Social Question

Shippy's avatar

NSFW Why is incest so bad?

Asked by Shippy (9857 points ) January 1st, 2013

Aside from the obvious, which is defective DNA and genetic coding.

Also the question does not refer to sexual abuse of a minor.

What lead me to ask this question was watching a Documentary of siblings being reunited in adulthood, after years of separation and falling in love. The similarities in characteristics could be a major attraction factor.

I knew of two sisters who identified themselves as gay, that being separate to the fact that they as adults were having an incestuous affair. What is wrong with that, in your opinion? Do you know of any such cases personally and how did it pan out for the couples involved?

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30 Answers

poisonedantidote's avatar

My only problem with incest is defects in DNA, if it is 18+ gay incest, then I can’t really think of a problem with it, other than perhaps that it could lead to them becoming social outcasts to the point that no one will hire them, and they go on welfare or starve or have a shit life.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

I don’t know of any cases personally, but I do know that in ancient times they used to look at incest as a way of preserving the purity of the bloodline of the ruling elite with Egypt being a good example.

I have however seen documentaries like the one you mentioned Shippy where they have perhaps been apart since birth due to being adopted or whatever so even though they are family they don’t have the same close bond since they grew up apart so they see each other more like close friends than related.

downtide's avatar

I’ve wondered this before and I can’t think of any other reason besides the DNA issue. If they are both adults, both consenting and not breeding, it shouldn’t matter.

Shippy's avatar

@TheProfoundPorcupine I also knew of a female who was reunited with her father, whom she had never met, at the age of 18. They too had an affair. At the time when she told me, I felt quite nauseated, since I imagined my own father. But then I knew him all my life. I am then wondering how common it is, between member’s of the family who have in fact been together all their lives. As adults, to become romantically involved.

poisonedantidote's avatar

On a slightly related topic, what about sperm donors?

It is possible to sell your soldiers, and have more than one woman use them to have a kid. These kids could then meet up as adults, and have a relationship without even knowing they are related.

That is always something I wondered about.

Also, while we are on the topic, if 18+ gay incest with consent is ok, then I suppose by the same token that 18+ incest with consent between people, were one or more parties is sterile, would also be ok.

Shippy's avatar

@poisonedantidote Perhaps they could offer themselves up for sterilization? I felt really sad for the couple I watched on the Documentary. But they were young around 21 or so. So I think to sterilize them would be unethical. Since they might break up later on and want children. But it is definitely an option. But then as @TheProfoundPorcupine pointed out, in ancient Egypt this was the thing to do, in order to keep a bloodline going. So then one wonders how their offspring were? Where any of their writings or archeological clues indicative of a lot of abnormal births?

syz's avatar

Between consenting adults, with no offspring – doesn’t particularily bother me.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

@Shippy There doesn’t seem to be too much evidence or writings that show abnormal births, but then this can partly be due to them not really wanting to write about a weakness in the blood line. I guess that there is also the thing that there were more children dying at an early age anyway so DNA related issues may not have killed them due to a whole host of other diseases.

Judi's avatar

When I was in Egypt the one thing I noticed in a lot of the art was a familial over bite. A lot of the pictures looked like Mr Burns on the Simpsons.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Shippy If you take a look at some of the statues of Egyptians that are left over, if they are a realistic interpretation of what they looked like, some of them were quite freaky looking.

Shippy's avatar

@poisonedantidote A few gay couples I know were recipients of sperm donors. Although all the children were lovely, and the family happy with the outcome. It just doesn’t sit right with me, for that reason amongst others. I just had this feeling of “Who are you?” whenever I looked at the one little boy. I know that sounds harsh its not meant to be. It used to overwhelm me. I always wondered what genetic pool they had inadvertently tapped into. But interestingly the kids all looked very much like the mothers. But yes, both recipients were livign in the same town.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

There is some artistic interpretation in statues as well as symbolism in Egypt that can alter the way they look. Plus experts can look at the style of the carving and date it to certain periods.

janbb's avatar

For me, there is a real strong “ick” factor which I have no need to get over. I guess too many people I know have been hurt by childhood incest that I have no need to work on my prejudice; although, as you say, 18+ incest is different.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

(Waits for RagingLoli to weigh in on this one).

Coloma's avatar

I agree with @janbb
I get the DNA and potential for unhealthy reproduction as well as the social taboos, both being quite valid reasons to not fornicate with with ones own blood relatives.
As always, with anything, it a matter of degree I suppose.
Siblings separated at birth and having some sort of gay fling is still quite bizarre to me, but a father daughter thing, regardless of history, is just sick.

I mean, really….I don’t think too many fathers that are reunited with their lost offspring would even consider that sort of liasion unless they are already fucked up in some major ways.

Sorry….no way, no how.

