Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oppressive Polygyny is Not All of Polygamy

There continues to be coverage in Canadian media about the legal issues surrounding polygamy. This article reduces it to the polygyny practiced by Muslims and the FLDS. The only voices in the article are negative ones.

Dena Hassouneh, a nurse practitioner and professor at the Oregon Health and Sciences University School of Nursing, was asked by the province to address the emotional, psychological and social impacts of polygamous relationships, compared to monogamous relationships.

Hassouneh, who like Hogben is Muslim herself, has published a paper titled, "Polygamy and Wife Abuse: A Qualitative Study of Muslim Women in America."

She studied 17 women in polygamous marriages and found they had greater frequency and severity of a variety of psychiatric symptoms, decreased marital satisfaction, and lower self-esteem.

"My work with women in the community indicates that the practice, more often than not, is a harmful one," she said in her affidavit. "Patriarchal family structures lend themselves to abuse of power regardless of whether they are monogamous or polygamous."

The last sentence is very telling. This really isn’t about polygamy. It is about polygyny as practiced under abusive conditions in which women are oppressed. The people being talked about abuse and oppress women, and they practice polygyny. They may also have dogs and beat dogs, but are the dogs beaten because of polygamy? No. They are beaten because these are abusive men.

My support for the right to polygamy is built entirely on the foundations of equality and consent, which means someone has to be old enough to consent. People, male or female, should have the freedom to marry the person or persons of their choice and to not be forced to marry anyone they don’t want to, or stay married to someone they no longer want as a spouse. And nobody should be hit, kicked, groped, penetrated, or in any way hurt against their will as a result of these decisions.

We need more coverage of poly people in general. Like any relationship, you can find poly people who have happy relationships as well as people who have rocky or abusive ones. The problem is, poly people who are happy are not going to call up a doctor or a counselor or a police station or domestic violence shelter and tell everyone what a great time they are having.
— — —

Ongoing GSA Research

The Good Dr. Eric Anderson is looking for some more information over a Genetic Sexual Attraction. Here are the questions he asks

1) Has anyone who has always been heterosexual, felt strong GSA for a bio-family member of the same-sex?

2) Has anyone who has always been gay, felt GSA for a bio-family member of the opposite sex?

3) Who supports the idea that GSA comes not from psychological disturbance of meeting a lost-sibling, but instead a chemical lock produced by an attraction of pheromones linked to our genetic ancestry of evolution? Who has had an experience of hugging your lost family member and feeling a euphoria from the nose to the genitals (for lack of a better example). I.e. who has gone, 'oh my god he/she smelled so good?'

4) Does anyone else have a theory of how GSA comes to be? Regardless of how obscure you might think it. Regardless of how well you might be able to articulate it or not, please post.

If you can give him relevant information, I recommend doing so. I think his work could aid in advancing the freedom to marry.

There is a much helpful discussion on that website, not just in that one thread. Not everyone there encourages the rights I do, but even the perspective of those who don’t can be helpful.
— — —

Monday, August 30, 2010

Another Pair Jailed For Consensual Sex

In Zimbabwe, a man turned in his wife and son for having sex with each other, and wife and son are going to jail for three years.

Shuvai Mudzingwa, 33, and 18-year-old son, Michael Tuesday were beginning a three-year jail term each after admitting incest before a Gweru magistrate.

Prosecuting, Chipo Matshe told the court that the two lovebirds’ illicit affair was unravelled after they became reckless – romping on occasions while her husband and Michael’s two siblings slept nearby.

I don’t condone cheating. However, I find this prosecution of consensual sex to be ridiculous. If this is the wife’s biological son, then she birthed him around the age of 15. That’s quite young. We don’t get the age of the husband in this report. I wonder why that is?

On July 11 this year, the court heard, Shuvai sneaked out of bed just after midnight – leaving her husband snoring away.

Shuvai, her husband, together with the son shared one bedroom which is only separated by a curtain stretched across the room.

Not the ideal conditions for monogamy.

While in the act, Michael’s father then woke up to the noises and as he started to shout at the wife and son asking why they were doing such a despicable thing tried to separate the two. According to the report which police are backing, Mudzingwa struggled to pull the two apart but this was impossible as they were virtually ‘glued’ to each other body to body.

The two then physically overpowered Mudzingwa forcing him out of the house and telling him to leave them alone, the report continues.

Feeling both shock and shame, Mudzingwa is said to have went away to work and did not come back. According to Midlands province Inspector Patrick Chademana, Mudzingwa later came back on the following night and found the two continuing in their incestuous acts.

Sounds like they are in love.

Shuvai admitted in court to sleeping with her son on four occasions. She said the sex sessions with her son started when her husband deserted her and vowed never to return.

Looks like there is a lot more to this story than we’re getting. If her husband did abandon her, then as far as I’m concerned, she should have been free to move on. But if he had abandoned her, he obviously came back. The crime, though, is apparently "incest" and not adultery. Regardless, I don’t see why this should be something from criminal courts to deal with.
— — —

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Polygamy in Malaysia

Here we go again with “polygamy is bad for women.”

Men in polygamous unions are happier than their wives, according to a quantitative survey on polygamy among Muslims.

The survey showed that 97% of the men felt they were getting enough or more in term of tenderness and love after taking a second wife.

For the wives, though, it was another story.

Some 42% of first wives felt they were getting less intimacy, tenderness and love after their husbands married again.

Compared to what percentages in supposedly monogamous marriages?

“Most men who practice polygamy say they married again because they do not want to indulge in sex out of wedlock,’’ said head researcher of the study Prof Norani Othman.

I can’t imagine a man would take on another wife if he is already getting everything he needs and wants in a woman from his current wife or wives, and if what he is giving in return is only enough for her. And let’s remember that marriage is more than sex.

The survey also revealed that polygamy had taken a financial toll on the families of the first wives.

A total of 44% of them had to take on extra work as their husbands could not provide for them as they had done before.

This goes beyond the marriage practices to the larger culture. After all, this is a limited form of polygamy (polygyny only) with a limit of four wives to one husband, and there are other restrictions, especially on women, including when it comes to employment and finances. With gender equality and the freedom to other forms of polygamy (grouping, polyandry), women would have more power over their own lives.

Nobody should promise to provide a certain amount of time and financial resources to someone else and then abandon or change that promise without mutual agreement. The other person should be truly free to leave with their share of the resources if things are changed.

I don’t like to see studies and articles like this used to paint poly bad with a broad brush. There are some women who enjoy polygyny, especially independent women, like a woman who will feel smothered and put upon if her husband is always depending on her for attention.
— — —

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Polygamy in Canada

A Canadian newspaper has published and article in which former residents of a polygamous community say the “polygamous way of life” is harmful.

Lorna Blackmore was 18 when she was forced to marry a man more than twice her age, despite the fact he already had a wife.

Now, to me, the problem here is someone is being forced to marry someone else, not that one person marries two or more people.

