I'm fairly sure most (all) of us feel parent/child incest is wrong, and for fairly obvious reasons. 

However, if a brother and sister are very careful about pregnancy prevention or, better, one or both of them is unable to conceive, what would be wrong with it?

BTW, I'm NOT trying to decide whether to do it with my sister (LOL). This is just a question that came to mind while in a discussion with another person.

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I don't know if it is wrong or right.

I've thought about these types of questions before. Especially because I'm really involved in the "Fandom" online community, I'm a "vidder" (fanvideo editor) and a fanfiction writer and whatnot - and some TV shows, like Gilmore Girls & Gossip Girl, have this issue come up.

They actually built up on the TV series Gossip Girl Rufus & Lily to be a great epic romance, a couple that should have ended up together. But they also built up Rufus' son (Dan) and Lily's daughter (Serena) to be an epic romance. And they decided they couldn't let both Dan & Serena and Rufus & Lily end up together because if Rufus & Lily were married, then Dan & Serena would be brother & sister - step siblings only, but still. They also share a half-sibling because Rufus & Lily had a child together. So the show was all afraid of the creepiness of this kind of step-incest and had Dan & Serena get married in the finale, and Rufus & Lily end up with other people. Which is a ridiculous way to end the show but the whole show was ridiculous so whatever. Lol!! But in my opinion, this is the most ridiculous form of extending the incest taboo - extending it to even step siblings who did not live together growing up/were not raised together, and whose children would not have any genetic issues if conceived. There is nothing wrong with consensual sex between two non-genetically-related people of any kind, including non-genetically related siblings (step siblings, for example).

Like the arguments against homosexual sex, arguments against consensual incest are weak in the modern day and age. There is nothing inherently "gross" about it, people just have been socially conditioned to feel that way. If the two people involved in the consensual sex act don't feel at all "icky" about it, that is all that matters. I think it is awkward for the idea of a romance between a brother & sister who are similar in age and raised in the same house to work, because siblings are supposed to be people you can trust to not think of you in a sexual way. To not be trying to woo you romantically. To be, in the most preferable of circumstances, the strongest platonic bond possible, in some ways stronger than parent/child. You might have similar experiences growing up, more similar than anyone else in the world, you can bond over your grief if any family members die, etc. Siblings of either gender/any sexual orientation are supposed to be "automatic 100% platonic friends" in an ideal world.

BUT if for whatever reason/circumstance, a brother & sister want to have sex with each other, as long as they are not going to have a baby (or multiple children), because like you said they are very careful with pregnancy prevention or feel sure they are unable to conceive - and maybe also they promise/swear to get an abortion if somehow that all fails - then it should not be "illegal" or considered completely morally wrong. Not in my opinion. ;) I think the idea of trying to prevent genetic defects in children makes sense. Any other reason does not.

A couple things come to mind. Not even necessarily problems, so much as check boxes. First, I'd see if they're both psychologically kosher. Which is to say a) that their sexual relationship hasn't developed as the result of some underlying issue that could be resolved in a healthier way, and b) that one isn't taking advantage of the others' state of mind. On that note, I'd make sure neither of them is doing it for the sake of its perceived forbiddeness or deviance.

Socio-culturally (assuming the relationship isn't kept under wraps), they'd be ostracized, so of course they'd have to of sound enough mind to clear shame hurdles. Basically it seems to me like two strong, intelligent, mentally fit individuals with blood relation who engage in sexual relations with one another aren't doing anything intrinsically wrong...

I think it bears mentioning that as atheists, we should probably tread carefully when publicly supporting such ideas, particularly as being progressive, because it could serve as another piece of furniture for the Caesarean pyre that is our constant demonization.

A couple things come to mind. Not even necessarily problems, so much as check boxes. First, I'd see if they're both psychologically kosher. Which is to say a) that their sexual relationship hasn't developed as the result of some underlying issue that could be resolved in a healthier way, and b) that one isn't taking advantage of the others' state of mind. On that note, I'd make sure neither of them is doing it for the sake of its perceived forbiddeness or deviance.