JLeslie's avatar

Incest among royalty was fairly common in many countries. Keep the blood lines pure. I guess it depends on how closely related we are talking about for this question. Even if we exclude parent child incest, which most agree is bad because the parent has undo power, among siblings this is often the case also. One sibling has more power, many times a males sibling over a female. I know this is not always the case, sometimes they are equally consenting and adults. My guess is rules and laws regarding incest mostly have to do with genetics and protecting minors. Cousins are not a big deal to me if they are adults. Their children have only a slight greater risk of genetic problems. I have a close friend whose parents are first cousins.

Several communities and even countries in the world are quite “pure” geneticalky, everyone closely related. Iceland, settled by Vikings, is part of a genetic expirement to find markers for genetic diseases because their genome is so similar to each other when one develops a disease they can analyze that persons DNA to search for the genetic anamoly. There was an Italian village I read about that was being studied because they had very high cholesterol, but almost no heart disease and they lived very long lives. The villagers had very very similar DNA. The study looked at genes, eating habits, exercise, etc. The study suggested their health was in the genes.

Coloma's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, I have read about some of the sickly royalty waay back when breeding your own was considered the way to go.

ucme's avatar

No one wants to be called a motherfucker, worse still if it’s in the literal sense.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

(1) Children should be safe within their families and homes. No little girl should be looked at or thought of “that way” by any relative. It’s heinous enough when children get molested by strangers or outsiders, but it’s unconscionable when that sort of abuse is done by the very people who are responsible for protecting.

(2) Even if someone didn’t know his/her family members and hadn’t been raised in the same family unit, the genetic problems can’t be denied. I once met two first cousins who’d married and had a son. They were both carriers of a rare neurological disease, and their little boy inherited the condition in its most severe and disabling form. If they each had children with different, unrelated partners, the disease would have remained recessive.

(3) Ick. If grown, consenting adults—maybe two siblings over age 18—decide to have a sexual relation, I think they’re both in serious need of mental health care. My brother and I are very close and get along well, but just the thought of “that” sends shivers up and down my spine. For reasons that I don’t need to define, it’s beyond comprehension and something that could never, ever happen.

cheebdragon's avatar

Its pretty sick shit, but in that documentary weren’t most of them unaware of their sibling status at first?

burntbonez's avatar

Big yuck factor for me. I think that’s cultural. The way I was raised. You shouldn’t be intimate with people you are so close to. It’s not really about the genes. It’s about growing up together and knowing everything about someone. This is not a person you should be intimate with or have a sexual/love relationship with. You know them, oddly enough, too well.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

For me, personally, it’s bad simply because it can cause retardation in the offspring from incest, and because frankly, I think it’s disgusting. I mean, what is so wrong with other people that you’d rather fuck someone in your own family? <shudder>

Coloma's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Yes, with what, 7 billion people on this planet and you have to screw your family members.

filmfann's avatar

SPOILER ALERT FOR THE MOVIE LONE STAR

In the movie Lone Star, two adults who were high school sweethearts find out they were kept apart by his father because (it turned out) he was also her father.
They were now adults, and weren’t going to have any kids between them, and they seemed okay with that.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Incest is a universal taboo and it has been considered a taboo prior to people knowing about biological defects. I do not consider it bad, necessarily but our society is not a place where that kind of thing can take place openly.

wundayatta's avatar

Vice is nice, but incest is best.

ucme's avatar

Brings a whole new meaning to “keep it in the family.”

Shippy's avatar

@PaulSadieMartin I did specifically point out no abuse of minors. But back to the question, I do understand how it can happen, since we are genetically drawn to those with similar DNA, or looks. It is in the our core basic instinct to reproduce ourselves. In early life we are programed to find the idea disgusting. I do too, by the way. However, I can understand why it happens in separated children. I still feel though despite what I say that the father of my friend had some sort of obligation to put a halt to it.

iphigeneia's avatar

I honestly don’t have a good argument against it. The ‘ick factor’ is hardly a reasonable objection. I don’t think there are enough cases of this type of relationship for it to be of any concern to me.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I believe that second cousins and on down can marry and not have issues normally. Anything closer ups the stats on birth defects, etc…

As a person who has a male sibling that grew up in a different household, I can see that there could be an attraction. My half-brother is a handsome man, we have similar features and are from the same area, with many other things in common, including dna.

Luckily my mother never hid the fact that I had half-siblings from me and sent me to another school outside our area, but my father did not tell them about me, so it could have happened in different circumstances.

Also I have to mention that at least three times in my life, I have been next to my father’s family and my mother freaked out and came and got me, once was at a concert, once at a parade, and once at a garage sale. So it leads me to believe that ‘blood calls to blood’, since I was far too young to have realized it was my biological brother and sisters that I was ‘following’.

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