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Why is taboo erotic?

Why is taboo erotic?



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It comes in many forms: exhibitionism, voyeurism, public sex, rape, incest, to name a few. Any johnny with a John Thomas and internet has noticed how prevalent the incest premise has become on porn sites. But why is taboo sex appealing? How does it tickle one's fancy? Is it evolutionary?


Sexting is widespread. So why is it still taboo?

I have a tradition with a friend who’s several decades older than I am. Every month she and I meet for a couple of drinks and share racy stories: office gossip, family secrets, tales from our love lives. Recently, the topic turned to sexting — but she didn’t want to accept that’s what it was.

“I’ve taken a lover,” she blurted out, beaming as she confessed it was the first significant sexual relationship she’s had in nearly four years.

I asked her how this physical connection felt. She described it as “reinvigorating,” “intimate” and then paused as she said “playful,” pulling out her phone to show me their R-rated text exchanges.

“Don’t tell me this is the first time you’ve sexted,” I quipped.

She blushed. “This isn’t sexting, is it?” She explained that she and her partner don’t share nudes rather they would send suggestive phrases and the occasional erotic emoji.

“Well, according to the dictionary, you’re a full-blown sexter,” I told her, Googling the definition to prove it: sending someone explicit photographs or messages.

She was shocked at the suggestion that she, a middle-aged professional, might engage in the same behavior as a misguided teenager. I suspected her surprise stemmed from the negative connotations the term has earned in the media. But despite the bad PR around sexting, she does it, and she’s not alone in sending those provocative messages.

Recent research indicates that sexting among adults is pretty common. A study presented at last year’s American Psychological Association (APA) conference found that 88 percent of respondents, ages 18 to 82, reported sexting in the past 12 months. Researchers Emily Stasko and Pamela Geller of Drexel University concluded not only that it’s prevalent among adults, but that higher levels of sexting correlated with higher levels of sexual satisfaction.

This made me wonder why so many consenting adults — who sext and apparently derive satisfaction from it — still talk about it like it’s taboo. Given the fact that we use mobile devices to share almost every other aspect of our lives, the results of the study might not seem unexpected. Yet when APA sent out a press release with the findings, dozens of news outlets published stories hailing the results as surprising. How unthinkable: Sexting might not just be normal among adults, but a part of a satisfying sex life.

The study countered what the media often says about sexting: that it’s dangerous and illicit. And among underage individuals, it can be. This colors how mature, consenting adults view sexting as well — as something negative. “The only times it really is talked about, it’s scandalous — when there’s a sexting scandal or someone has an affair,” Stasko tells me. She’s a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology who presented the research. “Those are the times that there’s a lot of publicity and widespread conversation around sexuality among adults.”


There's Science That Explains Why Women Fantasize About Rough Sex

It's one of the most common sexual fantasies. Here's why.

If you're into rough sex, you're definitely not alone.

When I surveyed more than 4,000 Americans about their sexual fantasies for my book Tell Me What You Want, rough sex turned out to be one of the two most common things people had fantasized about. Most people&mdashregardless of gender and sexual orientation&mdashappear to have been turned on by the idea at some point.

The widespread appeal of rough sex can also be seen in people&rsquos porn viewing habits. For example, when you look at the most-viewed genres on Pornhub, &ldquorough sex&rdquo and &ldquohardcore&rdquo pretty consistently appear in the top third of categories year in and year out. Interestingly, women are even more likely to view this kind of porn than are men.

So why is rough sex arousing to so many people, and especially to women?

A recent study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science offers some answers.

Researchers surveyed 734 college students in New York about their attitudes toward and experiences with consensual rough sex. Most of the students identified as female (77%) and as heterosexual (92%).

A majority of the sample (51%) said they had engaged in rough sex before, with the most frequently reported rough sex behaviors including scratching, spanking, pushing, name calling, tearing clothes, tying up, blindfolding, and slapping.

Before we go further, I should note that the authors of this study talk about these behaviors as &ldquoplayful force&rdquo rather than as abuse or violence. Keep in mind that these are consensual behaviors that, more often than not, occurred in the context of a long-term relationship and rarely (less than 1% of the time) resulted in any kind of serious injury. In other words, we aren&rsquot talking about behaviors where people truly wanted or tried to hurt a partner.

In fact, people seemed to really be enjoying this kind of sex. When asked to compare how rough sex differs from &ldquotypical sex,&rdquo both men and women said that orgasms are more frequent and intense, partners make more effort to satisfy one another, the sex is more arousing, and the thrusting is more vigorous.

Plus, women said that they orgasm much faster when they have rough sex. Given that there&rsquos already a fairly big disparity in how long it takes men and women to reach orgasm (5-6 minutes vs. 13 minutes, respectively), perhaps this is one reason rough sex is so widely desired and why women search for it more than men when viewing porn: Rough sex just might help to close the orgasm gap.

Beyond these enhancing effects on orgasm, what else might draw people to rough sex?

Participants in this study were given a long list of potential triggers of rough sex and asked to report whether they&rsquod ever been prompted to have rough sex for each reason.

Among the most common triggers were trying something new, boredom, and playing out a fantasy. This tells us that rough sex is often just about feeding our need for sexual novelty. Humans&mdashmen and women alike&mdashhave a tendency to grow tired of sexual routines. We need to keep mixing things up in order to maintain sexual excitement, a phenomenon sex researchers refer to as The Coolidge Effect.

Another common trigger for rough sex, especially among men, was having been separated from one&rsquos partner, as well as suspecting that one&rsquos partner may have cheated. The authors of this study interpret these results through the same evolutionary lens: When men perceive a risk that their female partner has had sex with someone else, this triggers sperm competition. In other words, it leads men to engage in sexual behaviors&mdashlike deep and vigorous thrusting&mdashaimed at displacing any semen that may have been deposited by rival men so that their own sperm have a better shot at fertilization.

Drinking alcohol was another common trigger, which makes sense: Alcohol simultaneously lowers sexual inhibitions and dulls sexual sensations. This combination of factors ups the odds of trying something you might not otherwise do while sober, while also experimenting with more intense activities in order to counteract the depressing effect that alcohol has on our sexual system (which includes suppressing arousal and delaying orgasm).

Lastly, the other major set of triggers included situations where people were already in a heightened state of physiological arousal, such as after a fight, being angry at one&rsquos partner, and having just exercised. These triggers can be explained by something psychologists call excitation transfer, which occurs when carryover arousal from one situation amplifies our arousal or excitement in an unrelated situation. In other words, if your body is already amped up at the start of a sexual encounter, that&rsquos going to lay the groundwork for pursuing a more active and intense experience.

What all of this tells us is that there isn&rsquot just one reason why rough sex is such a popular sexual fantasy and porn theme. Instead, it turns out that there are a lot of different factors that draw people to it.

The key thing to take away from this is that rough sex appears to be a normative sexual interest and we need to be very careful to distinguish it from sexual violence and relationship abuse. Rough sex is not exploitative&mdashit is consensual and the people who have it are reporting an intense, mutually enjoyable experience.


Contents

The existence of the Westermarck effect has achieved some empirical support. [1] Observations interpreted as evidence for the Westermarck effect have since been made in many places and cultures, including in the Israeli kibbutz system, and the Chinese Shim-pua marriage customs, as well as in biologically-related families.

In the case of the Israeli kibbutzim (collective farms), children were reared somewhat communally in peer groups, based on age, not biological relations. A study of the marriage patterns of these children later in life revealed that out of the nearly 3,000 marriages that occurred across the kibbutz system, only 14 were between children from the same peer group. Of those 14, none had been reared together during the first six years of life. This result suggests that the Westermarck effect operates during the period from birth to the age of six. [2]

Sigmund Freud argued that as children, members of the same family naturally lust for one another (see Oedipus complex), making it necessary for societies to create incest taboos, [3] but Westermarck argued the reverse, that the taboos themselves arise naturally as products of innate attitudes.

Some sociologists and anthropologists have criticized the validity of research presented in support of the Westermarck effect and the contention that it serves as an ultimate demonstration for the viability of natural selection theory in explaining human behaviour. For example, a 2009 study by Eran Shor and Dalit Simchai demonstrated that although most peers who grew up closely together in the Israeli kibbutzim did not marry one another, they did report substantial attraction to co-reared peers. The authors conclude that the case of the kibbutzim actually provides little support for the Westermarck effect and that childhood proximity cannot in itself produce sexual avoidance without the existence of social pressures and norms. [4]

However, Austrian historian Walter Scheidel argues that recent research has raised some support for Westermarck's hypothesis, arguing that studies show that cousin-marriage in Lebanon has a lower success rate if the cousins were raised in sibling-like conditions, first-cousin unions being more successful in Pakistan if there was a substantial age difference, as well as reduced marital appeal for cousins who grew up sleeping in the same room in Morocco. Evidence also indicates that siblings separated for extended periods of time since childhood were more likely to report having engaged in sexual activity with one another. [5]

American psychologist Jesse Bering cites several studies that seem to contradict the standard view of the Westermarck effect as an innate learning process instead, it may be a cultural phenomenon. People seem to have sexual preferences toward faces that resemble their parents' or their own. If correct, this would suggest that Freud's idea of the Oedipus complex had some merit to it. [6]


Contents

Debate about the origin of the incest taboo has often been framed as a question of whether it is based in nature or nurture.

