Friday, July 20, 2018

Consanguinamory is Not Sick

As this blog and others have repeatedly shown, there is no good reason to keep laws, discrimination, or stigmas against consanguinamory (consanguineous or consensual incest sex or relationships) that is consistently applied to other relationships. One of the grasping-at-straws assertions that one might make when all of their justifications for denying rights fails is "people who do that are sick" or "those relationships are dysfunctional."

Before we do anything else, let's make it clear that we're talking about consensual sex and relationships, not abuse. It's not fair to point to abuse, assault, child molestation, etc. by a close relative as an example of how "incest" is "sick".

Alleging psychological problems or mental illness is something best left to mental health professionals, such as a psychiatrist (a medical doctor) or a psychologist. The opinion of someone without such credentials and some experience should be suspect. So, if someone makes the claim that we should criminalize or otherwise discriminate against consanguinamory because the behavior is based on mental illness, they should be asked 1) for their credentials; 2) if they have personally conducted an evaluation of the individuals involved and the dynamics of their relationship, and; 3) if all relationships they personally think are based on mental illness should be likewise criminalized or discriminated against. Usually, calling consanguinamory "sick" is just a thinly veiled variation on Discredited Arguments #1 and 3.

You can find mental health professionals who will declare consanguinamory to be a sickness. Throughout history, you could find such individuals or studies and reports saying women shouldn’t use vibrators, being gay is a mental illness, masturbation leads in to insanity, wanting to be with someone of a different race is a problem… on and on it goes. To this day you can find psychologists who’ll insist that being gay is a mental problem and that taking certain steps during a child’s development will prevent them from “becoming” gay.

There are mentally ill people who have these attractions. There are dysfunctional relationships that are consanguinamorous. BUT, having consanguinamorous feelings or relationships is not necessarily a sign of illness or dysfunction. Some people assert it is, but they do not back up that claim. At most, they restate their claim another way, asserting that everyone should either pursue (heterosexual, monogamous) relationships with someone outside the family and not closely related (how close is too close for their approval varies) or should remain alone and celibate.

There are many mentally healthy people with these feelings. There are many healthy, functional relationships that are consanguinamorous or have involved consanguineous sex. The people who are living proof of this, due to laws or other forms of bigoted discrimination, aren't eager to sit down with a mental health professional, or law enforcement and tell them all about it. Medical and mental health professionals tend to deal with people who are having problems. Most people in consanguinamorous relationships or who are attracted to close relatives or family members, who are healthy and happy, do not visit doctors and therapists and volunteer that information to them. That is one of the problems with studies or saying something like "I don't know any that are healthy..." These relationships are common enough that everyone does know someone who is, or has been, involved. Most of the time, we're don't know everything that's going on, because people feel the need to keep secrets.

It is normal for minors close in age to experiment with each other. Coercion is problematic, but if it is not a matter of coercion and no harm is perpetrated, we're not talking about sickness. Genetic Sexual Attraction is also a normal response to the circumstances. And sometimes, for completely normal and healthy reasons, close relatives who have always been in each others lives get involved as adults.

There are a few places where consanguineous sex and mental illness do connect...

1) If someone, due to mental illness, acts out sexually with just about anyone, that may include close relatives. But again, most people who are. or have been, consanguinamorous are not part of this category.

2) People who are otherwise mentally healthy, who experience persecution, discrimination, prosecution, etc. due to having a consanguinamorous relationship, they may experience problems such as depression, anxiety, etc. This is a common harm of bigotry, and anyone concerned that consaguinamory is "sick" should note that often, the biggest problems experienced by consanguinamorous people is prejudice. If someone is truly concerned about the well being of others, they shouldn't perpetuate this. Being told constantly that your NORMAL attractions and desires need to be repressed and should subject you to ridicule, ostracism, and even imprisonment can cause people mental problems. What kind of mental state would you be in if you were torn from the person you love most in the whole world, publicly ridiculed and subjected to imprisonment? Learn how to avoid being part of that problem here.

3) If someone has been abused, they may find comfort in the safety of sexual intimacy or release with a close relative, not wanting to take the risk of being vulnerable with someone they're not certain loves them. Again, most consanguinamory isn't a result of a situation like this.

Maybe you have known some messed up people, and those people have engaged in consanguineous sex. But they also fed their dog, were good employees, etc. Does that make dog-feeding and being a good employee sick? Yes, some people who are attracted to close relatives need professional help. Others don’t. Being attracted to a close relative, by itself, is not necessarily a problem.

I personally know people who are mentally healthy, intelligent, attractive, and have no problem attracting sexual or romantic interest from others, and yet, they are very attracted to a close relative. I can guarantee you know some people like that, too. You’re just unaware of their attractions.

If you want to know what science has to say on these issues, read through the science tag of the Full Marriage Equality blogspot.

If you want to be part of the solution, you can! If you think you need help, see here.

UPDATE: See what Jane wrote about this at her blog.
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  1. Do you believe quality of life is a factor that should be weighed for responsible parenthood? For example, putting off having kids until one has the resources needed? If so, whats the difference between this decision and mult-generational incest and the harms that come from this risk?

    After all, ones economic situation could change within the 9 month window of gestation and birth --- there is always a chance.

    I actually don't know the answer to this question. I just assume harm is bad, intended or not.

    1. I do recognize that people have responsibilities at go beyond following just laws. My point is that it is not an outsider's place to make sexual, marital, or parental decisions for adults.

    2. The question is: can state intervention actually improve the situation of such couples and their children, and is any outsider capable of determining where the "harm" is in such complicated situations? Saying that we don't like it when people are "harmed" is not the same as saying any of us know all the time whether there's any harm, how much there is, how to fix it, and whether we can even fix it. It should be clear that by those standards, "incest" laws are very weakly justified, by the standards of eugenics, social engineering, and welfare.

    3. Whatever happened to live and let live? Nobody has the right to tell anyone else how to live. Every adult should be free to make Sexual, Marital, or Parental decisions for themselves. Only you know whats best for you. Nobody else.

  2. "There are mentally ill people who have these attractions. There are dysfunctional relationships that are consanguinamorous. BUT, having consanguinamorous feelings or relationships is not necessarily a sign of illness or dysfunction. Some people assert it is, but they do not back up that claim. At most, they restate their claim another way, asserting that everyone should either pursue (heterosexual, monogamous) relationships with someone outside the family and not closely related (how close is too close for their approval varies) or should remain alone and celibate."

    This is precisely the conflation some tried to make between gender dysphoria and being transgender when the whole hullabaloo blew up at the Edmonton Catholic School Board over a transgender student wanting to use the girls' washroom instead of the gender neutral washroom.

  3. Love is like the wind. I cant see it. But I can feel it. Who is to say that what I feel is wrong? Nobody else knows what I feel. Love is unique to each individual. Only the person who is experiencing the love knows whether it is right or wrong for them. Nobody else can say. No matter what anybody else says it is just an opinion. Even a doctor or mental health professional is just giving an opinion. Every adult should be able to decide for themselves what is right or wrong for them and nobody else.

  4. Everybody needs to open up their hearts and minds and understand that we are all loving beings. Its in our nature to love. We cant help who we love. We just do. If someone thinks that love is sick then they need to stop and ask themselves why they feel that way. Because if its in our nature to love then its unnatural for people not to love. Maybe all those people who say that its sick to love need to be evaluated and have a mental health screening because what they are doing is unnatural.

  5. I've had a few people in the community describe my attraction to my mom as "loving," "beautiful," and "sweet." You wouldn't believe what a blessing it was to hear those comments and to hear people affirm that I'm not sick or disgusting for having these feelings.


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