Why apply those standards to brother-sister incest? I mean, if they are good standards, why not apply them universally? And who would be the authority applying such standards?

I'm very curious about the last sentence there. Why should that matter? Whatever floats your boat, right?

I'm now remembering that when I was a child (in the 1960's) there was a couple living together on our street. Apparently, they'd lived together for years. Eventually, it came out they were brother and sister. Everyone speculated about how chaste their relationship was.

I do think they should be applied universally, but sibling incest is very uncommon. In my mind, that warrants a second look. A "just in case". Of course they'd be the first authority. I'd hope one of them would suggest at some point that they see a therapist. It just seems responsible. Like "Hey, we're dealing with some potentially deep stuff here. Maybe we should talk about this with a professional." But if neither of them did, I don't think it would be too much of a breach of taste for a friend or loved one to suggest it.

If there's a possibility that you're engaging in a behavior specifically because someone somewhere thinks it's bad, I think you have to ask yourself "Why do I feel the need to do that?"

What puzzles me is that so many people want to send them to a therapist, which makes the a priori assumption there's something wrong with it. What is it that's wrong?

I think what some people enjoy about non-coital sex is that it feels good to be bad (both oral and anal sex are regarded by many in society as perverted because it isn't procreational). So, what's wrong with feeling you're being bad, and enjoying it, if no harm is done?

Where is the harm?

Things taht seem 'wrong' to most everyone, might be things taht we have genetic, instinctual, avoidances for.  Most people don't condone violence to children as that's generally counterproductive to our species (on a whole, there are of course exceptions).  The same is true with incest.  It's not the strongest survival technique, so instinct nudges against it..

What's wrong, specifically?  Well, those that prefer sexual fun with their close relatives will often reproduce with them too (especially in the per-contraceptives era).  Lack of genetic diversity can cause problems..  Hence an instinct to not mate with ones close relatives..

As for where is the harm done?    Well, people are pretty piss poor about usage of contraceptives..  And contraceptives aren't fool proof...  If those details weren't true, it may be a different story..  But that is a theoretical world that just isn't real.

It seems like some people will want to reintroduce the possibility of offspring even when I've defined it away.

Let me remind you of the original post:

I'm fairly sure most (all) of us feel parent/child incest is wrong, and for fairly obvious reasons. 

However, if a brother and sister are very careful about pregnancy prevention or, better, one or both of them is unable to conceive, what would be wrong with it?

BTW, I'm NOT trying to decide whether to do it with my sister (LOL). This is just a question that came to mind while in a discussion with another person.

I think brothers and sisters (or siblings in any combination of sexes) experimenting sexually on each other in their teen years is not terribly uncommon, even if it doesn't happen the majority of the time. However, let's not dwell on youngsters. My original post didn't dwell on teens but rather, by implication, on adults.

When it comes to kids, one can (cynically) say it's wrong on the assumption their parents wouldn't approve, that disapproval having quasi-religious roots. Once they are full adults, their parents' attitudes are far less relevant.

"State if mind" is a very loose term.  Does meeting a girl at a bar who has had a few drinks and had their boyfriend quit them last week constitute a 'state of mind' that should prevent me from wanting to hook up with her?  

Or are you speaking in terms of being mentally retarded.  The other point about doing it for the sake of deviance seems interesting as well because that's one reason we as humans do all sorts of things...because it's forbidden.  

I don't think it's totally 'wrong'...but I don't think I would say it is 'right' either..  

To what end? What would make them have sex with each other in the first place? My guess is a dysfunctional and abusive family system. For this, they need countless hours of therapy.

Well, to what end? Oh, sex with someone one trusts, perhaps? Since they're not going to have a baby, which has problems associated with it. why not? So far, it's clear you have problems with b/s sex, but it seems you are just against it without any obvious reason. Typically, dysfunction means that the behavior will cause them problems. However, so will interracial sex, interethnic sex, or interreligious sex. What's so special about b/s incest making it worse?

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