Brother-sister consensual incest, pregnancy, and the implications of having children (case study)

[This entry was initially posted to the original Red Keyhole blog on 30 November 2010.]

One of the truly hot-button issues concerning consensual incest – legally, culturally, socially, and in terms of hegemonic capitalist morality – is the issue of procreation. The following case, based on excerpts drawn from a 2008 exchange of postings to a forum dealing with genetic sexual attraction (GSA – see Genetic sexual attraction and consensual incest), invokes the issue of consensual brother-sister incest leading to pregnancy and children, in the context of biomedical issues and the surrounding social-cultural-legal environment.

Increasingly, brothers and sisters erotically attracted to each other are finding that they can enjoy the same sexual sexual pleasures and experiences as other couples, including producing offspring.

The original posting has been slightly edited for readability, but original language and dialect have been retained as much as possible. This narrative is being posted for educational purposes.

[Brother’s original post]

Sibling Pregnancy Question

How have other brother sister couples dealt with pregnancies? My sister and I have been very serious with each other over the last year. She kept her married last name. I’ve signed her up as a “domestic partner”. But this insurance doesn’t include a pregnancy policy. We have been looking into “Maternity Policies” for the past month. We do make love a lot, she currently uses the “ortho patch” as birth control.

We’ve had a lot of discussions lately about her getting pregnant. How do other brother-sister couples deal with this. I love my sister a lot and she does want to get pregnant within the next year or sooner. We’ve talked about the genetic problems, but would really like to see how others have handled this.

[Response from “Osiris”]

First of all (as has been discussed on other threads on this site), the genetic problems arising from inbreeding have been overstated. Unless you and your sister carry a recessive gene specifying a congenital disease, you are no more at risk than the general population. Genetic counseling and screening should find out if either of you [is] at risk.

Assuming all is okay genetically, you have to take into consideration the legal ramifications of your action. A brother and sister may legally live together, and may even consider one another “domestic partners” for insurance purposes. However, in most states they may not “make love” without some very serious legal consequences. It is very hard to prove sexual contact without a confession from one of the partners.

A baby, however, is incontrovertible evidence of sexual contact. You need to either be prepared to lie about the paternity of the child, or else live in a jurisdiction where you don’t risk going to prison for fathering a child with your sister.

[Response from “Diogenes”]

I’d just like to add my voice, and say:

Osiris’s post is pretty much spot on in every way. The only thing I want to add is that (while it would obviously be the most desirable option) it’s not necessary for you to legally claim paternity of your child if your sister is the mother. If you keep your name off the birth certificate, you’ll face fewer legal pitfalls. You can still claim guardianship as an “uncle” if necessary.

Once you figure out what your specific genetic risk is, (chances are it will be low), the biggest concern will be how to deal with the inevitable quandary of what to tell your child about his or her paternity, and what to tell your family in the meantime, if you’re even in contact with them. Not an insurmountable obstacle by any means, but something that you should consider and prepare for.

I wish you well. Please keep us updated as to what you decide, and how things work out.

[Response from “Martin”]

Thumbs up Sibling Marriage

There are a few posts on this forum that suggest that marriage is not all that necessary, even where there there are children from a sibling relationship.

As you have mentioned, there are legal benefits, e.g. health insurance, inheritance, and others that marriage provides. But if incest were discovered and entered as a factor in a subsequent court case (say Probate), the benefit would likely be voided.

I am acquainted with two sibling families with children, that married. One young brother/sister couple married accross the border from San Diego. The young man continued a career in the Navy and was commissioned as a Mustang. He was granted security clearance, and the marriage was never questioned. Now retired, they are the parents of three healthy children, two of whom are out of the home.

The other couple is parent to two young healthy school-age girls. As in your case, she was divorced, and used her married name for the marriage certificate. Neither of these couples, nor my love affair with my sister, is a real defined case of GSA, but the passion and love is equal to that of any of the relationships on this forum. Perhaps incest is more acceptable to those of us that were in the military as we were.

The comments and advice given by Osiris and Diogenes are right on. You should have little concern if your parents and grandparents are healthy and come from good stock. The second couple above had the concerns that you do and allowed what they considered expensive tests (ominiocentisis. I believe) to assure themselves that the sister was carrying a healthy fetus. If your sister is young (say less than 35 or so) a birth defect is quite unlikely, but not impossible. It is sad that Sarah Palin’s baby was born with Down’s syndrome, but remember she was 43 and the statistics are against but not impossible for older mothers. Brigette Gabriel, a famous Lebanese War survivor, was born to parents who were both in their late fifties, and is a beautiful, intelligent example that statistics are not foolproof.

