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To wonder if it's really anybody else's business (warning: incest)

(27 Posts)
Sealia Sat 31-Dec-16 13:51:45

High quality Christmas reading indeed, I know, but I was leafing through an addition of That's Life! and found an article about a woman who had been adopted and met her adoptive brother. They fell in love and are having a baby together (baby doesn't seem to have been planned.)

Now I understand that the baby part is not really cricket due to risks to health but in this age where not only contraception but also donor eggs and sperm are accessible is there really any need for a draconian law about sexual relations? Or am I being hugely U?

Trifleorbust Sat 31-Dec-16 13:55:35

Given that contraception is never 100% foolproof, YABU.

Also, I think legalising incest would make young people vulnerable to potentially abusive advances from family members - better to maintain the taboo and keep them safer.

Sealia Sat 31-Dec-16 13:56:39

True enough re the abusive relationships; that's an angle I didn't think about.

HappyGoLuckyGirl Sat 31-Dec-16 13:57:29

There's a medical term for this, is there not? Where relatives who didn't grow up together become attracted to each other when they meet.

Which leads me to believe it happens quite a bit.

I don't believe it should be legal, no.

specialsubject Sat 31-Dec-16 14:00:40

Not a good idea at all - just look at the pharaohs. The incest taboo makes sense.

But - are they genetic siblings? Bit confused?

Sealia Sat 31-Dec-16 14:01:41

Yep. Genetic siblings. The poor woman got a letter from her deceased adoptive mother on her 21st birthday telling her she was adopted (ffs!) and she tracked down her birth family. Birth mum passed away but found and fell in love with birth brother.

GloriousRoob Sat 31-Dec-16 14:02:47

This is not from a magazine but the husband of an colleague, two jobs ago now, he traced his biological birth sister and they were inseparable. At first just because they ''had so much to make up for'' but it later transpired that they were in a sexual relationship and still are I believe. It's a ''thing'' when you see a sibling that you didn't grow up with apparently you are very likely to be attracted to them and feel ''chemistry''

MsHooliesCardigan Sat 31-Dec-16 14:03:52

These kind of stories crop up again and again in Take a Break and its ilk. There is apparently a well researched phenomenon called Genetic Sexual Attraction where blood relatives who have not been raised together and are reunited as adults, experience a very strong sexual attraction to each other. I don't see the point of prosecuting these individuals but it does worry me when they have children- as well as the risk of genetic disorders, what do they tell the child? I can't imagine trying to explain that dad is also Granddad or uncle.

DontTouchTheMoustache Sat 31-Dec-16 14:05:00

Yes happy I think it's a syndrome, I remember watching a documentary about it a few years back. I think it's something to do with confusing feelings of love with intimacy. It's quite sad really as they genuinely aren't trying to hurt anyone but obviously there are very strong reasons why incest should not be allowed.

midgwit Sat 31-Dec-16 14:06:33

Happy There is a term, Genetic Sexual Attraction (GSA) but it was coined by someone (not a dr) who experienced it with her son, who she had put up for adoption as a baby. There's debate in the medical (psychiatric? Not sure who would deal with things like this) community about whether it's valid, I think the majority feel it isn't a real thing though. It's not very common, it's just when it happens it seems to be reported on a lot as people seem willing to share their stories with magazines like That's Life and Take a Break when it happens to them.

Maudlinmaud Sat 31-Dec-16 14:07:19

It's called genetic sexual attraction.
I think it's quite a primal thing. You are usually spoken to about it by your social worker before you meet birth relatives.

VeryBitchyRestingFace Sat 31-Dec-16 14:09:05

I believe it's called Genetic Sexual Attraction.

Apparently consensual incest is legal in Turkey.

pklme Sat 31-Dec-16 14:15:17

I don't think in this kind of case the law is ever invoked, as both parties are consenting adults. Problems come when it can become a kind of family culture, seen as acceptable. That leaves everyone involved immensely vulnerable to abuse.

It is rare for all members of a family to be equal, so some will always be vulnerable to abuse from others.

However, even adult women are vulnerable to being taken advantage of by adult male relatives. Girls who grow up in care or are adopted can be so vulnerable to their birth fathers, especially when in their chaotic teens.

