We know having sex with a family member is wrong. So why is consensual incest on the rise?

Incest. It’s an icky term. Defined as the sexual relations between immediate family, incest takes place when say a brother and sister or a father and daughter have sex.

And it seems consensual incest is on the rise.

Just this year we’ve reported on a mother who wants to have a child with her son, a daughter who fell in and out of love with her father, and a daughter who lost her virginity to her once estranged father, now fiance.

Last year Josh Duggar, the eldest child of the clan from now-defunct show 19 Kids & Counting was suspected of incest after being accused of ‘fondling three young girls’, two of them his sisters when he was a teenager. This was also before he was one of the men outed as a user of Ashley Maddison, a dating website for people looking to have affairs.

Josh Duggar and his wife Anna. Image via Instagram.

There was even an uproar after Lena Dunham released her memoir/bounded book of essays Not That Kind Of Girl in 2014, with some commenters accusing the Girls star of incest with her kid sister, after she described the time she 'examined' her sister’s vagina and discovered pebbles buried within.

While the latter example was a bunch of overzealous adults responding to a child's curiosity (Dunham was 7 at the time the 'incident' took place), the others are cause for concern.

It seems many consensual incest relationships go a little like this: parent or family member is separated from their child at a young age. Parent or family member reconnect with said child later in life. Both parties 'fall in love' disregarding the obvious implication of genetics.

My first question is how? How do you fall in love with someone you know you're biologically related too? Sure you get along really well and probably think they're beautiful, but that's because they're family. They are a part of you. Heck, they even probably look like you.

There's even a thread on Reddit dedicated to consensual incestual relationships. Take the 40-year-old uncle who recently met his 20-year-old niece for the first time. He's convinced the day they spent together was 'a date' and their feelings are mutual. Or the person who walked in on his mum and brother in bed together.

One user pointed out that in most of these cases, where the person is questioning whether or not to act on their feelings, could be a case of Genetic Sexual Attraction (GSA). GSA is the taboo topic on the rise that no one wants to talk about. Why are more and more biological family members coupling up than ever before?

Genetic Sexual Attraction is the sexual attraction of two family members that meet first as adults. The term was coined in the '80s by Barbara Gonyo who fell in love with her son after the pair were estranged for most of his life. The Guardian reported in 2003, "50% of reunions between siblings, or parents and offspring, separated at birth result in obsessive emotions." In other words, they feel strong sexual feelings towards one another.


What is Genetic Sexual Attraction? Watch the video below. Post continues after video...

Video via HLN

Gonyo's book on GSA, I'm His Mother, But He's Not My Son, suggests GSA is a result of a 'delayed by-product of missed bonding' which would have taken place between a mother and her newborn infant, The Guardian reported.

Is this an excuse? Should we allow family members to have sexual relationships because they are experiencing GSA? Should we stop treating these people, who have found love with one another, like circus freaks when they decide to tell their story? Should we continue to condemn them just because they can't help the way they feel?

Yes we should. For one, it's illegal. Two, it's just plain wrong. Surely even the knowledge this person has the same bloodline as you would turn you off in the first place? How can you leave your current partner for someone you know is your daughter? This is something I cannot wrap my head around.

Yet, being treated as circus freaks is not okay either. The mother and son who 'came out' as planning to have a child together last week didn't have to go to the tabloids with their story. They could have led a simple life without anyone knowing their secret. But no, they chose to sell their story and in return they have been forced into hiding after police made it clear they could face jail time after their admission.

Whether or not the couple in question have a case of GSA, incest is just plain wrong and sometimes there are feelings worth fighting against.