Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Nice to See Some Support

I pointed you to Lanna Lovely’s book review, but here’s something she wrote regarding her thoughts on consanguineous romance and sex. She points out that even though it isn’t something for her, she mostly comes down on the side of freedom.

In real life, the idea of incest (brother/sister) grosses me out -- but that's just my subjective opinion, because I could never think about my brother that way, it's just... ew. But objectively, I'm not so judgemental about it or creeped out. If two people love each other and they don't see each other as siblings, then why is that so wrong?

It isn’t.

We don't choose who our parents are. We can't choose who we fall for... emotions don't come with an on/off switch, they just happen regardless of what is right or wrong or socially acceptable.

So far, so good. But as she did with her book review, she expresses her concerns about children.

Now, I totally agree that people who are blood related shouldn't have children together, it increases the childs risk of having all sorts of mutations and birth defects.

This is a myth. It is a matter of genetics between both biological parents, whether they are closely related or not.

People don't have to like it. There are people in the world against homoesexuality or people of different races or religions being together... if you strip away the having children aspect of incest, why is it any different?

She’s exactly right, except for the children. She goes on to mention a case of genetic sexual attraction.

Imagine loving someone and them loving you back but you can't be together because other people say it's wrong? I'm betting loving them and being with them wouldn't feel so wrong, it's the rest of the worlds problem, not theirs.


The fact that two people could get sent to prison just for falling in love with each other is beyond insane.

Glad she agrees. Let’s work to change that! Go read everything she wrote.

The comments are mostly supportive, which is refreshing.

sealednectar addressed the birth defects red herring.

That is true. But that would be taking a human right away from them, wouldn't it? Would this be written down as a law? Telling them, you're related, you CAN be together...but you can't have children (supposing they want to have children together).

Right. That wouldn’t be equality.

What if this brother and sister DO get together, but a few years down the line, they break up? Will they still have to see each other for the rest of their lives at family gatherings?

People deal with this all of the time with divorce. This is not a reason to deny equality.

What if it wasn't siblings? What if it was a mother and her a son (of the legal age), or a father and his daughter (of legal age) or just a parent/child couple, uncle/niece (of legal age) who decided they were in love? Even if they were both consenting to this, I wouldn't like this.

We don’t get a reason as to why this person would be okay with one, but not the other.

I think though, in time, sibling couples will become (somewhat) acceptable in this society in the same way as other taboo relationships have been accepted in the past. That's my prediction:)

Let her prediction come true, so that all consenting adults are free to love.
— — —

Same-Sex Couples Now Marrying in Argentina

Congratulations to the happy couples and to Argentina for increasing the freedom to marry. Let's keep moving forward to full marriage equality.
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Big Brother and Bigotry?

There is some talk that on this season of the American version of the television show Big Brother, there may be some consanguineous affection of a sexual nature taking place. See here and here. As much as I wish otherwise, I doubt that when everything is cleared up, we will have seen a positive portrayal of a consanguineous couple. Please, CBS, do not promote bigotry.
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Another Superfluous Incest Conviction

And it gets “incest” associated with “child sex abuse” in the headline. Incest is to child sex abuse what penetration is to rape. Not all penetration is rape. Not all incest involves abuse against children. Some incest is between consenting adults: consanguineous sex.

The story comes from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

A Canadian man has been sentenced to 13-1/2 years in prison for sexually abusing three of his daughters and four neighborhood girls.

Clearly, this is a man who is into pedophilia and child abuse. The incest is incidental. All of the victims were girls, but the paper doesn't refer to the convict or the abuse as "heterosexual."

In my opinion, the sentence is too lenient.

The 36-year-old man, who can't be named to protect the identity of his victims, pleaded guilty to 11 charges, including incest.

So child abuse takes a back seat in the story to “incest."

Provincial court in Surrey, British Columbia, was told the man sexually abused his youngest victim, his five-year-old daughter, on a daily basis while his wife was at work.

He’s a monster, to be sure.

A psychologist testified that the man felt he was not harming his victims because he made the whole thing out to be a game.

Remember that the next time you read that a psychologist says consanguineous, gay, or polyamorous sex is harmful. Some psychologists are wrong and say stupid things.

This criminal should have been convicted and put away solely based on child molestation and abuse/neglect of his own child. There’s no need to have laws against incest. Incest between consenting adults should not be a crime. Rape and child abuse should already be crimes, regardless of whether or not they are incestuous.
— — —

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Two Book Reviews of Note

In Newsweek, Kate Dailey reviewed a book that is getting a lot of buzz, Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, by Christopher Ryan (a research psychologist), and Cacilda Jethá, a practicing psychiatrist.

Forget what you think you know about the origin of species. Sex at Dawn sets out to prove that our prehistoric ancestors were happy and healthy, thanks in no small part to lots of egalitarian, polyamorous, noisy group sex.

Sounds good.

The survival benefits were immense: since there was no way of telling who fathered which child, children were raised by the community of foragers rather than single monogamous pairs. Everyone had lots of orgasms (women most of all). Women weren’t used as property or bartering chips, which led to more equality between the genders.

This might explain why women seem to be the more vocal proponents of polyamory, at least in my experience.

The other book review is on Tabitha Suzuma’s Forbidden; I blogged about another review of this book here. Lanna Lovely is the reviewer this time. She starts off with…

[Important note: when I talk about incest in this review, I'm referring only to consensual incest between two people over the legal age of consent -- just felt I should clarify that.]

That is important.

