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Thursday, March 26, 2015
Two Women Still Denied Their Right to Marry
If my recollection is correct, this is the 43rd ongoing relationship I've covered through exclusive interviews in which the lovers are denied the freedom to be open about their love and are, by law, denied the freedom to marry and have that marriage treated equally under the law.
The lovers interviewed below are clearly thoughtful, intelligent and deeply in love. They should be free to decide for themselves if they want to be together, with our without marriage. Yet they face discrimination and prejudice for their love, and must hide the truth from many people. They aren't hurting anyone; why should they have to hide their love and be denied their rights?
Read the interview below and see for yourself what they have to say. You may think their relationship is interesting, or it might make you uncomfortable, or you might find it incredibly sexy, but either way, should they be denied equal access to marriage or any other rights?
And yes, they chose to use the names "Bean" and "Tortilla" to protect themselves.
As you'll see, Genetic Sexual Attraction can be extremely intense. BE WARNED that the discussion gets somewhat explicit.
FULL MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Describe yourself.
Bean: I am a female artist in my mid-20s, who grew up in the conservative west.
Tortilla: I was born in a conservative western state, and now live in a more liberal coastal state. I am ten years older than Bean. I actually went to law school, so it’s ironic to me to be a lawyer who is breaking the law with her relationship.
FME: Are you married or have you ever been married?
Bean: I am not currently married, and have never been married.
Tortilla: I am not married, but I am in a nine-year long relationship with my boyfriend in addition to my newer relationship with my sister. My boyfriend and I never planned to marry, and marriage has always been something that is not important for me personally. But I think people who are consenting adults who love each other should be able to declare their family unit legally.
FME: How would you describe your sexual orientation and your relationship orientation?
Bean: I am a bisexual, or perhaps more accurately, a lesbian with some heterosexual tendencies. I am a woman with a fair balance of masculine and feminine tendencies; some days I’m very feminine, other days I’m just one of the guys.
I am naturally a monogamist. However, I am learning to overcome the desires for monogamy, in order to create the family life with Tortilla and her boyfriend that we all desire. Her boyfriend is accepting of our relationship, and together we want to create a family of love and acceptance. Tortilla has her relationship with him, and I have my relationship with her, but he and I do not have a romantic relationship; just a familial partnership and friendship.
Tortilla: My sexual orientation is easy. I am bisexual, and have realized that since high school, although I have memories going back to kindergarten of being attracted to girls in addition to boys. I believe more in spectrum sexuality than categorical sexuality, and my sense is that most people are somewhere in the middle rather than exactly at either end of the spectrum. I also believe sexuality can be fluid and move more or less one way depending on life circumstances. Gender identity is another metric I would call out as separate from sexual or relationship orientation. I also see the masculine and feminine as a spectrum, and I’d put myself somewhere in the middle of that spectrum as well. I have always been a tomboy. I definitely consider myself a woman, but I often identify with gender norms of men more often than women. As for relationship orientation, I consider myself monogamous as my natural inclination. However, I cannot avoid the reality that I have two partners: my boyfriend and my sister. So I am acting in a polyamorous relationship, although I identify as monogamous. I believe that, were it not for the specific situation of GSA with my sister and myself, I would not take on multiple partners, and never felt the drive to do so. I do not feel the drive to add anyone else either.
FME: You currently live with...?
Bean: I am currently living in our father’s house with him and his wife (who is not the mother of any of our siblings). I moved in a few months after my sister and I first connected, under her encouragement, because it was a healthier and safer situation than the one I was in.
This summer, after I finish school, I will be moving for good to live with Tortilla.
Tortilla: I currently live with my boyfriend. Bean is going to be moving in with us this summer after she finishes school. We will be a family unit, but the sexual connections only go between me and the boyfriend and me and my sister. My boyfriend and sister are not sexually connected.
FME: What was your family life like growing up? What was your childhood like?
