Friday, June 29, 2012

When There Are Four First Ladies

Peter Ndoria wrote had something published about a month ago under the title "Wired for Polygamy." It appears to be in response to South African President Jacob Zuma marrying his fourth wife.
In the tight strictures of a political career in a modern country, few would dare come out and endorse a practice that others consider ‘primitive’, ‘out-dated’ and ‘unfaithful’.

Yet if one were to bear in mind the number of politicians caught in illicit affairs, the list would be mind-boggling. From the infamous Profumo Affair that almost brought down the British government in 1963 to JF Kennedy’s rumoured liaisons with Marylyn Monroe and big names like Arnold Schwarzenegger, former British Prime Minister John Major, 2004 American Presidential running mate John Edwards, not forgetting President Bill Clinton, it is a randy male world.

Could it, perhaps, be that man was not designed to be monogamous?
As I always say, monogamy does work for some. When it comes to law and how we handle marriage as a community, whether or not polygamy or monogamy is "natural" is irrelevant. We have lives filled with things that aren't natural. Let consenting adults have the relationships and marriages they want, including monogamous and various forms of polygamous. That includes women marrying multiple men, or multiple women, or both.

Edwin, a divorcee in his early 40s, believes that what we have now is ‘monogamy plagued by wanton acts of adultery’, quoting the many incidences that are the fodder of radio talk shows — married women going on and on about their detached absentee husbands and how that gap has since been filled by ‘toy boys’ and, conversely, men recounting their escapades with their ‘clandes’, away from their ‘nagging’ spouses.

In an individualistic world where divorce is easier to get, Edwin contends that a man who has married two or three times is no different from his ancestor who had three wives. This practice of having just one mate at a time or ‘serial monogamy’, where you marry, divorce and remarry is a more common façade.
Polygyny in a time and place where women have no right or fewer rights than men is not the same thing as polygyny entered into by women who have equality under the law and real choices. I do think with full marriage equality as part of gender equality, any form of ethical nonmonogamy is a better way of handling life than cheating.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Solidarity For...

...Those Who Aren’t Just Like White Heteromono Gender-Conforming Vanilla Models

Fannie writes on the “The Limits of ‘We're Just Like You’” about the limits of trying to gain the same-gender freedom to marry by claiming to be just like what is portrayed as the average majority conformist.
Over Pride Weekend, some friends posted a graphic on Facebook that was supposed to emphasize how similar gay people are to heterosexuals. Featuring two white, thin, gender-conforming, well-dressed men seated on a couch, in scary font, it read: "The Gay Agenda: They Pay Their Bills! They Make Dinner! They Go To Work!"

Yeah, I find it funny because it plays on that always-over-the-top meme about The Homosexual Agenda (dun dun DUN!). Contrary to some anti-LGBT activists' fantasy of "the homosexual lifestyle" being a never-ending, hedonistic party of poppers, promiscuity, go-go boys, and anal sex, many LGBT lives are actually quite mundane.

Yes, there are gay and lesbian couples who blend quite nicely into the middle-class suburban, churchgoing, PTA/soccer mom set. But there are those who don’t fit that mold, and they should not be excluded or ostracized.

At the same time, notice the image. Two white, thin, gender-conforming, well-dressed men being "boring" together. I realize that is the image that must sometimes be presented in the US in order for LGBT people to prove that we are "just like everyone else" and therefore deserving of respect and equality under our legal system.

However, it remains a message of exclusion.

Fannie is right.

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Is "People Like Us" For People Like Us?

DreamWorks Distribution
DreamWorks Distribution

The glossily photographed family drama People Like Us is not without appeal, but it has a major construction flaw. It’s dramatic arc is predicated on the problem of accidental incestuous attraction. Egads.

Well hey, we can't have movies based on real life issues, right? Ms. Pols, are you really against the idea of adults being attracted to each other, or are you just pretending like it to play to the prejudice of some of your readers?
You know nothing will actually happen because this is a Disney movie, not a dreamy art film (like say Rebecca Miller’s The Ballad of Jack and Rose) but the whole movie marches toward the horrible moment when one of two newly acquainted half siblings, the more sympathetic one, will make a pass at the other and be rebuffed. It’s hideously compelling, like being in the room when one woman asks a woman who isn’t pregnant when she’s due, except that exchange is typically over in 30 spectacularly awful seconds and this one lasts two hours.
Uh, half siblings have been brought together through Genetic Sexual Attraction and have had healthy, beautiful, full relationships together.
Essentially this is the same set up as the stereotypical romantic comedy where one party withholds a secret while the clueless one gives away his or her heart—only the looming revelation is not “I’m the hotel maid/your business rival/journalist who writing a hit piece on you” but “uh, I’m your brother so maybe let’s not kiss.” They’re relying on the misunderstanding for drama, but because they don’t want anything to seem too weird, they’ve given Sam a girlfriend (Olivia Wilde) who is across the country for most of the movie. She’s the audience’s reassurance that however weird it starts to seem with Sam and Frankie, this isn’t that kind film. 
C'mon, Hollywood... it is time for a real and unflinching major motion picture with GSA in which the lovers have a happy ending together after fending off the confusion and haters.

If you go see "People Like Us," please share what you think, won't you?
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Another Discussion on Legalizing Polygamy

Back in May, Simmering Frog asked at "Should polygamy be legalized in the United States if all parties involved agree to get married?" The answer, of course, is yes. An adult should be free to marry any consenting adults.
Should polygamy be legalized in the United States if all parties involved agree to get married? One negative response was this one...
Absolutely not. Such a policy will likely start a civil war between the left-out men and the harem gatherers.
That's ridiculous. In most states, people can already have multiple lovers and live-ins; they just can't marry them. Have we seen a civil war as a result? Also, full marriage equality means women can also marry multiple men, or multiple women, or both men and women. Even if polygyny happens more than other forms of polygamy, it will won't happen enough to leave hordes of unpartnered men

JDLogan is an ally...

If the government is going to recognize the committed relationships of some consenting adults, they need to recognized all committed relationships of consenting adults, it's called equal protection under the law.

So many people take a "my way or the highway" attitude toward adult relationships, but I tell you, if your relationship is so weak that you need others to live their lives the way you live yours to give credence to your way of life, maybe you should work harder at your life and stay out of others.
The discussion goes on and on. Many allies left comments, and the comments from those prejudiced against the polygamous freedom to marry, if they gave an explanation, were the typical Discredited Arguments.

The more these topics are raised, the better, because more people will see that there is no good reason to deny full marriage equality.

