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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How Genetic Sexual Attraction is Not Incest

Imagine a man and woman meet in a bar. They've never met before. They go outside for a smoke. They get into an argument and the jerk slugs her.

That is assault. But is it domestic violence?

No? What if I told you that unbeknownst to them, they have the same genetic father, a sperm donor neither one has met?

Is it domestic violence then? No?

What if... instead of slugging her, he wasn't a jerk and instead romanced her for the evening and they ended up having passionate sex.

Is that incest?

You can say it is incest biologically, but not sociologically. They were not raised together. They aren't even aware they are related yet.

Things like this have happened. Some people who experience Genetic Sexual Attraction had no idea they were genetically related before they met, fell in love, had sex, or even had children together. Even so, people ignorant of GSA or Genetic Attraction are scoffing at the defendant's statement in this case. Granted, they were apparently aware of their relation before their relationship involved statutory rape (since the age of consent in California is 18, not 16, as it is in many US states.) But that GSA happens to people unaware of their genetic relation demonstrates that GSA is real.

Judgmental finger-waggers cite the genetic connection as to why this is incest. This is because "she raised him" is not an option for why they are upset. The finger-waggers like to use that one when, say, a man and his grown stepdaughter have sexual relationship. Some finger-waggers go even further. Let's say that instead of starting a relationship with his grown stepdaughter, his son, whom the stepdaughter never lived with, meets her as an adult and starts a relationship with her. Some of the finger-waggers still say this is wrong, even if the man is no longer married to her mother.

People would use just about any argument to condemn a relationship with which they are not comfortable. But we'd all be a lot better off if we put aside our prejudices and recognized that consenting adults should be free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage. Even if someone is disgusted. We'd also be better off if we recognized that Genetic Sexual Attraction does exist, and it is a mitigating factor when, say, a 32 year-old woman breaks California's age of consent barrier with a 16 year-old.

The problem with calling the Atkinson case incest is that incest conjures up images of (in this case) a woman grooming the boy she is raising to be her assault victim. This is a case of Genetic Sexual Attraction and statutory rape. She did not raise him. She was not his guardian. This was a case where one of the participants was not a legal adult, able to legally consent. When the participants are consenting adults, I prefer the term consanguinamory to distinguish loving, consensual sex from images of some vile old man raping an prepubescent girl. Rape and love are not the same things.

There is no good reason why adults who are not violating existing vows to others, who are right for each other, should feel a need to refrain from being together in whatever way they want. Unfortunately, laws and prejudices in many places still need to catch up with reality. But what about finding support from others in the same situation?

Genetic Sexual Attraction is a phenomenon that may or may not actually lead to sex. However, if sex is involved, it is not incest from the sociological perspective, but still may be considered incest by outsiders, including law enforcement, as it is incest in the genetic sense. It is very easy for people who haven't experience GSA or witnessed it happening first-hand to scoff and deny it's reality. But ignorance does not determine reality. For more, read this.
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6 comments:

  1. There is a lot of ignorance about what GSA is.
    It's not a "fancy way to say 'incest' ", it's just a non-scientific term who describes the attraction between related people who DIDN'T GROW UP TOGETHER, it can lead to sex (and so it would be incest) or not.
    Anyway, the biggest problem is the total lack of empathy from the outsider, who are always ready to judge the people involved as "sickos".

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  2. Did I get this right,

    Consanguinity; genetic attraction; westermanck all related.

    Did I leave something out?

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    Replies
    1. The Westermarck effect is a suppression of attraction between people raised together, closely related or not. It is common but isn't experienced by everyone.

      Genetic attraction is an attraction between close genetic relatives who were not raised together or by one another, and we're reunited or introduced post-puberty. This is not experienced in all such reunions or introductions, but rather in about half of all such reunions or introductions, provided genders and sexual orientations allign, at least one person feels this attraction.

      Consanguinity is a sharing or ancestors, or more literally, sharing blood.

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  3. Why is it called when to siblings who grew up and were raised together develop an attraction to eachother, despite the odds.

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    Replies
    1. Some would call that Familial Sexual Attraction, but that's a term not used as much as GSA. The simplest way to explain it is to say they've developed romantic or sexual attraction, or they have consanguinamorous feelings. GSA is used of people not raised together because there is an overwhelming effect. Erotic bonds between siblings raised together can also be very strong, but they usually don't hit people relatively (forgive the pun) suddenly, as happens with GSA.

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  4. The concept of incest will always be ill-defined because it's pegged, as a dependent variable, just as ambiguously to another concept, namely that of kinship. What TYPE of kinship? or, for that matter, what DEGREE of kinship? The answers vary.

    Thus, a Pashtun or a Gulf Arab will hasten to argue that incest outside the immediate family is not even incest to begin with -- naturally, as cousin marriages, in particular, are not only allowed in their cultures but commonplace and even encouraged. In some cultures, due to their adherence to patrilineality, marriage between maternal half-siblings was allowed, but marriage between paternal half-siblings seen as "incestuous."

    The concept of incest -- i.e., of legally or culturally forbidden sexual or romantic relations between relatives -- has, in many cultures, extended to other types of kinship as well, such as affine and even milk kinship.

    Consider a situation opposite to the one you portrayed in this post: step- or adoptive family. The general public in the West is much more lenient in such cases, and opinions differ on whether that is to be classed as incest at all. If it's not incest without consanguineous ties, as the general public believes, AND, if neither is it incest without nurture ties, as you have suggested, then the only logical conclusion is that for it to fall under the concept of incest, both blood and conditioning are required.

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