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Consanguinamory: Common Myths

Consanguinamory is another word for incest

Not quite. Incest has a different meaning and focus. Incest includes non-consensual acts such as sexual assault and rape, while consanguinamory is only consensual sexual and romantic activities. Many consanguinamorous relationships include sex, but many consanguinamorous people prefer to not to use the term “incest” since it’s commonly confused for rape and child sexual abuse, which has no place in healthy and loving consanguinamorous relationships. Also not all consanguinamorous relationships involve sex – some consanguinamorous people are asexual. With consanguinamory, deep relationships are the focus, though the sex is often fun.

Consanguinamory means someone is being abused

No. The thing that defines a consanguinamorous relationship is that the people involved consent to it. There is no coercion, threats, or intimidation. Everyone involved agrees to the relationship.

Consanguinamory means its okay to cheat on your wife with your daughter

No. When it comes to non-monogamy, consanguinamorous relationships adhere to the guidelines for ethical polyamory, and the thing that defines a polyamorous relationship is that everyone involved knows about, and agrees to, everyone else’s involvement.

If you are married, and you are being intimate with your adult daughter and your wife doesn’t know about it, or that your wife suspects but isn’t sure about, or that your wife knows about but isn’t happy with, you’re not being consanguinamorous, you’re cheating. Similarly, if you’re banging your father while your husband is out of town, you’re not consanguinamorous, you’re cheating.

Consanguinamory is defined by informed consent of all the participants. Without it, it ain’t consanguinamory.

Consanguinamory is another word for child molestation

No. Child molestation is when an adult sexually abuses a minor, or when an older minor abuses a younger minor. Consanguinamorous relationships are only between consenting adults, or between siblings or cousins who are close in age, by definition. If an adult abuses a minor, that is NOT consanguinamory, that is rape. We don’t condone child rape or abuse of any sort, and such horrific acts have no place in a consensual loving consanguinamorous relationship.

Consanguinamory causes birth defects or the children will be deformed

This is a very common misconception. The reality is that most sexual encounters, whether between consanguinamorous or non-consanguinamorous people, do not result in children. Many people have sex to express their love for each other, to enjoy the experience, and to develop deeper emotional connections, not for the purpose of reproduction. And the fact is, even when consanguinamorous relationships do create a child, it’s quite likely the child will be healthy. People with parents who are related are literally everywhere. Chances are, one of your neighbors or co-workers is such a person, maybe even someone you admire or find attractive. You likely know some, whether you know it or not and whether they know their own true parentage or not.

Birth defects can be caused by injury during pregnancy, substances ingested during pregnancy, environmental factors, or genetic problems. It is this last factor that people tend to think of when they repeat the myth that inbreeding always causes birth defects. That’s because when both genetic parents carry the same genetic problem, it may be demonstrated in the children. However, this can happen with parents who aren’t closely related, too. A genetic problem may also result in a child if only one parent carries the genetic problem.

The increased risks of birth defects from just one generation of inbreeding are not that much higher than the baseline risk of genetic defects between unrelated parents. For two unrelated people in the general population, the risk of producing a child with a birth defect is about 3%. For first cousins, the risk above the general population for significant birth defects is estimated to be only about 1.7% to 3.2%. For second degree relatives the risk above the general population for significant birth defects is about 6% to 9%. For immediate family members, the risk above the general population for significant birth defects is estimated to be about 14.6% to 20.6%.

So while there are increased risks, the likelihood of genetic defects is no where near certain. Many people in consensual adult incest relationships undergo separate genetic counseling to determine what their actual risks are given their DNA before they decide to have children. Each person and couple has a different level of risk they are comfortable with, and because of the risks, many consanguinamorous couples simply choose to have kids via other routes, such as sperm banks, surrogacy, or adoption. And many consanguinamorous couples simply choose not to have or raise child via any route.

Consanguinamory is wrong, destructive, or needs to be stopped

This is another common misconception. There is nothing wrong nor destructive about family members loving each other more. As with any other factor when it comes to intimate relationships, not every situation is exactly the same, and some people just aren’t a good match for each other. Different people have different moral guidelines when it comes to sex, and consanguinamory between people who did not grow up together or by one another (such as in the case of siblings who were separated at birth and then met as adults) is not considered wrong in some cultures. Nor is there anything inherently destructive about consanguinamory. In fact many people find it constructive and are in happy long term consanguinamorous relationships with a close family member or relative.

Consanguinamory is abnormal, unnatural, or perverted

This myth is not supported either in human history or in other species. While it is very common for people who spent their childhoods in the same residence together, whether genetically related or not, to develop a suppression of sexual attraction to each other (this has been described as the Westermarck Effect), this certainly does not happen to everyone, and siblings who aren’t raised together are often attracted to each other; studies reveal most people are attracted to people who look like them.

And as for perverted – well the idea of what is or isn’t perverted is a subjective concept. Some people are very conservative and are only okay with having straight monogamous sexual intercourse in the missionary position for the sole purpose of procreation and only after marriage, and anything outside that box they consider to be perverted. Other people are gay or bisexual, and still others are kinky and prefer being spanked, blindfolded, or being tied up during sex. Humans enjoy a wonderful diversity of sexual experiences, we all have different sexual preferences, and we are all better off when we accept and respect each other.

The key factor that separates acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior is consentIf the people involved are all adults, are aware of the risks, and give informed consent, and no one is being injured or abused, then its perfectly fine. If someone is being coerced, threatened, intimidated, or tricked into doing something sexual against their will or without being informed of the risks, then that is abuse, it is not okay, and that has no place in a healthy and loving consanguinamorous relationship.

