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Friday, March 3, 2017

Taking the Steps

I have frequently seen the question asked, “It is incest to date my stepbrother?” or “Would marrying my stepsister be incestuous?”

Romance, dating, sex, or marriage between step relations is not literally consanguinamory, but is often subject to the same prejudices, which in some places and cases includes criminalization, as consanguinamorous relationships. With Discredited Argument #18 not a factor, the excuse to try to deny others their relationships is usually Discredited Arguments #1, 3, 19, or 21.

Although someone may try to control our relationships, we can’t effectively control what other people do with their love lives and we shouldn’t try. We don’t pick who our family members love or marry. As such, sometimes someone is brought into our lives as a step relation, such as a stepbrother, stepsister, stepmother, or stepfather whether we like it or not.

Sometimes, we like it. A lot.



Perhaps the most common connection between step relationships is when adults marry and their adolescent or young adult children, who are made stepsiblings, find they are mutually attracted. The Westermarck Effect, which describes the suppression of sexual attraction between people raised together in the same home or close quarters, isn’t experienced by everyone but doesn’t have even a chance to be experienced if young people don’t meet or don’t spend much time together until their pre-teen years or later, as often happens in these cases.

Each of us is our parent’s child. If the person we share genes with and raised us is attracted to someone, is it really surprising that we’d be attracted to that someone’s child or sibling? This is especially the case if new stepsiblings spend time under the same roof, perhaps on a full-time basis.

There is no good reason why the relationship of persons A and B should prevent the relationship of persons C and D.

But what about when one person ends up having two lovers from the same family? That can happen if there is a relationship between a stepparent and a stepchild, including cases in which the stepparent never knew the stepchild as a minor. (As always, I’m talking about consenting adults in this entry, or minors close in age to each other.) Perhaps things didn’t work out between the stepparent and the parent, or the parent died, or there’s a polyamorous situation, meaning the parent is still involved. Sometimes, someone’s stepparent is actually from their generation or at least closer in age to them than their parent, due to their parent having entered into an intergenerational relationship. The important thing to remember is that we are talking about consenting adults in these cases. One person’s prejudice against intergenerational relationships or against someone having more than one lover from the same family should not have any control over such consensual relationships.

Relationships like these have existed throughout history. There are also other relationships that have meant someone has (or has had) more than one lover from the same family. Traditional polyandry usually involves brothers marrying the same woman, and many polygynous males marry sisters. Having both mother and daughter or father and son as lovers is a common fantasy, and does happen. (I have had my own experience.)

Someone considering a relationship with a stepsibling, stepparent, or adult stepchild should make many of the same considerations as I have encouraged people to make when it comes to consanguinamorous relationships, and, if applicable, what I wrote about intergenerational relationships.

Parents may not like it when their stepchild gets together with their child, but the parent should remember that it wasn’t the children that created the environment in which they found themselves. Isn’t it better they get along rather than fight? Anyone upset about step relations getting together should read this.

Family strife is one thing. Law is another. There is no good reason to have laws discriminating against adults for their consensual relationships.

Are you, or have you been, involved with a step relation, or someone who later became one? Tell us about it by commenting.
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2 comments:

  1. I have frequently seen the question asked, “It is incest to date my stepbrother?” or “Would marrying my stepsister be incestuous?”
    My answer. No. Its not incestuous. Your not related to each other by blood. But, even still, what does it matter? Do you love that person? Well, if you love them then go and be with them. Go be happy. It doesnt matter what anyone else thinks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love the title to the article. Taking the steps.
    So what happens if the parent and step parent divorce? Are the step children free to marry and be together or are they still treated the same way? Do the step children stop being step children? My answer. Who cares. Do what makes you happy.

    ReplyDelete

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