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The Evolving of an Ally

Chandrasekar Ramesh, Guest Columnist for, wrote about "Incestuous Myths."
You support gay marriage, so you must be gay, right? A person asking this question would be laughed out of most conversations. Nonetheless, I’ve often been asked a very similar question whenever I discuss another facet of marriage equality — incest. Even jokingly, if I take a devil’s advocate position of legalizing incest, the conversation becomes hushed, and people begin wondering if I’m dating my cousin. However, incest is a serious issue, and the most commonly cited reason for banning incestuous marriages — that children born to incestuous parents have a significantly increased risk of genetic mutations — does not hold up to empirical scrutiny.

Ramesh dismantles some of the typical Discredited Arguments.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We Get Letters that Shed Light on News Items

You may recall my coverage of a news item from earlier this year that was lacking some important information. A 36-year-old man was "accused of fathering a child with a teenage relative in 2010 received a 10-year prison sentence..." As it turns out, "accused" was a word used on purpose for the article. As I noted, the charges were "incest" not rape.

These comments were left by "Anonymous." I have edited them to clean up typing errors.
I was 16. No DNA test was shown or handed out to me or my father. We have asked on and on. They of course said yes but, they made an excuse not to. I have never seen it, nether has he. The judge only took DCS's side. They took proof from another teen (used to be friend). She ran her mouth saying lies and then bam !!!!!!!!! This s--- happens.
I don't remember by the way if we did or not, I was still going through hell and back.... and doing things I shouldn't have done... I still love my father, that will never change! And you are the only one that caught my eye; you're not dogging him. Thank you very much. If we did I'm going to deny I was a victim, period. He was never sexual towards me, ever!
Anonymous, feel free to leave comments and to contact me via email or Facebook.

Her comments greatly clarify the situation. The convicted man is her father. She was 16. The age of consent in Indiana is generally 16, though 16 and 17-year-olds can't legally consent to sex with a guardian. We have a troubled man (war veteran with PTSD and alcohol abuse) and a troubled teenager. She doesn't even know if they had sex, so she doesn't feel like a victim; he hadn't previously behaved in an inappropriate manner towards her. That the report says he was "accused" of fathering a child with her, not proven to have done so, and her comments about not being given proof of that indicate to me that he did not get her pregnant. Rather, someone else did and it is entirely possible her father never had sex with her. How credible, really, was the witness? Do we have another example of someone taking a deal even though they aren't guilty because the alternative is too much of a risk?

Is this a good use of law enforcement and correctional resources? There are 16-year-olds out there who are being traumatized by their rapist fathers and stepfathers who repeatedly rape them. That's not what happened here. It's a very sad situation.
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Straight, Or Not, Into Compton

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Monday, June 25, 2012

We Get Good Letters

Anonymous left a comment...

I must say I'm a guy that has been separated from my three half-sisters due to divorce when I was really little, and never grew up with them. So in the past couple years of being reunited with them, I've found a major emotional and physical attraction to them. I have slept with the oldest one on more than a few occasions consensually. Her and I'd even talk about moving to a country where marrying siblings was legal.

At any rate, I've never understood why people have to use the one-and-only "genetic code and birth" excuse when it comes to the justification of having incest being illegal. Saying that, when there's plenty of preventive measures to not have offspring is just downright unobservant.

We've all grown up in different circumstances and households. I feel those who haven't had the benefits of growing up in a full household, shouldn't be restricted from their feelings or disgraced because of it. The way I see incest in my case, it's not only the missing Westermarck effect, it's all the years of missed support and love (me being the one and only older brother).

Lastly, I also wish I didn't have these feelings sometimes, but I do. It is disheartening because of society, and also something of which you doubt the family would be supportive in.

Anonymous appears to be experiencing Genetic Sexual Attraction. Notice that the problem cited involve dealing with disapproval from others. Why should prejudice and bigotry interfere in consensual relationships?
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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Questions About Polyamory

Over at, poly-curious Illuminatiprimus started a discussion about polyamory by asking a bunch of questions.

hogarth answered...
I think the answer to most of those is "it depends".
I'd highly recommend the documentary "When Two Won't Do" -- it takes an unvarnished look at a variety of polyamorous relationships, including that of the filmmakers.
Stauderhorse answered the questions...

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Prison Time in Genetic Sexual Attraction Case

Updating this earlier case, a mother experiencing Genetic Sexual Attraction with her son has been sentenced to prison. Kerana Todorov reports for

The woman convicted of incest with her 16-year-old biological son was sentenced Wednesday in Napa County Superior Court to more than four years in state prison.

Mistie Rebecca Atkinson, 32, of Lake County, received four years, eight months in state prison under a plea agreement reached in May. Atkinson pleaded no contest to incest, oral copulation, lewd contact with a minor and distribution of lewd material to a minor.
 I'm wondering how the boy is doing. Some his age would be very traumatized by this. Others, not so much. Still, age of consent laws are there and the line is drawn.

In a hand-written letter to the court, Atkinson pleaded for leniency, saying she never intended to become intimate with her biological son.

“I don’t feel like I should have the charge of incest because there is something called genetic attraction that is a very powerful (phenomenon) that happens to 50 (percent) of people becoming reunited with a long-lost relative,” she wrote in her letter to the judge.
Genetic Sexual Attraction should not excuse statutory rape. However, like I've written before, if she has never done anything like this before then there is little reason to believe she will prey on others.

In February, Ukiah police met with the boy’s grandmother and other relatives who alleged Atkinson was having an incestuous relationship with the son. The boy, who was described as “out of control” by police, was staying with a relative in Ukiah until he could be placed in a group home, according to court documents.

The father had sent the boy to Ukiah partly in an effort to separate him from his biological mother, authorities reported in Atkinson’s probation report.

The grandmother alleged the boy was sneaking out of his relative’s house to meet with Atkinson in spite of a restraining order barring the woman from contacting the boy, authorities said in the court filing.
If you do the math, she probably didn't have the best adolescence either. Sad. I hope all involved get their problems worked out, and if, as with an infamous schoolteacher, this boy ends up deciding as a man he wants to be with her, I hope the law will not interfere.
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Who Is Selfish?

From a poly blogger who thinks monogamy can be right for someone, but that polyamory would be embraced by most people if they understood what it really is...
It doesn’t make me a bigot to ask people to call into question things they have taken as the standard model and only option for relationships. If someone’s never heard of anything except for monogamy as a valid life choice, then I obviously can’t expect them to understand. But if someone comes at me and calls me absurd and cruel and selfish and egocentric, why are they not the bigot? Why am I the one who, when defending how I live and love as a valid and rational life choice, becomes the bigot? Because I use harsh language and come back with equally as insulting opinion? Why is calling into question the problems with the standard paradigm a jab? Because it’s how most people live and I’m insulting most people? But it’s okay for someone to say that to me? The majority can insult the minority, but the minority can’t stand up for themselves by doing exactly the same thing? 