Bean: I had a fairly unique upbringing. There were aspects of my childhood that were typical of most, but the biggest difference was that I was a secret for the larger portion of my childhood. This had several effects on my life. I was the result of an affair my father had with my mother (he was cheating on the mother of my sister, and one of my brothers). Rather than come clean, my father and mother both decided that the best solution at the time was to raise me in secret and separately from my siblings. He would come to see me now and then, but only under certain circumstances. No one from the family even knew of my existence until I was about 10-12 years old, but I knew about them from a very young age. It’s one thing having secrets. It’s a completely different ballgame to be a secret yourself.
Tortilla: My family life was for all intents and purposes completely normal growing up. I came from your standard nuclear family unit. I grew up in the same household with my brother, who shares both my parents. My parents seemed ok while I grew up. In retrospect I see that there was not true family harmony, and a lot of what I saw was a show for the sake of the kids. My mother was aware during the course of her relationship with my dad that my dad had had affairs. It nearly ended their relationship, but they stayed together for the kids. I recalled hearing them fight a lot when my brother and I were quite young, but as we got older, things became more peaceful in the house. Although my mom knew of the affairs, she did not know – none of us knew – that Bean had been a product of one of those affairs. I didn’t find out about her until I was an adult, and she a young adolescent.
Due to a lot of weird family drama and misunderstanding, Bean and I really didn’t get to know each other until about 8 or 9 years after I first found out about her. I had a chance to meet her a couple times, but for very short times and we didn’t get to know each other. I had heard that her mom wanted to keep her from her siblings, but that turned out to be not exactly the truth. Anyway, when Bean turned 18 or 19, I started to think more about her and wondered about where she was in life and what she was like. I decided to write her a letter letting her know that I wanted to get to know my sister, and that there were no personal hard feelings against her for what our dad had done. I invited her to reach out when she felt ready to do so.
I didn’t hear from her for another year and a half or so. I happened to be visiting my home town when I got an email out of the blue from her, letting me know she had sent me a letter in response, but wasn’t sure if I still lived at the same address. I told her that I was in town at that time and we should meet up if she was available. We made plans to meet a few days later and in the meantime traded emails and really started to get to know each other. I was delighted to see she shared the same interest in music that I have, and we were able to build off of each other’s tastes and give each other something new to listen to.
When we finally met up, it was a very surreal moment. She was much older looking than I had remembered. She looked a lot more like me. It was weird to be looking into the eyes of someone who was so familiar and yet so new. It was like looking at myself. I felt an instant sense of connection with her, and we were able to immediately drop some of our walls and connect intimately. We spent the whole day together, and afterward I had to return to my home state, but I rode the high of having met this person who somehow belonged to me. It felt like a hole that I had never known was there had been filled. I wanted more. I wanted to tear down all the walls and heal all the hurt that came from our situation; the betrayal of our father, the secrecy of her existence. I wanted to celebrate her existence and the fact that she could be part of my life at last.
FME: You are in a sexual relationship with your genetic half-sister?
Bean: I am in a sexual relationship with my genetic older half-sister, although I don’t like to use the word “half”. Although Tortilla and I are 10 years apart, the age gap is rarely an issue and hardly even noticed.
Tortilla: Bean is my half-sister, but I don’t call her that. I call her my sister. Half is good enough to be full!
FME: You didn’t have a relationship while growing up. Tell us more about how you found out about each other and got together.
Bean: Tortilla did not even know of my existence until I was about 10 years old. We saw each other briefly and accidentally for a grand total of about 10 minutes a few years following the outing of the secret, but we didn’t really get to interact much. I was a complete secret from her and my other siblings before the outing, but even after that, we were kept separate. We were both told things from several parties that led us to believe the other didn’t want anything to do with the other. It was very painful on my end, adding on to years of already being told that I was less, different, undesirable, and had to stay separate.
Years and years passed this way, and one day after I was an adult, I got a letter from Tortilla inviting a relationship if I wanted one. I desperately wanted it, yes, but I was scared and questioned the validity of the letter. It was also a really bad time in my life, and I was not suitable “sister” material at the time.