I'm not sure if I'm glad I read this book or not, it's one of those ones that has gotten under my skin and it's going to stick with me for a really long time... which wouldn't be a bad thing, except it's so sad, thinking about the story hurts. It managed to really make me think about the whole issue of incest in a way that I never have before.

I mean, I've said before that I have this warped fascination with reading stories about it because it's like the ultimate forbidden romance, but this book really made me think about where I stand on the issue in real life.

It made me realise that my "love is love" motto that I apply to things like gay marriage should also apply to this as well. It's terrible that we live in a world where society can tell us who we should or shouldn't love -- or even throw us in jail for it.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’d have a winner… if it was left at that.

Not allowing them to have kids thing is completely justified because of the health risks to the children, but just stopping them from being together?

Again with the “but the kids!” thing. It is dangerous to take away reproductive rights.

They're not hurting anyone, it should not be a crime -- people don't have to like it or approve of it, but that doesn't mean they should have the right to control it either.

Yes, and that should extend to whether or not they choose to have children. Children have been born of such parents and have grown up to be just fine.

If you're grossed out by stories about incest, I still suggest you give this book a chance, maybe it'll change your perspective on the issue. Most people can't view the issue in an objective way, they can't get past the feelings they have for their own relatives to be open minded enough to accept the fact that some people can feel anything different towards a member of their family.

Very well said. We need more books that will get people to change their minds.
— — —

Polygamy Painted Guilty by Association

Maybe you don’t like the idea of polygamy: you think someone should only be able to be married to one person at a time. If that is your position, have you ever considered why you hold that position? Can you think of any fair, reason-based justification to deny someone else the right to be married to more than one person?

I think it is possible that a lot of people have a knee-jerk negative reaction to polygamy largely because media portrayals.

Consider this headline in today’s Los Angeles Times: “Polygamist Leader's Conviction Reversed.” The article is about Warren Jeffs, who heads a religious sect. There are many things Jeff’s religion teaches, and there are many accusations that have been made against him. He had been found guilty of being an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old child, but the headline focuses on his belief in polygamy (polygyny only).

This kind of framing of the article demonizes polygamy by trying to associate it with rape and child abuse and as something that is only wanted by certain males in a small religious sect seen as strange by most outsiders.

Wanting polygamy doesn’t make someone a child abuser or rapist. There are millions of monogamists who commit child abuse and rape.

Antifreedom portrayals need to be changed.

Maybe you don’t want to be married to more than one person, but there are people who don’t want to be married to anyone. What if they prevented you from being able to marry? Negative media portrayals of polygamy are part of what prevents marriage equality.

There are mainstream members of society who support polygamy, perhaps someone in your family or living next door. They shouldn't be made to feel like second class citizens.
— — —

Ostracism Hurts

The translation of this tragic news item is somewhat rough, but it appears that it is a story of a desperate Nigerian teen mother who murdered her infant after being rejected by her family. She was apparently in love with a relative who is not independently established, and conceived the child through consensual sex within that relationship.

I do not excuse her actions in killing her child, but perhaps she could have been prevented from murdering the child with a little more understanding and assistance. Linda was once a scared, pregnant teen, and she says she doesn’t know how she would have made it without support from family. She also says adopting Matthew out and losing custody of Melissa were painful and that she ached for them; she can’t imagine murdering her own child. The teen in this article must have been disturbed or very desperate.

We need support for expectant mothers and mothers with newborns, especially teens, and should not ostracize the teens for being in love with a relative. Imagine the difference that could have been made if her family had surrounded her and the baby's father with love and support.
— — —

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sibling Couple Supported by Mother?

Following up on a Scottish sibling couple, this report says they have the support of their mother.

Karina Cameron said she was horrified when she caught son Nick, 31 and daughter Danielle Heaney, 25, in the act, The Sun newspaper reports.

Some people are horrified when they see their parents having sex, or someone they are related to having sex with someone else, or when they see anyone else having sex, or when they see someone masturbating, or when they see two men kiss on the lips. It doesn’t mean that they have seen something wrong.

Nick was taken into foster care as a baby while his half-sister Danielle Heane was raised by their mother.

Mr Cameron and Ms Heaney met for the first time in 2006 and described the meeting as "love at first sight".

They think they are experiencing genetic sexual attraction. I wonder if Karina experienced any attraction to Nick and if her reaction wasn’t at least partially out of jealousy. Couples like Nick and Danielle can be especially radiant together.

Ms Cameron said despite being initially disgusted by her children's' behaviour, she now understood it was likely because of GSA.

People can’t control their immediate feelings. They felt attraction and she felt disgust when she found them having sex. What is important is how the feelings are handled. Many parents have struggled with the love lives of their children, no matter how old.

"The moment I saw him, I knew he was the man I wanted to be with for the rest of my life," Ms Heaney said.

Mr Cameron said the moment he met Ms Heaney he felt an overwhelming love for her.

That’s beautiful.

The pair pursued a physical relationship despite Ms Heaney being married with a young child.

That’s isn’t so beautiful if it happened behind her spouse’s back.

Their mother reported them to the police after she caught them having sex on the sofa of Ms Heaney's house.

The couple were handed a suspended sentence for multiple charges of incest and told they will be jailed if they have sex again.

Ridiculous. The police should have told her they have more important things to do than bother people in love, but since they didn’t, the courts should have dismissed the case. Shame on everyone involved in prosecuting two consenting adults.

I want to know what this support is that her mother now offers. Does she leave them be? Is she willing to support changes in the law? Linda, Matthew, and Melissa are all very supportive of each other and none of them begrudges the other two spending time alone. But they certainly do enjoy their time all together, too. So do I, when I’m there.