People should always question paradigms, and explore all avenues (this does not apply only to relationships, but to everything), and if they ultimately arrive at monogamy as the best option, then they should embrace it (and embracing it does not mean every other way is invalid).
I look forward to the day when polyamory is widely understood and polyamorists do not have to defend themselves from charges of being selfish and egocentric for simply loving more than one person. As the blogger notes, both polyamorists and monogamists can be selfish or unselfish. Selfish people are bad for any relationship.
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A Quote From the Closet

One of the reasons this blog exists is to speed progress so that no adult will have to hide their identity, sexual orientation, or love for other adults. Nobody should have to live in the closet out of fear of prosecution, bullying, or discrimination.

Here's quote from a woman who is in a consanguinamorous relationship with her father. She is a participant at Kindred Spirits forum.
I've never told anyone about our relationship. There are times when I wish I could be more open about it. It feels like people never get to know the real me, because I can't let them into this huge part of me.

People have been enduring this kind of isolation for so long. Why? Why should adults still have to hide? If someone can't be open with you about who they are and who they love, they can't have a real, close friendship with you. If your own family members can't tell you because you'll reject them, or even rat them out to be prosecuted, they are unfairly imprisoned emotionally.

Won't you please support your family, friends, classmates, coworkers, and neighbors who are going through the struggle for freedom and equal rights?
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I'm Not Going to Use That Feline Predator Slang Term

Intergenerational relationships between adults are not illegal, at least not anywhere that I know of, yet they still draw much disapproval and prejudice based solely on the ages of those involved. Although they do draw criticism, older man-younger woman relationships have been seen as less scandalous than older woman-younger man relationships, probably due to longtime patriarchal control of public morality, rigid gender roles of men as workers/breadwinners and women as walking incubators, and the demands of some that relationships and sex focus on childbearing. In recent years, older woman-younger man relationships have become increasingly visible in pop culture. Within the LGBT community, there is still some who look down on older man-younger man relationships and older woman-younger woman relationships, but those outside of the community who disapprove are usually fixated on the gay or lesbian aspect of the relationship.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Another Polyamory Thread at

It seems the topic of polyamory is discussed frequently at Clearing my desk, I found this question that was posed a few weeks back: "Are you, or could you be, polyamorous?" This was asked by o0orange0o, who wrote...
I don't think I have the energy to maintain more than one relationship myself (though I would want that option) but I could easily have a relationship with someone who was seeing others at the same time. 
The responses I saw back when I first found the discussion were mostly negative, most along the lines of "it's not for me." One person called it cheating. I did see a response that said "yes, I think it's a smart idea."

It is great that the topic is coming up more often in discussion forums because that gives people a change to learn more about it. There will always be naysayers that say that nobody should do it (mostly because they themselves don't like the idea), but that is easily shown to be an overbearing, prejudiced position.
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Some Good Polyamory Resources

Christina at had a great blog posting on resources for polyamorous and other nonmonogamous relationships.

Check out the list we have compiled of different resources for folks in open/polyamorous/nonmonogamous relationships. You’ll find information celebrating folks' experiences, giving tips for safer sex in open relationships, as well as tips for creating healthy and sustainable polyamorous relationships while maintaining your own well-being. These blogs are only a snapshot of some of the excellent writing out there on the subject. 

Practical Nonmonogamy Tips II by the Freaksexual Blog
The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt
“What do you mean you’re not monogamous?” via bklyn boihood and Autostraddle
“The Gay Male Couple’s Guide to Nonmonogamy”
Polyamorous Relationships in New York City

There are many great resources for polyamorous people and people interested in polyamory. Letting everyone else see that polyamory is present, practical, and positive will speed progress towards equality.
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More on Consanguineous Marriage and Parenting

Hank Pellissier asked if cousins should be denied their right to marry. The answer, of course, is... no! Pellissier, however, wants to strongly discourage cousins from having children together. Still, his article does contain some interesting information.
Six Legs? A baby boy - Umar Farooq - was born with six legs in April, 2012, in southeastern Pakistan.  International press noted that the boy’s parents were cousins, a common occurrence in Pakistan, where 70% of the marriage are “consanguineous.” Was the deformity caused by genetically-similar commingling?
Probably not. Polymelia (a rare genetic disease) was suspected at first, but eventually the extra limbs were blamed on an undeveloped “conjoined (Siamese) twin.”  The reasons for conjoining are unknown.
Eyebrows were already raised around the world, though. Tongues wagged, netizens clucked.

People love to talk out of ignorance.

A recent book, Consanguinity in Context, by Alan H. Bittles, a medical geneticist at Murdoch University and the Centre for Comparative Genomes in Australia, has dismissed the hazard potential as inconsequential. Bittles claims the rate only elevates from 2-3% to 4-6% if parents are first cousins. A Saudi Arabian report also claims an elevation rise from merely 1.7 to 2.8%, and the London-based Human Genetics Commission claims the risk “rises to about six in every 100 births, i.e. double the risk.” 

"Double" is a "100% increase" and that sounds scary until you realize that the stats mean 94 out of a hundred children conceived by cousin couples will have no problem.
Ethiopia appears the most prohibitive: it bans marriage between relatives out to 6th cousins. South Korea bans out to 3rd cousins; Taiwan and The Philippines ban first cousins, as does China, ever since it’s 1981 Marriage Act. In the USA, 31 of the 50 states ban first cousin marriage. In Europe and South America, consanguinity generally isn’t banned, but it is rarely practiced. Europe’s rate is generally less than 1%, and Brazil’s is presently 1.1%.

Ethiopia has more important things to worry about than whether distant cousins have the hots for each other.
Robin Fox of Rutgers ventures that, throughout history, approximately 80% of all marriages have been to first or second cousins. In the West, Charles Darwin married his cousin (Emma), so did Edgar Allan Poe (Virgina), Albert Einstein (Elsa), Queen Victoria (Albert), Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Eleanor), and H. G. Wells (Maria).
Cousin couples are part of an impressive legacy. I support relationship right and reproductive rights, and cousins should not be denied their right to marry or their reproductive rights.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

From Those Who Have Lived It

Genetic Sexual Attraction is a real and powerful phenomenon. Here are some quotes from people have have experienced GSA. I found a compilation at

"The intensity of the emotions with GSA are unbelievable. Seemingly well-adjusted adults find themselves in way over their heads in an alarmingly short amount of time." -5Kmom

"None of us asked for this GSA. And none of us should be condemned because of it. Some of us were able to see the consequences before we acted on our feelings - and some of us were not. It doesn't make us bad people. Just good people who have encountered an unusual situation and made choices that resulted in outcomes we could not see at the time because our vision was clouded." -5Kmom

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Facts and Fairness Regarding Cousin Relationships

Even over at discussion website, which appears to focus on partisan politics in the US, some questioned why there would be laws against consanguineous marriages or consanguinamory, which are inconsistent with other laws. I don't know whether he lifted it from somewhere else or compiled it himself, but Dacabeti thoroughly and effectively addressed cousins marrying and having children together.