Truman Oler was just a boy when he was taught that girls were like "poison snakes," unfit to play with or even talk to.

Both Blackmore and Oler grew up in the polygamous southeastern British Columbia community of Bountiful and their experiences are chronicled in recently filed court documents.

The pair contend Bountiful condones a harmful way of life that gives men control over women and forces teenagers into marriage. Their affidavits are part of a B.C. Supreme Court case that will test Canada's law against polygamy.

Could this actually work to keep Canadians from having this freedom to marry? If so, I know many people who could file complaints about how they had a hellish life because of monogamy. Would that necessitate the outlawing of monogamy? Of course not.

Blackmore, now 67, said in the affidavit she was unhappy throughout the marriage, during which her husband married two more women.

I’m thinking should would have been unhappy being married to that man even if he never married anyone else.

Now 28, Oler said in his affidavit he grew up with some unique rules.

"The boys were taught not to interact with the girls and that the girls were to be treated like 'poison snakes,'" he said in the affidavit. "We were not allowed to talk or play with them."

Looks to me that the problem might have more to do with how that branch of FLDS is practicing their religion, not with polygamy itself. Thankfully, poly is also getting support in this case…

Karen Ann Detillieux, a resident of Lorette, Man., swore her own affidavit in support of the association.

She's married with two children, and has a second relationship with another man who lives in her home with his two teenage children.

"We wish to testify that multiple conjugal relationships are a viable option in a free society, specifically when the power of decision- making and freedom of sexual expression are evenly distributed among the individuals involved," she said in the affidavit.

"Our conscious intent in building our family relationships has resulted in a stable, loving and supportive home environment."
— — —

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers

I haven’t written much about the “PCM” that inspired me to start blogging. As I’ve said, my friends are private people and somewhat shy and guarded, as they can be prosecuted in most states in our nation simply for expressing their love for each other in certain ways. There aren’t too many people who know the true nature of their relationship. If they go some place other than where they are known, they can be more open with their affection, to varying degrees. There are still places hostile to even mere same-sex hand-holding, or an older woman with a younger man. And of course, unless you’re at a specifically poly gathering, you are unlikely to see three or more people flirting with each other. Even in an environment that welcomes all of those things, revealing their biological relationships could bring trouble.

Conversely, if someone knows their biological connection, then Linda, Matthew, and Melissa probably will have to hold back on the flirting and affection. In such a situation, I can play the boyfriend to either Linda or Melissa, which I don’t mind in the least of course, but it is sad that they have to hold back and be careful about each other.

They long for the law and society to stop trying to limit or punish their love for each other. I do too. Ideally, they should have the option to legally marry. It seems society is moving that way, but it is doing so at a painfully slow rate.

This brings me to the kindness of strangers to which I referred in the title. Some people are more understanding, even supportive. One of them is, supposedly, a complete stranger. I say “supposedly” because the world can be small and who knows who you are really dealing with online? But this stranger, an ordained minister, actually offered to marry Linda, Matthew, and Melissa. It wouldn’t be legally recognized, but at least it would be something. The offer itself, though, is so touching, especially since it comes from a stranger. I’ll let the stranger identify himself if he chooses, He knows who he is.

As it turns out, we know an ordained minister who has already offered to put the “M” in this PCM. My friends are thinking about it (and I think they will accept the offer). Even though it wouldn’t be legally binding or recognized, there are many considerations. Would they be “giving up” by getting married without legal recognition? I say no, but they have to be true to themselves. I say they should take what they can get, and that brings me to another consideration… that they would be making vows to each other in front of witnesses, vows that would be important to them even without legal recognition. The relationship is still relatively new, and Melissa and Matthew are still on the younger side when it comes to the age people are marrying these days. As Melissa puts it, she'd be hesitant to get married at this age even if she was in a long-term relationship with someone she could legally marry. They all agree that things are better than they could have imagined in terms of their feelings for each other and how they get along, but they also know the outside pressures are probably going to be around for a while. That's a lot to consider.

With so much hate and animosity in the world, it is nice to have the kindness of strangers, or in this case, one stranger.
— — —

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Many Reasons for All Forms of Relationships

At Psychology Today’s “Love Without Limits”, Deborah Anapol, Ph.D. notes that people are polyamorous for many different reasons, some better than others. It is an excerpt from her book Polyamory in the 21st Century, which I think I’ll go ahead and buy, based on what I’ve seen.

In a few cases, however, polyamory does allow people to create healthy and functional relationships they probably could not have managed otherwise.

More often, one partner reluctantly agrees to polyamory to win the affections of the other, secretly hoping that this unwelcome twist will magically vanish once they are committed to each other.

People should agree to enter into a relationship, or change the terms of that relationship, based on experienced reality, not wishes and hopes. The best indication of what someone’s future behavior will be is their past behavior, and we should not expect someone to change for the better (or, toward our liking), unless we’re talking about something like going from a mutually agreed open relationship to a mutually agreed closed relationship as part of an expected progressive development.

For example, two people may be dating each other, and have no expectation of monogamy because there has been no promise of such. However, once they promise strict, closed monogamy to each other, they should expect it from each other; meaning they will regularly have sex with each other and not anyone else, and not reject each other. (Not having sex is not monogamy; it is abstinence.) That kind of change should be expected. What shouldn’t be expected are changes in personality, likes and dislikes, interests, personal habits, interests, and so forth. Some people do change certain things about themselves over time, but counting on someone else to change, especially when they don’t want to, is a fool’s wager.

If someone is strictly gay, that is not going to change. If someone is polyamorous, that is almost as unlikely to change. Just as someone may take a break from dating or having any relationships, a poly person may be, at times, with only one person. But that is likely temporary.

One should never commit to a dating or sexual or marital relationship if they are unhappy with the terms. If they realize they aren't happy with the terms, or are no longer happy with the terms, they should either leave the relationship entirely or negotiate new terms to mutual agreement.

Some are consciously or unconsciously creating a situation in which they can heal childhood wounds or replicate the large extended family they grew up in.

Couldn’t this be said of any relationship, including platonic?

Some want a stable and nurturing environment in which to raise their children. Some use polyamory to mask or excuse addictions to sex, work, or drama while others seek utopian or spiritual rewards or want to take a stand for cultural change. Others are simply doing what's fun and what comes naturally for them or are rebelling against religious prohibitions or family expectations. Some use polyamory as a weapon in a power struggle or to punish a controlling partner. Some want to keep their erotic life alive and vital while in long term committed relationships or to fulfill sexual or emotional desires they can't meet with only one person or with their existing partner. Some are trying to make up for developmental gaps or to balance unequal sex drives. Some people do not start out consciously choosing polyamory at all, but find that polyamory has chosen them.

I’ve seen that happen.

Although I wish sex addiction was never an issue in polyamory, the truth is that polyamory does provide a convenient cover story for addicts who are generally in denial about having an addiction. It's easy to justify sexual obsession by calling it polyamory.