The article, thankfully, did not heap derision on the couple.
— — —

Kat Cox Says You Can be Poly and Feminist

Kat Cox had a reader who wrote that he considers himself a feminist, but says that he’s romantically an “inveterate cheater” and that he has “been accused on more than one occasion of being a womanizer.” He asks “Can one be both a feminist and a womanizer?”

In her response, Cox brings up polyamory.

People who cheat have their reasons for doing so, but if you’re a long-time cheater, it may just be that you’re actually polyamorous and won’t admit it.

It is important to make this distinction. A cheater is someone breaking an agreement instead of sticking to an agreement or informing the other person or people that he or she is ending the agreement. There are monogamists who are cheaters and polyamorists who are cheaters, and there are people in both categories who maintain fidelity. It is mean-spirited or ignorant to label polyamory as cheating.

Yes, I know, what a dirty word, polyamory. It’s an ugly mix of Greek and Latin roots and it’s got a terrible reputation. It’s hard to be polyamorous, because most people (especially women) in our society think monogamy is the highest standard of sexual relationships, and by saying you’re polyamorous from the get-go, you’re basically saying you’re not interested in pursuing that higher standard, ergo hardly anybody will want to get into a relationship with you.

Part of the problem is the ban on polygamy. It prevents polyamorists from being able to marry everyone they love. Not all of them want to, but the ones who do should be able to.

But if you have absolutely no qualms with sleeping with multiple partners or being in multiple relationships beyond the qualms of a partner who only values monogamy as a relationship status, you are probably polyamorous. And it ends up, being polyamorous can be a very feminist occupation.

Cox goes on to explain. Of course someone can be poly and a feminist, even when that person is one man with multiple female partners. If that is what the females want, if they aren’t being deceived, then it is just as much their choosing as his. And there are women with multiple male partners she has freely chosen. Isn't feminism about empowering women to do what they want to do?
— — —

Monday, July 26, 2010

Actor David Carradine May Have Enjoyed Consanguineous Sex

The ABC News website had a long look at what one ex-wife of the late David Carradine, Marina Anderson, wrote about him in a new book. The headline for the story is “David Carradine Book Reveals Incest, Murder Suspicions” – which could be a subtle way of linking consanguineous sex between consenting adults and murder. Any number of other things could have been used in the headline.

The story devotes several paragraphs to Carradine’s enjoyment of autoerotic asphyxiation.

Anderson said she began writing the book long before the couple divorced in 2001, hoping to bring insight into the man whom she said had "intoxicating energy" and a renegade life infused with drugs, alcohol and an appetite for deviant sex.

“Deviant sex” appears to be - autoerotic asphyxiation and sex with a relative.

Under the heading “Incest Destroyed Carradine-Anderson Marriage” the story says…

Her book is a tribute to the continuing affection she said she still felt for Carradine, now eight years after their divorce. Anderson explores the most intimate moments of their relationship, as well as the actor's "dark side."

“Dark side” appears to be - autoerotic asphyxiation and sex with a relative.

Anderson's four-year marriage to Carradine was eventually derailed by incest. She won't identify the family member she calls, "X" -- not even the gender -- though she acknowledges the relationship was with a younger relative and spanned both his marriages to her and to his previous wife of 11 years, Gail Jensen

If it did, it sounds like a lasting relationship.

Anderson writes about pleading with Carradine to seek counseling for the incestuous relationship -- she had even caught him in a compromising situation with the younger relative in their home -- but he refused.

I haven’t read the book, but the article does not make it look as though Anderson was upset about Carradine being involved with someone else; only that it was a close relative.

The incest sparked flashbacks to Anderson's own abuse by an uncle as a child, a trauma that she chronicles in the book with the help of "Celebrity Rehab" psychiatrist Dr. Drew Pinsky.

It is horrible that she was abused, but child abuse and consensual sex between adults are two different things. But here we have another article that tried to link consensual sex with a relative to substance abuse and portray it as something awful. There are happy, well-adjusted next-door people with good jobs and no criminal history who have experience with consanguineous sex, whether as part of a loving relationship or as some casual experimentation. Some are into other things some people might find strange, some aren’t.
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Friday, July 23, 2010

A Little About Who I Am, Or Not

Time to talk about the behind-the-scenes stuff around here, as opposed to the latest news around the world. More specifically, who I am not. I don’t think I’ve been clear enough – I’m not Linda, Matthew, or Melissa. I count all three as friends. I am a poly male. I am not involved (at least, I haven't been) with any of MY biological relatives.

Linda, Matthew, and Melissa are great, normal people. Their bonds with each other are beautiful and inspiring. I'm a bit envious, actually, but not in a mean way. I enjoy being with them.

They are too shy or reserved or cautious to do the blogging themselves. So with their permission I took it up, as long as I keep their identities private. I plan to write more about them and my connection with them soon.

I am passionate about the freedom to marry. If anyone should have it, they should. They are wonderful people and very loving to each other.
— — —

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mugabe Needs to Get With It

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe gets it almost half right. Which means he gets it more than half wrong. At a religious gathering, he urged rejection of gays and lesbians.

Addressing the church members, clad in a white garment and holding the church walking stick (tsvimbo ye Vapostori), Mugabe said the church should influence its members to denounce the inclusion of homosexual rights in the new constitution.

It gets worse, but at least he supports polygamy. But then, it is probably support for polygyny only, so maybe he’s just a quarter right at best.