About a year and a half passed, and I finally was prompted that I needed to respond to her letter. I sent a reply, then also sent an email to an address that she gave with her letter, to let her know that I’d sent one back. I was afraid she might have moved and would not get it. I didn’t expect a response, but to my surprise, she wrote back less than two hours later. And to my even greater surprise, she happened to be visiting town that very week. It was very surreal. We made a time to meet up at the end of the week for lunch, which turned into a whole day event. We both connected so fast and so intensely from the moment we saw each other, we didn’t want to let each other go. It was honestly one of the best days of my life. I was just so thrilled to have my sister, and that she was so wonderful and so like me in ways I never anticipated. And ever since that day, we have been in near-constant communication.
Tortilla: We had no relationship growing up. I didn’t even know about her existence, though she grew up in my shadow, knowing about mine. We found out about each other when our dad decided to divorce my mom and come clean about Bean. I think keeping the secret was weighing him down and he couldn’t hold it in any longer.
FME: How did sexual affection become a part of your relationship?
Bean: At least on my end, the sexual/romantic feelings began to develop over the first few weeks and months of our getting to know each other. In the very beginning, we exchanged lengthy emails, trying to catch each other up on everything and anything about the other, making up for lost time. And we texted and used other social media to talk on top of that. We were pretty much immediately best friends and inseparable, despite the actual long-distance separation. I loved everything about her: she was so smart and witty, she understood and mirrored my humor in ways that no one else ever had, she was beautiful and suave, kind, understanding, non-judgmental of me, caring, invested. Everything I could ever possibly want in a sister, in a best friend, and in a lover, I began to slowly realize. “Nothing is taboo between us,” she told me early on. Her remark was in regards to several heavy-weighted issues from my past. She wanted me to know that she would love me always, no matter what, and now that she had me she was never letting go. I could talk to her about anything, and be completely honest and open. It was this trust and intimacy; combined with the years of longing to belong with her, and the recognition of our souls with each other, that gradually turned into feelings more than sisters.
About three months into our relationship, I came to visit her for a month. The beginning of the visit was still fairly “normal”, although both of our feelings had risen in intensity on either side. About a week in, though, it had become pretty apparent to both of us that the other had the same feelings. But we were both still afraid and too ashamed to say them.
We had gone on a walk to the park one particular night. We sat on the swings together and both talked and enjoyed the silences. But there was a weighted feeling between us, of words that weren’t being said. As we sat on the swings, we watched a shooting star fall across the sky. Both of us made a wish to ourselves. I’d come to find out later, that she had wished to not do anything to ruin the relationship we were building; that she would have enough self-control to not kiss me. I had simply wished to be with her forever.
She had been staying with me in my room during my visit, so we could stay up later and talk until we fell asleep, using every possible second we could to be together. It was normal by this point for us to cuddle and be otherwise physically affectionate, but only just on this side of the line between sisterly affection and romantic touch. But this night was filled with a lot of emotional tension, and we both could see where it was going. I loved being next to her, smelling her and feeling her so close beside me. I began to tickle her skin and rub her back, like I had done nights previously. But this time, she whispered “what do you want from me?” I didn’t know what to say, but I knew what I wanted. But I was too scared to say it first. I encouraged her to say what was on her mind. Reluctantly, she finally confessed that she had those feelings for me.
I was both thrilled inside that I was not alone in my feelings, but also terrified because I had no idea what to do from there. I was afraid of my feelings. She leaned in and kissed me, and at first I was motionless, paralyzed between choices. Then I slowly returned the kiss, but Tortilla had already felt like I’d rejected her and rolled away from me and began to cry. I reached for her and held her close and whispered I was so sorry; I didn’t want to hurt her.
The next night we lay there just as before, and eventually she turned to me again, and we kissed - slowly at first, and then with more intent. We ended up making love for the first time that night. It’s still so memorable to me. I held her close and ran my fingers through her hair, whispering softly to her, smelling her sweet scent and just feeling so close and so much love. It was beautiful. I had never before felt so connected in every possible way to someone. It’s really not something you can describe. You have to experience it to know what it means to really love someone in this way.
