sexual relations between persons to whom marriage
is prohibited by custom or law because of their close kinship
. Ideas of kinship, however, vary widely from group to group, hence the definition of incest also varies. Customs prescribing whom a person may and may not marry are found among all human groups, and these apparently antedated knowledge of the genetic effects of the intermarriage of close relatives. Even modern prohibitions of incest are based only in part on the observed fact that inherited defects tend to be transmitted in intensified form when both parents possess the same genes. In many societies, the marriage of parents and offspring, or brothers and sisters, is prohibited and abhorred—this is the incest taboo,
much discussed in the anthropological literature. Only in some royal families, as in ancient Egypt and among the Inca, were such marriages customary, perhaps with the goal of conserving royal prerogatives and property; such marriages may have been largely symbolic. Theories concerning the incest taboo include sociological and psychological interpretations. In anthropology, it is often considered in relation to rules of exogamy, by which marriage serves as a means of social alliance between groups who might otherwise be disposed to fight one another. Incest is a recurrent theme in mythology and literature across the world, and it has played an important role in psychoanalytical speculation and theory (see Oedipus complex
). For the contemporary legal aspects of incest, see consanguinity
See J. Shepher, Incest: A Biosocial View (1983); J. B. Twitchell, Forbidden Partners: The Incest Taboo in Modern Culture (1986).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.
sexual association between close relatives. The USSR prohibits the registration of marriages between persons related in direct ascending or descending line, as well as between full brothers and sisters (of the same father and mother) or half brothers and sisters (of the same father and different mothers or of the same mother and different fathers). One of the chief rea-sons for the prohibition is concern for the health of the descend-ants, since defective children are often born of such marriages.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
What does it mean when you dream about incest?
The age of the person having a dream about incest must be considered, for obvious reasons. If one has never had this type of dream before, there could be any number of innocuous reasons behind it. What is important to evaluate is how the dreamer’s body feels about the dream after awakening. If incest dreams are recurrent—with a strong bodily awareness that corresponds with sexual violation, either as a victim or a predator—please seek professional care immediately. Incest in America is a national epidemic, and paying attention to relevant dreams will help heal this issue.
The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
ravishes his sister, Tamar. [O.T.: II Samuel 13:14]
sexually active with daughter. [Br. Lit.: Pericles]
Cenci, Count Francesco
Aeolus’s daughter; committed suicide after relations with brother. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 49]
old libertine ravishes his daughter Beatrice. [Br. Lit.: Shelley The Cenci, Magill I, 131]
Arcadian who violated his daughter, Harpalyce. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 65]
his only passion is for his sister Candace. [Am. Lit.: Faulkner The Sound and the Fury in Magill I, 917]
bore great, passionate love for father, Agamemnon. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 92; Gk. Lit.: Electra, Orestes]
Giovanni and Annabella
Oswald’s half-sister and chosen lover. [Nor. Lit.: Ghosts]
brother-sister romance. [Br. Lit.: ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore]
bears child by father, Clymenus. [Gk. Myth.: Howe, 114]
unknowingly marries her son, Oedipus. [Gk. Lit.: Oedipus Rex]
unknowingly has relations with daughter-in-law. [O.T.: Genesis 38:15–18]
impregnates his two daughters. [O.T.: Genesis 19:36]
Niquee and Anasterax
mother of Adonis; daughter of Adonis’s father. [Gk. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 741]
sister and brother live together in incest. [Span. Lit.: Amadis de Gaul]
Sieglinde and Siegmund
unknowingly marries mother and fathers four sons. [Gk. Lit.: Oedipus Rex]
twin brother and sister passionately in love. [Ger. Lit.: Mann “The Blood of the Walsungs”]
seduces her brother and her father. [Am. Lit.: Robinson Jeffers Tamar in Magill I, 948]
(Cassie) had relations with Dr. Tower, her father. [Am. Lit.: King’s Row, Magill I, 478–480]
suffers after having had sexual relations with father. [Am. Lit.: Tender Is the Night]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
This could be an extremely disturbing dream, but it does not necessarily have anything to do with sex. It is possible that you may be worried about other aspects of your family life. If this dream persists, you may consider talking to a professional about it. If you are currently making important decisions, don’t do anything that is morally questionable because you are already experiencing disturbing dreams associated with taboos that bring up feelings of guilt and shame.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.