The feelings I have for my long lost son are very disturbing to me. I am sexually attracted to him! I can barely admit it . . . I’m so relieved this letter is anonymous. He wants to spend time getting to know each other, but my emotions when I’m around him are shameful and overpowering. He’s gay, so he doesn’t reciprocate my feelings, although he welcomes physical closeness.As we've noted many times, it is not uncommon for a birth more to experience these feelings. Nothing at all is wrong with her. How she carries on is: with difficulty. If you check this blog, you know I'd have no problem with them exploring a sexual connection, but since he's gay he isn't going to be interested. She can either have him in her life without the romantic/sexual connection, or not at all. He welcomes some physical affection. The important thing is that she respect whatever boundaries he has. That isn't going to be easy, but it has to be done. When GSA is brought out of the shadows, it will be easier for people like her to get the assistance she needs.
I can’t discuss with anyone. I don’t want to lose my son — again — but don’t know what to do. What’s wrong with me? How do I carry on?
From Dr. Ren's reply...
What you are describing is called “genetic sexual attraction” (GSA), a term coined in the 1980s by Barbara Gonyo, the founder of Truth Seekers in Adoption, when she experienced the phenomenon herself.
Since then, following research by psychotherapist Joe Sall, and later by psychiatrist Maurice Greenberg, we know that about half of all adult reconnections are marked by this “. . . largely normal response to an extremely unusual situation: blood relatives meeting as strangers.”
GSA is rare between people raised together, due to what’s called the Westermarck effect, which promotes familial rather than romantic feelings. Simply put, growing up together prevents sexual attraction.No everyone who grows up together experiences the Westermarck effect, or experiences it to the extent that is prevents all attraction, curiosity, or experimentation.
We don't call it GSA when they are raised together.
Your best bet is to locate a certified sex therapist and insist on a telephone interview to determine the practitioner’s knowledge and attitude toward uncommon attractions.
As well, you need to embrace your feelings.
Do not act upon them, even if your relative is complicit in the attraction. You are responding to that immediate and powerful recognition of shared genetic information that seduces you into believing you have found your “soulmate.” Lacking the protection of the Westermarck effect, you are blinded by a sense of instant familiarity and attraction. Like all new attractions, this one too will abate as your knowledge of your son trumps the lust he engenders.This isn't necessarily true. There have been many people for whom this hasn't happened, including people who finally stop letting external and internalized prejudice keep them apart, and then they have a lasting consanguinamorous relationship and their only regret is waiting as long as they did. In many cases, there is no good reason why they shouldn't be together.