We did contact an attorney as you suggested, who told us that while incest is illegal in our state, our situation was unique and unless we paraded down the street engaging in public sex, there was no chance of prosecution.
Consulting an attorney is a good idea. As far as prosecution, all it takes is someone in law enforcement to get an itch, or a powerful family member who has a hateful heart. Supportive family can make all of the difference.
After that, talking about your column some more sparked a motivation to get the perspective of a professional marriage/family counselor.
If someone in this situation is going to seek counseling, they need one that does not come from a bigoted place.
We found one who, over the past seven months, helped us not only think through the immediate dilemma but also, unexpectedly, deal with some long-buried issues from our childhood.
The way our relationship turned romantic and sexual when we were kids was that I was being bullied pretty badly starting in fifth grade for being a "sissy" and my brother (who was a lot more masculine, into sports, and therefore not bullied) was the only one I could turn to for support. I didn't feel that I could confide in our parents, who at that time made homophobic comments regularly (it was the middle of the AIDS epidemic). There was one night in our room when I broke down crying and admitted that I was gay. He saw himself in the role as my protector, and then one thing led to another from there.
Like other relationships, some consanguinamorous relationships spring from turmoil, but some spring from people in or who had childhoods as happy as any other happy childhood. Consanguinamory is not necessarily a sign that anything was or is wrong.
I fully acknowledge that when we were kids the relationship was somewhat co-dependent, but we lead pretty independent lives now with separate careers, friend networks, etc. I know some of your readers think we're emotionally stunted, and maybe we are. On the other hand, I know plenty of people in unhappy relationships (gay and straight) with troubled families, so I guess in some way we're all a little screwed up, aren't we?Everyone has something to deal with.
One of the more ironic parts of this situation is that the sexual aspect of our relationship faded away many years ago. We're physically intimate, but it's limited to kissing and cuddling for the most part. According to our counselor, this phenomenon is actually not uncommon among gay male companions, and from what I gather, even among heterosexual couples who've been together as long as we have.
I can't see ever letting that happen in my life. I would be so grouchy. It would take some serious injury or disease, and even then, I'd probably do whatever I could to keep things going.
Over the summer when our mom brought up the subject (again), we were well prepared with a response. We told her that we both tried dating men and women (true) but never met anyone who made us want to give up the comfortable, happy life we already have living together (true). We said she didn't have to worry we would die alone, because we're committed to supporting each other to the end (also true). She wasn't thrilled, but at least the way we responded appeared to allay some of her worries. We gave similar explanations to a few of our friends and they seem to think it at least makes rational sense, even if it's not ideal from their perspective.It is good to see that it is working out for them, and good that Slate.com and Dear Prudence were willing to deal with this.