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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Beautiful Love Enduring Prejudice



I've done scores of exclusive interviews with lovers, most of whom 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. It is a privilege to get a glimpse into these relationships consider forbidden by unjust laws or by common public prejudices. Most of them want to marry, whether immediately or not, and it is such a sad thing that anyone would stand in their way.

Below, you will meet "Samantha"
She's an adult and should be free to decide for herself whether to marry and with whom she should get married. Yet, in many places, she would be denied her right to marry the person she loves most, and in some of those places, they could be criminally prosecuted and imprisoned. 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 Samantha has to say. You may think her relationship is interesting, or it might make you uncomfortable, or you might find it incredibly erotic, but whatever your reaction, should adult lovers be denied equal access to marriage or any other rights?

Please note that the strong bond often formed out of Genetic Sexual Attraction can happen between first cousins.

*****


FULL MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Describe yourself.

Samantha: I’m a young adult female from a smallish city. I’m currently a college student in the US.


FME: How would you describe your sexual orientation and your relationship orientation... are you heterosexual, bisexual, what? Are you a monogamist, polyamorist, or....?

Although most of my encounters have been with men, and all of my experiences outside of men were still with cis-gender women, I think I can be classified as pansexual. As far as my relationship orientation, I suppose I do prefer to have multiple relationships at a time, but only if Michael is enjoying it. Right now though, I am a de-facto monogamist because I haven’t met anyone other than Michael that would be right for having a relationship with.



FME: You currently live with... ?

I live with my roommates for now.


FME: You are in a relationship with your biological first cousin?

Yes.


FME: What kind of relationship, if any, did you have while you were growing up? What was family life like? What was your childhood like?

When I was a child it was a pretty benign relationship, not particularly memorable. He's more than a decade older than me and I have almost no conscious memory of him at all until I was about 14. He was around from time to time, though. Other members of my family say that he really loved my sister and me, and that he was always happier when he was around us. In the photos where we are together, he looks invariably like he is having the best time of his life. But, those incidents were isolated. For those wondering, he definitely never did anything sexual to me when I was a child. My mother was very hyper-vigilant about that sort of thing, so it would have been known to her if it had happened, and I have no memory of anything of that nature.

He lived in other places for most of my life, but when I was 14 he moved back to the city I lived in and when he fell ill, I felt an obligation to take care of him in whatever way I could. I was suicidal and depressed at the time, so having a responsibility was therapeutic, as was his company. It grew into a very close friendship and then, as we got closer and closer, I started having sexual feelings for him. I’m not sure when that started for him. We haven’t really talked about it much. If I had to guess though, I would say that he developed feelings at the same time or a little later.



FME: Do you have any children together?

No, no kids. I’m just trying to get my education before I put the buns in the oven. We may very well decide to use gamete donors, but we may also decide to have biological children. We’re still on the fence.


FME: How did sexual affection become a part of your relationship?

At the time I would probably have said that it was sudden, but in hindsight, we were always a few inches or a few words away from kissing or having sex. Before either of us knew we were attracted to each other, we were sleeping in the same room and I woke up out of a nightmare crying and he let me get in bed with him and he hugged me and listened to me until we went back to sleep. Things like that went on for many months. One day, we kissed, and there was no going back. Before I knew it, I was so in love I could barely think of anything other than him.


FME: Can you describe your feelings during that?

I was scared and I couldn’t believe what was happening. But, at the same time, it was amazing and dreamlike. Knowing that he reciprocated my feelings was very validating. Also, right after we kissed, which was more of a brush of the lips than anything, all I could really think about was how soft his lips were and how good he smelled.


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 or family members being together? Had you heard of Genetic Sexual Attraction?

I had never really heard of it, to be honest. I kept forgetting that he was related to me. I would have to remind myself that I shouldn’t be having these feelings, or so I thought. So, I guess I did have some emotional or so-called moral aversion to it at first.

I have never felt this for anyone, related or not. I don’t have any surrogate family members, so I can’t speak to that, but I don’t have any feelings like this for even my father who left when I was young.  He and I recently started talking more.



FME: How do you describe the sex? Taboo? Natural? Especially erotic? Kinky?

It’s very much the same as other sexual experiences I’ve had. Actually, it’s far less awkward, and way more satisfying. Sex always has the potential to be awkward, but with him I almost always just feel like we have a sort of telepathy as far as knowing what the other wants. He feels like part of my own body. I don’t find it to be kinky at all. In fact, I have to try to ignore the consanguineous aspect of it some of the time. However, the age difference aspect of it is sort of kinky for me. I haven’t had like, untold amounts of sex with other people, but none of it so far has been as good as with him.


FME: Describe your relationship now. Do you see each other as family or lovers, or are those two roles inseparable at this point?