Kind of like bars (pubs) with alcoholism. Some people can enjoy a drink, and gain health from it. For others, it is a destructive addiction.

However, polyamory can also be utilized as a healthy means of coping with psychological difficulties, pre-existing trauma, differences in sexual desire, and the garden variety erotic boredom so common in long term monogamous marriages.

There certainly are many different reasons why people choose the partners they do, and choose the relationships that they do. One size does not fit all. It fits one.
— — —

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Further Talk on Proposition 8

Can the ruling striking down Proposition 8 go beyond restoring the freedom to marry to same-sex couples to bring about full marriage equality? Tom Thoens, as quoted in “Ask Matt Labash”

With the most recent court ruling {on gay marriage}, it would appear marriage to family members is now acceptable. If this ruling is allowed to prevail, could it result in brothers marrying brothers and sisters marrying sisters? It would also seem possible for all types of family relationships to be deemed acceptable as a new form of marriage. What am I missing in this ruling?

Labash responded…

But I’m missing how this ruling opens the door for brothers marrying brothers and sisters marrying sisters.

In the Perry v. Schwarzenegger ruling on Proposition 8, it was stated that the fundamental right to marriage can’t be denied without a good reason. Religion, personal distaste, and prejudice can’t used as the basis to deny marriage rights.

So while the case was about same-sex marriage, what basis is there to deny polygamy or consanguineous marriage that passes muster?

Due process and equal protection outweigh public sentiments.

Although he appears to be employing humor, the author actually starts to list some of the general positives to consanguineous marriage…

1. You come from similar backgrounds.

2. You have a much higher likelihood of getting along with your in-laws.

3. Over a lifetime, you would, as a couple, save a fortune on Mother’s Day cards, and you’d never have to argue about whose folks to visit at Christmas.

Seriously, some marriages fall apart because of conflicts between two different families, divided time and loyalties, etc. But consider the example of parents whose children marry. If they want, the elder and younger couple can spend every holiday (I’m using American English) together without the younger couple having to leave early or arrive late because they also need to spend time with another set of parents. Or, if the elder couple split and remarried others, there are just those two different households for the younger couple to deal with.

Every family has their own history and problems. If you grew up in the same family, you both have the same problems and history. You’re not taking on a whole new set of baggage, dealing with different traditions, etc. Even if you didn’t grow up in the same family, but reunited later, some of this advantage can be there.

My point is that there are tradeoffs to any relationship. If someone can find happiness with someone else, that is never to be pitied or dismissed. Parents may be horrified if their children fall in love (as they may be if their children come out as gay/lesbian or poly), but it could end up being a good thing for those parents.

Still, I doubt the law will ever permit it. While being gay is socially acceptable, incest is still not something to be celebrated publicly. To wit: there are plenty of gay bars, but to my knowledge, not a single incest bar.

Again, I know this is meant in humor, but there is a reason there are gay bars and no bars for consanguineous couples. Most bars are set up as places to meet new people, or socialize with a significant other, and maybe a friend and his or her SO. It becomes obvious why there is a need for a gay bar. Both kinds of bars are places that people who don’t know each other meet, or get to know each other better. Gay or straight, that is not needed in most consanguineous relationships because they already know each other.

But he does have a point about the public celebration. The perception that consensual consanguineous relationships only exist in poor, uneducated, rural families needs to be challenged. It is possible. It wasn’t all that long ago that people thought of gays as dirty, disordered deviants who met up in restrooms and the aforementioned bars, and that those bars were dives. There were laws against gays.

Lawrence v. Texas decriminalized same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriages started to become legal not soon after that. The general principles cited in Lawrence, Perry, and other decisions can and should be applied to bring about full marriage equality.
— — —

These Objections to Polygamy Are Weak

I perused a couple of threads (here and here) at Yahoo Answers on polygamy and whether or not it should be legal. It was compared and contrasted with same-sex marriage, as typical these days. There was a lot of support for both freedoms to marry, but also some all of the all-too-typical opposition.

Here are some comments of opposition.

”Why would you want that? Anyone who claims that they can be committed to more than one person is a liar, and if you can't commit to a single person, why try to commit to several? It makes more sense to have a series of relationships than to have several serious relationships at the same time. Stop being retarded.”

“Because it is wrong, evil. It eventually evolves into encouraging marriage between old men and young girls.”

“Polygamy has proved over the years to be very problematic. Usually in polygamous culture, the main goal is to collect wives, and many are denied rights or are underage. When a wife is collected, she is seen more as a means to get into heaven, than as a human being deserving respect. Then there is the problem with a lot of men being kicked out and disowned by polygamous communitites, due to their decreased “value."

Polyandry has usually just occured in places with harsh climates and low populations that want to keep it low, and usually it was a pair of brothers that had a common wife. Since they did not know exactly if it was their child or not, they both invested care and it's chance of survival increased.

If polygamy proved to be harmonious, then to be fair I shouldn't look down on it, but my upbringing and my belief of marriage between just two people won't ever let me become a fan of it...

Also, there is more neglect (physically and emotionally) of children of polygamous communities.”

“Uh because its sexual sin. That's for People who do that can't control their hormones they want variety. You can't just go around mating with everyone. You get aids and when you have sex with someone your souls become one. How can your soul become one with more than one person? Thats committing adultery too. And if you really loved someone you would not be ok with him or her giving herself to other men or women. Thats just dirty.”

“The reason why polygamy isn't good is (among other things) is legal issues of settlement and entitlement.”

“No. Sex is an emotionally bonding experience. It's possible to have such a bond with more than one person, but you have to mean so much to each other that it's unlikely you'll have enough "room" for more than one person in your life in that way, at least at the same time.”

“No. It would invite legal horrors at divorce time. Our courts are clogged up enough.”

“Personally I see absolutely no issue with gay marriage. I honestly don't understand why people oppose it. Why should you care if two people you don't know are getting married. Polygamy on the other hand just isn't okay. It's results often aren''t positive and sometimes result in abusive relationships.”

“Jealousy is always an issue with polygamy.”

Do you see the projection in many of those comments? Someone who is insecure, jealous, and possessive is likely to claim that people can’t have a polygamous marriage without those negative things becoming a problem. These people probably imagine that they control their significant other, and rightly see it would be more difficult to control more than one person. But if they don’t want to be poly, they don’t have to be.

There are many people who already do love and commit to more than one person already. It works for them. What should they be denied their equality? I do not say that monogamy should be outlawed because of the problems of jealousy that often go along with that.

Another common objection is a fear of overloading the legal system. How many divorces from polygamous marriages do these people think are likely? All you have to do is watch one of those syndicated courtroom shows that handles small claims to see couple after couple that was supposedly monogamous, but not legally married, clogging up the court system, after a breakup. Are we 8oing to ban living together?

Legal issues of inheritance and settlement can all be addressed and shouldn’t be used as an excuse to deny the fundamental freedom to marry.

The other objection is that an old man will abuse young girls. We have laws against that already, and they can and should be enforced without bans on polygamy.