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Allies for Polygamy at Mamapedia

If it became legal to practice polygamy or polyandry, would you do it? Not just one man with several wives, polygamy, but also one woman with several husbands, polyandry. (Thanks Mira)

I'm asking for the sake of conversation because of something I was watching online. :)
Once again, "polygamy" includes polyandry (multiple men, one woman) and polygyny (multiple women, one man) as well as three or more women, three or more men, or multiple men and multiple women.

L.G. from Seattle is an ally, and an eloquent one at that...
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Monday, June 18, 2012

It's Almost Showtime

Alan at the excellent blog Polyamory in the News has covered the announcement that Showtime will soon premiere a major reality TV series, "Polyamorous".
We've known for months that the Showtime network was preparing a reality series to be called "Polyamory"; the BermanBraun production company leaked it in some of their self-promotion materials early this year. And we've known that well-known poly activist and tantra teacher Kamala Devi and her extended family were occupied by a big project that they could not talk about.

Now two and two are officially put together, the lid is off, and Showtime is airing trailers for the show. It's called "Polyamorous: Married and Dating" and premieres July 12th.

This series has the potential to make more people aware of polyamory, reduce ignorance, and increase support for poly relationship rights.
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Kevin and Donna

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The Topic of Polyamory Pops Up Everywhere

The topic of polyamory is popping up in more places. Do you know what you'd say about polyamory if the topic is raised where you like to hang out, either in person or online? Here's a discussion starting up at

IvySnivy asked, "Anyone here in a polyamorous relationship?
I've had the inclination towards it, but I've never been in a position to try. Just curious to hear the experiences of people who have; how do you manage being committed to more then one person, how did you introduce a person to the current relationship, how is it working out for you, etc. I'd love to hear some stories~ o:

(Just to clarify, polyamory isn't the same as having a primary partner and then sleeping around, "swinging", or whatever. It also doesn't necessarily mean one male + many females. I'm basically talking about a group of more then two people who have a meaningful, committed relationship with each other.)

The only response there when I checked it out was this one from an ally...
I am not, and I do not plan to be, but I see absolutely nothing wrong with them so long as the relationship is consensual, and everyone in the relationship is A-OK with it.

It is a good idea to have an easy-to-remember comment ready to say. I suggest something like...

"Absolute monogamy isn't for everyone. Polyamory works better for some. As long as all involved are consenting adults, aren't they better off being open and honest and having the relationships that work best for them?"
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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Winston Smith is an Ally For Consanguinamory

Winston Smith at Philosoraptor, referring to Alan Miller's coverage of Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind, takes a look  at what Haidt says about moral reasoning. Haidt is a social psychology professor.

Consider also homosexuality. When, as a lad, I first became aware that there was such a thing, I had a powerful emotional aversion to the idea. But when I thought about it, none of the reasons that seemed to offer themselves in support of the aversion added up. Over several years of reasoning with myself, I--as it were--talked some sense into me, and the aversion went away. Again, not an atypical case.

So: contrary to what Haidt et. al. seem to claim there is no hard-and-fast asymmetry between the moral and non-moral cases. Maybe people more often rationalize rather than reason with respect to morality, but at best it's a difference in degree, not in kind.

As for roasted-chicken f*cking and consensual adult incest, these are cases way out on one end of the spectrum, best-cases for his position, not typical cases. As for consensual adult incest--brother-sister incest, to use Haidt's example--many people are just grossed out by it. Their only "reason" is ick. Personally, I don't think it's morally wrong, so it doesn't surprise me that people try to rationalize in that case. It's exactly what you'd predict even if you reject Haidt's position. It's just an ick case, people try to support an unsupportable position. Hilarity ensues.
Yes. The bulk of the negative reactions to consanguinamory are Discredited Arguments #1 and 3. Next, people try to justify imposing their personal dislike by citing #18. When that doesn't work, they try to use #19 or 20.

People are going to have the feelings they have, including negative feelings towards some sexuality. When they really think through it though, they realize that their initial reaction is not a good reason to criticize others or attempt to deny them their rights.

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Science on Attraction

For some people, being attracted to a close genetic relative is normal and natural, because there are natural factors involved.

This video explains some of that:

With Genetic Sexual Attraction, the Westermarck Effect didn't come in to the mix. With genetic relatives raised together, the Effect didn't prevail over other factors.
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Friday, June 15, 2012

Survey Says

At,  diskomay opened a can of worms with an indelicately worded poll:
Incestuous Marriage vs Homosexual Marriage
Which one bothers you the most?


Do you have any other reasons than religious beliefs?

By "incestuous" she appears to mean marriage between first cousins, as she adds due to several angry or confused responses...
I'm not comparing both. I'm wondering why in the world is incestuous marriage legal in most states where as gay marriage is a big bad taboo.  
As those of you who have followed this blog know, this blog supports the right of an adult to marry ANY consenting adults. I am not bothered at all when adults choose to marry, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, relation, or race. Some of the respondents address closer-than-cousins relationships, too.

ninjaeema is an ally...
I'm not at all grossed out by gay marriage, but incestuous marriage skeeves me majorly. Regardless, I think that if we're talking about consenting adults, both should be legal.
See that? Even though she is uncomfortable, she recognizes that others should have the freedom to marry. Why aren't more people be like that (yet)?

Americhard#1 wrote...

FYI there are at least 13 people on the DT banging their brother or sister .According to my poll question.
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Thursday, June 14, 2012


A woman wrote about her twin brother, with whom she is very close, at the Penny 4 Your Thoughts forum...
We love each other emotionally and physically. We are keenly attuned to what the other is thinking and feeling and wanting. We rarely say a word when making love - everything is instinctive. All of my "firsts" were with my brother - first proper kiss, and all that comes after that.
This is a woman who is intelligent and a university student. Shouldn't she be free to have this relationship without having to hide it? Shouldn't they have the freedom to marry, if that is what they want?