One explanation sees the incest taboo as a cultural implementation of a biologically evolved preference for sexual partners with whom one is unlikely to share genes, since inbreeding may have detrimental outcomes. The most widely held hypothesis proposes that the so-called Westermarck effect discourages adults from engaging in sexual relations with individuals with whom they grew up. The existence of the Westermarck effect has achieved some empirical support. [2]

Another school argues that the incest prohibition is a cultural construct which arises as a side effect of a general human preference for group exogamy, which arises because intermarriage between groups construct valuable alliances that improve the ability for both groups to thrive. According to this view, the incest taboo is not necessarily universal, but is likely to arise and become more strict under cultural circumstances that favour exogamy over endogamy, and likely to become more lax under circumstances that favor endogamy. This hypothesis has also achieved some empirical support. [ citation needed ]

Limits to biological evolution of taboo Edit

While it is theoretically possible that natural selection may, under certain genetic circumstances, select for individuals that instinctively avoid mating with (close) relatives, biological evolution cannot select for punishing others for incest, since even genetically weakened, inbred individuals are better watchposts against predators than none at all, and weak individuals are useful for the stronger individuals in the group as looking out for predators without being able to seriously compete with the stronger individuals. [3] [4] [ dubious – discuss ] Punishing both parties in an incestous relation cannot even be beneficial for the genes of individuals punishing a somewhat more distant relative for mating with a closer relative, since punishing the closer relative as well is counterproductive to any function of protecting the closer relative and the health of its offspring (in a context where predation and starvation are significant factors, as opposed to a rich welfare state). [5] [6] Genetic sexual attraction theory is also incompatible with the theory of smell being a significant factor in avoiding inbreeding. [7]

Modern anthropology developed at a time when a great many human societies were illiterate, and much of the research on incest taboos has taken place in societies without legal codes, and, therefore, without written laws concerning marriage and incest. Nevertheless, anthropologists have found that the institution of marriage, and rules concerning appropriate and inappropriate sexual behavior, exist in every society. [8] The following excerpt from Notes and Queries on Anthropology (1951), a well-established field manual for ethnographic research, illustrates the scope of ethnographic investigation into the matter:

Incest is sexual intercourse between individuals related in certain prohibited degrees of kinship. In every society there are rules prohibiting incestuous unions, both as to sexual intercourse and recognized marriage. The two prohibitions do not necessarily coincide. There is no uniformity as to which degrees are involved in the prohibitions. The rules regulating incest must be investigated in every society by means of the genealogical method. The prohibition may be so narrow as to include only one type of parent–child relationship (though this is very rare), or those within the elementary family or so wide as to include all with whom genealogical or classificatory kinship can be traced. The more usual practice is that unions with certain relatives only are considered incestuous, the relationships being regulated by the type of descent emphasized. In some societies unions with certain persons related by affinity are also considered incestuous. What penalties fall on (a) the individuals concerned (b) the community as a whole? Are such penalties enforced by authority, or are they believed to ensure automatically by all action of supernatural force? Is there any correlation between the severity of the penalty and the nearness of the blood-tie of the partners in guilt? Should children be born as the result of incestuous unions, how are they treated? Are there any methods, ritual or legal, by which persons who fall within the prohibited degrees and wish to marry can break the relationship and become free to marry? [9]

As this excerpt suggests, anthropologists distinguish between social norms and actual social behavior much social theory explores the difference and relationship between the two. For example, what is the purpose of prohibitions that are routinely violated (as for example when people claim that incest is taboo yet engage in incestuous behavior)?

It should be further noted that in these theories anthropologists are generally concerned solely with brother–sister incest, and are not claiming that all sexual relations among family members are taboo or even necessarily considered incestuous by that society. These theories are further complicated by the fact that in many societies people related to one another in different ways, and sometimes distantly, are classified together as siblings, and others who are just as closely related genetically are not considered family members.

Moreover, the definition restricts itself to sexual intercourse this does not mean that other forms of sexual contact do not occur, or are proscribed, or prescribed. For example, in some Inuit societies in the Arctic, and traditionally in Bali, mothers would routinely stroke the penises of their infant sons such behavior was considered no more sexual than breast-feeding. [10] [11]

It should also be noted that, in these theories, anthropologists are primarily concerned with marriage rules and not actual sexual behavior. In short, anthropologists were not studying "incest" per se they were asking informants what they meant by "incest", and what the consequences of "incest" were, in order to map out social relationships within the community.

This excerpt also suggests that the relationship between sexual and marriage practices is complex, and that societies distinguish between different sorts of prohibitions. In other words, although an individual may be prohibited from marrying or having sexual relations with many people, different sexual relations may be prohibited for different reasons, and with different penalties.

For example, Trobriand Islanders prohibit both sexual relations between a woman and her brother, [12] and between a woman and her father, [13] but they describe these prohibitions in very different ways: relations between a woman and her brother fall within the category of forbidden relations among members of the same clan relations between a woman and her father do not. [13] This is because the Trobrianders are matrilineal children belong to the clan of their mother and not of their father. Thus, sexual relations between a man and his mother's sister (and mother's sister's daughter) are also considered incestuous, but relations between a man and his father's sister are not. [14] A man and his father's sister will often have a flirtatious relationship, and, far from being taboo, Trobriand society encourages a man and his father's sister or the daughter of his father's sister to have sexual relations or marry. [15]

Instinctual and genetic explanations Edit

An explanation for the taboo is that it is due to an instinctual, inborn aversion that would lower the adverse genetic effects of inbreeding such as a higher incidence of congenital birth defects (see article Inbreeding depression). Since the rise of modern genetics, belief in this theory has grown. [16] [17] [18] [19] [ failed verification ]

Birth defects and inbreeding Edit

The increase in frequency of birth defects often attributed to inbreeding results directly from an increase in the frequency of homozygous alleles inherited by the offspring of inbred couples. [20] This leads to an increase in homozygous allele frequency within a population, and results in diverging effects. Should a child inherit the version of homozygous alleles responsible for a birth defect from its parents, the birth defect will be expressed on the other hand, should the child inherit the version of homozygous alleles not responsible for a birth defect, it would actually decrease the ratio of the allele version responsible for the birth defect in that population. The overall consequences of these diverging effects depends in part on the size of the population.

In small populations, as long as children born with inheritable birth defects die (or are killed) before they reproduce, the ultimate effect of inbreeding will be to decrease the frequency of defective genes in the population over time, the gene pool will be healthier. However, in larger populations, it is more likely that large numbers of carriers will survive and mate, leading to more constant rates of birth defects. [21] Besides recessive genes, there are also other reasons why inbreeding may be harmful, such as a narrow range of certain immune systems genes in a population increasing vulnerability to infectious diseases (see Major histocompatibility complex and sexual selection). The biological costs of incest also depend largely on the degree of genetic proximity between the two relatives engaging in incest. This fact may explain why the cultural taboo generally includes prohibitions against sex between close relatives but less often includes prohibitions against sex between more distal relatives. [22] Children born of close relatives have decreased survival. [18] [19] Many mammal species, including humanity's closest primate relatives, avoid incest. [2]

Westermarck effect Edit

The Westermarck effect, first proposed by Edvard Westermarck in 1891, is the theory that children reared together, regardless of biological relationship, form a sentimental attachment that is by its nature non-erotic. [23] Melford Spiro argued that his observations that unrelated children reared together on Israeli Kibbutzim nevertheless avoided one another as sexual partners confirmed the Westermarck effect. [24] Joseph Shepher in a study examined the second generation in a kibbutz and found no marriages and no sexual activity between the adolescents in the same peer group. This was not enforced but voluntary. Looking at the second generation adults in all kibbutzim, out of a total of 2769 marriages, none were between those of the same peer group. [25]

However, according to a book review by John Hartung of a book by Shepher, out of 2516 marriages documented in Israel, 200 were between couples reared in the same kibbutz. These marriages occurred after young adults reared on kibbutzim had served in the military and encountered tens of thousands of other potential mates, and 200 marriages is higher than what would be expected by chance. Of these 200 marriages, five were between men and women who had been reared together for the first six years of their lives, which would argue against the Westermarck effect. [26]

A study in Taiwan of marriages where the future bride is adopted in the groom's family as an infant or small child found that these marriages have higher infidelity and divorce and lower fertility than ordinary marriages it has been argued that this observation is consistent with the Westermarck effect. [27]