“We say no to gays and we will not listen to those advocating for the inclusion of their rights in the constitution,” he said before promising the Apostolic that the constitution will support polygamy.

It is sad to see people who ask for support for some marriage freedoms stay silent about other marriage freedoms. It is even more dismaying when they actively oppose those other marriage freedoms. And he’s not only opposing same-sex marriage, denying marriage rights to LGBT people, but he’s in favor of denying other LGBT rights.

We need to stand up for the rights of all. Whether in Zimbabwe, Japan, or the USA, adults should be able to marry the consenting adult(s) of their choice, regardless of gender or relation. Honestly, don’t people have enough to do without interfering in the love lives of others?
— — —

Not Uncommon, Just Not Talked About

This question was recently asked on Yahoo Answers:

Do you think there is actually incest between son and his mother or daughter and her father? Or, do you know someone who has experienced incest?

The asker appeared to be referring to consensual consanguineous sex between adults, because the asker wanted to know if people reading the question wanted to try it.

Two different answers said similar things.

The first:

It is also a known fact most of the incest cases are not reported due to the taboo or because it is consensual. I know two cases of Mother - Son pairs, but their relationship is still a secret, so most people would not know about it.

The second:

i know of two "couples" one was a cousin of mine and his sister, they where 19ish, and did it for several years, and a girl and her 1st cousin(male) I used to know.

I don’t think it is abnormal or rare for siblings or cousins to experiment with each other, whether during adolescence (and they are close in age) or as adults. But it isn’t talked about a lot, or depicted in the media as the harmless or beneficial thing that it often is. Parent-adult child experimentation is probably not as common as it is between siblings, but is still not rare.

Any of these situations can evolve into serious, lasting sexual partnerships. Whether they do or not, we rarely hear about them because of prejudice. Who wants to deal with the stigma? Yet when someone expresses their disapproval, it is usually based on their personal distaste for something they've never even experienced. It is just a knee-jerk reaction. We shouldn’t let one person’s taste interfere with the life of someone else. If we lift this wet, smothering blanket, a lot of people will be surprised by the people they know who have experienced these situations or have ongoing relationships of this nature, and finally feel free to talk about it.
— — —

Betty Baker Blogs About Why Some Poly People Get Married

Read about it here.

And you know how I feel: poly people should be able to get married to anyone we want to.
— — —

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Many Different Kinds of Poly

Even while unjust laws throughout much of the world continue to dictate monogamy in the legal sense, polyamory offers seemingly unlimited choices. Sure, legal marriage to more than one person isn’t possible in much of the world, but especially where people can live together, or share a room from time to time, or have dates in public, there is much ability to live a poly life.

It is helpful for a person to know what they want as far as living arrangements, dates, visits, sexual boundaries, contraception, protection, expectations, and so forth - and to discuss that with each person involved in each aspect. That will usually take some exploration and discovery.

An example of what I’m talking about is found here in Felicty’s “Polyamory My Way (First Draft)”

1. Every partner gets an equal voice. There are no partners that are “more special” than other partners. Period.

Other people have primaries, secondaries, and so forth, and are happy being the secondary for someone else.

2. No lies. This also means tell the whole truth, don’t just drip-feed as much “truth” as you think the other person can “handle”.

This is usually a must in poly situations. It avoids a lot of trouble.

Read the rest of her points. Most can be applied to monogamy and to other kinds of relationships, such as nonsexual friends, business partners, etc.

Whatever guidelines you find helpful, nobody else should be able to tell you what you can and can’t do. If you want marriage, you should be able to have it.
— — —

Another Superfluous Incest Prosecution

In Idaho, Chad R. Streeter abused his infant daughter to the point of breaking multiple bones, but received a much longer sentence for “incest” with his adult sister.

Fourth District Judge Ronald Wilper sentenced Streeter to 23 years in prison for the incest charge and 10 years in prison for the felony injury to child.

I thought this was way out of line – giving him much more time for the incest than the child abuse - until I read further and realized that he raped his sister.

Prosecutors dropped a rape charge against Streeter as part of a plea agreement reached earlier this spring.

Rape is the main crime here. “Incest” shouldn’t be a crime unless it involves a child. And that would be child abuse, child molestation, or rape – all of which are illegal and should be stronly prosecuted. There’s no reason to criminalize all incest, or report on incest as if there’s no difference between consensual sex and rape.

Streeter has been held in the Ada County Jail since April 8, after Streeter’s adult sister told Boise police she had been sexually assaulted by him at a Boise Bench home.

Police established the probable cause to arrest Streeter on the felony rape charge and book him into the jail that day.

Streeter later admitted to investigators that his sister did not consent to sex, according to court testimony.

That’s rape.

He’s a rapist and child abuser. But the headline only refers to “incest.” The laws and the media need to make a distinction between consensual consanguineous sex and rape, between relationships enjoyed by consenting adults and child abuse. Unfortunately, even when loving consanguineous couples are portrayed in the media, they are usually presented as freaks. All of this keeps people closeted.
— — —

Monday, July 19, 2010

Polygamy Makes Unmarried Men Criminals?

Canadian scholar Joseph Henrich has some negative things to say about polygamy, polygyny especially. He filed a paper in the British Columbia Supreme Court in a trial over polygamy.

In a hypothetical society of 20 men and 20 women, 12 men with the highest status marry 12 women. (It's always only the highest-ranking men in polygynous societies that get multiple wives.)

Then, the top five take a second wife and the top two men take a third. Finally, the top guy takes a fourth.

The result is that 58 per cent of the marriages are monogamous.