The more we look into this the more it becomes apparent that there is no rational basis to deny these freedoms to marry. Just prejudice.
— — —

Monday, August 23, 2010

An Emerging Ally

I wrote about Dr. Eric Anderson’s latest project before. Looks like consanguineous lovers have found an ally. He wrote in this thread...

Well, I've been fighting for gay rights for years and years, and as good fortune holds, were getting closer and closer to the end of our struggle. In the next few years we will have gay marriage across the US (and it's spreading throughout the rest of the world at an impressive speed). Gays will soon serve in the military, adoption rights are coming to gays at a fast pace, and discrimination is in retreat. Most important, as of 2002 all sodomy laws were striken. So, seems to me, in a few years time, the mainstream gay causes are going to need to adopt some other causes to keep afloat.

That cause, he says, is GSA. I agree, in the sense that that I believe the consanguineous and poly rights should be grafted into the LGBT rights movement. People have the right to be who they are and share their love with those who consent. My friends (and I, by extension) would benefit from decriminalization of all three aspects, so for us it is personal.

More power to you, Dr. Anderson.
— — —

Green Party in Canada Fails on Freedom of Marry

They voted down a proposal to push for a decriminalization of polyamory. I found this story by Laura Payton in the Toronto Sun.

Party leader Elizabeth May says she used to practice family law and isn't convinced the Criminal Code makes polyamorous relationships illegal. She urged the party to reject the motion.

Why not stand up for equality anyway, Ms. May?

“I'm very unclear as to what kind of rights would ensue to a polyamorous unit as a family and what that means for the interests of a child and how that gets judged in terms of custody issues.”

How about letting people decide for themselves their own family situations? As far as child custody, there are already so many disputes. People have child custody disputes without ever being married. I can’t see equality adding to that. If anything, it might reduce it. Authorities will get involved in child custody when requested. Some people will work it out for themselves.

Several Green members argued the policy is impossible to sell to voters and could mean losing support at a time when they hit record numbers in the last election. Those who spoke in favour said the party should treat it as a human rights issue, just as they did with same sex marriage rights.

It is a human rights issue.

Payton’s earlier article has more.

“It's a human rights issue,” said Trey Capnerhurst, a Green Party candidate in Edmonton East, noting that she is a poly-advocate.

Thank you, Ms. Capnerhurst.

Capnerhurst says in cases where police suspect domestic abuse against multiple wives and children, that should be the subject of criminal charges.

“We should be not be charging people with polygamy,” she said.

Exactly! There is abuse in monogamous relationships, too, but we don’t criminalize them; we go after the offenders who hurt people.

Capnerhurst says there's a bias against those in polyamorous relationships, of which she estimates number in the tens of thousands in Canada.

She compared it to the status of same-sex marriage rights a decade ago, and says being in a polyamorous relationship is sometimes used as a reason to deny child custody to parents in divorce cases.

She also pointed to hospital rules that don't allow more than one spouse to visit patients.

We need full marriage equality. The political parties need to get on board with this, and move things forward, rather than being timid.
— — —

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Reducing Opposition

Wayne Besen explains over at Truth Wins Out why there is decreasing opposition to marriage equality…

Perhaps, some conservatives just grew up, got educated on this issue, met some actual gay couples and came to the logical conclusion that LGBT people are not a threat to their marriages or civilization. Having come to that rational view, they increasingly see hysterical and dogmatic people like Kupelian as behind the times and stuck in the past.

Familiarity helps. The heterosexuals in the poly and consanguineous communities need to support their LGBT friends and learn from them how to get it done.
— — —

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bigotry Hurts

Polly has one of the best blogs on polyamory, because she lets the world see how prejudice against polyamory is hurtful to real, decent, normal people. Lately, she’s been writing about problems with the mother of her legal husband, like in this entry

I need to be who I am, and ultimately, she's going to have to deal with the fact that polyamory is a part of me. All I want to do is to love with integrity and trust, and to be able to do so openly. On a typical day, she doesn't have to think about Gabe or polyamory. But I am not being allowed to share an honest life with my partners when it comes to my extended family, and I think of almost nothing else.

She writes later in this entry...

She has been abusive and angry and deceptive and has continually fed anti-Polly (and anti-poly) propaganda to anyone else who will listen. I'm sure there are a good number of people out there who have never met me but are convinced of my evilness.

People should not treat other people this way. This is exactly why we need to raise awareness of the struggles of those who not only don’t have the freedom to marry, but who face discrimination on a daily basis.

We are your brothers, your sisters, your daughters, your sons, your neighbors, your customers. We pay our taxes and treat others with respect. Please give us respect in return. Hate is not a family value.
— — —

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Muslim Perspective on the Freedom to Marry

At Altmuslimah, Laura Miller wrote about the freedom to marry from a Muslim perspective, mostly centered on the freedom of same-sex couples.

There are Muslim women, even here in the United States, who believe that there aren’t a lot of suitable men to go around, and perhaps sharing one of the “good men” is the closest she’ll come to having what she wants – a decent marriage. You don’t have to agree with polygamy, just like you don’t have to agree with gay marriage – but if personal beliefs are not to be the basis for policymaking, then what do governments who allow gay marriage have against sanctioning polygamy?

Sometimes, governments change only as much as the people demand. This is why everyone who wants the freedom to marry needs to speak up, recruit friends, and fight in solidarity for full marriage equality.
— — —

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Dan Savage wrote recently about Polycamp, a place for the polyamorous can go to get together with other poly people. In the article, he wrote about how prejudice hurts children whose parents are poly.

"When I was little, my mother had a talk with me about having a 'public face,' because not everyone would understand our family," says Koe Sozuteki, a 20-year-old woman who grew up in a large poly household in Seattle. "That was a hard conversation to have in elementary school."

Children can be cruel to each other, but it is appalling how adults will attack children because of how their parents love other adults.

"People in poly relationships—particularly if they have kids—fear judgment and rejection," says Quintus, an electrician who lives in Kitsap County with his wife and two daughters. "They fear being rejected by their friends, by their families. It's why so many poly families are still closeted."

Quintus and his wife Francisca, who have been poly for a dozen years, are the new heads of Polycamp, an annual summer retreat for local poly families.

It is good to have a place to get together.

Quintus and Francisca were monogamous when they married and when they had their first child.

"I made a joke about a threesome—half joking, half testing the waters—and
Francisca said, 'I've thought about it, maybe with a friend of mine,'" he says.

"That was how we first started talking about it."

Quintus says the couple didn't jump right in, but gave it serious thought.

"It wasn't just, 'Hey, sweet, more vagina, let's party!' We talked about how we were going to handle jealousy, other partners, and being parents. Because we had kids—two by the time we did anything—we needed stability, so we decided we wanted a real girlfriend, someone who could be included in the family, someone who enjoyed children."

Many of these situations have been thoroughly considered. Shouldn’t consenting adults be able to make decisions like this without being fired from their jobs?

