Quodlibet

Transgressing Taboos

Apparently, genes are the go-to explanation when it comes to rationalizing what used to be considered taboo. In 2016, Michael Cook at MercatorNetreported on such a response to "a passionate incestuous romance between a 51-year-old British woman and her 32-year-old American son." In Cook's telling:

Kim West was studying in California when she had a child out of wedlock. She gave him up for adoption and returned to England. Nearly 30 years later she learned that her son Ben Ford wanted
to contact her. When they met, they immediately felt an overwhelming sexual attraction. Ben ended up abandoning his wife and moving in with his mother. They live together and are considering having children.

An American adoption counselor, Barbara Gonyo, coined the term "genetic sexual attraction" (GSA) to describe any feeling of sexual attraction between siblings, first and second cousins, or a mother/father and son/daughter who meet for the first time as adults. Gonyo herself fell madly in love with her son after the two were reunited in adulthood.

A columnist for The (London) Telegraph wrote in 2016 that "those who succumb to GSA are not sickos, or freaks, but victims who desperately need help and understanding. Their feelings are not controllable, but with scientific research and support, we can give them some degree in control over this devastating affliction."

But why "devastating"? In a culture in which no sexual impulse is to be denied legitimacy or labeled as deviant, this makes little sense. In a culture that prizes self-control and sexual restraint and chastity, it does. But the latter is not the culture in which most Christians find themselves today.

—James M. Kushiner

James M. Kushiner is the Executive Editor of Touchstone.

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more on culture from the online archives

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