Monogamous in the legal sense, not necessarily in the sexual sense.

But -and this is the big deal -it means 40 per cent of the men remain unmarried.

The mistake here is assuming that those other women would want one of those unmarried men rather than legally sharing the man they did marry (clearly, they didn't as they married the men they did), and that the unmarried men would in turn want to marry them. Some of those men may want to marry men. Why not allow people to marry the person or people of their choice, even if they share a gender or share a parent? Why try to force people to settle?

Also, the system is not closed. There are billions of people in the world and more and more people are reaching the age and status of eligibility every second.

And the studies Henrich cites -from historical, frontier-American research to contemporary work done in countries where polygamy is legal -indicate that groups of unmarried men create havoc.

"For males, getting married (monogamously) is a prophylactic against engaging in crime, social disruption and other socially undesirable activities," he writes.

I can’t believe defense attorneys haven't picked up on this. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my client can’t be guilty of this crime. He’s married!” Or is the truth that married men commit crime, too? Come to think of it, maybe the men in the hypothetical community of 40 who don’t get married are violent people. Is it better that they have a wife to beat instead of committing crimes on the street? I don’t want to be the one who tells a woman she can’t marry the man/men or woman/women she wants; rather, she has to marry a less desirable man so that he can take his aggression out on her.

In India and China, where male-biased sex selection has resulted in more men than women, researchers found "bachelor bands that compete ferociously and engage in aggressive, violent and anti-social activities."

Great. So now we not only have to finish our dinner because of the people in India and China, but we can’t marry the people we want because of the people in those countries, too.

Another social harm that Henrich says is consistent regardless of whether researchers use data from 19th-century Mormon communities or contemporary African societies is that children from polygynous families have considerably lower survival rates. It seems polygynous men, rather than investing in their offspring, use their money to add wives.

And this has nothing to do with life on the frontier, poverty, tribal violence, lack of medical care, and a distrust of science?

Canada is ahead of the USA when it comes to the freedom to marry. They should keep moving forward and recognize polygamy. Scholars can be found to oppose any increase in freedom. I ask the court to consider this: If your brother or sister or son or daughter wanted to marry more than one person, would you want them to be denied their happiness?
— — —

Some Saudi Muslims Promoting Polygyny

Apparently, some Saudi Muslims are promoting polygyny, noting that their faith allows men to have fours wives. They believe not enough people are taking advantage of this.

Women like Saudi journalist Nadine al-Bedair may be part of the reason for the practice's waning popularity. Al-Bedair wrote an article last year in the newspaper Al Masry Al Youm arguing that polygamy is an unfair practice, and should be allowed for both men and women (the law dictates that only men can take multiple spouses).

She’s right. Polyandry should be allowed the same as polygyny, and equal numbers of husbands and wives should be allowed in the same marriage, whether that is one each, two each, three each, or four each. I know Islam doesn’t teach that, but the laws should provide for it.

She also called attention to the poor treatment of multiple spouses; in Islam, men aren't supposed to take another wife unless they can care for them equally.

Spouses being treated poorly can’t be blamed on any form of polygamy. Spouses in monogamous marriages or people living together unmarried or seeing each other but not living together are subject to various forms of poor treatment, including abuse.

But Saudi Arabia, one of the most conservative countries in the Middle East, has a political system that's hardly favorable to female equality. Women need a male guardian to study, access health services, travel abroad or have a business, and can't associate with a man who is not in their immediate family.

There’s the problem. Not someone consenting to be married.

"Polygamy's time is over," said Thomas Lippman, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

If you really believe that, then make sure people can do it if they want, and then let it die on its own. The same goes for any kind of relationship. While there may not be a large minority in a population seeking to enter into a given kind of relationship, laws against that kind of relationship should be repealed so that they can’t be used to persecute people who've decided to have those relationships.

Women, Lippman explains, are expensive. Each wife, for example, requires a private driver who must be paid for and housed.

Equality changes that dramatically.
— — —

Friday, July 16, 2010

Very Good Explanation of Polyamory's Virtues

Over on this blog, you’ll find some well written, thoughtful musings on some of the vitues of polyamory.

Monogamy, heterosexuality, and other such traditional ideas are not certainties that are inherent in human nature, they are popular, modernist, conservative, right wing ideals.

Polyamory in particular is something that I am drawn to because it just seems to make so much sense. Having attempted to talk to more than a few friends about this, I realise that a lot of people see polyamorists as being selfish, nymphomanic, or desperate. That really annoys me because I think it takes a lot more for a person to be a polyamorist than to be a monogamist – you can’t be jealous or possessive or massively insecure; it involves having so much more faith, and honesty, and acceptance, than monogamy does.

He goes on to describe a common scenario, when one person is pressured to choose one lover and completely reject another.

But, digressing, my point is that in such stories, the rejected person is heartbroken, the person who made the choice is always never entirely satisfied and on some level resents whomever they’ve chosen for taking their other loved one away, and the person who was chosen feels insecure in the knowledge that they aren’t enough for the person they love. It’s just such a pathetic state of affairs.

It can be like that.

And while the idea of being with someone for the rest of your life may seem fantastic when you’re just beginning your relationship, once you’re deeply into it and you find someone else who you are incredibly, incredibly attracted to, how can you resist them, knowing that maybe that second person is the love of your life, the person you were meant to be with, so to speak, and that you will go your entire life never knowing what it could be like being with them?

Those who want monogamy should have it. Those who want polyamory should have it.
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Antifreedom Effort Defeated in D.C.