Third-parties' objections Edit

Another approach is looking at moral objections to third-party incest. This increases the longer a child has grown up together with another child of the opposite sex. This occurs even if the other child is genetically unrelated. [19] Humans have been argued to have a special kin detection system that besides the incest taboo also regulates a tendency towards altruism towards kin. [28]

Counter arguments Edit

One objection against an instinctive and genetic basis for the incest taboo is that incest does occur. [29] [30] [31] Anthropologists have also argued that the social construct "incest" (and the incest taboo) is not the same thing as the biological phenomenon of "inbreeding". For example, there is equal genetic relation between a man and the daughter of his father's sister and between a man and the daughter of his mother's sister, such that biologists would consider mating incestuous in both instances, but Trobrianders consider mating incestuous in one case and not in the other. Anthropologists have documented a great number of societies where marriages between some first cousins are prohibited as incestuous, while marriages between other first cousins are encouraged. Therefore, it is argued that the prohibition against incestuous relations in most societies is not based on or motivated by concerns over biological closeness. [32] Other studies on cousin marriages have found support for a biological basis for the taboo. [33] [34] [35] Also, current supporters of genetic influences on behavior do not argue that genes determine behavior absolutely, but that genes may create predispositions that are affected in various ways by the environment (including culture). [36]

Steve Stewart-Williams argues against the view that incest taboo is a Western phenomenon, arguing that while brother-sister marriage was reported in a diverse range of cultures such Egyptian, Incan, and Hawaiian cultures, it was not a culture-wide phenomenon, being largely restricted to the upper classes. Stewart-Williams argues that these marriages were largely political (their function being to keep power and wealth concentrated in the family) and there is no evidence the siblings were attracted to each other and there is in fact some evidence against it (for example, Cleopatra married two of her brothers but did not have children with them, only having children with unrelated lovers). Stewart-Williams suggests that this was therefore simply a case of social pressure overriding anti-incest instincts. Stewart-Williams also observes that anti-incest behaviour has been observed in other animals and even many plant species (many plants could self-pollinate but have mechanisms that prevent them from doing so). [37]

Sociological explanations Edit

Psychoanalytic theory—in particular, the claimed existence of an Oedipus complex, which is not an instinctual aversion against incest but an instinctual desire—has influenced many theorists seeking to explain the incest taboo using sociological theories. [2]

Exogamy Edit

The anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss developed a general argument for the universality of the incest taboo in human societies. His argument begins with the claim that the incest taboo is in effect a prohibition against endogamy, and the effect is to encourage exogamy. Through exogamy, otherwise unrelated households or lineages will form relationships through marriage, thus strengthening social solidarity. That is, Lévi-Strauss views marriage as an exchange of women between two social groups. This theory is based in part on Marcel Mauss's theory of The Gift, which (in Lévi-Strauss' words) argued:

that exchange in primitive societies consists not so much in economic transactions as in reciprocal gifts, that these reciprocal gifts have a far more important function than in our own, and that this primitive form of exchange is not merely nor essentially of an economic nature but is what he aptly calls "a total social fact", that is, an event which has a significance that is at once social and religious, magic and economic, utilitarian and sentimental, jural and moral. [38]

It is also based on Lévi-Strauss's analysis of data on different kinship systems and marriage practices documented by anthropologists and historians. Lévi-Strauss called attention specifically to data collected by Margaret Mead during her research among the Arapesh. When she asked if a man ever sleeps with his sister, Arapesh replied: "No we don't sleep with our sisters. We give our sisters to other men, and other men give us their sisters." Mead pressed the question repeatedly, asking what would happen if a brother and sister did have sex with one another. Lévi-Strauss quotes the Arapesh response:

What, you would like to marry your sister? What is the matter with you anyway? Don't you want a brother-in-law? Don't you realize that if you marry another man's sister and another man marries your sister, you will have at least two brothers-in-law, while if you marry your own sister you will have none? With whom will you hunt, with whom will you garden, who will you visit? [39]

By applying Mauss's theory to data such as Mead's, Lévi-Strauss proposed what he called alliance theory. He argued that, in "primitive" societies, marriage is not fundamentally a relationship between a man and a woman, but a transaction involving a woman that forges a relationship—an alliance—between two men. [40] His Elementary Structures of Kinship takes this as a starting point and uses it to analyze kinship systems of increasing complexity found in so-called primitive societies (that is, those not based on agriculture, class inequalities, and centralized government). [ citation needed ]

This theory was debated intensely by anthropologists in the 1950s. It appealed to many because it used the study of incest taboos and marriage to answer more fundamental research interests of anthropologists at the time: how can an anthropologist map out the social relationships within a given community, and how do these relationships promote or endanger social solidarity? [41] [42] Nevertheless, anthropologists never reached a consensus, and with the Vietnam War and the process of decolonization in Africa, Asia, and Oceania, anthropological interests shifted away from mapping local social relationships. [ citation needed ]

Some anthropologists argue that nuclear family incest avoidance can be explained in terms of the ecological, demographic, and economic benefits of exogamy. [43]

While Lévi-Strauss generally discounted the relevance of alliance theory in Africa, a particularly strong concern for incest is a fundamental issue among the age systems of East Africa. Here, the avoidance between men of an age-set and their daughters is altogether more intense than in any other sexual avoidance. Paraphrasing Lévi-Strauss's argument, without this avoidance, the rivalries for power between age-sets, coupled with the close bonds of sharing between age-mates, could lead to a sharing of daughters as spouses. Young men entering the age system would then find a dire shortage of marriageable girls, and extended families would be in danger of dying out. Thus, by parading this avoidance of their daughters, senior men make these girls available for younger age-sets and their marriages form alliances that mitigate the rivalries for power. [44]

Endogamy Edit

Exogamy between households or descent groups is typically prescribed in classless societies. Societies that are stratified—that is, divided into unequal classes—often prescribe different degrees of endogamy. Endogamy is the opposite of exogamy it refers to the practice of marriage between members of the same social group. A classic example is India's caste system, in which unequal castes are endogamous. [45] Inequality between ethnic groups and races also correlates with endogamy. [46]

An extreme example of this principle, and an exception to the incest taboo, is found among members of the ruling class in certain ancient states, such as the Inca, Egypt, China, and Hawaii brother–sister marriage (usually between half-siblings) was a means of maintaining wealth and political power within one family. [47] Some scholars have argued that in Roman-governed Egypt this practice was also found among commoners, [48] [49] [50] [51] [52] [53] [54] but others have argued that this was in fact not the norm. [55] [56] [57]


Ask Anna: Why does my husband like to watch me with other men?

My husband has always been really into seeing me with other people, and though I’ve never really understood, I entertain it because I love him and want him fulfilled. However, I would really like to understand so I feel a little more comfortable with the situation! Can you help me?—A Married Man’s Kinks

Of course, but your husband would probably be a better source for that information! Have you asked him about it?

I can speak about the concept, generally, however. Seeing and being turned on by one’s partner having sex with other people is more broadly known as cuckoldry (among straight, “monogamous” types). It can also be called compersion (among poly types).

Compersion is when you witness someone else’s joy and it makes you feel joyful yourself. (A fun experiment that proves this is to gather a few friends and start fake laughing. Your fake guffaws will turn into real laughter in a matter of seconds! Because joy is really contagious, like the greeting cards say.) Compersion is the opposite of jealousy. Cuckoldry is when you witness someone else’s joy and it makes you feel bad (humiliated, degraded), and then good (degradation can be hot!).

If your husband is into seeing you with other people because it makes him feel bad-then-good, he’s probably a cuck. The reason this is enjoyable is because it’s humiliating. Cuckoldry takes our deep shames and insecurities and then eroticizes them. Watching a partner with someone else, being present and orchestrating that humiliation themselves, is a way to take back power in a situation where they might otherwise feel powerless. It’s mental masochism.

Whereas some people like physical pain (floggers and canes and whips and good ol’ spanking or slapping) others like mental pain (wanting to be called a slut, for instance). Psychological suffering can be immensely powerful. Desire starts in the mind, after all.


'Incest Porn' Is on the Rise, And These Are the Reasons Why

Back in January, we told you about the 6 biggest porn trends we’d be seeing throughout the year, and one of the most notable of those was the growing popularity of fake incest porn, also known as “fauxcest,” and how it’s going to be one of the top porn genres in 2018.

This is interesting, considering incest is a huuuge taboo and most cultures have prohibitions against incest, and how most people gag and/or shudder at the thought of having sex with an immediate family member. Even in Game of Thrones when we first saw Jaime and Cersei get it on, fans were more or less repulsed (though we got used it later on).