May God grant you successful pregnancies and healthy children if that is what you decide. If you are careful and discrete, you will be able to overcome problems that society will place before you.

[Further rsponse from “Osiris”]

Something interesting to throw into the mix.

Let us, regardless of whatever religious beliefs we may or may not have, accept the fact that humans are just as much animals as are dogs, cats, horses, sheep, and cattle.

What do all of these animals have in common? The fact that over thousands of years, they have been intensely bred, and the breeding of them has become an exact science.

One would expect that if inbreeding is so terrible, that these scientific breeders of champion horses, dogs, etc. would avoid it at all costs. This, however, seems not to be the case.

The fact is that breeders commonly use inbreeding and line-breeding (which is actually what we’re talking about when we speak of matings of half-siblings, cousins, or uncles/aunts with nieces/nephews) to improve the gene pool. It’s “unnatural selection,” if you will, of the best genes, and it actually results in offspring that are superior to the offspring of unrelated parents.

Not suggesting you try to breed the Master Race or anything, but if your shared parent is uncommonly intelligent or good-looking, the odds are good that your child will have these traits as well.

A good article on line-breeding. Yes, it’s in the context of sheep, but the same principles apply.

Cheers.

[Response from “Awakesomewhere”]

Diversity

Thought I’d voice my take on the superiority of inbreeding argument. It’s easy to counter argue that repetitive generations of inbreeding is more about predictability of artificially preferred traits, and does not bode well for much else. Natural selection and diversity are huge advantages that we have as a species.

There is a complex matrix of traits that influence our strategy that we employ to garner a partner, which we look to complement and supplement ours in various ways. The result usually is we ultimately engender net new traits and abilities that can only be products from two separate and diverse gene pools, that span areas such as new immunities to fend off [the] likes of a Black Plague to larger, less inflamed lungs that afford greater strength and stamina.

There are entire civilizations that were wiped out because they were not diverse nor populous enough to withstand new germs or pathogens. That may not be an issue in the here and now, but over long periods of time mating diversity incrementally builds and compounds distinct genetic advantages that confer much greater survivability to groups of people with such diverse versus inbred mating rituals and with it the wider gene pool by which natural selection can operate.

That’s my evolutionary perspective why inbreeding remains a niche affair; I’m certainly not value-judging. If anything, I’ve spent over 20 years over this and am enmeshed in a dicey situation myself that is similar to [redacted] with her son, sort of. Except we are both self-aware and the next steps are tricky. Details I look to share some other time when I’ve clocked more sleep.

Suffice to say, I consider GSA cross-wiring/signaling as powerful an inducement/attraction as cocaine addiction. I can attest to the immense innate attraction that very prolonged maternal separation engenders along with the void that it produces. Those then lead to hard-to-displace emotions and actions that seem attractive on the surface, but [are] really a disadvantage longer term if one thoroughly thinks things through.

FWIW, my story is rather unique than any I’ve managed to find in a decade, and can fill its own book.

[Further response from “Osiris”]

Certainly I wasn’t arguing that inbreeding or linebreeding always confers fitness on all offspring, nor would I argue such a thing.

My point was that under very controlled and limited circumstances, the results of this type of breeding can be superior to haphazard outbreeding. It would admittedly require a knowledge of genetics above that of most of the posters on this site, who indeed are probably not that concerned about the relative advantages or disadvantages in Darwinian fitness experienced by their great-grandchildren vis-a-vis their predominantly outbred competitors.

[Response from “Cronus”]

I don’t have any children, so I’m not sure. I sometimes wonder whether the hospital could find out or if it is difficult to get a birth certificate or Social Security Number. As far as the genetic side goes, you might be able to talk to separate genetic counselors. I heard about a brother-sister couple on another website that went that route before deciding it was safe enough. In Utah the legislature was considering allowing benefits for siblings that lived together (of course they weren’t thinking of romantic relationships), but I’m not sure whatever happened with that.



8 comments ↓

  • #   load4u2nite39 on 02.15.13 at 18:29     Reply

    About a year after my mother and I began an incestious relationship, my mother enjoyed the fantasy of me impregnating her when we would make love. She was well beyond her years to conceive but, the fantasy of conception, was very erotic for us both.


  • #   mick on 07.06.13 at 11:38     Reply

    My sister and I have three kids togather. All three kids were as normal as the kids nextdoor when they
    were growing up. My sister and I are both in our mid 50’s and our kids are now young adults. Our two daughters have also openly said that from time to time
    they have sex with there brother.


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