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Friday, December 18, 2015

"Do you think incest and polygamy will be legalized?" - Part 1

I came across a poll on the subject of the future of full marriage equality a while back:
I was watching a TV show recently and surprisingly, three characters (two men and a woman) got together in a sexual AND romantic relationship - as in, it wasn’t just a kink, they were serious about it, they even made their relationship official to their family/friends. And it got me thinking, do you guys think polygamy will ever be legalized? And incest? And should they be, and if not, why? Will our society ever see it as acceptable/normal like with gay relationships?
My response:
First of all, I’d like to point out that in some ways this debate is moot: polygamy in some form is already legal in many countries, sex with a close relative is legal in some, and marriage to your half-sibling is legal in Sweden. Any push for more legal recognition in other countries would just be a continuation of what already exists. 

Futurist, on 25 Apr 2014 - 12:31 PM, said:
I’m honestly unsure about this because there might not be enough demand to legalize either of these two things.
Actually, there’s demand for both, because there are people in either type of relationship (sometimes in both at once), and their relationships are extremely illegal in many places. In some states simply cohabiting with multiple people of the opposite gender counts as a common-law marriage, and can get all of you sent to jail for up to 10 years. In most Southern states, as well as some states in Australia, a single sex act with a consenting adult you are related to, regardless of whether you two grew up together, can get both sent to jail for life. There is also a growing community of allies, many from the LGBT+ community, who support relationship and marriage freedom for all consenting adults, regardless of any qualifiers. 

My blog
My friend’s blog

There are also other people publicly speaking out against discrimination and legal abuse. Some are even trying to change culture through positive media representations

They’re real people, and under the current legal regime and set of taboos they suffer, sometimes brutally. Just because you don’t personally know of them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. In fact, you may know some and just don’t know you know them. Consanguineous couples especially, are deep, deep in the closet.

I’d also like to point out that according to surveys (and some testimony from people I know), as much as 10% (possibly more) of the population in the US has at least sexually experimented with a sibling (non-coercively, of course). Anyone who advocates for “incest” laws is advocating for throwing as much as a tenth of the entire population into jail.

Death, on 25 Apr 2014 - 8:31 PM, said:
If we could overcome the genetic problems then would incest be accepted?  Not advocating for it definitely, because incidence of birth defect is very high (somewhere above 50% I forget and we are talking serious die before you’re 5 years old birth defects and major retardation).
First of all, genetic testing and family planning does allow people to overcome “the genetic problems”. Sometimes there are no genetic problems. Your statistic is also incredibly high, and smacks of stereotypes and not science. Of all the reasonably well done studies I’ve seen, the most pessimistic estimate for genetic problems for 1st degree relatives is 30%. The more realistic estimate I’ve seen is around 11%, [...] lower than for some middle aged women. (That’s for a single generation, of course.)

Those are population statistics anyway. Individual couples may be more or less likely to have problems, just like the general population. Also, there are people in the general population who are not closely related, but both possess terrible genetic diseases which they can pass on to their children, but we don’t forbid them from getting married or throw them in jail for having sex. Scientists who know anything about this subject think the eugenic argument is bunk. (I personally find eugenic reasoning to be anti-democratic. It also allows a return to eugenics based on things like race and class). For one, even for the best studies, everyone is aware that their samples are so small and so biased that they can’t really even conduct a statistically reliable study beyond 1st cousins, since in most places closer unions are illegal. 

“Major retardation” is not the most common defect anyway. The usual problems are related to the immune system or to basic organ function, like the heart. Most of these children are totally fine, and the ones that aren’t are still mentally normal. Who is anyone to determine that their lives have no value to themselves or society, and should be prevented at all costs, even at the cost of undermining human rights? Besides, not all consanguineous relationships are even heterosexual.

Alric, on 25 Apr 2014 - 7:23 PM, said:
They are stupid laws. You should be able to do whatever you want with other consenting adults. Marriage is just a contract as well, if you want to marry out of love in a straight or gay relationship, or marry for money, or to get citizenship or because you made a bet, all those should be consider valid reasons. The government shouldn’t be deciding who should or shouldn’t get married, they should only be recognizing all marriages people ask them to recognize.
Amen! I’d also like to point out that many people don’t feel disgust anymore towards the idea of homosexuality is because it’s seen frequently in public. Many people still do feel disgust at the idea, even when they support same-sex marriage, and many more felt disgust at the thought in the past. It’s a known mechanism, in which seeing another person do something you wouldn’t do makes you imagine yourself doing it. The revulsion felt at that mental imagery causes people to lash out at the people who inspired the thoughts. It’s the same social psychological mechanism, though perhaps for consanguineous sex the revulsion is stronger for some people.

“Naturalness” also isn’t a good rubric for these things. While most animals avoid sex with close relatives in nature, not all do. While most animals have sex with an animal of the opposite sex, not all do. Polygyny, polyandry, and polygynandry all occur in nature. (Polygyny is much more common than monogamy in nature. Should monogamous marriage be illegal?) Which is natural, the majority, or the minority, given that both occur in nature? Besides, neither homophobia, nor the “incest” taboo, occur in nature outside of human culture. Same-sex and consanguineous sex acts are more “natural” by many standards, than the taboos and laws against them. 

“Sexual morality is too important to the happiness and the well-being of us all to be determined by superstition, politics, economics, and religious taboos."

ayubelwhishi, on 25 Apr 2014 - 06:29 AM, said:
Its still a a taboo for me because you can get better women than your sibling or you mother. I just see incest as a pathetic way to love. Like how does the wheel of your love life land on your sister? Don’t reply on this because I’m too tired to want to get in an argument over it.

On polygamy, i believe it should be legalized if the woman consent with it. But i do not know how a woman would like to love a man who love other woman. It seems like a way to cheat without making her mad.
A lot of assumptions there. What if your mother is the best woman, objectively? What if you meet them for the first time long after you’ve grown up? Not everyone, even the ones who get involved with family, are ugly, antisocial, or can’t get anyone else. Some have already been married before to other people. Besides, “better”? Are we cattle? Are we judging marriage purely by economic status and social acceptance? That’s a great way to produce loveless, alienating marriages. Wonderful for the children, I’m sure, to have one of your parents pining the whole time for someone else. 

First of all, “a woman” doesn’t have to agree to anything. In the example for the poll, the union is polyandrous - multiple men, one woman. Why aren’t you asking how “a man” would agree to it, unless you have a gendered conception of promiscuity and consent, where only men want sex with various people, and women have to be cajoled? And it is not “cheating”, by definition. Cheating is having sex with someone else without your partner(s)’s consent. Key to the idea and the term “cheating” is going behind someone’s back. Having sex with a second spouse, whom your other spouse knows and approves of, with the knowledge of your other spouse, is not “cheating”. 

People also tend to be less threatened when the other person is someone they know and are friends with. People have different levels of natural jealousy, and jealousy can be mitigated with proper conversation and conflict resolution. People get jealous when they feel their own emotional and sexual needs aren’t being met/won’t be met. Jealousy, for the exact same reasons, exists in monogamous relationships as well. Jealousy is just more obvious in polyamorous relationships. As a result, people who’ve been poly* for a long time are usually much better at dealing with jealousy and talking honestly about their feelings with their partners than many monogamous people.

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