Girl Meets Dad, Then They Get Engaged

When people hear about this story—which was published January 15th New York Magazine—their initial reaction is usu­ally “eww.” The nearly unanimous dis­gust that we experience as a result of social conditioning presents an interest­ing question: Is incest truly “immoral?” While the conceptualization of moral­ity is in itself socially constructed, I’m more so wondering if this sort of rela­tionship can truly be one of equal con­sent. Can a child truly stand on equal ground in a romantic relationship with their parent?

Genetic sexual attraction (GSA) is a term which was coined in the ‘80s with­in a support group for individuals who met estranged relatives and developed a sexual interest. The phrase is also used by some who feel an attraction to indi­viduals who share similar genes to them.

In the context of this woman who has chosen to remain anonymous to protect the identity of herself and her father/fiancé, they also classify their relationship as GSA. Until she reached the latter end of her adolescence, the two were strangers to one another. How­ever, upon meeting (circa age sixteen) their relationship developed from one of paternity to one of sexual and roman­tic interest. This woman only recently turned eighteen, and given that her partner is roughly twice her age, this is certainly a violation of statutory rape laws. Perhaps the fact that their age gap is so broad and she so young is enough to question her consent, but beyond that there is also their self-accepted father-daughter power dynamic which adds another layer of curiosity to their rela­tionship.

American culture is certainly one which has seen many milestones since its birth in terms of acceptable romantic pairings. Many things that were once considered taboos are now openly ac­cepted. But does genetic sexual attrac­tion remain within the realm of taboo for good reason? Should the fear of incest born children be the primary fac­tor when observing this social contro­versy? Most credible biologists will in­form that incest puts our species’ biodiversity at risk, while some within the GSA community claim that first generation born children of incest car­ry very little risk.

Currently within the United States, New Jersey is a sort of legal haven for incestuous/GSA individuals because it allows consensual incestuous relations and also the destination of the couple who sparked this current dialogue, where they hope to have children/grand­children/siblings together.