"The punishment of consensual incest protects no victims, hurts the people involved and spends public money, why is it still illegal?!" -Cornelius
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Video Explains We're All Cousins

I have said before that if you go far enough back in anyone's family tree, you'll find parents were were close relatives, whether the official records reflect that or not. Here's a video that explains some scientific facts about our consanguineous ancestry.

See some related past entries here, here, and here.

We're all related. The laws that criminalize consensual sex between genetic relatives and deny them the freedom to marry draw an arbitrary line, and need to go.
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Daniel Sokol on Germany's Prosecution of Consensual Adult Sex

I've got a very cluttered virtual desk that needs clearing, probably a byproduct of having a lot of work to do (for which I am thankful) and because of... personal involvements (for which I am even more thankful!) A couple of months back, Daniel Sokol wrote about Stübing v Germany and the recent European court decision maintaining that countries can keep prosecuting adults for consensual sex.

Sokol noted...

Professor Jonathan Haidt, a well-known social psychologist, presented this scenario as part of a study:

Julie and Mark, who are brother and sister, are traveling together in France. They are both on summer vacation from college. One night they are staying alone in a cabin near the beach. They decide that it would be interesting and fun if they tried making love. At very least it would be a new experience for each of them. Julie was already taking birth control pills, but Mark uses a condom too, just to be safe. They both enjoy it, but they decide not to do it again. They keep that night as a special secret between them, which makes them feel even closer to each other. So what do you think about this? Was it wrong for them to have sex?

Most people answered with a resounding yes, supporting their "yuck" response with reasons. Yet Professor Haidt noticed that many respondents ignored elements of the story. Some invoked the risk of bearing children with general abnormalities despite mention of two forms of contraception. Others referred to the risk of damaging the sibling relationship, ignoring the fact that the experience actually improved their relationship. Others pointed to the impact on others, but overlooked their pact of secrecy. When one argument was rebutted, people plucked out another. When their ammunition was exhausted, most people clung to their view that Julie and Mark committed a grave moral wrong. Haidt calls this state "moral dumbfounding". His conclusion is that intuitive moral judgments precede the explanations of the rational brain.
Emphasis mine. Prejudice is what feeds anti-consanguinamory attitudes and laws. Sokol then turned to the Stubing case...
In December 2000, their mother died and the relationship between Patrick and SK intensified. The following month, they had consensual sex. Over the next five years, they had four children, after which Patrick underwent a vasectomy. The youngest daughter now lives with SK, but the other children are with foster families.

The German Criminal Code (section 173) prohibits sexual intercourse between consanguine siblings. It is punishable by up to two years' imprisonment or a fine. Consensual sex between siblings is a criminal offence in the majority of states of the Council of Europe, including the UK.

In April 2002, Patrick was convicted of 16 counts of incest. He received a suspended sentence and was put on probation. He was again convicted of incest in April 2004 and November 2005, on each occasion receiving a custodial sentence.

Patrick argued that the conviction breached his Article 8 rights by affecting his ability to raise his children and interfering with his sexual life. There was no pressing social need to justify the conviction. Incestuous relationships did not spread genetic diseases in society and, moreover, other people with a higher risk of transferring genetic defects, such as older and disabled persons, were allowed to procreate. The criminal ban, plagued by inconsistencies, did not protect the family unit. Why ban sexual intercourse between siblings but permit other forms of sexual contact? Why exempt step-children or adoptive children from criminal liability?

In Patrick's case, the siblings had not grown up together. The normal sexual inhibitions had not developed. The sex was consensual. No one was harmed by the incest. In fact, the conviction destroyed a new family unit. 
Anti-consanguinamory laws are anti-family.
The European Court's reasoning is meagre. It avoids a careful analysis of each individual argument and counter-argument. The dissenting judgment by Judge Hassemer in the Federal Constitutional Court contained a number of thought-provoking observations – such as the law's prohibition of sexual intercourse but not other sexual acts that are also potentially damaging to family structures and society – that were side-stepped by the European Court.
Someday, most people are going to look back at these laws and court rulings and shake their heads. Let the lovers be.
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Polyamorists at Reddit Asked About Consanguinamory

Over at, someonewrongonthenet asked in a Polyamory section for thoughts on consanguinamory, referencing this blog. The discussion quickly turned to inbreeding, with many people expressing that consanguinamory should not be illegal, but that consanguinamorous couples should not make babies. Actually, that is a position that many people in consanguinamorous relationships have.
Been stretching my mind out lately on controversial topics lately, trying to rid myself of my remaining biases.
Does /r/polyamory support the legalization of consensual incest and incestuous marriage marriage? Even if supporting legalization, would you support someone close to you who was in a consanguinamorous relationship? Would you push for cultural acceptance of the practice? Would you support the right of such unions to have biological children? If not...are you against eugenics? What's the moral distinction between outlawing inbreeding and supporting eugenics?

My position is currently one of overall support for legal support and removal of the cultural taboo, but I do feel hesitant when biological children are involved. I can't claim I'm completely opposed to eugenics in principle, although I feel we don't currently have the knowledge of genetics needed to effectively implement it. If asked personally, I would strongly suggest adoption to lovers in this scenario. But somehow, outlawing inbreeding altogether feels like it oversteps some basic rights and boundaries. We don't outlaw smoking and drinking while pregnant, even if we morally disapprove. Seems like a double standard for us to outlaw inbreeding.

I'd like to here some intelligent thoughts on the topic. Hopefully we can hear from at least one person who has experienced this firsthand.
And, perhaps as a separate but somewhat related would you react if one of your metamours was a close relative? How many degrees away could you go before the "squick factor" kicked in? I was surprised to find a visceral rejection of the idea within myself for some reason...but then I realized how irrational that was and the instinct slowly began to recede away.
Fortunately, when people think it through, most realize there is no reason to deny relationship rights to the consanguinamorous.

For reference, people should see my answers to the usual arguments against full marriage equality and relationship rights for all.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Is This Your Neighbor?

It is sad that there are adults who have to hide their love, or some part of their love, from others. One example of how this plays out in life comes from a friend of this blog who is in a relationship initiated through Genetic Sexual Attraction. She wrote it at the FREE forums.

How do I deal with GSA. Well the big part for me is sometimes the lonelyness, it doesn't happen that often, but sometimes I want to shout hey I'm not single i'm with my brother or to show how proud I am of my brother whos also my partner, or the having to 'act normal' when out or around family, I suppose we are both lucky that we've never had a big circle of friends, we've both never been big goer outers, But what I've learned over these past few years is to talk, not to bottle it, I feel so much better if I'm having a bit of an off day to talk to my brother, as at the end of the day he's the only one that understands me. So comunication and lots of it.

