Social Question

Shippy's avatar

[NSFW] Why do we find it so revolting to think of our parents having sex?

Asked by Shippy (9852 points ) September 19th, 2012

Recently I have had a few conversations regarding incest. I am trying not to “mix” up the different concepts here, but we were discussing siblings being reunited after being separated, then becoming sexually attracted to each other. The friend I was chatting to said of course, to imagine having sex with her siblings or her father, or any family member disgusted her. This is what got me on the following train of thought, and forms the question.

Then we chatted about how horrible it was to even think of our parents having sex, or being sexual. Or in fact any member of our families being sexual in anyway. Why do we find that disgusting? It is normal of course for ones parents to engage in sex. Whatever flavor they prefer. It is an act of love for the most part? Maybe some of us don’t, perhaps we find the idea OK? Would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

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26 Answers

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I think because as children we see our parents as “gods” almost, and gods are supposed to be chaste, right? Religion customarily have gods that are chaste, priests are chaste, and possibly why the story of the virgin birth. Purity equals chastity, and we see our parents only in the purest light.

Coloma's avatar

I don’t know, it must have something to do with not being able to “see” ones mom or dad in any other role except mom & dad. My daughter is 24 and we can talk about sex now and then, but, quite frankly, I don’t think either of us really want all the details of each others sex lives. Although she did tell me her boyfriend was ” hung like a horse” and that little bit of TMI is forever ingrained in my head. lol

It’s a matter of being able to relate to your parents as people not just mom and dad, something that usually doesn’t happen til a kid is at least in their early 20’s.

CWOTUS's avatar

Am I in the minority on this, too?

When I was about ten years old and we had just moved to our new house, I went downstairs one night, probably because I couldn’t sleep and I must have been looking for Mom for some reason. The whole lower floor of the house was dark (I can’t imagine what I was doing there, unless I had already been to my parents’ room and found it empty). I opened the sliding door to the family room and in the darkened room I saw the shapes of my parents in an embrace on the pull-out sofa bed (and under covers).

Though I had never been exposed to “sex” before, and having only a vague idea of the mechanisms, I knew in a flash what I was seeing (not seeing), closed the door and went back upstairs and to bed. I don’t think we ever discussed that; I knew it was private, that “daddy was not hurting mommy” and all that, and it was totally okay.

I was much more distressed to consider at what age they might have given that up. That bothers me a lot more than the thought of them “doing it”; the thought of them “not doing it”.

mazingerz88's avatar

Because they’re not Brad and Angelina. : )

poisonedantidote's avatar

The kid that finds his own mother sexy, may end up having retarded incest children, who would be bad at passing on their DNA, and thus not favored by evolution.

Same reason we find turds gross, same reason rotten food does not seem tasty, we have evolved to reject it, it is not good for our survival.

Taciturnu's avatar

I’m actually with @CWOTUS, in the sense that I’m not repulsed by my parents’ (mother’s) sexuality. I bought her a toy one year… We have “that” kind of relationship. I do not really want to be exposed to it, but there are plenty of people I feel that way about.

blueiiznh's avatar

OMG, my parents had coitus???

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@poisonedantidote That is a thought, and could very well be the root of the problem. @CWOTUS and @Taciturnu – I don’t think we, as adults, are repulsed by the thought of our parents having sex. However, as children or deep in our repressed psyche, we are (or most of us are.)

janbb's avatar

Are we repulsed by the thought of our parents having sex or the thought of seeing our parents having sex?

Shippy's avatar

@janbb I feel repulsed at both, thankfully I didn’t see them. Interesting perspective though.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

I wonder if generally opinions change towards this as we get older. When as a child the mere thought of two people kissing can be horrible and then the idea of people you know so well kissing often notches it up a level or two in the mind of a child.

As you get older you have a better understanding of love and all aspects of it so there must be a point in your development where you come to terms of it happening and accept it, but then it still often sends shivers down your spine.

Ponderer983's avatar

Because to me, most people who I don’t think of as sexual creatures elicit that revolting response. My parents fall into that category, peers who are awkward (and by that I mean coordination wise, cause I can’t imagine them actually succeeding), people who repulse me, my boss. It’s hard to compile a list of all the people, but some people I just feel weird about thinking of them having sex. I’m Ok with my sister, certain friends, etc. I’ll try to think about it and give a more clear reason :/

janbb's avatar

@TheProfoundPorcupine My parents are dead and I still don’t like the thought of seeing them having sex. :-)

ragingloli's avatar

Because mine are of the ugly variety, old and obese.

Coloma's avatar

@blueiiznh Aren’t you glad they weren’t interrupted! hehe

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Shippy I’ll up the anty. What looks funny on Grandma? Grandpa!

wundayatta's avatar

I wonder if it isn’t so much parents, as seeing someone you know having sex. I mean, how would it feel if you were searching through porn online and suddenly you see your boss having sex with a coworker. Would that be creepy? What if you saw your closest friend and their spouse in a sex tape?

I don’t know about you, but I think I would be just as creeped out seeing anyone I knew have sex. It’s private. I shouldn’t be seeing this. I don’t want to know what they do with their partner.

And it’s the same for my parents. Once my wife an I had a room next to theirs and we heard them doing it. I’d have yelled out “get a room” but they already had. Why did it have to be the one next to ours? On the other hand, it’s nice to know my Dad is still a horny bastard. It kind of explains why it’s so strong in me, too.

Pandora's avatar

Its not just our parents. Its anyone who is old, or older. But we really just don’t like the idea of thinking of our parents in any sexual way. The furthest it is out of our mind the less likely we will get nightmares from it. I know I can imagine my parents being romantic when they were young. They were both young and hot, but we all like to think they stopped being romantic when the last kid was born because we don’t like the idea of two (no longer hot ) people having sex anymore. But in general we don’t like to view anyone close to us as being sexual, unless it is someone we are being sexual with or a hot stranger. There are things you know and things your accept and then there are things you know you just rather have a blank page on. Like I wish my children a fulfilling sexual life. I just don’t need nor want to hear about the details.

woodcutter's avatar

I think seeing or hearing anyone I know beating it up would put me off. At 16, I did watch a couple whom I did not know getting it on once in a station wagon and was quite entertained. A mosquito had landed on my arm unnoticed during the act and gorged itself to the point of not able to fly away so I smacked it causing my arm to look like it was hit with a red paintball. This also entertained me.

Aethelflaed's avatar

We really freak out at the idea of children, especially small children, having sexuality and knowing about sex; we’re very invested in the idea of children as innocent, and of innocence meaning a lack of knowledge about sex. Which means that we don’t let them know that their parents have sex, and that sex was how they were made; some parents will even be less physical with each other in terms of touching, hugging, kissing, and cuddling in front of their children. Even when kids are old enough to know about sex, and realize that their parents must have had sex at least x times (x=# of kids they had), parents will still hide it and sneak around and come up with all sorts of excuses covering up their sex like “we were just flipping the mattress”. So then our initial understanding of our parents is that they are basically asexual, and it’s not only hard to change our perceptions, but it’s hard to change a perception our parents told us we should have for so long.

Ponderer983's avatar

@Aethelflaed I was corrected by my Father on your x=# of kids. He insisted to add that x=# of kids + 1, because everyone gets laid on their wedding night. Gotta love Dad’s nuggets of knowledge.

flutherother's avatar

It is reassuring to children to know their parents are fond of one another but sexual activity is best kept private. Like drunkenness it shows parents in a situation children cannot understand or be a part of.

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