We have the closest, most honest relationship of anyone I have ever known. I love everything about him. It feels so normal and effortless to be near him. He is the funniest, kindest, most handsome person I know. I can’t go five minutes without thinking about him, I find myself thinking about how lucky I am all the time, we tell each other everything, we encourage each other to do the things we want and need to do. I dream about him nine nights out of ten. It feels like that fiery, giddy, all-consuming love of new couples, but we have been together for almost four years now. I don’t think these emotions are going to get less intense, because so far it’s only been getting more intense. We aren’t living together yet, but we plan to as soon as his work-related duties have been fulfilled.

I would say we are pretty much married; we just haven’t legally tied the knot. It started as a sort of “family-with-benefits” thing, but at the same time, it felt more to me like we were just very good friends and I have never really seen him as a part of my biological family. His sister, who is objectively very beautiful, feels like a relative to me and I don’t think that I could ever be attracted to her. But, she was a large part in my life when I was growing up, unlike Michael. I feel a stronger love for him than anyone else, stronger than any romantic partner I have ever had or any of my family, but I can’t be sure if that is because we are related.



FME: Are you in a closed relationship with each other or are one or both of you seeing or seeking others? Have you had other lovers since your relationship with each other became sexual, and have any of them known about your relationship with each other?

Well, at first we tried to break it off and see, exclusively, other people and abstain from sex with each other. But it was impossible to do. He is like a drug. Once we accepted that we were just going to have to be soulmates forever, we had a period where we were engaged in other people at the same time. That period hasn’t ended, necessarily; it’s just that we haven’t met the right people lately. None of the other relationships have felt as natural though. The sex isn’t as good, the relationships aren’t as effortless. In comparison to what he and I have, nothing has been as good so far. In the future, I hope we will have other lovers, but he will probably be my primary when we do.

No one has known about us so far. But I think it would be an interesting exercise to just tell people and see what happens. I’m too afraid of the fallout to try that yet though. Maybe in a few years.



FME: Does anyone in your life know the full, true nature/history of your relationship and how did they find out? What kind of steps, if any, have you had to take to keep your privacy?

My other cousin knows, as does my mother, my aunt and my little sister. A few of my friends also have picked up on it, but I denied it, which at the time seemed like my only option. They found out because my mother read our texts and then decided to tell a handful of people via drunken rampage. When she first found out, She played head games with me for several months, and then suddenly she got very drunk and angry and did some of the worst things I have ever personally witnessed. She accused me of trying to break the family apart with my feminine wiles, which is the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard. I will never know what was going through her head. On top of confirming all of the fears I had about how people would see us, she created new ones, namely the fear of one or both of us being imprisoned for life, as she threatened frequently. It was a f---ing nightmare to say the least.

My aunt seems more or less OK with the idea. She acts a little awkward at times, but it is much better than my mother’s reaction. My little sister is too young to form opinion on her own, but she isn’t talking to me right now. Hopefully that will change. I’m not talking to my mother anymore, so I don’t know what her position is as of now, but I assume it isn’t awesome.

My female cousin is the only one who actually makes me feel like a person out of the lot of them. When she first found out, she asked me what I thought about it, and after I told her that I hadn’t been raped or molested, she started telling both of us that she loves us and supports us, and everything with her pretty much went back to normal. Actually, I think she and I are closer now. I depended on her support heavily for the next few months or so while I lived in my mother’s house. We have all sorts of totally vile jokes about us, which are hilarious, but it reminds me that she knows about us and still loves us, which is very comforting

We can’t really act like a couple in public, or we haven’t so far at least. I come from a town that is too small to hold hands with your cousin in Barnes and Noble and go unnoticed. Once he moves here though, I fully intend on being a “regular” couple.

My roommates know of us as just a couple. To maintain the secret, I have to make little lies a lot, and remember several fake names, which is exhausting to do consistently.



FME: Having to hide the full nature of your relationship from some people can be a disadvantage. If you've had to do that, can you describe how that has been? Are there any other disadvantages? Conversely, do you think consanguineous relationships have some advantages and some things better than unrelated lovers?

It’s been some sort of special torture. I have to look out for his safety and mine, I can’t be reckless and tell people how happy I am, or why. If I told the wrong person, or they told someone, we could be imprisoned for life. I can’t introduce my long-time friends to this man that I have been taking about. I have to live a double life, essentially. I don’t like lying, and I especially hate lying to people I care about, so it puts me in a sad situation a lot of times.

I definitely think there are advantages. Our connection is deeper and more mutual than any other relationship I have been in. I’m not sure if this is related to our genetic similarity, but we have a surprising amount of things in common and we understand each other. It’s a really amazing feeling. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.



