"Irene" agreed to be interviewed and "Bob" joined in to answer some questions, too.
Read the interview below and ask yourself if there is one good reason their rights to love each other the way they want should be denied.
FULL MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Describe your background.
Irene: We are both in our late thirties, Caucasian, and live in Australia. I work as an office administrator and Bob is a mechanic. We both have a tertiary education and come from middle income families with many brothers and sisters, some half, some full and some through our adoptions.
FME: Are you married or have you ever been married?
Irene: I was married for a long time. The relationship dissolved on good grounds. It wasn't long after the marriage end that our relationship started. We live with my children.
Bob: I’ve never been married.
FME: How would you describe your sexual orientation... are you heterosexual, bisexual, what?
Irene: I’m heterosexual but a little bicurious. He’s heterosexual - alpha male.
FME: You're in a relationship with each other that includes sex? Are you genetic siblings or half-siblings?
Irene: We are genetic siblings and yes the relationship does include sex
FME: How was your relationship with each other growing up? Did you have any contact? If you didn't, how did you connect/reconnect?
Irene: We had no contact growing up after we were given up for adoption. I was a preschooler and he was a toddler when we were put in a children’s home. We didn't meet again until our late teens when the adoption laws in Australia changed and allowed us to find each other.
FME: How did sexual affection become a part of your relationship? Was it a sudden event or a gradual process?
Irene: It was definitely a sudden event from my point of view. He says that he had been thinking about it and fantasizing about it for a while. He made the first move in my opinion, but he likes to remind me that I didn't argue with him. We had both probably had a few too many drinks that night which helped to let our guards down. My memory of the night is a little more sketchy than his as I don't really drink. I had never heard of GSA before this and don't think I would ever have considered it due to other childhood reasons.
FME: Can you describe your feelings during that event?
Irene: Nervous, curious and excited. I wanted to touch him and much as he did me. To feel the closeness that we were both looking for at the time.
Bob: It felt naughty but good.
Irene: Legally we both knew that it shouldn't be happening. It has never felt wrong. When we are together it just feels right.
FME: Describe your relationship now. How long have you been together?
Irene: Been 'together' five years committed to each other for three and living as married couple for the past year. He is my brother, best friend, partner, lover and the only person on the planet that can push me to the point that I want to strangle him while I am curled up on his chest. I can't imagine being without him and he has said me to me that we would run away if we had to.
Bob: She annoys me just like any sister would or any partner in any relationship would. I love it and will always love her.
Irene: I am the same to him as he is to me. I am his rock and he is mine.
FME: How do you describe your lovemaking now? Taboo? Natural? Especially erotic?
Irene: All of the above. No inhibitions and complete trust. Neither one of us worry about how the either may react to each others fetishes, we are willing to give them a try. We fit together right. The need and/or want is intoxicating. Can't seem to get enough. In all my years of marriage it was never as good as it is with him.
Bob: All of the above as well as very intense. I had never been married and had lived the single life but now I’m finally happy and settled in our relationship and I wouldn't change a thing.
FME: Do you have these kinds of feelings for, or involvements with other family member or relatives? Any experience in the past with sex or experimentation with a family member?
Irene: Never for either one of us.
FME: Does anyone know the full, true nature of your relationship and how did they find out (especially family)? How have they reacted? Are you able to act like a couple in a public place anywhere, such as a place you visit? Does anyone know you as a couple but not as siblings?
Irene: One friend found out at a rather difficult moment of my life. She didn't take it well. She had always hoped that they could have a relationship. She had always had a crush on him and had a one night stand once. She threatened to call child protection and the police. I had to convince her that it wasn’t going on and now don't speak to her anymore. As for family they have had there suspicions but have never had any proof. No one knows us as a couple and we don't tend to be able to go away as I am primary caregiver of my kids.
FME: Is there anything you've had to do to hide the full nature of your relationship? Having to hide can be a lot of trouble. Are there other disadvantages to being in a relationship like this? Conversely, do you think consanguineous relationships have some advantages and some things better than unrelated lovers?
Irene: Only lying when asked about it which is obviously understandable. The disadvantages are huge, such as the inability to behave like a normal couple around family and friends, and not being able to tell people how happy you are. The family are constantly telling us that we should find ourselves someone special, that we don't want to be alone all our lives. You can tell them a thousand times that you are happy but they just say 'yes right now you are but what about later on?' On the flip side I think that the advantage is the level of trust. We know each other better than we know ourselves some times. He has my back and I have his. We protect each other from the outside world. Our bedroom is our bubble. No one can hurt us in here.
Bob: It's just better than other relationships that I’ve have had. That the trust level is stronger and I feel safer in this relationship than I have in others I’ve been in. I know that if I screws up royally she still loves me.
FME: What do you want to say to people who disapprove of your relationship, or disapprove of anyone having this kind of relationship? What's your reply to those who would say that this is one of you preying on the other (and that you can’t really consent)?
Irene: Bull----! I am neither the prey nor predator and nor is he. We are both very willing participants. If people disapprove that is their business. We don't impart our beliefs on their lives so they can butt out of ours. We don't ask for their opinions or permission. Nor do we push our choice on anyone else.
FME: Aside from the law, can you think of anything that would make relationships like this inherently wrong?
Irene: As long as it’s consensual and both parties are adults we can't see anything wrong with it.
FME: If you could get legally married, and that included protections against discrimination, harassment, etc., would you?
Irene and Bob: Yes.
Irene: I would love to be able to tell the world that we belong to each other.
FME: What advice do you have for someone who may be experiencing feelings for a genetic relative, especially a sibling? What advice do you have for family members and friends who think or know that genetic relatives they know are having these feelings for each other?
Irene: If you haven’t taken the next step forward then don't unless you are completely sure that the feelings are reciprocated or at least a really good chance that this will be the case. The lives that consanguineous couples lead are difficult at times due to the secrecy involved. You don't get a 'normal' life, however if you go down that path really think about it before you make that move. This type of relationship can be incredible but it ebbs and flows like a 'normal' relationship.
FME: Any plans for the future?
Bob: Keeping the secret and not getting caught. To keep enjoying it for what it is.
Irene: One day we would like to 'run away' i.e. create some distance so that we can try and live a somewhat normal existence. TRAVEL!!! He once told me that he looks forward to walking around Venice, holding my hand and kissing me if he chooses to without fear of being caught. I can't wait to feel that sort of freedom.
FME: Anything else you want to add?
Irene: You can't always choose who you fall in love with, who makes you feel safe and sexy, who you can't be without, who you would move heaven and earth for, who you would give your life for. We can't change how we feel about each other nor do we want to. Who has the right to tell us that we can't be together? Does anyone have the right to make us miserable by forcing us to live separate lives? What is anyone going to gain from that? I love him with all of my being and he loves me with every thing he has. That's all that really matters.
Bob: People might not like it, but hopefully one day we can find friends who live near to us that are living in the same type of relationship. Then we wouldn't have to hide all the time. That would be amazing.
There you have it. Two consenting adults who plan to continue to live as though married, and who will legally marry once they are no longer denied their freedom to marry.
Why should they be denied their rights? There’s no good reason.We need to adopt full marriage equality sooner rather than later, so that an adult is free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage any and all consenting adults. People are being hurt because of a denial of their basic human rights to love each other freely.
You can read other interviews I have done here.
If you are in a relationship like this and are looking for help or others you can talk with, read this.
If you are a family member or friend of someone who is in or may be in such a relationship, please read this.
Thank you to Bob and Irene for sharing their situation with us!