Fluffyears Sat 31-Dec-16 14:16:12

Incest should be kept illegal to help breed our genetic issues. The wider the gene pool the better, look at pedigree animals where there is inbreedingand some serious issues occur.

GloriousRoob Sat 31-Dec-16 14:16:42

There isn't really any significant additional risk for the child of ''first generation incest''. (Unless of course the two parents both have / carry genes a health problem)

KingJoffreysRestingCuntface Sat 31-Dec-16 14:18:32

I think two consenting adults should do as they please.

Benedikte2 Sat 31-Dec-16 14:38:57

There have been cases where brother and sister have lived together as man & wife after meeting as adults and they've been charged with incest after being warned to separate. In on case I remember, they had 2 children.
Generally if they are both adults and it's consensual then no harm. Children are not at high risk of genetic defects unless family is already at high risk of genetic disorders. It's where there is close intermarriage for several generations that it becomes hazardous for the children. There was a programme on Radio 4 about the much higher rate of congenital defects in the UK in families from Pakistan where cousin marriage has been practised for generations.
Original figures re heriditary defects apparently came from Eastern Europe and the families studied were very poor and uneducated families, often with learning difficulties so not families from mainstream society (Information fro BBC radio programme about 15 years ago). They programme suggested that the taboo against incest is evolutionary and that siblings raised together don't feel the attraction. Those raised separately feel the familial bond and mistake it for regular sexual attraction. Most animals which live in family groups seek a mate from outside the group. If you watch Long Lost Families you will hear most of the reunited family members stating how they instantly felt a close bound with their siblings etc -- "as if we'd known each other all our lives".
A reason for retaining the law against incest is to protect the vulnerable and young from the predations of older or more powerful family members. How could this be done if there was no law? Such is the abhorrence in the general population that incestuous children, if identified, would be shunned.

1horatio Sat 31-Dec-16 14:43:33

2 consenting adults, so no. Not my business.
As long as it's first generation there shouldn't really be a whole lot of health concerns, I think.

However, seeing as these incest laws in many cases protect children or people dependent on a person that would abuse them... well, I don't think they should be abolished. On the other hand, I wonder whether the laws do have any influence of the likelihood of abuse....?

I guess exceptions could be made or something in cases where it's clearly two consenting adults.

BeyondIBringYouGoodTidings Sat 31-Dec-16 14:48:00

Nope, shouldn't be illegal (with caveats to prevent legallising abuse). They are consenting adults and the genetic risk in first gen is only a smidge higher than general population.

And outlawing it because of potential genetic risk to a future child is very iffy when you think of (unrelated!) people wanting to have children who have inherited disorders.

RichardBucket Sat 31-Dec-16 15:04:31

I agree with BeyondIBringYouGoodTidings. It's dangerous logic to ban one coupling because of the potential for genetic disorders. I know a brother and sister who had GAS when they met for the first time in their 20s. The sexual relationship didn't last long, but while it did I was surprised by how unfazed I was by it (she confided in me, they weren't bragging about it all over the place).

The complication for me is when there's a clear power imbalance; someone who grew up with a relative as an authority figure and then enters into a sexual relationship. A blanket ban isn't the way to go but I feel like that will be an unhealthy dynamic.

Siblings who meet as adults? Shouldn't be illegal.

Cheby Sat 31-Dec-16 15:12:56

There is a relatively high risk when such close relations (e.g. Brother and sister, father and daughter) have children, isn't there?

I've worked with health services where I have seen the impact of consanguineous relationships on children and it's not good.

DailyFail1 Sat 31-Dec-16 15:36:42

I think the incest laws re adoptive children were introduced to prevent someone grooming their own daughter in law/wife. Not sure though.

Oddbins Sat 31-Dec-16 15:40:34

I'd be more worried that it's misplaced affection. They have missed out on a familial bond and now that coming out not as children but as adults. It must feel like falling in love when it happens as an adult.

RichardBucket Sat 31-Dec-16 16:11:09

Oddbins That's what GSA is. By all accounts it's very, very intense.

scottishdiem Sat 31-Dec-16 17:23:42

Its difficult because things like GSA are an issue and will get worse as more people have IVF, families split etc.

We should very much be more considerate of incest and cautious of using the law to punish it. However, normalising incest in adults can lead to abusers citing it as an example to their own family members why they start grooming etc (as DailyFail1 noted about adoption and Trifleorbust noted above).

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