We also get away at least once a month where we can be completely free and no one knows us, this helps us so much in our relationship. It's nice also at the end of the day when we are alone snuggled up for the night that connection, cuddling, holding hands, just the touching, that gives a lot of reasurance.

We do a lot of planning for our future, I think that's great in any relationship, doesn't have to be massive plans, just things to work towards, things to look forward to. I always thought at the begining it would get harder the longer we lived together because people would start asking more and more questions, as it happens we get asked less now, Even our mum now asks things like have WE got any holidays booked etc etc...

So I think what helps me deal with my relationship, Is the immense love, communication and the connection.

This woman could be your neighbor, your coworker, or someone in your family. This is why we should support full marriage equality and relationship rights for all consenting adults. They aren't hurting anyone and shouldn't have to hide.
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TLC Getting People Talking About Equality

TLC has been getting more people talking about polygamy with "Sister Wives," and now with "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding," they are getting more people to talk about gay couples and consanguineous couples marrying. As I have talked about before, the Gypsy show has a cousin wedding. has some coverage of the issues by Rich Juzwiak.

The two couples profiled on last night's episode of TLC's cultural curio spotlight My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding provided an ingenious bit of contrast. There were first cousins Annie and Josh, whose incestuous relationship is apparently permitted in their Romani culture. And then there was the lesbian couple Ana and Linda, whose love is taboo.
Love is love. Both relationships should be supported.
So what's the problem?

It's always dangerous to judge an entire culture by reality TV, and acceptable behavior often ranges from family to family, anyway. As American Gypsy Oksana Marafioti wrote on Slate, "People know so little about us and yet think they know so much." And if we survey American culture as a whole, first cousins are allowed to marry in 25 states: that's 19 more than those that allow gay marriage. This episode provided a working example of all kinds of cultures' hypocrisy.
Yes. We need full marriage equality. An adult should be free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with any consenting adults, without prosecution, persecution, or discrimination. Family should be supportive. You don't have to understand it or want it for yourself... just support your family member's sexuality. There is enough hate and misery in the world. Support happiness!
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The Moms Talk Plural Marriage

It is interesting to see the topics that pop up at This time, it is plural marriage, prompted by "Sister Wives." "Plural marriage" is usually used to refer to a polygynous form of polygamy in which some Mormons participate. As I have pointed out before, the largest Mormon denomination, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints officially renounced this practice as something for this lifetime in the late 19th century, although from what I understand there is always the possibility that their leadership can announce new revelation restoring the practice. It is some other, much smaller Mormon denominations that currently do it.

It is the position of this blog that an adult, regardless of religion, gender or sexual orientation, should have the legal right to marry any consenting adults.

Ms.KitKat asked in a poll, "What are your thoughts on Plural Marriage?"
I have been watching Sister Wives, a reality(?) show on TLC. The show features and follows a family of 1 husband, 4 wives and 16 chidlren. They are one big happy family. They are Mormons and belong to the Fundalmentalist church who believe in living plural marriage ( 1man, mulitiple wives and hence, many chidlren).

They were run out of their home state for violating Bigamy laws there.

So, I was just wondering, what is your take on this lifestyle? Is it even a lifestyle? or a relgion? Our next president might be a morman- does that have any bearing on your vote/views? Do you think this family (and others like them) have the right to live their life as they see fit? or are they breaking the law and should be prosecuted?

I'd like to hear from you (especially those of you who are living the plural life!) before I add my 2 cents.
 There were over a hundred replies when I saw it. This one is from an ally...

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Beautiful Love

At the Kindred Spirits forum, the deep bonds of love are evident in how the forum participants write about their relationships and the people they love the most.

One woman wrote...
The one thing I would change is that I wish my nephew and I would have "gone there" much earlier.

We have always had feelings for each other, even as little kids. When we were teens was when I first felt it the strongest. But then we fell out of touch. We got back in touch about 8 years ago. He showed up at my parent's house at the same time I was visiting them. I told myself after I left that I was going to get his phone number from my brother (his father) and really open up to him. I chickened out.

But a year and a half ago I finally got the courage to admit my feelings for him. He was so relieved because he had always felt the same way and thought that I didn't. (When I was 14 and he was 13, he, my father and I went on a two week vacation together and during that trip he tried to kiss me and I punched him in the stomach.)

Now, that I'm 38 and he is 37, I feel like I wasted so much time with others. Here I was looking for my soul mate all this time and he was right in my own backyard.

Another woman wrote about her brother...

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Update on the The Browns of 'Sister Wives'

Sister Wives, Brown  
TLC/Kyle Christy

Have you kept up with the Browns of "Sister Wives?" A while back they made it clear that they have solidarity for the same-gender freedom to marry. Also, they found out that they will not be prosecuted in Utah for being together. The law in Utah goes beyond the usual bans on the polygamous freedoms to marry, and it needs to be struck down or repealed. I was hoping the Browns would get that done.

Marc Malkin had a report at about their solidarity for the same-gender freedom to marry.

"I feel like we should be more enlightened as a society," says Kody Brown, the 44-year-old husband to Meri, 41, Janelle, 42, Christine, 40, and Robyn, 33, and father of 17 children.

Kody said he doesn't want legislators governing marriage.
"I married four women and I love them," he said. "I chose this out of love and out of faith. I feel like I want to extend that to all people…Let individuals define their love and their marriage. I don't want the government doing that."
Bridgette P. LaVictoire at noted the support.

Here is the Associated Press report at about the criminal case in Utah.
The case against Kody Brown and his four wives — Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn — stars of the TLC show, has been closed, Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman wrote in a motion seeking to have a lawsuit against his county dismissed.
The Browns then sued Utah County along with Utah's governor and attorney general, claiming the state's bigamy statute violates their constitutional rights to due process, equal protection, free exercise of religion, free speech and freedom of association.
Of note...

The Browns' attorney Jonathan Turley said he was pleased that charges wouldn't be filed but noted the family didn't plan to drop the lawsuit, claiming state law remained "blatantly unconstitutional."
"I want to express our great relief for the Brown family that this long-standing threat has been finally lifted," Turley said in a statement. "The family has spent years being publicly denounced as felons by prosecutors and had to move to Nevada to protect their family and children."
Not only does the law in Utah need to go, but we need nationwide full marriage equality and relationship rights so that an adult, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, is free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with any consenting adults.