Tortilla: Our sexual affection was a process, but I will say that the draw to her was very strong and came quickly. I just wasn’t consciously aware of what it was right away. I can’t say I viewed her sexually when we first met as adults and hung out for a day. It truly was a sister-sister thing then. But it was such a wondrous connection and it only continued to build as we continued to write each other email, talk on the phone, and Skype. The very next time we met together in person, I definitely felt a sexual pull towards her.
I came in for a weekend to join her at an event that she was vending, and we stayed in a hotel room with two of her friends. Bean and I slept in the same bed, and I felt very aroused being next to her, and especially when I finally let myself hold her. I think we both wanted to hold each other, but were afraid to make the first move. I kind of snuggled into her back, and she reached behind herself toward me, which I took as an invitation to wrap my arm around her torso and spoon. If we hadn’t had her friends with us, I am pretty confident that we would have had sexual connection during that visit. The draw was certainly there for me, and for her as well, although we never acknowledged it verbally at that time.
I was a little freaked out by my feelings and didn’t understand them, but I didn’t worry too much about it. Later, she came to visit me in my home state for a few weeks. Even though I live with my boyfriend, I ended up sleeping in Bean’s bed most of the time during her stay. We kept things non-sexual for about a week, but I could feel it becoming harder and harder for me to hold everything in. I was conflicted about having these feelings for my sister, and also about having them when I have a boyfriend and should be faithful to him.
Eventually I told my sister that I needed to tell her something but was afraid to. She pushed me to just say it, and I whispered in her ear as we lay in bed that I wanted to kiss her. She said, see I already knew that. I did end up kissing her then, because the fact that she didn’t freak out about it made me feel like she welcomed it too, but she didn’t kiss me back at that time. I felt rejected and sad that I had made a fool of myself, but I was grateful for how gracious and kind she was, not making me feel like a freak. Later on, she did kiss me, but I don’t recall if it was me kissing her first again, or if she just kissed me. And we talked more about whether this was a thing that we wanted to explore or what. I think we were pretty unclear about where we saw the boundary, if any.
One night, I was very turned on, and found myself on top of her, rubbing myself against her leg, and she gently caressed my hair and rubbed my back, signaling that it was ok what I was doing. I ended up [having an orgasm], and felt very embarrassed, but I also felt very loved, and like it was OK and permitted. That is still one of my favorite memories of making love with her. She has some past sexual trauma, so it took a little bit of time before we fully had sex with one another. I wanted her to feel completely comfortable with me going down on her and her on me, and so on, so we took things in baby steps.
FME: Can you elaborate on your feelings at that time?
Bean: There is so much to be said, I have no idea where to really begin. The feelings were all over the board; excitement, fear, enthusiasm, joy, confusion, finally belonging, “coming home”, losing yourself, losing everything, and finding it all again.
Tortilla: Like being so in love and so turned on all the time. I have had strong feelings of love and arousal with others, but there was something uniquely special about being able to bond like this with someone I felt so connected to, and so understood by. We already felt so emotionally intimate that the physical extension of that was very natural. I actually don’t think I had the ability to not be sexual with Bean. I tried to resist, but the pull was very strong.
FME: Before this had you ever thought this would be possible or enjoyable; did you have any opinion one way or the other about close relatives being together?
Bean: I didn’t really have an active opinion on the subject, as it wasn’t really something I had been faced with or given much thought to previous to this. Sure, I was aware of incest. But I had never heard of GSA. I heard your typical hillbilly jokes or comments on inbreeding, things like that. But never gave much conscious thought to it, and especially never imagined myself to be in a position to experience it.
Now though, it’s kind of interesting to hear just how often “incest” or “consanguinity” come up in everyday conversations. So whether people like to admit it or not, or whether they even recognize it, it’s very common in our society, instinctually or culturally.
Tortilla: I had never experienced sexual feelings for a family member before my sister. For our situation, I think the GSA explanation is really what made it happen. Had we grown up together, or had we actually started to build a relationship when I first found out about her when she was a young adolescent, I very much doubt that our relationship would have a sexual quality to it. The fact that we didn’t get to know each other until we became adults is what made our sexual attraction possible.