Thankfully, an appeals court defeated an attempt to roll back the freedom to marry for people in Washington, D.C. If only the national leaders working in the same city would extend the freedom to marry to all, across the country. Let's make it happen!
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Argentina Increases Freedom to Marry

I was very happy to wake up to the news that in a move towards marriage equality, Argentina has legalized same-sex marriages. Latin America is starting to change. Mexico City has same-sex marriages, but the rest of Mexico still needs to get on board.

Congratulations to all of the couples in Argentina who will now be able to marry.

Argentina also has no laws against consanguineous sex between adults, so they should go ahead and allow those loving relationships to gain marriage as well.

Dear Argentina: Please move forward to full marriage equality.
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Shall We Comment on Your Love Life?

I recently wrote about how a brother-sister couple continues to be persecuted by the law. The comments I found here are an example of social bigotry in action, the kind of bigotry that keeps the oppressive laws in place.

“That is creapy stuff..”

“what a bunch of freaks”

“Must be disgusting people. Gross!”

“To marry a sibling is directly against God’s law.”

“Sick Sick Sick”

Fortunately, there were also some people who expressed tolerance or support.

“Morally and ethically, there’s nothing wrong with this.”

“It may or may not be a wholesome thing for brother and sister to have sex with each other (I have my doubts), but it is none of the government’s business as long as they are both consenting adults.”

“I agree that it really is none of the government’s business what happens sexually between 2 consenting adults.”

Unfortunately, hostility is powerful and dangerous and keeps up persecution, tending to override allies and the indifferent.

There was a negative comment that made a valid point:

The problem with this situation is that the Wife abandoned her Husband for the opportunity to sleep with her Brother.

As I’ve said before, secret infidelity or abandonment is not a good thing. She had obligations to her existing family. However, she was put into this situation in large part by her parents, who should have given her a chance to meet her brother once they were both of age. It is not far from situations where someone is primarily attracted to people of the same gender but is in denial and makes a family with someone of the other gender, only to later realize they long to be with someone else. Too many people are pressured into marriages that aren't for them because of a lack of support for marriage equality.

The person goes on to say something that helps perpetuate those negative conditions:

Forget that she morally screwed over her Husband, but she put her child in a horrible situation both personally and socially. How is the Husband supposed to answer questions from his little girl?

The same way any other parent in a divorce answers such questions. It isn’t different just because the mother is biologically related to her new love.

Do we get to comment on your love life now?
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Don't Blame Polygamy

This news out of Kenya perpetuates the myth that polygamy spreads disease and creates overpopulation. The title is even “Polygamy ups HIV infection risk in Kenya.”

Experts believe that in Kenya polygyny is one of the social practices fuelling the spread of HIV/Aids.

No, having unprotected sex or sharing needles with someone who is HIV+ is what spreads HIV. It doesn’t matter how many sex partners a person has unprotected sex with if nobody involved is carrying HIV. A man marrying multiple women does not spread HIV unless someone involved already has HIV and precautions aren’t taken.

It also perpetuates large families, frustrating campaigns to control population growth estimated at 2.3 per cent per year.

No, again, having sex without birth control perpetuates large families.

Stop blaming polygamy. Don’t fear consenting relationships.
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Solidarity is Needed

The Los Angeles Times ran an editorial calling for the advancement of the freedom to marry. Their focus on was California’s “Prop H8,” which banned same-sex marriage, and is currently subject to the decision of a federal judge. Good for the Los Angeles Times. But even better for one of their readers, who left a comment that highlights the need for solidarity. “lodmstrong” wrote…

It strikes me as very self serving to demand one alternative form of marriage (gay marriage) while completely ignoring or even fighting against other alternative forms of marriage.

It may be fear more than self-serving. People are afraid they’ll lose the change that will directly help them if they also try to help others.

Any argument made against these other forms of marriage could also be used against gay marriage.

That’s because it is all about trying to control the lives of others. Maybe that made sense when life was short, more people lived rural, agricultural lives, and a repressive church controlled everything. But that’s not reality today, thank goodness.

There is no reason three or more persons shouldn't be allowed to have a union.

That’s right. There isn’t.

Who are we to judge who really loves whom and should have the right to publicly affirm that love through marriage?

It isn’t possible. Let people decide for themselves.

The day that that gay marriage proponents fight for marriage to be defined as a union between any number of persons of any gender and/or any relationship is the day I'll take their commitment to true equality more seriously. In the meantime, I'm not sure which is worse: advocating traditional marriage as it has always been, or advocating one alternative form of marriage while being indifferent to (and silent about) or even against every other alternative form of marriage.

Again, I think some people are afraid. They don’t want to deny others their rights, but are afraid of not getting their rights; they think they can only get a small tent up and trying to get a big tent up will fail. But they need to realize that if we all stand together, we can help everyone.

It’s not marriage equality unless it is full marriage equality. I welcome any advancement of the freedom to marry, but only full marriage equality will be justice. Solidarity is needed.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Brother and Sister Still Under Attack

According to this British news source, Nick Cameron and his half-sister Daniell Healey are sharing a home after having been convicted of incest and banned by sheriff from having sex.

What should be news is that anyone is trying to stop consenting adults from sharing a life.

They had embarked on their sordid affair weeks after meeting each other for the first in summer 2006.

Sordid? What is sordid about a loving relationship? What goes on inside their home shouldn’t be anyone else’s business. Articles like this lead to more problems for teens and others who aren't open and supported, who are already struggling. It sends the message that they are not worthy, that they are hated for loving the person they do.
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Love is Not Bizarre

There’s a blog called Bizarre Behaviors & Culture-bound Syndromes, and it has discussed Genetic Sexual Attraction (GSA).