Consanguinamory is for losers, freaks, and ugly desperate people who can’t find anyone else

Again this is based on a misconception – the idea that since many people find incest disgusting, that people who engage in consanguinamorous relationships do so because they are unable to find an unrelated partner. This is so far from the truth. In reality, consanguinamory happens in every demographic and in every part of the world. There are attractive, outgoing, popular, successful, wealthy, educated people who have been or are still involved with a family member or relative.

Many brilliant and well educated people have been in consanguinamorous relationships. Charles Darwin – the well-known naturist who wrote On the Origin of Species and introduced the theory of evolution to the world – married his first cousin Emma Wedgwood. H.G. Wells – the grandfather of science fiction and author of The Time Machine, The War Of the Worlds, and other famous science fiction novels – married his first cousin Mary Wells. Albert Einstein – renowned theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics – married his first cousin Elsa Lowenthal. These are just a few examples of some of the amazing people who have shared and enjoyed committed loving relationships with relatives.

Consanguinamorous relationships are illegal everywhere

There are many countries where it isn’t criminalized and a few states in the US with no or only some criminalization of adult relationships. Places where it is legal for brothers and sisters to have sex together include Spain, Portugal, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Check out the Laws Regarding Consanguinamory page for more information.

Only people who were abused or neglected are consanguinamorous

While some consanguinamorous people have been abused or neglected in the past, many consang people never experienced serious abuse or neglect.

Consanguinamorous people come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including warm and loving families as well as abusive childhoods.

Anyone who is consanguinamorous needs therapy

Therapy won’t always be necessary, but since there is so much prejudice against those who experience an attraction to a family member or relative, someone who is experiencing it might benefit from therapy.

Experiencing an attraction to a family member or relative is not an indication that anything is wrong with the person experiencing it. Consanguinamorous feelings are a normal, natural reaction to the circumstances.

Being reunited with, or introduced to, a close genetic relative who hasn’t been in your life can be enough to prompt therapy, depending on the situation. Add genetic sexual attraction (GSA), and yes, therapy can be helpful.

The prejudices, stigmas, and taboos involved in consanguinamory, internalized by those involved or not, can be enough of a burden to make therapy beneficial.

However, not everyone who experiences consanguinamory needs therapy. Some people who are attracted to a family member or relative continue to function well without having had therapy.

People who experience consanguinamorous attractions don’t exist or are very rare

This is simply not true. According to an estimate from the Max Planck Institute, approximately 2 to 4 percent of the population of Germany has had an incestuous experience at some point in their lives, and we expect the percentage to be similar for other countries. We have many situations today in which people are raised apart of close genetic relatives and are later introduced to, or reunited with, those relatives.

They may have been apart due to one or more of them being the result of affairs, flings, one night stands, or egg/sperm/embryo donations, or because of adoption, divorces or breakups, migration, or incarceration.

Social networking and increased mobility bring them together.

In up to half of cases in which they are brought (back) together, when they are post-pubescent and the genders and sexual orientations are compatible, at least one person will experience consanguinamorous attractions.

If you know of two heterosexual men who’ve met their heterosexual half-sisters, it is likely at least one of those four people has experienced a consanguinamorous attraction, even if they’ve never said or done anything to reveal that to you.

There are scientific studies that show that most people are attracted to people who look like them. When close genetic relatives are not raised together or by one another, the Westermarck Effect can hardly develop to override this attraction.

Anyone can be consanguinamorous, if they can just get past their social conditioning

This is possibly true of a lot of people, though it’s definitely not true for everyone.

Not everyone is able to choose consanguinamory. Many people experience the Westermarck effect so strongly they can’t help but feel intense disgust and revulsion at the very thought of being with a family member, and can’t imagine how anyone else would want that. And many people are open to the idea of exploring a consanguinamorous relationship, but don’t have an available family member or relative who is a good match for them.

Consang people are more honest

Honesty is usually considered essential to a successful consanguinamorous relationship. Honesty, I think, is vitally important to any successful relationship, consanguinamorous or not!

The natural consequences for lying and deception can be disastrous for any relationship. There is nothing different consanguinamorous and non-consanguinamorous relationships in that regard. Consanguinamorous people quite often make a conscious and mindful effort to be open and honest with their partner in their relationship. They are certainly not unique in that aspect, and being consanguinamorous doesn’t automatically make someone honest. Just as there are non-consanguinamorous people who are ethical, open, and honest, there are also consang people who are unethical, deceptive, and dishonest.

The same values and principles that make consanguinamorous relationships successful – honesty, integrity, love, compassion, understanding, respect, good communication and conflict resolution skills – also make non-consanguinamorous relationships successful. Consanguinamorous people don’t automatically have these skills and more than non-consanguinamorous people automatically lack them. And like humans all over the planet, consanguinamorous people don’t always live up to their own ideals.

Consanguinamory is a new idea

Consanguinamory as a social movement is relatively new, but consanguinamory as a practice has been around since the dawn of history, even though the word “consanguinamory” has not. Conscious, ethical, deliberate relationships between family members is hardly a modern ideal; it’s been around for as long as we have had recorded history.

Consang people are kinky

Consanguinamory is a relationship style, not a sexual practice or fetish. There’s no relationship between consanguinamory and weird, kinky sex. Many people who are kinky are non-consanguinamorous, and many people who are consanguinamorous prefer only conventional sex with their partner.