I had never heard of GSA before this happened. And we had already begun our sexual relationship before we found out about the phenomenon. By that point, we had already kind of worked through some of the guilt/taboo type feelings associated with our sexual attraction, but learning that there is a scientific phenomenon that operates in about 50% of cases where family members do not begin a relationship until adulthood was very compelling, and helped shoo away any remaining feelings that what we were doing was wrong from the standpoint of who should be allowed to be in a relationship from a societal acceptance standpoint.
Now the fact that our relationship began as an affair kept secret from my boyfriend for several months is a separate matter. In that sense, what we did was morally wrong. I owed my boyfriend the right to know about it and have a say in whether he found the situation acceptable. I betrayed his trust in acting before talking about it with him. But at the time I also felt like I was so driven that I couldn’t not be sexual, and so unable to talk about such a taboo thing with someone who I did desire to maintain my long-term relationship with. When we did ultimately come clean to him, together, it was somewhat surprising to learn that he was not at all shocked or repelled by the incest aspect. He was terribly hurt by the secret aspect, and it took a long time to work through that. And also to come to terms with the concept of transitioning from a monogamous relationship to a family unit that included some polyamorous overtones. He has actually adjusted extremely well and is absolutely supportive of mine and Bean’s relationship.
FME: Describe your relationship now. Do you see each other as family or lovers, or are those two roles inseparable at this point?
Bean: Tortilla and I are in a loving and committed relationship with each other. We are sisters, best friends, lovers, and partners in all things. We need each element of our relationship in order to be truly fulfilled. As we have learned with past experience, if you remove any one of those aspects, the others fall apart. We need each other as we are, fully, without any restrictions. We are everything to each other.
Tortilla: We are three roles actually: sister, best friend, and lover/partner in all things. It’s not that those things are necessarily distinct, but there are different aspects to our relationship that are fed by each of those relational elements, and we would not have as complete and fulfilling a relationship were it not for all three facets. I tried to remove the romantic aspect at one point, breaking things off with Bean, and it was a terribly hard time. I realized and learned the hard way that we can’t excise part of who we are to each other. We just are those things. Luckily, she agreed to take me back and leave her new girlfriend behind for me. It may sound hypocritical that I have two partners and yet asked her to just be with me and not have another partner, but I don’t know. Maybe it is hypocritical. But even though I ask her to put up with something that is against her nature, I am unable to do that myself. Maybe that’s the part of our relationship that will always be unbalanced. But for me, I saw this as an opportunity to create a defined family unit, not an opportunity to open the doors and let all kinds of people in.
The three of us have not always been fully aligned on what the family vision is. I think after much trial and tribulation, and near destruction, we are finally fairly inline. Bean will live with us soon, and we have spent extended stretches together during two summers and many short to longish visits in between while she finishes school. Like I have mentioned, marriage is not important for me personally, and I don’t care whether I ever marry. But I know this is symbolically important to Bean, and at some point she wants to do a hand fasting type ceremony, which my boyfriend would likely perform. He is supportive of that.
FME: Tell us more about the dynamics of this polyamorous “V” relationship. So it is closed?
Bean: When my sister and I first connected, she was already in a long-term relationship with her boyfriend. After some time and when she and I had come to terms with our feelings and our relationship for ourselves, we told him. He was understanding and is supportive of our relationship. We are very lucky. I am fully committed to Tortilla, and she is committed to me in our relationship. At the same time, she is also with her boyfriend and committed to him, and he is fully committed to her. He and I are friends and familial partners, but have no romantic/sexual relationship. Together, we have a closed family unit.
Tortilla: Our family unit is closed. Bean doesn’t desire anyone else, although when we were broken up for a couple months she did get a new girlfriend and there was some talk of keeping her on when I asked Bean to come back to me. That was a deal breaker for me. Ultimately I don’t think that’s what Bean wants, but she was emotionally invested in the new girlfriend, and she did have this sense of fairness due to my being able to have two partners. I think that’s my fear. That one day Bean or Boyfriend will ask for someone else.
FME: How do you describe the sex or lovemaking now?
