Home/Rod Dreher/Incest Gets The Good Housekeeping Seal Of Approval

Incest Gets The Good Housekeeping Seal Of Approval

Melissa, who is married (to “an open-minded guy”) and the mother of two teenage daughters, has fallen in love with her half-brother Brian. They are now an item. The sex is great, they tell Cosmopolitan. Excerpts:

They claim their sexual and emotional connection is exceptional. “We have an innate trust and no boundaries with each other because we’re family,” Melissa explains. “When you get into a relationship with someone else, they’re a stranger to you. Trust takes a long time to build. But because this is my brother, he’s never going to do anything to hurt me.”

Their unusual circumstances have created a perfect storm, an ideal mix that most people don’t get to experience. They describe levels of intimacy and exploration, of freedom and kink, of sacredness and naturalness. Tantric and bondage are mentioned. To them, it’s more than romance: Their relationship covers all the forms of love the ancient Greeks espoused — friendship, sex, siblinghood, and self-sacrifice.

“He’s able to be my father, my brother, my lover, my best friend — all these roles that others have never filled,” says Melissa. “I have everything in one human.”


All states in the U.S. have laws prohibiting marriage or sexual intercourse between first-degree relatives. In their state, it’s a felony that’s punishable by life in prison. Not only do Melissa and Brian feel their love shouldn’t be forbidden, they also say they’re part of a growing segment of society: As infant adoption and fertility treatments involving sperm, egg, and embryo donation increase, so will the numbers of people walking around who are unknowingly genetically related.

“When people like us meet, all of your body vibrates knowing this is your kin, your genes. It’s a very interesting phenomenon that’s not studied in this world,” Brian says. “If we don’t start studying it more — or accepting it — people will end up in jail.”

Yeah, I hope so. More:

Though Kimberly is not opposed to their relationship — “They’re both consenting adults,” she says — Melissa’s friend is concerned about how finding out will impact their kids. Alman adds that contempt and rejection are the greatest consequence for most consanguineous couples: “That happens anytime someone breaks a taboo, and this one is a strong one,” she says. “Any couple that does this has to be prepared to lose the love and respect and company of their family members.”

Regardless of the risks, the half-siblings plan to eventually live together — and officially marry. And they can because of a legal loophole: Melissa’s childhood father is listed on her birth certificate, not their shared biological father. “Obviously, it’s still illegal. But we can hide and do that.” So after her kids are raised and their divorces are finalized, they plan to live happily ever after, she says. “It’s just not going to be for a number of years, unfortunately.”

Until then, they will keep sharing their Saturday nights and balancing the challenging dynamics of a relationship under-cover. It’s well worth it to them.

“I don’t feel like we’re more special than anyone else, but to receive this intense kind of love is a gift,” Brian says. “Few human beings get to experience something at this level. And it’s not a taboo. It’s nothing wrong. This just feels like love, perfect love.”

Read the whole thing.  I found it on the Cosmo website, via a tweet Cosmo sent out today:


But the story first appeared in 2015, get this, Good Housekeeping — in the mix with recipes, shopping suggestions, haircare stories, and make-up tips.

That’s some house they’re keeping.

GH has a massive subscriber base of 4.4 million. In 2013, it hired a new editor, Jane Francisco, who came in with a mandate to stop circulation loss. So now she’s giving the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval to stories painting incest in a positive light.

This is what drives me nuts about this schizophrenic culture of ours. On the one hand we exalt violating sexual taboos, even in mainstream women’s magazines (GH: “Fifty Facts About ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ That Will Blow Your Mind”). On the other, we freak out when sexually aggressive men violate them.

Brian and Melissa are both consenting adults, and Melissa’s husband is okay with it — so why is this wrong? Let’s assume that they are sterile, and don’t intend to have kids. Why is it wrong? Why should it be illegal? Give an argument that would persuade people who don’t hold your religious beliefs.

If you are having trouble answering that question, you’ll understand the trouble this contemptible culture of ours is in. “This just feels like love, perfect love.” Yes, no doubt it does — because you two are a couple of perverts who ought to be shamed and exiled. Now, thanks to morally sick New York-based magazine editors, incest (like anal sex tips for teens) is being mainstreamed.

UPDATE: A theologian sends in an article about St. Thomas Aquinas’s argument against incest:

In the Supplement to his Summa, Thomas Aquinas discusses questions of consanguinity. After asking whether consanguinity is an impediment to marriage by virtue of the natural law, he gives three reasons that it is. Interestingly, none of these reasons makes reference to difficulties with offspring.

Rather, Aquinas holds that incest is contrary, first, to the order of relations that should exist between parents and their children. A daughter cannot relate in the appropriate ways to her father both as father and as spouse, for example. Aquinas’s third reason is that incest is contrary to an “accidental” end of marriage: the binding together of humankind and the extending of friendship. We see this at virtually any wedding when two unrelated families gather to celebrate their new connection. Incestuous unions would have nothing of this sort to celebrate.

Both of these arguments are important and deserve consideration. But it is Aquinas’s second argument that interests me here. A secondary end of marriage, for Aquinas, working in the Pauline tradition, is the curbing of concupiscence. But “this end would be forfeit if a man could marry a blood-relation, since a wide scope would be afforded to concupiscence if those who have to live together in the same house were not forbidden to be mated in the flesh.”

If we translate Aquinas’s concern to more modern language, we see that his worry is entirely justified. The concern is with the chastity of members of a family, where chastity includes having tempered and ordered sexual desires. Tempered, because not every possible object of desire is in fact desired—so that not everyone who could be sexually desired is. And ordered, because sexual desire is oriented toward those who could be suitable partners in marriage. Desire for those already married, for example, is ruled out for those who have the virtue of chastity.

Chastity serves the integrity of persons, the good of marriage, and the broader good(s) of a household. Begin to break down chastity within a household and these goods will, Aquinas thinks, be jeopardized.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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