Polycamp 2010 takes place Aug 26–29 at Millersylvania State Park. For more information, go to

You may be able to find a camp local to you.

The article drew many comments. One person wrote…

I have never in my life seen anything good come of 'poly.' It ALWAYS ends with someone being hurt, broken, or betrayed.

This is one person’s limited experience. How many monogamous relationships end with someone being hurt, broken, or betrayed? Almost all of them, as another person noted…

all mono relationships end in someone being hurt, broken, or betrayed. All relationships end(sometimes with the passing of one) if you were committed it is painful.

Someone else threw in…

Like yours, my sample is also biased/anecdotal, but the majority of the relationships I've seen that were poly (not cheating/hiding anything from any partners), have lasted years and most breakups were amicable.

I’ve heard that a lot. If monogamy works for someone, great. But that doesn’t mean it is what is what is best for everyone, or what everyone wants. Respect the choices of others.

I love how poly is becoming more open and mainstream! I've been poly since the 80's too, when I was in my early twenties. Before the internet, you just didn't really know how to meet others like you or whether you were the only one with the crazy ideas.

Now we can send our kids to camp? Incredible!

Progress, baby, progress!

I urge poly people who get together at camp or anywhere else and not only enjoy themselves, but to talk about getting the freedom to marry. It won’t happen unless we stand up for our rights.
— — —

Another Advice Columnist Needs to Expand His Mind

Someone signing his letter “Disturbed” wrote in to Tom Holder of the Oxford Review:

About six months ago, my wife and I were having sex and she started whispering, "Oh Shawn." The problem is my name is Rick. The only Shawn I know of in her life is her brother. I'm pretty sure she didn't know I heard. I checked at her work to see if there is a Shawn there and I even casually asked her best friend if she knew of any other Shawns. It hasn't happened since. I'm 99.99% sure she's not having an affair. What do you do with that, advice guy?

If she’s not cheating, then the biggest problem here is that she breathed out another man’s name during sex (and they weren't in mutual role-play). And that was six months ago, and it hasn’t happened again. If this is the biggest problem in this guy’s marriage, then he is very well off. Does he want to rock that boat? Has he never, ever fantasized about another woman while having sex with his wife?

Now why did she whisper out that name? Well, she could have been fantasizing about a “Shawn” he doesn’t know about, male or female; maybe someone she has never met in person, like a celebrity. Perhaps, like many other people, she had childhood or adolescent experimentation with her brother, and she was remembering that. Or, maybe she desires her brother now.

I’m assuming, since he wrote in to an advice column and didn’t say otherwise, that he does not want a polyamorous relationship, especially not one involving her brother. She hasn’t asked for one. So currently, there isn’t an issue.

Tom Holder replied.

It's not my cup of cocoa but it's possible that an incest fantasy is just another example of the fact that, for a lot of people, taboo topics are erotic.

For a lot of people, the desire has nothing to do with it being considered taboo.

I would expect that an incest fantasy wouldn't usually have anything to with real life or real people.

Why not? How sheltered have you been?

However, it is possible that your wife and her brother had an inappropriate relationship at some point in their lives, and she dredged up a memory in a distracted moment.

Inappropriate? Time to open up that narrow mind a little. Consexual sex between a brother and sister is not inappropriate if neither one is violating a commitment to someone else.
— — —

Monday, August 16, 2010

Woman Considering Half-Brother

Someone signing her letter “Anon. Cardiff” wrote in to an advice column in the UK. She seems to be experiencing GSA. After thinking she was an only child all of her life, she found out that she had a half-brother about her age, and she met him.

Straight away I thought how attractive he was (we look alike!) but the attraction is turning into something more. From cuddles (like brother and sister) we’re beginning to hold on for too long and getting a bit tactile. Would it be so wrong?

Before I could answer this, I’d need to know if this woman is in a closed relationship. If she isn’t in a relationship, or is in an open relationship, than no, it wouldn’t be wrong. But the person writing the answer, “Linda”, pulls out the prejudice right away.

Yes, according to our laws on incest.

We used to have laws against same-sex relationships, too. The laws are wrong, not consensual sex between adults.

These would have been implemented to protect the vulnerable from exploitation and disturbing, harmful acts by relatives; also to guard against the double severity of genetic disorders being passed on to offspring of incestuous relationships.

Ridiculous. The overwhelming majority of children born with genetic disorders in the West are born to nonconsanguineous couples, and most children born to consanguineous couples are at least as health as the general population. This would be consensual behavior, not assault.

Stop trying to get other people to conform to your ideals. This could be the great love of her life.
— — —

Restored Freedom to Marry on Hold in California

The federal appeals court has put a hold on same-sex marriages in California before they could even start taking place again. They want to take a look at the case first. Let's hope they decide in December to let this freedom to marry resume in California. Let's keep working towards full marriage equality so thatsame-sex couples can marry, but also others can marry who do not currently have the freedom to marry.
— — —

Another Documentary on GSA

Over at I saw another notice about a project that may advance the freedom to marry.

My name is Isla Harvey and I am a journalist working in NYC for an international press agency. We provide news and feature articles for magazines and newspapers. We also make documentaries for National Geographic, TLC, Discovery, Channel 4, the BBC and ITV. We are currently making a series of thought-provoking programmes for TLC.

I am researching the subject of Genetic Sexual Attraction for our next film and would like to find two to five articulate people to candidly describe their feelings on camera. We aim to explore how GSA happens, what effects it has on people, how they learn to live with it, and the experiences they have.

The aim is to produce a sensitive and non-judgemental documentary that will enlighten the general public and also help people who experience GSA to find others who can give them guidance and support. We plan to speak to support group leaders, trusted medical experts and counsellors as part of the film. The project would be accompanied by some print articles and you would be compensated for your time.

Anyone who participates will be treated with the utmost respect and courtesy.

Contact information:

Isla Harvey
US Features Correspondent
+1 212 564 8159
Barcroft Media
2nd Floor
989 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York, 10018

Also see this previous entry on another project.
— — —

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Consenting Adults Might Lead to Adult-On-Child?

Atheist Ethicist took a look at the Copenhagen Declaration on Religion in Public Life, and wrote in this entry about Proposition 5, which says “We assert that private conduct, which respects the rights of others should not be the subject of legal sanction or government concern.”

What if legalized incest and having open and casual acceptance of incestuous couples makes it psychologically easier - and thus more common - for adult parents or step-parents to pressure their children or step-children into having sex?

That question can be applied to every other behavior: eating fattening food, drinking, smoking, gambling, driving. It is up to parents to be good parents to their minor children. It is up to the authorities to step in if parents become neglectful or abusive.

A substantial portion of incestuous relationships are abusive. In order to prevent abusive incest, one of our best tools may well be to have a society that condemns incest generally, without exceptions.

A “substantial portion” is a guess, and doesn’t even assert a majority. A substantial portion of drinkers abuse alcohol. A substantial portion of parenting is abuse. Let’s ban drinking and parenting. Banning the former could make it easier or more difficult to ban the latter, depending!