To illustrate just how exponentially popular incest porn is becoming, here are some studies to take into consideration. A report by adult content provider GameLink.com uncovered an average increase in the consumption of “family role-play porn” of 178 percent between October 2014 and January 2015, with the highest increases observed in Utah with 765 percent, Michigan with 698 percent, New York with 669 percent, Alaska with 524 percent, and Arkansas with 452 percent.

Furthermore, a 2013 analysis called Deep Inside: A Study of 10,000 Porn Stars and Their Careers found that out of 20 of the most common female roles in porn, the sixth most common is “daughter,” and the tenth is “sister.”

“Family roleplay themes and voyeuristic 'almost caught' scenarios were among the most popular online and within my brands,” head of production at Gamma Films Group, Bree Mills, told Men’s Health at the AVN Awards.

Speaking with Esquire, Dr. Paul Wright of Indiana University explains: “As types of pornography that were less common in the past—for example violence, this or that fetish—become more and more common and easily accessible, consumers get bored by them and need the extremity and deviance upped a notch to once again become aroused and excited. Few sexual acts are more extreme or deviant than incest."

But even though the greater majority of the population say they think incest porn is downright distasteful and frankly quite gross, why is it so explosively popular? What’s going on?

“Intimacy between step-relations is very taboo in contemporary US culture, and yet many people live in step-blended families,” sociologist Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals told Vice. “There's something about stimuli for such a highly taboo topic simultaneously being so commonplace that may resonate with some people. In terms of 'why now,' certainly technology, accessibility, and the availability of the content itself all play a part."

So, from this, we can conclude that taboo things are exciting and arousing, which is absolutely accurate. There's just something about the impermissible that makes it mind-numbingly hot for the creative powers of the human mind.

(Photo: NorthPole Entertainment)

Elaborating further, porn star Tasha Reign says: "People love taboo. People are aroused by things that they 'shouldn't' be aroused by. There's a lot of shame and guilt in watching it, but there shouldn't be because it's a fantasy, and you leave it in your bedroom. It's exciting that people are being able to explore themselves a bit more, even if it's just at home through a movie.”

"A lot of the fauxcest boom is a reflection of what our preoccupations are in mainstream society," another porn star, Dana Vespoli, told Mic. "But because of what people typically do when they watch this content (i.e. masturbate), it's a more primitive response. People are fighting against whatever rigid boundaries are in their lives. It's the need to break against convention and feel free in a safe and legal place."

But aside from the cultural aspects of what makes incest porn so popular, we still don't know the psychological underpinnings of why it's so endearing. which is where some hard science comes in.

We know Sigmund Freud had his theories on repressed incestuous urges, but most of those theories were discredited over the years, even though his lexicon is still a massive part of our daily vocabulary. But that’s beside the point.

Freud believed incest wouldn’t be such a serious cultural taboo if people weren’t sexually attracted to relatives in the first place, and recent scientific evidence actually suggests he was at least partially right about familial attraction. We are somewhat attracted to people who resemble us.

"I told you so." -Sigmund Freud

However, other studies suggest humans have an innate repulsion to incest: 19th century sociologist Edward Westermarck argued that we have an evolutionary biological mechanism to help us avoid incest, because mating with someone who shares a genetic profile too similar to yours (like a sibling or parent) leads to producing offspring with serious genetic abnormalities, which does nothing to help the survival instincts we’re biologically wired with.

That said, other scientists have also argued that we subconsciously use biological cues to estimate the relatedness of those around us, and if the relatedness is assumed to be too high, the very thought of any sexual relations with the person triggers innate incest avoidance mechanisms, a.k.a. disgust.

Now, when it comes to incest porn, though, it's not actual incest, so it doesn't tap into any of the incest avoidance mechanisms. It's just role-play where two unrelated porn stars play into the darker side of your imagination, thereby fulfilling your forbidden thoughts, which are the thoughts you have that are contrary to social customs and your own moral principles.

And since incest porn is 1) not real incest, and 2) frowned upon in the real world, many people enjoy masturbating to it. In other words, it has the ultimate taboo factor that pushes boundaries without going overboard, making it devilishly satisfying to those who are into it.

"The industry does these movies because that's what sells," says Dan O'Connell, founder of Girlfriends Films. "And, very simply, they sell for their taboo factor."


Incest Is the Fastest Growing Trend in Porn. Wait, What?

Few acts are more extreme or deviant, psychologists say. And yet here we are.

Bree Mills was taking a victory lap.

While the adult film director and producer had been nominated at last year&rsquos AVN Awards, which is often referred to as the Oscars of porn, this year&rsquos ceremony was a coronation. At the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas in late January, Mills took home the top award, movie of the year, for Half His Age: A Teenage Tragedy, a film about a student-teacher relationship and a pair of raunchy step-siblings. She also won "Best New Imprint" for her company Pure Taboo, which produces films that feature, among other topics, &ldquofamily role play.&rdquo And she picked up another win for "Best Taboo Relations&rdquo&mdasha category that didn&rsquot even exist until 2015&mdashfor Dysfucktional: Blood Is Thicker Than Cum.

Incest porn, it seems, is having a moment.

"You can ask any young female performer what bookings she has this month, and she&rsquoll tell you she&rsquos playing 17 step-daughters," Whitney Wright, who&rsquos filmed three performances for Pure Taboo, told Esquire. Since she came into the industry in 2016, the majority of her roles have involved some sort of family element. "Everybody has become pretty used to it."

Incest isn't new territory for porn. And it's not just straight porn, either. In 2009, Czech studio Bel Ami's website doubled its traffic to 1.5 million monthly users, all flocking to witness the "twincest" videos of Elijah and Milo Peters&mdashthe latest in a dozen or so pairs of actual brothers to appear in gay porn together since the 1970s. But across the board, the floodgates have opened. In 2014, incest terms started showing up in Pornhub's top searches&mdash"stepmom" came in 4th place, "mom" in 5th&mdashand have been popular ever since. On the front page of Gamelink you&rsquoll find new releases like Mommy Blows Best and My Dad, Your Dad: Calm Down, There Are Enough Dads for Everyone. Nearly every popular studio now features a family-style imprint too, from Team Skeet's Sis Loves Me series to Brazzers' Mommy Got Boobs.

It&rsquos like the feeding frenzy that happened among record labels after a certain style of music broke&mdash "Get me the next Nirvana," but the horny uncle version.

From the Bible to Back to the Future, incest has been an ever-present element of storytelling, and one that has always been frowned upon. Every state in the U.S. has a prohibition against incestuous relations on the books, which explains why a significant percentage of "family role play"-style films tiptoe around actual incest. Instead, they frame characters as non-blood relations. Technically speaking, it's "fauxcest."

"Every scene I do is always a 'step,' it&rsquos never my real father," explained Riley Reid, one of the most popular adult actresses in the business. "And usually they're fairly new [relations]&mdashlike, 'my mom's new husband,' so it's not somebody who has raised me."

"I think you legally have to say, 'This is crazy, you&rsquore my step-brother' a certain number of times," Wright added. "You also have to somehow fit in there that both are over the age of 18, like, 'Now that so-and-so's back from college.'"

Production companies that don&rsquot draw such a line can run into problems legally, performers and directors I talked to explained. Some credit card companies won't even process payments for that type of material. But that hasn't stopped smaller niche outfits, or independent performers themselves, from eschewing even that disclaimer&mdashin large part because there's such a high demand.

This latest trend is just a natural progression in our society's relationship with porn, according to Paul Wright, Ph.D. of the Media School at Indiana University.

&ldquoAs types of pornography that were less common in the past&mdashfor example violence, this or that fetish&mdashbecome more and more common and easily accessible, consumers get bored by them and need the extremity and deviance upped a notch to once again become aroused and excited," says Wright. "Few sexual acts are more extreme or deviant than incest."

"Few sexual acts are more extreme or deviant than incest."

Lonnie Barbach, a doctor of clinical psychology who has written numerous books on sexuality and female sexuality in particular, echoes Wright's sentiment.

"Pornography keeps pushing the boundaries&mdashit&rsquos been doing that for a number of decades, to now where it&rsquos gotten to incest," she said. "Sex has alway been about the forbidden, and here it&rsquos just about as forbidden as you can get."


Ask Anna: Why does my husband like to watch me with other men?

My husband has always been really into seeing me with other people, and though I’ve never really understood, I entertain it because I love him and want him fulfilled. However, I would really like to understand so I feel a little more comfortable with the situation! Can you help me?—A Married Man’s Kinks

Of course, but your husband would probably be a better source for that information! Have you asked him about it?

I can speak about the concept, generally, however. Seeing and being turned on by one’s partner having sex with other people is more broadly known as cuckoldry (among straight, “monogamous” types). It can also be called compersion (among poly types).