Last September, “Kevin” published a piece titled “Genetic Sexual Attraction and the Westermarck Effect.”

He started off with Mackenzie Phillips, and then went to on to write about a German brother-sister couple, Patrick and Susan Stübing, who are married with two children. Patrick spent time in prison for the crime of loving his sister.

They have been trying to overturn Germany's Paragraph 173 of the civil code which makes incest a crime. Medical and genetic experts claim there is a good public health reason for the law. Children produced by incestuous relationships are much more likely to have medical issues. Indeed Patrick and Susan's son has epilepsy and learning difficulties, while their daughter is a special needs child. Nevertheless they maintain that these problems are not the result of the incestuous pairing of their genes.

Plenty of couples who aren’t closely related have children with problems, and we know that sex and marriage are not about children anyway. So why criminalize consensual relationships?

He then brings up Barbara Gonyo and her website, then the “Westermarck Effect,” and then Freud, before concluding with…

GSA is thought to occur in up to 50% of reunions of close relatives. The advent of in-vitro fertilization where the one or both parents do not contribute DNA to their children, could lead to a future epidemic of GSA. At the very least this is something to be aware of in the future.

Awareness is good, especially coupled with support.

Last month, another article was posted on the same blog by “Kevin Volkan & Neil Rocklin.” It focuses on Intergenerational Love, and begins with the example of Phil Bailey and Pearl Carter.

Besides the general features of GSA Phil and Pearl's relationship also has two unique features. The first is that the couple was fully aware of the GSA phenomena. However, unlike Barbara Gonyo, who used her awareness of GSA to understand her feelings for her son so she could have a normal relationship with him, Pearl and Phil cite GSA as something that makes their relationship legitimate!

So the writers take the position that loving sex between consenting adults can be abnormal - and questions the legitimacy of Bailey and Carter’s relationship?

They elaborate on the intergenerational aspect of the relationship, and child abuse, before ending with…

Predictably enough, when I describe this case to my students their collective reaction is "that's digusting!". Until more research is done on intergenerational incestuous romance our understanding will be limited to this understandable sentiment.

Sounds like the students need some sensitivity education. Rather than trying to make people feel lesser because of the love they share, we should be celebrating.
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Friendly Siblings Don’t Deserve Attacks

Recently, a Korean celebrity came under vicious attack in the blogosphere because she and her brother were seen on video “touching lips.”

Netizens were shocked and bewildered after watching the interaction between siblings Go Eunah and MBLAQ’s Mir, as they were seen to be touching lips on the set of Mnet Scandal. Upon watching this scene, viewers asked, “isn’t this incest?” and criticism of the family arose on many popular Korean websites.

Go Eunah responded to the attacks:

“For me that is just how I express my love for my little brother and I didn’t [think] that there was going to be such a big reaction [over it],” she stated.

Go Eunah also asked that people “stop making [her] sibling relationship look weird,” as the way that she and Mir interact “is being judged [as well as] the kiss that’s caused a stir, […] the discomfort, [and] the [capturing of the scene that’s making it] seem weird without grounds is giving [her] a bad feeling.” She then explained, “our house is different in that we express ourselves very honestly and truly,” implying that just because “it’s embarrassing [to watch] because you’ve gotten older or your family is the kind of family that doesn’t express emotions” doesn’t give you a right to judge the interaction between members of other families.

This reminds me of when Angelina Jolie expressed affection or her brother both in words and her body language, and tongues went wagging.

It’s horrible that siblings would be attacked for being loving towards each other. Any friendly or affectionate words or behavior is automatically derided as an indictor of incest. These siblings may or may not have engaged in sex with each other. Either way, it is nobody else’s business. None of the critics are harmed if these siblings have or are engaging in sex with each other. They are also not harming anyone if they are only hugging, kissing, or holding hands.

It is the prejudicial attitude of too many that prevents full marriage equality.
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Good News on DOMA

In the USA, a federal judge has struck down a federal law, DOMA, that prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Step by step, we're getting closer to marriage equality.
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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Meet Your Neighbors

Polly, a polyamorous mother, blogged recently on what she tells the kids about her orientation and how the kids handle it.

Well, our kids know as much about our sex life as any child would know about their parents' sex lives in a healthy family (whether monogamous or polyamorous). In other words, we have sex behind closed doors, and we don't walk around undressed, and we try not to disturb other members of the household with our sounds.

In other words, the polyamorous are normal people.

That said, we DO have reasonable conversations with our kids about sex. We talk about how babies are made, about how sex can be healthy and enjoyable even when not making babies, about protection and disease, about the consequences of being sexually active, and about when might be a healthy time to start having sex someday (you know... maybe when they turn 30 or so... ha!). We do our best not to make sex a taboo topic in our household. It's not a constant topic of conversation, by any means, but when the opportunity presents itself, we talk with our kids about the facts of life in an age-appropriate way. And we answer questions openly and honestly.

Sounds like good parenting regardless of orientation.

They ask, "Is he your friend?" Naturally, I say, "Yes, he's my friend," but I don't stop there. I say that I love him the way that I love their dad, and that I don't love everyone that way. Essentially, I'm telling them what many people don't seem to understand right away: "Poly" does not mean "Any."

That should be repeated. "Poly" does not mean "Any" – despite what bigots say.

Kids are smarter than many people give them credit for. They "get it" when it comes to polyamory, and it really hasn't fazed them at all. I also acknowledge with my children that not everybody has two partners, and that we might be a little strange to some people. I tell them that not everyone might like that I love two people, and they might not be nice about it.