I am not saying that it is the case that these private actions have these social costs. What I am saying is that the question of whether the sentiments associated with private actions has social costs is a relevant question to ask and answer. If the effect of having gladiatorial fight-to-the-death entertainment is that we make it easier for some people to commit murder, these facts matter. These facts may well give people many and strong reason to condemn violence until death even among consenting adults in private.

Isn’t this like saying that allowing gay sex makes it more likely that a man will rape a boy?

So, in summary, private conduct that respects the rights of others may still be the legitimate subject of legal sanction or government concern when the attitudes behind that conduct risks dire social consequences. However, this does not change the fact that it is a too common and contemptible practice among many who are religious to invent or exaggerate social costs in order to "justify" their call for state violence to be used to impose ancient bigotries and prejudices on others.

Whether someone’s motivations are religious or not, those who try to prevent marriage equality are unfairly trying to impose their views on others. Some adults are going to abuse children, regardless of law. We should not use abusive people as an excuse to persecute loving relationships between consenting adults.
— — —

Friday, August 13, 2010

Don't Want Multiple Spouses? Don't Marry Them

Jake in Toronto listened to this debate on polygamy (an issue Canadian courts are considering) and was enlightened.

It didn’t make me personally want to go out and be someone’s fourth husband, but it did make me wonder what exactly we were gaining by limiting people’s freedoms with the use of such a vague and ultimately unenforceable law.

Some people enjoy trying to hurt the love lives of others. Other than that, nobody is gaining anything.

Marcus was helped in a lot of ways by the incompetence of his debating partner, some anthropologist with big ideas about how if polygamy were legal, everyone would want to do it, and this would create a new class of desperately single young men.

Not very convincing, is it?

It was particularly disconcerting to hear the anthropologist turn his macrostatistical eye to the entirety of the population, with all the candor and fear of a social conservative spouting off about how gay marriage will lead to plummeting birth numbers. As if, just because it’s legal, everyone will start to do it. He mentioned the insult to feminism posed by men having multiple wives, but never considered the alternative, equally likely, situation of women having multiple husbands. Or groups of polyamorous citizens creating sexualized cohabitations of their choosing.

Why not allow everyone to choose for themselves? The opposition to polygamy comes down to the same things as the opposition to same-sex marriage, consanguineous marriage, interracial marriage, etc.: bigotry, fear, and persecution. If someone doesn’t want to participate in polygamy, they don’t have to. Jake understands that. Let’s get more people to understand that.
— — —

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mixed News Out of California

Judge Walker, who ruled that same-sex marriage is a right, refused to keep the state from allowing same-sex couples to marry. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he just said it can’t happen until next week – so no marriages for same-sex couples today or for almost a week, most likely. He did this to give an appeals court time to place their own hold on issuing the licenses pending the appeal of Judge Walker’s decision in the lawsuit.

Let’s hope the higher court doesn’t put a hold on this freedom to marry, so that same-sex weddings can resume in a few days.

And then, may this freedom never be taken away temporarily or permanently, and may this freedom to marry go nationwide, and may the freedom to marry increase until we have full marriage equality, so that same-sex couples can marry even if they happen to be sisters, and so that people can marry more than one person if that is what they want.
— — —

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

French Official is Anti-Freedom

France’s interior minister, Brice Hortefeux, wants to take citizenship away from immigrants who have more than one spouse. It is bad enough when a government doesn’t honor the freedom to marry by recognizing marriage, but it is even worse when it actively persecutes people for their polyamorous orientation.
— — —

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Research Project

Over at the very helpful GSA forum, Dr. Eric Anderson checked in looking for people willing to be a part of his research into genetic sexual attraction.

I am currently finishing up a book about cheating and monogamy for Oxford University Press, and as of January I will be looking for a new issue to bring sympathetic light to.

I found it.

My next research project will be on GSA. I will work very closely with Barbara and others in crafting it. I will get a very sympathetic, well-researched, book out about GSA. And I will use the media to disseminate the knowledge.

Projects like this can help end mistreatment of those in consanguineous sexual relationships and advance marriage equality. That’s why I wanted to help get the word out. Check out the Dr.'s site.
— — —

Will TLC Treat Poly With TLC?

American pay television network TLC will start a reality series called “Sister Wives” next month. It is about a polygamous (polygynous) family in Utah. Since marriage law in the United States doesn’t recognize that someone can be married to more than one person, this is not polygamy in the legal sense. But it is polyamory.

Will TLC portray polyamory with respect? We’ll wait and see. Perhaps some people who currently are against full marriage equality will reconsider their prejudice if they see that these are loving, functional families.
— — —

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mexico's Supreme Court Upholds Freedom to Marry

Almost didn't catch this one. The highest court in Mexico upheld Mexico City's new freedom to marry for same-sex couples. It would be great if the rest of the country would follow, and if the freedom to marry was extended to all in Mexico City and in the whole nation: full marriage equality.

Congrats to the newlyweds!
— — —

Documentary - Incest: The Last Taboo?

Set aside 45 minutes and watch this from Current TV.

— — —

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Polyamory is Better Than Cheating

The Undercover Blonde writes about polyamory and why more people don’t make an open choice to affirm it as their nature.

To me, it's evident that lots of people seek polyamory. How many times have you experienced or heard of someone being cheated on? It's often the basis for many divorces too. With polyamory, you have the option of discussing the possibility of another relationship.

Our laws and cultural prejudices put a straightjacket on people. People think they have to find one, unrelated person of the opposite sex to marry, and that they may only have sex with that one person for the rest of their life. That might work for some people, but it doesn’t work for a lot of people, as is abundantly evident. When someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, polyamorous, or experiencing GSA or FSA (meaning they are attracted to a close relative), but they try to fit into the narrow mold, they lie to themselves and the person they marry, and quite often this brings about many problems.

By adopting full marriage equality, we’ll free people up to be open, honest, and happy, and people who really want monogamy can still choose to have it. Everyone wins.

Can it really work? From experience, yes it can. But, you have to be true to the values of polyamory:
fidelity and loyalty
trust, honesty, dignity, and respect
mutual support
communication and negotiation

Doesn’t that sound like a better than denial and cheating and lying and fighting?
— — —

Friday, August 6, 2010

Update on Superfluous Incest Prosecution

In an update on something I wrote about previously, we get this headline: “Woman Enters Plea in Prostitution/Incest Case.”

A former Palm Coast woman who, in a case involving prostitution and incest gave birth to her father's son, has entered a plea of no contest to a felony charge of child neglect, prosecutors said.

So why isn’t the headline “Woman Pleads No Contest to Child Neglect?” The headline an this opening line are meant to tie consensual sex between adults – “incest” – to child neglect, as if someone was molesting the child.