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 truly consent? For example, that since he's older and you're so young, he must have forced himself on you or manipulated you?

Before reading up on the topic, I would probably have apologized like some wilting lily in response to disapproval. But f--- that, I am happy and he is happy and we are not hurting each other or anyone else.

I’m not new to the idea of manipulation. I told a friend that I had a boyfriend who was much older, and they said that I was being manipulated for sex. I entertained the idea for some months, vigilant of any of the tell-tale signs of manipulation, but I never saw any of those signs, and I still don’t. Does he sound manipulative? I have sex and other relationships with whoever I want, I am getting a science degree, I have good contact with my friends and family, he never makes me feel guilty about anything, he has never been passive aggressive, and we haven’t even really had a fight. At least not like the fights I saw when I was growing up between my parents. When he and I have a disagreement, it is just that, a disagreement. And then we talk about it and the problem is solved. There’s no yelling or emotional abuse or anything like that. He is the most gentle and selfless person I know.

To people who say I can’t consent I would say that those who can’t consent can’t do so because they do not intellectually or emotionally understand their actions or the effects of their actions, like children. I am not a child, I know full well what I am doing and why, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t. Consent laws exist to help protect those who can’t protect themselves. People who tell me that I can’t consent are not helping me. People who tell anyone above the age of legal consent that they can’t consent is stripping them of their power as a human being. Thanks, but no thanks. If you want to help me, and the others who “can’t truly consent”, help change these absurd and oppressive laws.

Also, why don’t you focus on those who actually can’t consent? Why are there a disturbingly large amount of headlines to the effect of “man rapes eight day old daughter, goes free” while you are vying for our imprisonment?



FME: Aside from the law in a handful of states, which I think is ridiculous, can you think of anything that would make relationships like this inherently wrong?

How can love be inherently wrong? Especially between consenting adults?


FME: Do you want to get legally married? Or is this a different kind of relationship than that?

I would love to be married. We have been looking at engagement rings for like ever.


FME: What advice do you have for someone who may be experiencing these feelings for a relative or family member, especially a cousin?

I don’t know exactly. This topic is so personal and so nuanced, it would be impossible to give advice that would be good for everyone, even people in a very similar situation to mine. But, it is good for everyone to remember that they are responding to the situation in a perfectly normal and explainable way.

Also, if you are in a relationship with your cousin, remember that you are in a very similar situation to people in relationships with more closely related family. Why shouldn’t siblings marry? Parents and their children? Identical twins or even clones, if such a thing existed? As adoptions and gamete donation become more popular, and as the Internet’s ability to re-connect people increases, consanguineous couples are becoming more prominent. Illegalizing their marriage is not going to stop people from being in those relationships, it will only make them live in secret and shame. There’s no point in that. You have a responsibility to help support them too.



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?

They are still the same people you knew before they met this person or became involved with them. If you loved them and respected them before, you can do it now too. I’m sure it would make their lives a lot easier if they had their other loved ones to support them.


FME: Have you met in-person or do you know anyone else who has experience with consanguinamory or consanguineous sex?

No, I haven’t. I do wish I had met someone else though. It would have saved me a lot of pain and confusion. It’s possible, if not probable, that I do know someone who has experience with it but just didn’t tell me.


FME: Any plans for the future?

Plans for the immediate future include moving in together and getting our careers in good working order before we have kids. First, I have to finish school and figure out what I want to do exactly. Later we will probably get married, buy a house and a Tesla. Maybe we will live somewhere coastal. I have always wanted to see the ocean. Maybe I will get my doctorate. We’re shooting for 2.5 kids and a white picket fence sort of stuff.


FME: Anything else to add?

I think there is a stereotype that people in these sorts of relationships are stupid or uneducated or mentally deficient. I myself bought into that to some degree. But this sort of attraction happens to all different kinds of people. I am currently attending one of the most prestigious universities in the world, and lots of other people in consanguinamorous relationships have been far more intelligent and successful than I could ever be. We are not freaks, we are not stupid, we are just trying to be happy, like anyone else.




*****


There you have it. A thoughtful, eleoquent woman who isn't hurting anyone and yet faces discrimination and denial of their rights simply for loving another adult. They;re happy and in love, so why the discrimination and prejudice?. They could be still be criminally prosecuted in some US states because of ridiculous laws interfering with consensual adult relationships. Who is the victim of their love?

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.

If you are in a relationship like this and are looking for help or others you can talk with, read this
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, or if you're on a mobile device, click here.

If you know someone who is in a relationship like this, please read this.

Thank you to Samantha for doing this interview! We wish you well and hope your consanguinamorous relationship thrives and is allowed to come out of the shadows sooner rather than later.
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