mind functions.

If she wants to see such consanguinamory, here’s a chance. But she shouldn’t encourage it if she has conflicting priorities that are more important to her, such as mutual monogamy.

One of the big problems with the continued criminalization of consanguinamory and the judging of consanguinamorous people is that some of them hide or deny their attractions, and then other people get dragged into it who want no part of the situation. It is possible her boyfriend is trying to suppress his attraction to his sister by getting high or drunk. Maybe he really wants to be with her instead. That’s not fair to anyone, especially not the woman asking the question, if she expects to be his primary and only. He could be already on the down-low with his sister, but didn’t tell his girlfriend the whole truth because he wanted to test her reaction.
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