Bean: The sex is amazing. Mind-blowing. Incredible. I don’t mean to brag, but she and I really do have amazing chemistry in bed. We just understand each other on so many levels and are so in tune with each others’ bodies. The emotional and mental connections definitely add to the physical connection exponentially. Our lovemaking is completely natural. There is nothing taboo about it. But hell yes, it’s erotic as f---.
Tortilla: Sex with Bean is incredible. We know each other and trust each other, so it is easier to allow her to do things and to do things myself that I normally would feel too inhibited to approach. We keep things adventurous and fresh. I wonder sometimes how much of that is the fact that our relationship has been largely long distance. It’s easy to let things get stale when presence with each other is so regular. So it will be interesting to see how well we are able to keep the sex exciting. But it’s pretty f---ing great, so I’m looking forward to it.
FME: So Tortilla’s boyfriend knows what’s going on. Does anyone else in your life know the full, true nature of your relationship? What kind of steps, if any, have you had to take to keep your privacy?
Bean: None of our family currently knows the whole nature of our relationship, but they do know we are very close. We have decided that for the time being, it is for the best to not tell the family. We do, however, have a small friend base that knows the true nature of our relationship and are very understanding and supportive. They treat us like any other couple and just want to see us happy. We are not always free to be completely open in public, but a good deal of the time we are more able to do so now. Tortilla is becoming more comfortable with touch in public, and that makes me feel so, so good!
Basically, our steps we take to maintain privacy is just to control who knows the truth. We are opening up the field for people to know, but it’s still very controlled. Our business is just that – our business.
Tortilla: We have people who are in the know, and people who are on deck to know, and people who maybe never will know. Boyfriend was the first to know, of course. And in the beginning I think we felt that we’d have to keep it secret. But there is a huge burden to being secretive. This is something Bean knows firsthand, because her existence was secret in the beginning, and she lived with the stress and burden of that for a long time. It made her question her reality, her actual existence in a way. Can you imagine that? Questioning whether you are real because of how others are allowed to know you? This is why a closeted existence is something no one should have to put up with.
But we recognize that it is simply not safe to be completely open. I have told one of my close friends, who is completely supportive and nonjudgmental; not even shocked in the least. Bean has told a handful of her friends, some of whom I would consider friends myself. It is nice to be able to be around those people and completely be ourselves. Boyfriend has some polyamorous friends in our hometown who have also been let in on the secret, and they don’t care in the least. So far no one that we have told has reacted negatively, although I imagine we can’t bat 1000 forever.
There are maybe a few more people that she could tell than me because her background is to be surrounded by more bohemian type people who tend to be very open and nontraditional. I have a lot of professional concerns to protect against. My professional reputation could be irrevocably damaged if people were to find out about my true relationship life, even though we are loving and cause no one harm. It’s a reality. So I am being more selective about who I will tell so far. I have a few people in mind, but telling is hard when you love someone and want them to keep loving you and fear they may not. I don’t think we plan to tell any family members, although there are some who may be able to accept it. So far the need is not there, but maybe at some point.
FME: Having to hide the full nature of your relationship from some people can be a disadvantage. Can you describe how that has been? Are there any other disadvantages? Conversely, do you think GSA relationships have some advantages and some things better than unrelated lovers?
Bean: It does hurt me when I am not able to fully express my relationship with my sister to others. She makes me so happy and I just want the world to know how happy we are. But that is not a realistic wish for the time being. It’s especially hard when I can see that she and her boyfriend, just by nature of being an unrelated female and male, can act any way they want to with each other in public. They can be as open or as closed as they please. That freedom is something I desperately want to have. And when we are with family or unknowing friends, that is also very tough. They are automatically “paired off” with each other, and I feel like the dorky tag-along little sister who others think can never quite get her life together. It’s a tough situation to be in sometimes, and sometimes the jealousy is really hard to deal with. But it’s a sacrifice I make, because having what we have together is so much better than what we’d have without each other.
There are some advantages over unrelated lovers, too. For one, the passion in all aspects is so much higher, and so much more rewarding. The understanding you find with your GSA lover could never be matched by anyone else, no matter how hard you try. There is just something about blood that binds you closer together.