The younger generations support freedom and equality. But they also know not everyone does.

I let my kids decide if they want to tell their friends about polyamory.

It is too bad they have to hold back at all.

Kids don't have the power to decide who will be welcomed into a family. Parents, therefore, need to be cautious and careful and slow about deciding who will be around their children, and the roles that are ascribed to various family members. I think kids deserve a certain level of stability in their lives, and a lot of change when it comes to their parents' partners can be stressful.

This is the case in any adult relationships, whether serial monogamy or polyamory.

As Polly explained, they have refrained from coming out to some of their neighbors. That is probably the case for many people engaging in polyamory, or consanguineous relationships, for that matter. That means that if you’ve expressed prejudice towards these forms of love, then you could be living next to people who are enjoying them and not even know it. They don’t want to tell you because they don’t want to deal with bigotry. Your prejudice hurts.
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Modest Request Denied in Hawaii

Governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, shot down a bill to create civil unions. One reason she gave was that these civil unions were same-sex marriage by a different name, as if same-sex marriage is a bad thing.

It is too bad that she didn’t immediately ask for a bill that would, instead of creating civil unions, declare marriage available to all consenting adults, no matter their sexual orientation, gender, relation, or how many people want to be in the marriage. I suggest this Marriage Equality Amendment.

Why is it so hard for someone to say “Consenting adults have the right to love, sex, and marriage.” - ?
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Remove the Taboo

This article, “The Negative Survival Value of Taboos” by samvaknin, provides much to think about.

Most taboos – especially those appertaining to sex and food – have clear survival value: coprophagia and cannibalism may be fatal and pedophilia and incest can have a deleterious effect on the quality of the gene pool.

When I read that, I thought we were going to see another attempt to justify denial of marriage equality based on “deformity” scare. But things got better.

But taboos are creatures of their time. Their longevity and resistance to rational reappraisal are counter-productive as far as the human species and individuals are concerned.

As circumstances change and our knowledge of Nature expands, all taboos should be subjected to revision and rigorous scientific perusal: … If we destigmatize incest, will its victims be less traumatized?

Even though the author uses “victim” here, we later see a recognition that there is a difference between child abuse and consenting behavior between adults. And we should do anything to help children who are abused by the very people who are supposed to protect them.

In contemporary thought, incest is invariably associated with child abuse and its horrific, long-lasting, and often irreversible consequences. But incest is far from being the clear-cut or monolithic issue that millennia of taboo imply. Incest with minors is a private – and particularly egregious – case of pedophilia or statutory rape. It should be dealt with forcefully. But incest covers much more besides these criminal acts.

Incest is the ethical and legal prohibition to have sex with a related person or to marry him or her – even if the people involved are consenting and fully informed adults. Contrary to popular mythology, banning incest has little to do with the fear of genetic diseases. Even genetically unrelated parties (a stepfather and a stepdaughter, for example) can commit incest.

The writer returns to the genetic issue.

Moreover, the use of contraceptives means that incest does not need to result in pregnancy and the transmission of genetic material. Inbreeding (endogamous) or straightforward incest is the norm in many life forms, even among primates (e.g., chimpanzees). It was also quite common until recently in certain human societies – the Hindus, for instance, or many Native American tribes, and royal families everywhere. In the Ptolemaic dynasty, blood relatives married routinely. Cleopatra’s first husband was her 13 year old brother, Ptolemy XIII.

Nor is the taboo universal. In some societies, incest is mandatory or prohibited, according to the social class (Bali, Papua New Guinea, Polynesian and Melanesian islands). In others, the Royal House started a tradition of incestuous marriages, which was later imitated by lower classes (Ancient Egypt, Hawaii, Pre-Columbian Mixtec). Some societies are more tolerant of consensual incest than others (Japan, India until the 1930′s, Australia). The list is long and it serves to demonstrate the diversity of attitudes towards this most universal practice.

It is a thought-provoking article. It is time to remove all taboos that prevent consenting adults from sharing love, sex, and marriage.
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Friday, July 2, 2010

Have a Good Weekend

It's a holiday weekend coming up in the USA. Enjoy it, Americans! That's what I'll be doing. Give a toast to freedom. May freedom increase in the USA and around the world.
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Thursday, July 1, 2010

For Those Who Need Help After Trauma

It’s rather simple, really. Consenting adults should be allowed to do what they want in private personal relationships. Nobody should force themselves on anyone. That is assault, abuse, or rape. Children can’t consent to sex and if an adult or a child who is significantly older engages in sexual activity with them, it can be traumatic and a crime. Yes, that last bit gets a little murky as different places have different ages at which someone is considered old enough to consent to sex. But the generally principle is that adults should not exploit children.

If you’ve experienced such trauma or exploitation – if you’ve been or were assaulted, molested, abused, or raped – and you’d like help, there are people who can help.

The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network is one helpful organization. I understand why they include “incest” in their name, but really, not all incest is bad – only incest that is rape or abuse, such as when a father molests his 12 year-old daughter, or when one sibling drugs another sibling for the purposes of assault.

Abusive incest by a parent or older sibling is often considered an especially egregious category of sexual abuse, because parents and older siblings are supposed to be protectors. There’s a community called Survivors of Incest Anonymous.

These things are about violence, control, hate, and power, and are a far cry from loving and beneficial sex between consenting adults, including family members. We should never let people use the bad as an excuse to prevent the good. Even therapists.
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