Compersion is when you witness someone else’s joy and it makes you feel joyful yourself. (A fun experiment that proves this is to gather a few friends and start fake laughing. Your fake guffaws will turn into real laughter in a matter of seconds! Because joy is really contagious, like the greeting cards say.) Compersion is the opposite of jealousy. Cuckoldry is when you witness someone else’s joy and it makes you feel bad (humiliated, degraded), and then good (degradation can be hot!).

If your husband is into seeing you with other people because it makes him feel bad-then-good, he’s probably a cuck. The reason this is enjoyable is because it’s humiliating. Cuckoldry takes our deep shames and insecurities and then eroticizes them. Watching a partner with someone else, being present and orchestrating that humiliation themselves, is a way to take back power in a situation where they might otherwise feel powerless. It’s mental masochism.

Whereas some people like physical pain (floggers and canes and whips and good ol’ spanking or slapping) others like mental pain (wanting to be called a slut, for instance). Psychological suffering can be immensely powerful. Desire starts in the mind, after all.


Contents

Debate about the origin of the incest taboo has often been framed as a question of whether it is based in nature or nurture.

One explanation sees the incest taboo as a cultural implementation of a biologically evolved preference for sexual partners with whom one is unlikely to share genes, since inbreeding may have detrimental outcomes. The most widely held hypothesis proposes that the so-called Westermarck effect discourages adults from engaging in sexual relations with individuals with whom they grew up. The existence of the Westermarck effect has achieved some empirical support. [2]

Another school argues that the incest prohibition is a cultural construct which arises as a side effect of a general human preference for group exogamy, which arises because intermarriage between groups construct valuable alliances that improve the ability for both groups to thrive. According to this view, the incest taboo is not necessarily universal, but is likely to arise and become more strict under cultural circumstances that favour exogamy over endogamy, and likely to become more lax under circumstances that favor endogamy. This hypothesis has also achieved some empirical support. [ citation needed ]

Limits to biological evolution of taboo Edit

While it is theoretically possible that natural selection may, under certain genetic circumstances, select for individuals that instinctively avoid mating with (close) relatives, biological evolution cannot select for punishing others for incest, since even genetically weakened, inbred individuals are better watchposts against predators than none at all, and weak individuals are useful for the stronger individuals in the group as looking out for predators without being able to seriously compete with the stronger individuals. [3] [4] [ dubious – discuss ] Punishing both parties in an incestous relation cannot even be beneficial for the genes of individuals punishing a somewhat more distant relative for mating with a closer relative, since punishing the closer relative as well is counterproductive to any function of protecting the closer relative and the health of its offspring (in a context where predation and starvation are significant factors, as opposed to a rich welfare state). [5] [6] Genetic sexual attraction theory is also incompatible with the theory of smell being a significant factor in avoiding inbreeding. [7]

Modern anthropology developed at a time when a great many human societies were illiterate, and much of the research on incest taboos has taken place in societies without legal codes, and, therefore, without written laws concerning marriage and incest. Nevertheless, anthropologists have found that the institution of marriage, and rules concerning appropriate and inappropriate sexual behavior, exist in every society. [8] The following excerpt from Notes and Queries on Anthropology (1951), a well-established field manual for ethnographic research, illustrates the scope of ethnographic investigation into the matter:

Incest is sexual intercourse between individuals related in certain prohibited degrees of kinship. In every society there are rules prohibiting incestuous unions, both as to sexual intercourse and recognized marriage. The two prohibitions do not necessarily coincide. There is no uniformity as to which degrees are involved in the prohibitions. The rules regulating incest must be investigated in every society by means of the genealogical method. The prohibition may be so narrow as to include only one type of parent–child relationship (though this is very rare), or those within the elementary family or so wide as to include all with whom genealogical or classificatory kinship can be traced. The more usual practice is that unions with certain relatives only are considered incestuous, the relationships being regulated by the type of descent emphasized. In some societies unions with certain persons related by affinity are also considered incestuous. What penalties fall on (a) the individuals concerned (b) the community as a whole? Are such penalties enforced by authority, or are they believed to ensure automatically by all action of supernatural force? Is there any correlation between the severity of the penalty and the nearness of the blood-tie of the partners in guilt? Should children be born as the result of incestuous unions, how are they treated? Are there any methods, ritual or legal, by which persons who fall within the prohibited degrees and wish to marry can break the relationship and become free to marry? [9]

As this excerpt suggests, anthropologists distinguish between social norms and actual social behavior much social theory explores the difference and relationship between the two. For example, what is the purpose of prohibitions that are routinely violated (as for example when people claim that incest is taboo yet engage in incestuous behavior)?

It should be further noted that in these theories anthropologists are generally concerned solely with brother–sister incest, and are not claiming that all sexual relations among family members are taboo or even necessarily considered incestuous by that society. These theories are further complicated by the fact that in many societies people related to one another in different ways, and sometimes distantly, are classified together as siblings, and others who are just as closely related genetically are not considered family members.

Moreover, the definition restricts itself to sexual intercourse this does not mean that other forms of sexual contact do not occur, or are proscribed, or prescribed. For example, in some Inuit societies in the Arctic, and traditionally in Bali, mothers would routinely stroke the penises of their infant sons such behavior was considered no more sexual than breast-feeding. [10] [11]

It should also be noted that, in these theories, anthropologists are primarily concerned with marriage rules and not actual sexual behavior. In short, anthropologists were not studying "incest" per se they were asking informants what they meant by "incest", and what the consequences of "incest" were, in order to map out social relationships within the community.

This excerpt also suggests that the relationship between sexual and marriage practices is complex, and that societies distinguish between different sorts of prohibitions. In other words, although an individual may be prohibited from marrying or having sexual relations with many people, different sexual relations may be prohibited for different reasons, and with different penalties.

For example, Trobriand Islanders prohibit both sexual relations between a woman and her brother, [12] and between a woman and her father, [13] but they describe these prohibitions in very different ways: relations between a woman and her brother fall within the category of forbidden relations among members of the same clan relations between a woman and her father do not. [13] This is because the Trobrianders are matrilineal children belong to the clan of their mother and not of their father. Thus, sexual relations between a man and his mother's sister (and mother's sister's daughter) are also considered incestuous, but relations between a man and his father's sister are not. [14] A man and his father's sister will often have a flirtatious relationship, and, far from being taboo, Trobriand society encourages a man and his father's sister or the daughter of his father's sister to have sexual relations or marry. [15]

Instinctual and genetic explanations Edit

An explanation for the taboo is that it is due to an instinctual, inborn aversion that would lower the adverse genetic effects of inbreeding such as a higher incidence of congenital birth defects (see article Inbreeding depression). Since the rise of modern genetics, belief in this theory has grown. [16] [17] [18] [19] [ failed verification ]

Birth defects and inbreeding Edit

The increase in frequency of birth defects often attributed to inbreeding results directly from an increase in the frequency of homozygous alleles inherited by the offspring of inbred couples. [20] This leads to an increase in homozygous allele frequency within a population, and results in diverging effects. Should a child inherit the version of homozygous alleles responsible for a birth defect from its parents, the birth defect will be expressed on the other hand, should the child inherit the version of homozygous alleles not responsible for a birth defect, it would actually decrease the ratio of the allele version responsible for the birth defect in that population. The overall consequences of these diverging effects depends in part on the size of the population.

In small populations, as long as children born with inheritable birth defects die (or are killed) before they reproduce, the ultimate effect of inbreeding will be to decrease the frequency of defective genes in the population over time, the gene pool will be healthier. However, in larger populations, it is more likely that large numbers of carriers will survive and mate, leading to more constant rates of birth defects. [21] Besides recessive genes, there are also other reasons why inbreeding may be harmful, such as a narrow range of certain immune systems genes in a population increasing vulnerability to infectious diseases (see Major histocompatibility complex and sexual selection). The biological costs of incest also depend largely on the degree of genetic proximity between the two relatives engaging in incest. This fact may explain why the cultural taboo generally includes prohibitions against sex between close relatives but less often includes prohibitions against sex between more distal relatives. [22] Children born of close relatives have decreased survival. [18] [19] Many mammal species, including humanity's closest primate relatives, avoid incest. [2]

Westermarck effect Edit

The Westermarck effect, first proposed by Edvard Westermarck in 1891, is the theory that children reared together, regardless of biological relationship, form a sentimental attachment that is by its nature non-erotic. [23] Melford Spiro argued that his observations that unrelated children reared together on Israeli Kibbutzim nevertheless avoided one another as sexual partners confirmed the Westermarck effect. [24] Joseph Shepher in a study examined the second generation in a kibbutz and found no marriages and no sexual activity between the adolescents in the same peer group. This was not enforced but voluntary. Looking at the second generation adults in all kibbutzim, out of a total of 2769 marriages, none were between those of the same peer group. [25]