Tortilla: It is hard to hide. You want to just be natural in public. You want to hold hands or kiss or be affectionate the way lovers are, and sometimes you feel like you are in an anonymous enough situation that you can do that but you always have in the back of your mind, am I going to run into someone I know?
I think our relationship has an advantage in that the intimacy and connection is truly natural. It is not forced. You don’t have to try. It just comes, and it feels great. Pleasing each other seems intuitive in ways that it isn’t with other partners.
FME: What do you want to say to people who disapprove of your 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?
Bean: I think it’s completely ridiculous that anyone thinks they have the right to tell consenting adults whom they can and cannot love. Who you love is no one’s right but your own. I would think members of the LGBT community would be especially understanding of this, but surprisingly, that’s not always the case. I would say, don’t judge something that you don’t understand and have never experienced. Don’t infringe on other’s right to love in a consenting, safe way. It doesn’t affect you, and it doesn’t concern you. Love is love. As long as it’s safe, healthy, and consensual, it shouldn’t matter who it is or how it happened.
And to those who say that one of us is preying on the other, I say that they don’t know us at all, and cannot say who or what we are. We were two adult women, two strangers who met one day, just like any other potential couple. And we got to know each other and fell deeply in love. Yes, we share blood. But that doesn’t change that we love the person that each other is, with all our hearts.
Tortilla: I get the disapproval. As a society, we have placed several layers of taboo on what people are allowed to do with their personal and sexual relationships. My relationship with Bean has three layers of taboo: sexuality (she is lesbian and I am bi), polyamory (I have a boyfriend in addition to her), and incest/consanguinity. There are some people who aren’t OK with the gay thing, even though that seems like absolutely no big deal in light of the other elements. It’s hard to break through the restraints that society has ingrained in each of us growing up. LGBT acceptance is on the rise (L and G more so than B and T, I would argue), and even poly type relationships are gaining some acceptance what with shows like Sister Wives and Big Love making similar lifestyles seem more accessible. There are pockets of acceptance in fringe cultural groups. But the incest element is one that I don’t feel will gain a lot of acceptance quickly or easily. It may take hundreds of years.
We see that we may have an opportunity to steer some of that progress through our story. I think GSA is an easier sell than other forms of consenting incest. Consanguinity is a much nicer term, but impossible to say, so I say incest not because I like the negative connotation, but because it’s simple and in principle the same idea; I add consenting because there’s a difference between abusive incest and consenting and welcomed incest.
Is one of us preying on the other? Are we unable to consent? Uh, we are both adults. We can consent to whatever we want. The question is whether that consent will be accepted by outside forces, and for now we understand the answer is no. I might ask her to dominate me in bed sometimes, but there’s no unasked for preying around here.
FME: Aside from the law, which I think is ridiculous, can you think of anything that would make relationships like this inherently wrong?
Bean: Not a single thing.
Tortilla: Inherent wrongness is an interesting concept. Once you start to question morality, you can find a number of things that society calls wrong that really don’t hurt anyone. And to me that is the question. Is what I am choosing to do hurting someone else? By this definition, murder is wrong. Stealing is wrong. Battery is wrong. Abuse is wrong. Unconsented contact is wrong, sexual or otherwise. But between adults who are both willing participants, I have a hard time labeling this as wrong by the definition of whether someone else is hurt. In the beginning, yes, my actions hurt Boyfriend. But that was due to the secrecy of mine and Bean’s relationship. In essence I was having an affair. Now that everything is known and he is fine with it, meaning all parties involved consent, no one is harmed, and there is nothing inherently wrong with this relationship choice.
FME: If you could get legally married, and that included protections against discrimination, harassment, etc., would you?
Bean: Yes, of course, in a heartbeat. I’d marry her yesterday.
In all seriousness, Tortilla is my soulmate. She is my partner in all things. I want to be her wife. My wish on that star? Still holds true. I just want to be with her forever.
Tortilla: I wouldn’t care, but like I mentioned, it would be important to Bean, so I’d do it for her. Can I marry two people? Effectively I have, but as far as outside recognition goes, whatever.