Have you been watching the show? What do you think?
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Monday, June 11, 2012

When Consanguinamory is a Topic For a Discussion

Consanguinamory (consensual incest) is a topic that pops up from time to time in discussion boards, often because of a news item or because someone asks a variation of the very good questions "Why is consensual incest considered wrong?" or "Why is consensual incest illegal?" There will almost always be the completely unhelpful responses of "ew!" and the like, but sometimes there will be some good discussion and minds will be opened. In my desk clearing, I wanted to link two discussions. The first is from

ren started it...
Heres my opinion on Incest. Take it or leave. Ello. Heres a little information: The chances of a genetic mutation occurring in a baby born from cousin/cousin incest is the same % as a woman 40 years of age or older having a baby born with a genetic mutation:5 %. Yet it's not illegal for women 40 and older to have children why? Brother/sister and father/daughter genetic mutation chance is a 7% increase. What right does a complete stranger have to tell 2 consenting ADULTS what they can and can not do with there lives? My view on Incest is the same with lgbt rights: If it harms none why make it illegal?

La responded...
I still think incest is gross. It's not mentally healthy to have that kind of relationship either. People need diversity in their lives.

I am also disapproving of women over 40 having kids, but that's never going to be illegal.....I'd be perfectly okay if it was though.
See, the real slippery slope is in letting strangers have the power to interfere in the love lives of adults. A few allies registered their support for equality.

Over at, AutumnButterfly wrote...

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Two Families, Two Countries and Why Equality is Needed

Cornelius, a frequent commenter here, linked to this recent coverage of persecuted couple Patrick Stuebing (or Stubing, depending) and Susan Karolewski. It is a Spanish website and it also covers a Spanish couple, Daniel and Rosa Moya. Thank you, Cornelius!

Today's society accepts - legally, at least - almost any type of relationship between adults, yet alarm bells ring where siblings are concerned. The cases of Patrick Stuebing and Susan Karolewski in Germany, and of Daniel and Rosa Moya in A Coruña, show that it is possible for two close relatives to fall in love and form a family just like anyone else. But the different way both couples were treated - obtaining legal papers in Spain, facing a criminal conviction in Germany - underscores the fact that criteria differ even within European Union countries. In any case, there is no denying that siblings who love each other, have sex and produce children, prove problematic both from social and legal standpoints.
The entire European Union needs to get with the 21st century and let all consenting adults have the relationships they want. What happened in the Stuebing case is terrible.

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Another Consanguinamorous Relationship in Ghana News

The media in Ghana frequently reports on consanguinamory. Such relationships are often prosecuted in Ghana under "anti-incest" laws and customs. But this time, there is a happier ending. This report at comes from Prosper Agbenyega...

A 23years old mason, Bismark Atiglah has allegedly impregnated his blood sister, Ivy Atikpoh, 21 years. The two siblings, belonging to the same mother but of different fathers, according to reliable sources are based in Hohoe of the Volta Region when the unfortunate incident of incest took place.
Why is this unfortunate? Sounds like a happy relationship and now they'll be a family.
According to the information, Ivy Atikpoh who was staying with her mother over the years had some disagreement with her mother which compelled her to left her mother’s place and put up with her blood brother.

Checks conducted by this paper has confirmed that, few weeks into leaving her mother, Ivy Atikpoh’s mother after haven sensed foul play in the relationship between her children, decided to keep a close eye on their activities. On one of her own investigation, she saw through Bismark Atiglah’s window, a heated sexual escapade between her children.
So in addition to driving her daughter away, she's a snoop and a rat.

She however warned her daughter of the consequences of her actions but her advice fell on deaf ears.
According to the mother who spoke to a source, (name withheld), she was surprised at the development and confronted her daughter on many occasions to cease the intimate relationship with her brother, but that was not taken.
They are happy together. Maybe the mother should have read my advice.
Few months into the amorous but abominable relationship, the girl, Ivy Atikpoh got pregnant, and confessed her brother, Bismark Atiglah as the one responsible.

Meanwhile, the situation has been considered an abominable act, which needed to be treated well so expel the ‘curse’ upon the two.
Right. Okay...

Sources say, arrangements are being made to cleanse the two siblings so as to allow them the opportunity to live as husband and wife.
Well that is certainly better than prosecuting and separating them. Support their decision and their relationship! This should always be the reaction for any relationship between consenting adults: let them be together, and let them marry if they want. Now, if the journalists would stop using bigoted language like calling this "abominable."

At then end of the article were these other stories...
  1. Man Impregnates Sister Kofi Mensah A 22-year-old driver, Kofi Mensah, who lives at...
  2. Mother Jailed 7 Years For Aiding Incest A mother who encouraged her two children to indulge in...
  3. Man threatens to kill mother for refusing marriage to sister The Domestic Violence and Victims’ Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the...
  4. Woman jailed for aiding incest between her children A 50-year-old woman, Francisca Hackman has been sentenced to 7...
  5. Incest Man Jailed 7 Years Kofi Mensah A Cape Coast circuit court yesterday convicted and...
  6. Man arrested for incest The Central Regional office of the Domestic Violence and Victims...
  7. Unknown Kardashian sister dates, Mario Ballotelli’s younger brother? After a recent revelation that the infamous Kardashian children Kourtney,...
  8. Drama in court as carpenter gets 10-year jail sentence for incest A 40-year-old welder; Emmanuel Kwesi Yevu, who is accused of...
  9. 2 Incest Father Caged I SWEAR IT IS JUJU! Emmanuel Kwasi Yevu jail 10...
  10. Private securityman jailed five years for incest Takoradi, May 4, GNA  – The Takoradi Circuit Court “A”...

H/T: Incest News
— — —

Going From Two to Three

Carrie at writes at about poly rules regarding contacting a third.
When I say contact, I refer to any established connection between two people. In poly relationships this has two levels: if A and B are together, and B starts seeing C, then A and C might also want to get to know one another, whether or not they become romantically involved. This means the couple AB will probably determine some agreements regarding not only when and how often B and C see one another, but also whether A and C will, depending on what is comfortable for all three individuals in this scenario.

Go read what she has to say.
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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Adults Prosecuted in New Zealand for Consensual Sex

From comes this news item of consanguinamory that might have been initiated through Genetic Sexual Attraction...
A 32-year-old man and his 18-year-old daughter have admitted having an incestuous relationship. 
An 18 year-old having sex with a 32 year-old is not big news. But do the math. How old was he when he had the sex she from which she was conceived? To me, that has the potential for an actual criminal case, depending on how old the female was.

The two people appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday charged with committing incest between August 2010 and May this year, knowing of their relationship as parent and child.
So they are both being charged as criminals? Who is the victim then???

Information in the summary was that the man fathered his daughter when he was 14 years old.

Because of his age at the time of the girl's birth, he had little contact with her until she was about 16.
He had been told he was the girl's father.

When the girl was a teenager, she was made aware of the identity of her father.