However, according to a book review by John Hartung of a book by Shepher, out of 2516 marriages documented in Israel, 200 were between couples reared in the same kibbutz. These marriages occurred after young adults reared on kibbutzim had served in the military and encountered tens of thousands of other potential mates, and 200 marriages is higher than what would be expected by chance. Of these 200 marriages, five were between men and women who had been reared together for the first six years of their lives, which would argue against the Westermarck effect. [26]

A study in Taiwan of marriages where the future bride is adopted in the groom's family as an infant or small child found that these marriages have higher infidelity and divorce and lower fertility than ordinary marriages it has been argued that this observation is consistent with the Westermarck effect. [27]

Third-parties' objections Edit

Another approach is looking at moral objections to third-party incest. This increases the longer a child has grown up together with another child of the opposite sex. This occurs even if the other child is genetically unrelated. [19] Humans have been argued to have a special kin detection system that besides the incest taboo also regulates a tendency towards altruism towards kin. [28]

Counter arguments Edit

One objection against an instinctive and genetic basis for the incest taboo is that incest does occur. [29] [30] [31] Anthropologists have also argued that the social construct "incest" (and the incest taboo) is not the same thing as the biological phenomenon of "inbreeding". For example, there is equal genetic relation between a man and the daughter of his father's sister and between a man and the daughter of his mother's sister, such that biologists would consider mating incestuous in both instances, but Trobrianders consider mating incestuous in one case and not in the other. Anthropologists have documented a great number of societies where marriages between some first cousins are prohibited as incestuous, while marriages between other first cousins are encouraged. Therefore, it is argued that the prohibition against incestuous relations in most societies is not based on or motivated by concerns over biological closeness. [32] Other studies on cousin marriages have found support for a biological basis for the taboo. [33] [34] [35] Also, current supporters of genetic influences on behavior do not argue that genes determine behavior absolutely, but that genes may create predispositions that are affected in various ways by the environment (including culture). [36]

Steve Stewart-Williams argues against the view that incest taboo is a Western phenomenon, arguing that while brother-sister marriage was reported in a diverse range of cultures such Egyptian, Incan, and Hawaiian cultures, it was not a culture-wide phenomenon, being largely restricted to the upper classes. Stewart-Williams argues that these marriages were largely political (their function being to keep power and wealth concentrated in the family) and there is no evidence the siblings were attracted to each other and there is in fact some evidence against it (for example, Cleopatra married two of her brothers but did not have children with them, only having children with unrelated lovers). Stewart-Williams suggests that this was therefore simply a case of social pressure overriding anti-incest instincts. Stewart-Williams also observes that anti-incest behaviour has been observed in other animals and even many plant species (many plants could self-pollinate but have mechanisms that prevent them from doing so). [37]

Sociological explanations Edit

Psychoanalytic theory—in particular, the claimed existence of an Oedipus complex, which is not an instinctual aversion against incest but an instinctual desire—has influenced many theorists seeking to explain the incest taboo using sociological theories. [2]

Exogamy Edit

The anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss developed a general argument for the universality of the incest taboo in human societies. His argument begins with the claim that the incest taboo is in effect a prohibition against endogamy, and the effect is to encourage exogamy. Through exogamy, otherwise unrelated households or lineages will form relationships through marriage, thus strengthening social solidarity. That is, Lévi-Strauss views marriage as an exchange of women between two social groups. This theory is based in part on Marcel Mauss's theory of The Gift, which (in Lévi-Strauss' words) argued:

that exchange in primitive societies consists not so much in economic transactions as in reciprocal gifts, that these reciprocal gifts have a far more important function than in our own, and that this primitive form of exchange is not merely nor essentially of an economic nature but is what he aptly calls "a total social fact", that is, an event which has a significance that is at once social and religious, magic and economic, utilitarian and sentimental, jural and moral. [38]

It is also based on Lévi-Strauss's analysis of data on different kinship systems and marriage practices documented by anthropologists and historians. Lévi-Strauss called attention specifically to data collected by Margaret Mead during her research among the Arapesh. When she asked if a man ever sleeps with his sister, Arapesh replied: "No we don't sleep with our sisters. We give our sisters to other men, and other men give us their sisters." Mead pressed the question repeatedly, asking what would happen if a brother and sister did have sex with one another. Lévi-Strauss quotes the Arapesh response:

What, you would like to marry your sister? What is the matter with you anyway? Don't you want a brother-in-law? Don't you realize that if you marry another man's sister and another man marries your sister, you will have at least two brothers-in-law, while if you marry your own sister you will have none? With whom will you hunt, with whom will you garden, who will you visit? [39]

By applying Mauss's theory to data such as Mead's, Lévi-Strauss proposed what he called alliance theory. He argued that, in "primitive" societies, marriage is not fundamentally a relationship between a man and a woman, but a transaction involving a woman that forges a relationship—an alliance—between two men. [40] His Elementary Structures of Kinship takes this as a starting point and uses it to analyze kinship systems of increasing complexity found in so-called primitive societies (that is, those not based on agriculture, class inequalities, and centralized government). [ citation needed ]

This theory was debated intensely by anthropologists in the 1950s. It appealed to many because it used the study of incest taboos and marriage to answer more fundamental research interests of anthropologists at the time: how can an anthropologist map out the social relationships within a given community, and how do these relationships promote or endanger social solidarity? [41] [42] Nevertheless, anthropologists never reached a consensus, and with the Vietnam War and the process of decolonization in Africa, Asia, and Oceania, anthropological interests shifted away from mapping local social relationships. [ citation needed ]

Some anthropologists argue that nuclear family incest avoidance can be explained in terms of the ecological, demographic, and economic benefits of exogamy. [43]

While Lévi-Strauss generally discounted the relevance of alliance theory in Africa, a particularly strong concern for incest is a fundamental issue among the age systems of East Africa. Here, the avoidance between men of an age-set and their daughters is altogether more intense than in any other sexual avoidance. Paraphrasing Lévi-Strauss's argument, without this avoidance, the rivalries for power between age-sets, coupled with the close bonds of sharing between age-mates, could lead to a sharing of daughters as spouses. Young men entering the age system would then find a dire shortage of marriageable girls, and extended families would be in danger of dying out. Thus, by parading this avoidance of their daughters, senior men make these girls available for younger age-sets and their marriages form alliances that mitigate the rivalries for power. [44]

Endogamy Edit

Exogamy between households or descent groups is typically prescribed in classless societies. Societies that are stratified—that is, divided into unequal classes—often prescribe different degrees of endogamy. Endogamy is the opposite of exogamy it refers to the practice of marriage between members of the same social group. A classic example is India's caste system, in which unequal castes are endogamous. [45] Inequality between ethnic groups and races also correlates with endogamy. [46]

An extreme example of this principle, and an exception to the incest taboo, is found among members of the ruling class in certain ancient states, such as the Inca, Egypt, China, and Hawaii brother–sister marriage (usually between half-siblings) was a means of maintaining wealth and political power within one family. [47] Some scholars have argued that in Roman-governed Egypt this practice was also found among commoners, [48] [49] [50] [51] [52] [53] [54] but others have argued that this was in fact not the norm. [55] [56] [57]


There's Science That Explains Why Women Fantasize About Rough Sex

It's one of the most common sexual fantasies. Here's why.

If you're into rough sex, you're definitely not alone.

When I surveyed more than 4,000 Americans about their sexual fantasies for my book Tell Me What You Want, rough sex turned out to be one of the two most common things people had fantasized about. Most people&mdashregardless of gender and sexual orientation&mdashappear to have been turned on by the idea at some point.

The widespread appeal of rough sex can also be seen in people&rsquos porn viewing habits. For example, when you look at the most-viewed genres on Pornhub, &ldquorough sex&rdquo and &ldquohardcore&rdquo pretty consistently appear in the top third of categories year in and year out. Interestingly, women are even more likely to view this kind of porn than are men.

So why is rough sex arousing to so many people, and especially to women?

A recent study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science offers some answers.

Researchers surveyed 734 college students in New York about their attitudes toward and experiences with consensual rough sex. Most of the students identified as female (77%) and as heterosexual (92%).

A majority of the sample (51%) said they had engaged in rough sex before, with the most frequently reported rough sex behaviors including scratching, spanking, pushing, name calling, tearing clothes, tying up, blindfolding, and slapping.

Before we go further, I should note that the authors of this study talk about these behaviors as &ldquoplayful force&rdquo rather than as abuse or violence. Keep in mind that these are consensual behaviors that, more often than not, occurred in the context of a long-term relationship and rarely (less than 1% of the time) resulted in any kind of serious injury. In other words, we aren&rsquot talking about behaviors where people truly wanted or tried to hurt a partner.

In fact, people seemed to really be enjoying this kind of sex. When asked to compare how rough sex differs from &ldquotypical sex,&rdquo both men and women said that orgasms are more frequent and intense, partners make more effort to satisfy one another, the sex is more arousing, and the thrusting is more vigorous.

