well, well. Dan Savage gets all squirmy and horrified about
incest. You came down pretty hard on Please Help for having
sex with his sister. But can you tell me why incest is any
more horrifying than male homosexuality? At least incestuous
intercourse follows the natural function of the sexual organs!
You may reply that incest causes genetic problems. However,
statistically, the danger of that is far less than AIDS from
gay intercourse. In the gays I have known, I have often sensed
a deep personal dishonesty, and part of that may be the refusal
to acknowledge that homosexuality is in fact abnormal.
the subject of incest comes up—incest being one of the very
few things I strongly disapprove of—I get a lot of irate mail
from incest fans. Curiously, all the incest fan mail I receive
is from straight men. Many, like YTF here, would have us believe
that their desires for their moms or sisters or grandmas are
much, much healthier than my desire for, say, Ashton Kutcher.
Since their incestuous desires involve “natural” penis-and-vagina
intercourse, and not “unnatural” my-penis-and-Ashton-Kutcher’s-mouth
intercourse, I’m the sicko.
I don’t think so, YTF. First off, YTF, pointing out that homosexuality
isn’t normal doesn’t wound me. While homosexuality is a naturally
occurring abnormality, I’ll cheerfully admit that it is an
abnormality. As for the relative dangers of gay and straight
sex, an individual gay man’s sex life is only as dangerous
as he decides to make it—and, hello, I get hundreds of letters
every day from straight people whose sex lives are infinitely
more dangerous than mine. OK, on to incest.
Incest fans would have us believe that since gay people rejected
the ancient taboo against homosexuality that any gay person
who supports the taboo against incest is a hypocrite. This
stance presumes, however, that all taboos are created equal.
Not so. There’s an important distinction between homosexuality
and incest, one that defensive incest fans can’t seem to grasp.
To wit: Homosexuals are people, and incest is an act. The
taboo against gay sex was irrational because it denied gay
people the right to any sexual expression or romantic attachments,
and consequently the taboo against homosexuality was as unjust
as it was unenforceable. The cultural taboo against incest,
however, is not an attempt to deny a group of people any and
all access to love and intimacy but an attempt to direct our
sexual feelings toward healthier, more appropriate targets.
I don’t see how anyone has the right to tell any consenting
adults what they can and cannot do sexually. I have no personal
interest in incest, but I would never tell a happily fucking
brother/sister, mother/son, grandpa/grandson, etc., to quit
and Let Fuck
would, and I did, and I’m not taking it back. I will, however,
amend my advice to PH. The following short paragraph appeared
in the original draft of my advice for PH, but I removed it
because I had to get my column down to a publishable length.
Here’s the missing piece of advice:
after you’ve moved out and spent some time away from your
sister—at least a year—you decide you simply can’t live without
her, and if by some chance she feels the same way after your
one year separation, you can do what other siblings in your
shoes have done. You can move far, far away from your parents
and everyone you know, cut off all contact with your immediate
and extended family, change your names, and live happily (if
creepily) ever after.”
I’m surprised at you, Dan. Sure, you or I may not want
to make it with a sibling, but then you or I may not want
to make it with a member of the same sex. That doesn’t mean
people who do are sicko. Sicko sex abuses trust or power:
between an adult and child, for example, or between an armed
man and a woman walking alone. Two consenting adults, regardless
of their bloodlines, can get up to whatever they agree to—even
if it shocks the rest of us. The incest taboo is so much social
yes: The incest taboo is so much social conditioning. But
just because we’re conditioned to view some things as disgusting
and immoral doesn’t mean that some things aren’t, in actual
point of fact, disgusting and immoral. Human sacrifice, for
instance. Or cannibalism. Or Ann Coulter.
What you don’t seem to understand, SAY, is that the incest
taboo is all about protecting people from the abuse of trust
and power. All families—even the healthiest families—are swept
away by swirling currents of obligation, guilt, mind games
and emotional blackmail. How can children—-even adult children—freely
consent to sex with their parents? Likewise, older or more
domineering siblings can hold enormous power over their brothers
and sisters. How does one define consent when one sibling
is having sex with another, or a son is having sex with his
mother, or a father is having sex with his daughter? In those
situations it’s simply impossible to define where “family
life” ends and “consent” begins.
Your advice to the Frenzied Adopted Guy missed an important
point. I too am adopted and gay and met my natural parents
and siblings a few years ago. At the time, I was 18 years
old. And I distinctly remember how I was very conflicted over
what seemed to be a sexual attraction I was feeling to my
biological father. I felt like something was seriously wrong
with me. And then I did some reading. These feelings among
adopted kids who find their biological families (straight
and gay kids) are VERY common. It seems that the sexual feelings
for recently discovered family is a subconscious, reaction
of an “adult-child” who feels disconnected from a family he
never knew. It’s very emotional and very confusing to finally
meet the family you never knew. I doubt it happens to every
adopted person who is reunited, but clearly it happens to
a lot of us. I never did anything sexual with my biological
father, and it’s too bad FAG had sex with his brother. Maybe
the brother he slept with will feel sorry for him some years
down the road, and decide to take some responsibility for
the incident. Maybe then they can try to start building an
adult relationship as brothers.
to Be Frenzied but Now I’m Way Over It
for sharing, UTBFBNIWOI. Another reader—the lovely Jenni—directed
me to The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential
(eesh!), which has a name for what you and FAG experienced:
genetic sexual attraction (GSA). “GSA is an overpowering,
almost electrical grip of emotion, associated with an inability
to keep away from the other person and an almost primordial
sense of having belonged together all their lives. . . . [GSA
is] particularly noted in the case of adopted children who
are subsequently reunited with the biological parent or sibling.”
People who experience GSA are not advised to “consummate the
relationship,” thank God, but instead to recognize that their
feelings are not abnormal—unlike the feelings of, you know,
OK! Enough with this creepy incest stuff! Savage Love readers
have one more week to vote in the My Man Sure Looks Hot in
His Tighty-Whities contest at www.tightywhitiesarehot.com.
I’m not related to any of the contestants, so you can feel
free to send me to Vegas with someone who looks really good
in his TWs!
now at: www.tightywhitiesarehot.com.