FME: What advice do you have for someone who may be experiencing these feelings for a relative or family member?
Bean: I just want them to know that they are not alone. There is nothing wrong with them. They are not sick, disgusting, a deviant, a freak, or defective in any way. What they are feeling is completely natural and a normal response. There is love and support. It might not be where you expect it, but it’s there. Just be patient, and be honest with yourself. If it’s safe, talk with the person you’re having the feelings for, and hopefully they feel the same. Just accept yourself and love yourself, no matter what.
Tortilla: Don’t freak out. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You may experience guilt feelings or like you are a pervert at first. This is the taboo that society has placed on it. Be thoughtful and deliberate. Talk with the family member, and if they are feeling the same thing, then great! If not, that is hard.
FME: What advice do you have for family members and friends who think or know that relatives they know are having these feelings for each other?
Bean: I encourage them to be patient and understanding, and show their family members or friends nothing but love. It might be hard to come to accept their feelings, but their feelings are love. There isn’t enough love in the world, so why should we reject the love that exists?
Tortilla: I’d say if you are cool with it, then drop hints to let the relative know that you will be a safe person to tell. We are looking at our friends and family and asking ourselves, who can we tell, who will be ok with this? We want a safe space to be ourselves, and it helps to have people who know. So if you suspect someone you know is going through this, be supportive. Be unconditional in your love. Even ask questions that might invite the person to disclose, without being too pushy or direct. Let them come to you. You don’t want to ask point blank and have them deny for fear, but just be the kind of person who will be able to take the news and welcome it because you love them and want them to feel safe and happy.
FME: Have you met in-person or do you know anyone else who has experience with GSA, consanguinamory or consanguineous sex?
Bean: Sadly, no. At least, not that I know of. I really hope to one day, but so far my only interaction with other consangs is through the Internet.
Tortilla: Not to my knowledge, but if there’s one thing that has come out of this experience, it’s the understanding that everyone has secrets, and you never really know a person’s life. My guess is this type of thing happens a lot more frequently than people are willing to talk about, and that’s too bad. That people aren’t willing to talk, I mean. In some ways it’s not safe to talk. Sites like this might help change that.
FME: Any plans for the future?
Bean: My plan is to build a happy and healthy life with Tortilla my love, and to have a wonderful, nurturing family together. Maybe even a child one day. We encourage and support each other’s dreams, and will work together to fulfill them. Our creative energies feed each other, and we have several projects in mind to bring forth together. All we want is to be happy, and to be with each other.
Tortilla: Lots. Bean and I work great together. Our creative energies really build off each other. We have plans to start businesses and creative pursuits together. One day I hope to be able to tell our story in a book, and I hope we can do it without the cover of anonymity.
FME: Anything else to add?
Bean: Love is love. And everyone is human. That’s really all I can say.
Tortilla: It’s become clearer to me that what is “OK” is very subjective. It’s all about the people in the situation, and their own levels of comfort and orientations. There are some people who would never be in a relationship with a sibling they grew up with, but would with a GSA sibling. There are some who have no problem being sexual with anyone regardless of blood relationship. If parties consent, more power to you. But most people have some level that they aren’t willing to personally cross, and that’s OK too. It’s all about knowing your boundaries and tolerance levels and knowing those of your partner, and being able to align them so that everyone feels safe, loved, and happy.
There you have it. Consenting adults who aren't hurting anyone and yet face discrimination and denial of their rights simply for loving each other. They are happy and in love, even supported by some of the people in their lives, and yet they are denied their fundamental right to marry.
Why should they be denied their rights? There’s no good reason.We need to recognize that all adults should be free to be with any and all consenting adults as they mutually consent, and part of doing that is adopting relationship rights for all, including full marriage equality sooner rather than later. 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.
See this to read more about cheating in GSA situations.
If you are in a relationship like this and are looking for help or others you can talk with, read this.
Thank you to the "Burrito" for doing this interview! If you want to be interviewed about your "forbidden" relationship, connect with me by checking under the "Get Connected" tab there at the top of the page.
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