Kristilyn Smith, 27, will be sentenced Aug. 31 in Volusia County circuit court for the second-degree felony. The no-contest plea is part of an agreement that will also resolve her criminal charges in Flagler County but prosecutors declined to provide any other information. She could be sentenced to anything from probation to 15 years in prison.

Her father, Alton E. Smith Jr., is serving a 15-year sentence and remains held at the Reception and Medical Center in Lake Butler.

Both the father and his wife, Tina Marie Smith, had been facing child pornography charges. He had a photography business, through which he took pictures of models of all ages.

Kristilyn Smith, who now lives in Daytona Beach, was charged with two counts of incest and one count of prostitution and one count of child neglect in Flagler County.

Child neglect is the real crime. The neglect seems to be from the father and daughter having sex in front of the child. Prosecutors should have gone ahead with the child porn charges against the father and his wife and dropped all “incest” charges. Exploiting children is certainly of more concern than consenting adults having sex, isn’t it?
— — —

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Freedom Map For Same Sex Couples

The Los Angeles Times has a map that indicates levels of the freedom to marry in different states in the USA for same-sex (nonconsanguineous, presumably) couples.

I'm sure there are better maps out there and ones that detail other countries, and I'd be happy to link to them, too.
— — —

Comments on Polygamy

As I wrote earlier, a Canadian scholar says polygamy (polygyny, specifically) is harmful. There are many comments on this erroneous notion at Go read through them to see what people are thinking. Here’s just a taste.


Seriously, consider this: are single women rasing children on their own bad for society?

Would it be better for society if rather than living in atomised alienated controllable family units, families lived as larger multi-generational groupings, supporting and sustaining each other?

This is a good point. A single mother or a woman who wants to become a mother might find polygyny to be a good fit for her. If it helps her and her children, isn’t that better?

The main thing is that children are raised in a loving environment. How people accomplish this is none of the government's business.

Preach it!


To quote Yoda: "there is no try, there is only do" . . . clearly the anthropologist has never been married to one woman if he thinks a man could control multiple wives. He can try, but to suggest he could is laughable.

I sense this being tongue-in-cheek, but seriously, as long as women have the ability to leave and the ability to be protected from domestic violence, then she should also have the right to be married to someone who is also married to others without fear of being trapped.

Liberty2Day, who is less than complimentary of women…

As the Arabs say, four wives is ideal. Two are always fighting, three means two gang up on one, but with four there is balance.

That’s interesting. But I think various combinations can work depending on the personalities and the needs of the individuals.

Jerry M. Chaney II, who says he is Lucien D'Cœur/The Kentucky Pagan Forum Moderator, has some sense…

It isn't the Nation's or community's business to whom one gives their heart to. And while I grant precious few can keep one spouse happy over the long term it is not society's place to deny recognition of consenting adult spice (e.g. mouse/mice, spouse/spice) to pursue their happiness.

Spice. I like that one. Having more than one lover can make things very spicy.
— — —

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

More on Proposition 8 Being Overturned

Many thanks to federal judge Vaughn R. Walker! Let's look at some of his reasoning in striking down that hateful law.

Page 24:

Conjecture, speculation and fears are not enough. Still less will the moral disapprobation of a group or class of citizens suffice, no matter how large the majority that shares that view. The evidence demonstrated beyond serious reckoning that Proposition 8 finds support only in such disapproval. As such, Proposition 8 is beyond the constitutional reach of the voters or their representatives.

It doesn't matter if even a majority of people disapprove. Stay out of our love lives. We all have the right to enjoy love and sex and life with the person or people of our choosing.

On page 135:

...and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

This is also good news for polyamorists who want to become polygamists, and for consanguineous couples, triads, and others who want to get married. Let's add this decision, along with Loving v. Virginia and Lawrence v. Texas, to our arsenal in fighting bigotry. Love is love!

Page 136:

Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently

All of us deserve due process and equal protection. Prejudice is a relic of the past and is dying out day by day.
— — —

California Prop H8 Loses So Freedom Wins

It’s a good day. A federal judge has ruled in favor of extending (again) the freedom to marry to same-sex couples by siding with those suing California over Proposition 8. Same-sex couples were granted the right to marry in California for several months in 2008 before “Prop H8” was passed.

Congratulations to the same-sex couples who will be able to marry as a result of this ruling.

The right could still be taken away by an appeals court or the Supreme Court, but let’s hope the Supreme Court rules for freedom. Is it too much to dream that the Supreme Court will go further and rule for full marriage equality? Let’s not wait for that. Let’s build on today’s decision to move towards full marriage equality. It’s great that some same-sex couples can now marry, but why should that not include a same-sex couple that happen to be sisters? Or why shouldn’t a man who is in love with two other men be able to marry both of them? Love is love.
— — —

The Kids Will be OK

Here’s another example of how children can be reassured that even though some bigots may tell them that monogamy is the only good lifestyle, the polyamory of their parents or grandparents is a wonderful thing.

Hear the wisdom of poly grandmothers with two generations of descendants who are happy to have them be part of the family and respect them for who they are!

Children usually don’t express prejudice towards others unless they are taught to. It’s too bad some people lose that as they age. Younger generation are more open when it comes to things like marriage.
— — —

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Poly: Out or Closeted?

Over at Polyamory Paradigm, that ever-important question is considered: Coming out of the poly closet.

Most polyfolk I speak with are selectively open about their lifestyle. That is to say their family might know but co-workers don't. Or maybe co-workers and friends know but their family doesn't. Maybe their online life shows their lifestyle whereas their real daily life doesn't. The combination of people who know vs. those who don't seems to be almost endless. And as with the combinations, the reasons vary widely as well.

There are some practical examples of answers to questions others are likely to ask.

Part of my behavior is based on a very simple belief; My personal life is my own and nobody, again NOBODY, has a right to know or judge my personal life but myself and my partners.

What he said.

Polly also had something to say about this topic.

She wants to be out and open, but has concerns.

I worry about what coming out completely would mean - especially for my kids. I don't want them to be stressed by others judging our family. On the other hand, I would feel really relieved to know that we are living as honestly as possible. How do I protect my kids from others' stupidity? Am I running the risk of social services showing up at my door to take my children away?

It is the same think that LGBT people have gone through and in some places are still going through. We’ve also seen consanguineous couples in the news, usually being charged with crimes, after they were outed.

Nobody should live in fear because of who they love.

The hardest thing about being me at the moment is the feeling that I am living a secret life.

I wish more people would see the hurt they are causing the people they are supposed to love.

I worry that if I come out to everyone, I will find out how many more people can make a sudden decision to despise me because I am poly. I have to weigh the stress of that worry (and the possibility of bad reactions) against the stress of continuing to live in the closet.