Plus, women said that they orgasm much faster when they have rough sex. Given that there&rsquos already a fairly big disparity in how long it takes men and women to reach orgasm (5-6 minutes vs. 13 minutes, respectively), perhaps this is one reason rough sex is so widely desired and why women search for it more than men when viewing porn: Rough sex just might help to close the orgasm gap.

Beyond these enhancing effects on orgasm, what else might draw people to rough sex?

Participants in this study were given a long list of potential triggers of rough sex and asked to report whether they&rsquod ever been prompted to have rough sex for each reason.

Among the most common triggers were trying something new, boredom, and playing out a fantasy. This tells us that rough sex is often just about feeding our need for sexual novelty. Humans&mdashmen and women alike&mdashhave a tendency to grow tired of sexual routines. We need to keep mixing things up in order to maintain sexual excitement, a phenomenon sex researchers refer to as The Coolidge Effect.

Another common trigger for rough sex, especially among men, was having been separated from one&rsquos partner, as well as suspecting that one&rsquos partner may have cheated. The authors of this study interpret these results through the same evolutionary lens: When men perceive a risk that their female partner has had sex with someone else, this triggers sperm competition. In other words, it leads men to engage in sexual behaviors&mdashlike deep and vigorous thrusting&mdashaimed at displacing any semen that may have been deposited by rival men so that their own sperm have a better shot at fertilization.

Drinking alcohol was another common trigger, which makes sense: Alcohol simultaneously lowers sexual inhibitions and dulls sexual sensations. This combination of factors ups the odds of trying something you might not otherwise do while sober, while also experimenting with more intense activities in order to counteract the depressing effect that alcohol has on our sexual system (which includes suppressing arousal and delaying orgasm).

Lastly, the other major set of triggers included situations where people were already in a heightened state of physiological arousal, such as after a fight, being angry at one&rsquos partner, and having just exercised. These triggers can be explained by something psychologists call excitation transfer, which occurs when carryover arousal from one situation amplifies our arousal or excitement in an unrelated situation. In other words, if your body is already amped up at the start of a sexual encounter, that&rsquos going to lay the groundwork for pursuing a more active and intense experience.

What all of this tells us is that there isn&rsquot just one reason why rough sex is such a popular sexual fantasy and porn theme. Instead, it turns out that there are a lot of different factors that draw people to it.

The key thing to take away from this is that rough sex appears to be a normative sexual interest and we need to be very careful to distinguish it from sexual violence and relationship abuse. Rough sex is not exploitative&mdashit is consensual and the people who have it are reporting an intense, mutually enjoyable experience.


Sexting is widespread. So why is it still taboo?

I have a tradition with a friend who’s several decades older than I am. Every month she and I meet for a couple of drinks and share racy stories: office gossip, family secrets, tales from our love lives. Recently, the topic turned to sexting — but she didn’t want to accept that’s what it was.

“I’ve taken a lover,” she blurted out, beaming as she confessed it was the first significant sexual relationship she’s had in nearly four years.

I asked her how this physical connection felt. She described it as “reinvigorating,” “intimate” and then paused as she said “playful,” pulling out her phone to show me their R-rated text exchanges.

“Don’t tell me this is the first time you’ve sexted,” I quipped.

She blushed. “This isn’t sexting, is it?” She explained that she and her partner don’t share nudes rather they would send suggestive phrases and the occasional erotic emoji.

“Well, according to the dictionary, you’re a full-blown sexter,” I told her, Googling the definition to prove it: sending someone explicit photographs or messages.

She was shocked at the suggestion that she, a middle-aged professional, might engage in the same behavior as a misguided teenager. I suspected her surprise stemmed from the negative connotations the term has earned in the media. But despite the bad PR around sexting, she does it, and she’s not alone in sending those provocative messages.

Recent research indicates that sexting among adults is pretty common. A study presented at last year’s American Psychological Association (APA) conference found that 88 percent of respondents, ages 18 to 82, reported sexting in the past 12 months. Researchers Emily Stasko and Pamela Geller of Drexel University concluded not only that it’s prevalent among adults, but that higher levels of sexting correlated with higher levels of sexual satisfaction.

This made me wonder why so many consenting adults — who sext and apparently derive satisfaction from it — still talk about it like it’s taboo. Given the fact that we use mobile devices to share almost every other aspect of our lives, the results of the study might not seem unexpected. Yet when APA sent out a press release with the findings, dozens of news outlets published stories hailing the results as surprising. How unthinkable: Sexting might not just be normal among adults, but a part of a satisfying sex life.

The study countered what the media often says about sexting: that it’s dangerous and illicit. And among underage individuals, it can be. This colors how mature, consenting adults view sexting as well — as something negative. “The only times it really is talked about, it’s scandalous — when there’s a sexting scandal or someone has an affair,” Stasko tells me. She’s a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology who presented the research. “Those are the times that there’s a lot of publicity and widespread conversation around sexuality among adults.”


'Incest Porn' Is on the Rise, And These Are the Reasons Why

Back in January, we told you about the 6 biggest porn trends we’d be seeing throughout the year, and one of the most notable of those was the growing popularity of fake incest porn, also known as “fauxcest,” and how it’s going to be one of the top porn genres in 2018.

This is interesting, considering incest is a huuuge taboo and most cultures have prohibitions against incest, and how most people gag and/or shudder at the thought of having sex with an immediate family member. Even in Game of Thrones when we first saw Jaime and Cersei get it on, fans were more or less repulsed (though we got used it later on).

To illustrate just how exponentially popular incest porn is becoming, here are some studies to take into consideration. A report by adult content provider GameLink.com uncovered an average increase in the consumption of “family role-play porn” of 178 percent between October 2014 and January 2015, with the highest increases observed in Utah with 765 percent, Michigan with 698 percent, New York with 669 percent, Alaska with 524 percent, and Arkansas with 452 percent.

Furthermore, a 2013 analysis called Deep Inside: A Study of 10,000 Porn Stars and Their Careers found that out of 20 of the most common female roles in porn, the sixth most common is “daughter,” and the tenth is “sister.”

“Family roleplay themes and voyeuristic 'almost caught' scenarios were among the most popular online and within my brands,” head of production at Gamma Films Group, Bree Mills, told Men’s Health at the AVN Awards.

Speaking with Esquire, Dr. Paul Wright of Indiana University explains: “As types of pornography that were less common in the past—for example violence, this or that fetish—become more and more common and easily accessible, consumers get bored by them and need the extremity and deviance upped a notch to once again become aroused and excited. Few sexual acts are more extreme or deviant than incest."

But even though the greater majority of the population say they think incest porn is downright distasteful and frankly quite gross, why is it so explosively popular? What’s going on?

“Intimacy between step-relations is very taboo in contemporary US culture, and yet many people live in step-blended families,” sociologist Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals told Vice. “There's something about stimuli for such a highly taboo topic simultaneously being so commonplace that may resonate with some people. In terms of 'why now,' certainly technology, accessibility, and the availability of the content itself all play a part."

So, from this, we can conclude that taboo things are exciting and arousing, which is absolutely accurate. There's just something about the impermissible that makes it mind-numbingly hot for the creative powers of the human mind.

(Photo: NorthPole Entertainment)

Elaborating further, porn star Tasha Reign says: "People love taboo. People are aroused by things that they 'shouldn't' be aroused by. There's a lot of shame and guilt in watching it, but there shouldn't be because it's a fantasy, and you leave it in your bedroom. It's exciting that people are being able to explore themselves a bit more, even if it's just at home through a movie.”

"A lot of the fauxcest boom is a reflection of what our preoccupations are in mainstream society," another porn star, Dana Vespoli, told Mic. "But because of what people typically do when they watch this content (i.e. masturbate), it's a more primitive response. People are fighting against whatever rigid boundaries are in their lives. It's the need to break against convention and feel free in a safe and legal place."

But aside from the cultural aspects of what makes incest porn so popular, we still don't know the psychological underpinnings of why it's so endearing. which is where some hard science comes in.

We know Sigmund Freud had his theories on repressed incestuous urges, but most of those theories were discredited over the years, even though his lexicon is still a massive part of our daily vocabulary. But that’s beside the point.

Freud believed incest wouldn’t be such a serious cultural taboo if people weren’t sexually attracted to relatives in the first place, and recent scientific evidence actually suggests he was at least partially right about familial attraction. We are somewhat attracted to people who resemble us.

"I told you so." -Sigmund Freud

However, other studies suggest humans have an innate repulsion to incest: 19th century sociologist Edward Westermarck argued that we have an evolutionary biological mechanism to help us avoid incest, because mating with someone who shares a genetic profile too similar to yours (like a sibling or parent) leads to producing offspring with serious genetic abnormalities, which does nothing to help the survival instincts we’re biologically wired with.