The father made contact with his daughter's family in 2010. A visit was arranged and, after several more visits, the father moved into his daughter's family's home. 
During that time, a relationship developed between the two which became a sexual relationship in August 2010.

Sounds like GSA to me. Who had a problem with the relationship?

The girl and her family moved south early last year and her father moved with them.

The sexual relationship continued, resulting in the birth of a child.

After a complaint to the police, both were interviewed last month and freely admitted their sexual relationship and that they knew they were biological father and daughter. 
It is okay to lie to avoid unjust prosecution. Unjust laws should be thwarted. I wonder who made the complaint?
The young woman said she was in love with the man, her father, and they had been living as husband and wife.
They have a child now. Let them be a family! Stop the insanity of prosecuting people for consensual sex. Let them marry, if they want to legally marry. Notice the article does not say the child has any problems, and I'm sure law enforcement and the journalist would have passed that information along. So the child is probably healthy and these adults should be allowed to live their lives together without prosecution, bullying, or discrimination.
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Friday, June 8, 2012

Gypsy TV Show to Have Cousin, Gay Nuptials

I blogged before about the Gypsy Wedding television show. Now, the very objective and never ever sensationalistic has this coverage, "Shocking Incest Marriage On My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding!" Alexis Tereszcuk reports on the TLC show.

Gypsy weddings are over the top extravaganzas, but this marriage between two first cousins is a shocking nuptial!
Marriages between first cousins are hardly shocking.

“We love each other,” Annie says and with a smile admits that marrying her first cousin isn’t frowned upon in her family, just not being married [while living together].

“Our family believes in incest,” she says.
Every family should support happy relationships.

Another couple featured on the show are determined to have the first gay gypsy wedding.
Do they have the support of their families? I hope so.

My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding airs on TLC Sunday at 10/9c.
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Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Question of Kardashian Consanguinamory Raised Again

Erin Anthony at apparently considers locking arms and drinking to be a form of sex. The headline to her recent blurb was the eye-catching "Kim Kardashian's Sexy Incestuous Threesome With Rob and Mystery Woman."

Kim Kardashian HD 11x17 Photo Poster Busty Naked #12 HDQKim Kardashian was kind enough to post a photo of her enjoying a threesome with her own brother! Shock alert!
It would be quite shocking for her to have posted such a picture. But as we seen, the statement is terribly misleading...
Thankfully, the sexy photo of Kim, Rob and a mystery woman wasn't totally incestuous. It just showed Kimmy and her brother enjoying drinks during dinner. You know how those Kardashians roll, they keep you guessing.
Yes, you know, siblings never have dinner and drinks together unless they are having sex, too. (Do you see my eyes rolling?)
The photo was posted to the main Kardashian diva's Instagram page and tweeted out via her Twitter account. It shows Kardashian with her long locks pulled up in a tight bun and her arm interlocked with her sibling's as they drank their beverages.

The other person in the photo has her face hidden behind her hair but chances are she's another Kardashian/Jenner sibling. Notably missing from the dinner was Kimmy's latest celebrity squeeze: Kanye West who's rocking in Paris.
If the Kardashians are consanguinamorous, I wonder how many times West has interrupted them? Seriously, I have noted this kind of coverage of the Kardashians before.

I would be very happy if a family having the attention, following, and platform of the Kardashians would actually come out as consanguinamorous or at least whisper from the closet so as to make it an open secret, which would greatly help the plight of sibling lovers. Blurbs like this could be plants from the Kardashians themselves as the early stages of just such a thing.

Or, these blurbs could be just people like Anthony trying to get cheap attention. And it works.

Siblings should be free to be affectionate with each other, whatever forms that affection takes.
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Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Is the latest vampire fad still going?

Almost two months ago (yes, I really need to clear my desk) Noah Berlatsky wrote something that caught my interest.

In his book Forbidden Partners: The Incest Taboo In Modern Culture, James B. Twitchell argues that the gothic romance, and particularly the vampire story, is built upon the fascination/titillation/horror of the incest taboo. Twitchell points out that the vampire is typically an older, powerful man who attacks a younger, often virginal woman, forcing upon her an intimate encounter which involves a sex-like, perverted mingling of blood. Twitchell also reminds us that:

    The most startling aspect of the folkloric vampire is that he must first attack members of his own family. This prerequisite has been lost in our modern versions, but it is clear in almost every early story in almost every culture. We may have neglected this because we find it too dull and predictable, but it may also be…because this familial tie makes all too clear the vampire’s specific sexual design.

The most popular current version of the vampire story is, of course, Twilight. Twilight differs from Dracula in many ways — but it definitively retains the gothic fascination with inbred family structures. Bella, notably, calls her father “Charlie” — his first name — and when she moves back in with him, she cooks for and takes care of him more like a wife than like a daughter. Bella’s surrogate vampire family is even more flagrantly incestuous; Carlyle’s “children”, turned vampire by him, all live together as brothers and sisters — and, at the same time, as paired husbands and wives. Even Carlyle himself, and his wife appear no older than their “kids” — who they create not by having sex with each other, but by having sex with the children themselves. Father/mother/brother/sister — the familial roles are all, for the vampires, arbitrary, interchangeable, and interpenetrated with sex.

The vampire thing has been a sexual thing perhaps from the beginning. I never caught the possible incest connection, however.
At the same time, Twitchell notes that the gothic — incest and all — has long appealed strongly to young women. Why should this be? Twitchell doesn’t have any very good explanation — he mutters something vaguely about false consciousness, stammers about symbolic representations of hymens breaking, waves his hands, and scurries on by.

Gale Swiontkowski in Imagining Incest: Sexton, Plath, Rich, and Olds on Life With Daddy provides a somewhat more convincing explanation of the appeal of incest narratives for young women (if not of vampires per se.) Looking at American women poets, Swiontkowski argues that for daughters incest with the father can be a kind of symbolic grasping of patriarchal power — a repudiation of passivity in favor of the phallus. Obviously, this is a fraught and potentially damaging transaction, especially in the not-nearly-infrequent-enough-cases where there is actual incest and abuse. Still, Swiontkowski argues:

    An advocacy of incest by men, as in pornography, is a regressive move toward social and psychological hoarding that enslaves women to men’s desires, especially if it is taken as a literal enactment of the right of males in patriarchy. The advocacy of symbolic incest by women is an enlightening and advancing move because it breaches the social restrictions on women that determine their subservience in a patriarchy.
"The Hunger Games" is tied in to all of this, too.

It is sometimes more accepted and even artistically enhanced to present things in metaphor rather than in starkly direct terms. What do you think?
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