It is easy for people to write letters to newspapers or leave a comment on a news site trashing poly people. Perhaps the way to come out, if you have the kind of relationship that is more of a life together rather than mere sex, is to let friends and relatives see you interacting at the same time with all of your loves. If they see all of you talking, laughing, holding hands, and hosting them, they’ll see what a good thing it is. If more people realized that people they know are poly, they might be more accepting of polyamory in general. We have seen this happen with children who come out to their parends as LGBT. Some parents are supportive from the start. Others react so badly they kick their own children out - something a poly adult doesn't have to worry so much about. Many parents, however, fall somewhere between, and realize that they love their children (or the siblings love their siblings) and they get to see that there is real love involved that deserves respect.
— — —

Freedom Between People and For Relationships

What makes polyamory work form some can often be applied to monogamous or nonsexual relationships. Reading what polyfulcrum wrote here, about getting over worry about being able to offer someone else enough, helps to illustrate that.

For years, I've tried to make that choice for others. If I didn't feel like I had enough to give, I just didn't move into the relationship in the first place. Still not thinking that is a bad idea, actually. What's shifted is that I am trusting others more to let me know if what I have to give is sufficient for them, rather than unilaterally making that call.

It’s about communication and consent. If you’re happy with what they have to offer, and their happy with what you have to offer, and everyone is getting what they want, including, perhaps, from some others, then it works, doesn’t it?

Sometimes, people in these situations want to get married, and they should be able to. People outside of a relationship shouldn’t be to decide what’s best for that relationship, just as one person can’t decide for another person.
— — —

Monday, August 2, 2010

An Aunt and Nephew Ponder Coming Out

Someone reached out for help on in dealing with a family issue.

What is the best way to tell the family that me and my Dad’s youngest sister are dating?

She was a late child, she’s 27, I am 24. We are dating for a few months now, and decided to tell the family soon, you can’t keep it a secret forever. What is the best way to tell the family(especially my Dad) about this?

Most of the responses were not helpful. In addition to that old stand-by of prejudice, “ew,” there was:

You do know that this is called incest don’t you there is no way that your family will accept this

You are dating your aunt? Stop seeing her and find someone else who is not related.

wow… she must be really dumb to date a nephew

Unless you left out part of the story that is incest. Incest is bad. There is no good way to tell them without someone getting upset.

you DON’t date her. She’s your aunt.

So these people know who this person should and shouldn’t love? The people in this relationship are consenting adults, and shouldn’t be judged by others, who are just like the people who used to say "women don't date women" or "whites don't date Negroes" or that a woman should stand by her abusive husband.

These responses below tried to be helpful, though they were less than supportive:

I’m assuming your Muslim or Mormon (the two religions that kinda don’t include incest). So if you are, try to bring it up as a rhetorical question to your dad. If he reacts negatively then telling him probably won’t be a good idea. Still, it might be wise to find someone else that interests you instead.


Well, even though she’s near your age, might be really hot, and may be the best woman in the world, she’s still your aunt and you’re still blood related, so this isn’t going to go over well no matter how your break it.

I don’t think you should say anything unless you plan on getting married (if that’s legal in Canada). If you two want to get married or live together, that’s your choice, you’re free to do that if you legally can, but technically, it’s still incest. So be prepared for some yelling, screaming, and your family not talking to you for awhile, so think about whether this relationship is really worth that, or if you both should move on to less controversial partners.

This one was the only supportive one:

Honestly, I do not think that there will be any good time to tell this to your family.

What you have to think is, do you see yourself marrying this woman? Is this ‘relationship’ really that good? You need to find out the answer to that.

If the answer is no, you may be able to keep it secret.

If the answer is yes, well you just have to maybe have a family dinner etc. and tell them all then.

Best of luck to you!

This very much like something that so many people go through when bringing home a same-sex partner or someone of a different race. My advice to someone in this situation:

Those around you probably see what’s going on already, even if they haven’t said anything to you. It is important to consider if you are heading for a lasting relationship or if this is mostly something that is for fun and experience. Are both of you ready to settle down? Are you thinking there’s a real possibility you’ll want to settle down with each other? If so, then you do need to discuss it with your family unless you’re willing to move somewhere else and cut off all ties with them. Let your family see how good you are for each other, how much you enjoy being around each other; let them see this is going to strengthen the family, not weaken it. She should be the one to talk with your father about it. She should talk about how happy she is, how much she loves you, how well you treat her, ask for his help and support. If he is rejecting, then you might need to go to your mother and appeal to her sense of protection. Point out that she picked one sibling, and you picked another from the same family for some of the same qualities.

They don’t need to like it. They just need to accept it continue loving you.

On the other hand, if you’re likely just together for now, I would let it go unspoken. You can refrain from displays of affection in front of the rest of the family. In some families, that is the norm anyway for all relationships.

Part of the objection to the relationship might be that where you live, the two of you can’t marry. Ask your family for support in changing this, and do some research to find somewhere that you might be able to get legally married if you took a trip there.
— — —

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Abstract and Actual

In forums such as Yahoo Answers, you can find some gems and some stinkers. Quite often when it comes to questions about consanguineous, gay, or polyamorous sex, you’ll see bigots throwing stones from behind their computer screens.

As happens from time to time, someone posed the question “Why is incest illegal?” Some responses cited child abuse, even though it was a question about consenting adults.

Here are some samples of responses:

Because its against nature and disgusting to all human beings who are sane .the one thing the whole world agrees with , gentile or jew or Muslim

Ah yes. “It’s disgusting.” That’s what some people say about peas, but they aren’t banned.

A fear of deformities is usually given as the reason, although that's not really biologically valid. Ask any farmer how interbreeding is used to IMPROVE the breed.

Hey, some intelligence!

I think because there is a thin line between allowing incest and allowing bestiality, society has to draw the line somewhere and apparently incest is the line which we won't cross.

! ? ! Maybe that person sees their family members as nonhuman; otherwise, I don’t know where they get that.

I don't think it should be punishable, unless they have or intend to have children, but anyone who does do that kind of thing probably needs help, serious help.

Maybe you’re the one who needs help? You may have latent desire, given your hostility.

I'm certainly not advocating it though. For one thing it is disgusting. For the other it would result in a lot of family strife and family breakdowns. There are very good reasons why it is taboo in our culture!

But you didn’t cite any. Family strife and breakdown? As if there’s none of that going on when two unrelated people get together.

There is a legitimate state interest in protecting the stability of families. Incest tends to destabilize them.

What about divorce? Actually, from what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard from others, consanguineous love strengthens some families.

In the actual case, someone wrote about having sex with his sister

Im 19 and my sister is 23, we both live in the same apartment. today I saw my sister getting out of the shower and couldnt resist her. we both had feelings for each other in the past and this morning.. we actually did it. can i face legal charges?


Most responses were the standard bigoted and hurtful senseless remarks. But there was a good answer, too.

Talk to her. Find out how she feels about it - there's probably going to be a lot of guilt, yours and hers. But you should know this; that guilt is mostly because you think you are SUPPOSED to feel guilty.

Examine how you really feel about each other, and then try to plan out what you are going to do in the future. If you care about her, and you don't want to screw up her life, think carefully about going ahead, and the changes you are going to have to make in your lives.

Very good advice.
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