That said, other scientists have also argued that we subconsciously use biological cues to estimate the relatedness of those around us, and if the relatedness is assumed to be too high, the very thought of any sexual relations with the person triggers innate incest avoidance mechanisms, a.k.a. disgust.

Now, when it comes to incest porn, though, it's not actual incest, so it doesn't tap into any of the incest avoidance mechanisms. It's just role-play where two unrelated porn stars play into the darker side of your imagination, thereby fulfilling your forbidden thoughts, which are the thoughts you have that are contrary to social customs and your own moral principles.

And since incest porn is 1) not real incest, and 2) frowned upon in the real world, many people enjoy masturbating to it. In other words, it has the ultimate taboo factor that pushes boundaries without going overboard, making it devilishly satisfying to those who are into it.

"The industry does these movies because that's what sells," says Dan O'Connell, founder of Girlfriends Films. "And, very simply, they sell for their taboo factor."


Contents

The existence of the Westermarck effect has achieved some empirical support. [1] Observations interpreted as evidence for the Westermarck effect have since been made in many places and cultures, including in the Israeli kibbutz system, and the Chinese Shim-pua marriage customs, as well as in biologically-related families.

In the case of the Israeli kibbutzim (collective farms), children were reared somewhat communally in peer groups, based on age, not biological relations. A study of the marriage patterns of these children later in life revealed that out of the nearly 3,000 marriages that occurred across the kibbutz system, only 14 were between children from the same peer group. Of those 14, none had been reared together during the first six years of life. This result suggests that the Westermarck effect operates during the period from birth to the age of six. [2]

Sigmund Freud argued that as children, members of the same family naturally lust for one another (see Oedipus complex), making it necessary for societies to create incest taboos, [3] but Westermarck argued the reverse, that the taboos themselves arise naturally as products of innate attitudes.

Some sociologists and anthropologists have criticized the validity of research presented in support of the Westermarck effect and the contention that it serves as an ultimate demonstration for the viability of natural selection theory in explaining human behaviour. For example, a 2009 study by Eran Shor and Dalit Simchai demonstrated that although most peers who grew up closely together in the Israeli kibbutzim did not marry one another, they did report substantial attraction to co-reared peers. The authors conclude that the case of the kibbutzim actually provides little support for the Westermarck effect and that childhood proximity cannot in itself produce sexual avoidance without the existence of social pressures and norms. [4]

However, Austrian historian Walter Scheidel argues that recent research has raised some support for Westermarck's hypothesis, arguing that studies show that cousin-marriage in Lebanon has a lower success rate if the cousins were raised in sibling-like conditions, first-cousin unions being more successful in Pakistan if there was a substantial age difference, as well as reduced marital appeal for cousins who grew up sleeping in the same room in Morocco. Evidence also indicates that siblings separated for extended periods of time since childhood were more likely to report having engaged in sexual activity with one another. [5]

American psychologist Jesse Bering cites several studies that seem to contradict the standard view of the Westermarck effect as an innate learning process instead, it may be a cultural phenomenon. People seem to have sexual preferences toward faces that resemble their parents' or their own. If correct, this would suggest that Freud's idea of the Oedipus complex had some merit to it. [6]


Voyeurism and exhibitionism

Forget about what you think voyeurism and exhibitionism is because you probably have it all wrong (and associate it with the icky, illegal context). When consensual and used in a sexual matter, these kinks are actually extremely hot.

"Exhibitionism is a kink in which the person feels sexual arousal at the idea or reality of being seen naked or engaged in sexual activities by others,&rdquo says clinical sexologist Sarah Melancon, sexuality and relationship expert for SexToyCollective.com. And it typically goes hand-in-hand with a voyeur, which is someone who &ldquofeels sexual arousal by watching someone else nude or doing sexual activities,&rdquo says Melancon.

Unfortunately, &ldquovoyeurism and exhibitionism are still considered taboo because there&rsquos a lack of understanding of how to approach it and propose it to people,&rdquo says Brown. But &ldquoYou are not a sexual deviant just because you want someone to watch you have sex, want to have sex out in public, or want to watch someone else masturbate, whatever it is.&rdquo


Why Straight Men Gaze at Gay Women

This headline dutifully poked open a gap in my curiosity when variations of it appeared a few days ago.

Ooh, is it “half-Jewish bloggers with autoimmune issues?”

Click. Sigh. No, alas. It’s lesbians.

The map, created by data from Pornhub, reveals that in the majority of states, people are searching for lesbian porn the most. Oh sure, in a few quirky states, cartoons are the most popular. Others have ethnic preferences or mother figures they’d like to, uh, well you know. Perhaps the cold weather in Wyoming, Maine, and Minnesota makes people pine for their stepsisters.

But otherwise, it’s lesbians riding up the Eastern seaboard on the Acela of love. Lesbians trotting across the vast, great Western plains. Lesbians uniting New Yorkers and Alabamians like little else does. Lesbians, from sea to shining sea.

Of course, the Pornhub results are far from scientific. Even past data dumps from the same company have purported to show that “teen” or “MILF” porn are actually more ubiquitous.

Nor is the fascination with lesbians solely a male phenomenon. In a Marie Claire survey of mainly female respondents, lesbian porn was the second most popular option, after the heterosexual variety.

Still, the idea that straight men like it when two women make out (and more!) is so commonplace that it’s a cultural touchstone. They don’t even have to be real lesbians: “Those twins” are among the things a canonical Coors Light drinker loves. On Friends, Chandler and Joey give up their apartment—their apartment in Manhattan—for the chance to watch two of their straight female friends kiss for one minute.

So what is it about the sight of two women that, purportedly, sets male loins ablaze?

First of all, lesbian porn does not rank as highly among male sexual interests as do, “breasts, butts, MILFs, amateurs,” and even women with penises, according to the research of Ogi Ogas, a neuroscientist and co-author of A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals About Human Desire. For the book, he and co-author Sai Gaddam analyzed millions of searches, erotic stories, videos, personal ads, and other data to find out exactly what makes humans tick down there.

But to the extent that lesbian erotica is popular, it can be explained by the fact that men are most aroused by visual cues that emphasize youth and downplay drama and emotional complexity. Lesbian porn, therefore, works for straight men by “doubling up” those visual stimuli, Ogas told me. The only thing better than one nubile, personality-free woman is two of them.

I pointed out to Ogas that this is a rather irrational desire: Lesbians are the only group of women who will categorically never be interested in a straight man. This is like someone named Steve entering a lottery called “Mega Millions for Anybody But Steve.” It’s not going to happen, Steve!

“It’s amusing that you offer up the fact that lesbians will never be interested in men as a possible reason why men should not be aroused by them,” he said. “Sexual fantasy obeys its own set of rules that have nothing to do with propriety, common sense, or even the physical laws of the universe. Women, for instance, are often aroused by billionaires and celebrities who are extremely unlikely to reciprocate the sentiment.”

(I maintain that Oscar Isaac is going to come around any day now.)

Ogas said that when it comes to fantasy, it gets even weirder than being into people who aren’t into you. “Many people nurse erotic fantasies of shrinking to the size of a mouse or being transformed into a furry bunny,” he said.

Interestingly, the reverse—loving gay male porn—is not quite true for women. At least, not in the same way. Unlike most men, Ogas said, most gay and straight women have an emotional, narrative component to their erotic fantasies. Straight women may have enjoyed Brokeback Mountain, but it was probably for the story.

Michael Bailey, a psychology professor at Northwestern University who has studied arousal, says when they’re asked by researchers, women say they don’t get turned on by sex scenes featuring two men. However, when researchers measure their levels of genital arousal, women seem to equally enjoy erotica featuring two women, two men, or a heterosexual couple.

“Their genitals get aroused, but that’s not necessarily what they feel in their heads,” Bailey explains.

Meanwhile, most straight men don’t get aroused—genitally or intellectually—by anything other than women. The reason, Bailey speculates, is that it wasn’t evolutionarily advantageous for women to be as sensitive to visual stimuli as men are, because we face pressure to pick the one guy who is going to invest a lot of resources in our offspring, and looks alone aren’t the best way to judge that. We’re looking for an officer and a gentleman, so we can’t be distracted by, ahem, Any Orificer and a Genitalman.

And all of this doesn’t mean that real straight men are romantically attracted to real lesbians. “Very few men visit websites containing erotica featuring actual lesbians that is targeted at actual lesbians,” Ogas said.

It’s all just what Ogas calls an “erotic illusion”—images that trick our sexual circuits just like that “vase or two faces” thing tricks our optical circuits. Straight men don’t actually want to date a lesbian, just like young women don’t actually want to date a vampire or sadomasochistic recluse. We keep those thoughts between ourselves and the computer keyboard—and the all-seeing eye of Big Data, naturally.


Watch the video: SECRETS OF FAMILY TABOO EROTICA (August 2022).