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sexual relations between persons to whom marriagemarriage,
socially sanctioned union that reproduces the family. In all societies the choice of partners is generally guided by rules of exogamy (the obligation to marry outside a group); some societies also have rules of endogamy (the obligation to marry within a group).
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 is prohibited by custom or law because of their close kinshipkinship,
relationship by blood (consanguinity) or marriage (affinity) between persons; also, in anthropology and sociology, a system of rules, based on such relationships, governing descent, inheritance, marriage, extramarital sexual relations, and sometimes residence.
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. 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 complexOedipus complex,
Freudian term, drawn from the myth of Oedipus, designating attraction on the part of the child toward the parent of the opposite sex and rivalry and hostility toward the parent of its own.
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). For the contemporary legal aspects of incest, see consanguinityconsanguinity
, state of being related by blood or descended from a common ancestor. This article focuses on legal usage of the term as it relates to the laws of marriage, descent, and inheritance; for its broader anthropological implications, see incest.
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See J. Shepher, Incest: A Biosocial View (1983); J. B. Twitchell, Forbidden Partners: The Incest Taboo in Modern Culture (1986).



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.

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.


Incompetence (See INEPTITUDE.)
ravishes his sister, Tamar. [O.T.: II Samuel 13:14]
sexually active with daughter. [Br. Lit.: Pericles]
Aeolus’s daughter; committed suicide after relations with brother. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 49]
Cenci, Count Francesco
old libertine ravishes his daughter Beatrice. [Br. Lit.: Shelley The Cenci, Magill I, 131]
Arcadian who violated his daughter, Harpalyce. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 65]
Compson, Quentin
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]
Engstrand, Regina
Oswald’s half-sister and chosen lover. [Nor. Lit.: Ghosts]
Giovanni and Annabella
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]
mother of Adonis; daughter of Adonis’s father. [Gk. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 741]
Niquee and Anasterax
sister and brother live together in incest. [Span. Lit.: Amadis de Gaul]
unknowingly marries mother and fathers four sons. [Gk. Lit.: Oedipus Rex]
Sieglinde and Siegmund
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]
Tower, Cassandra
(Cassie) had relations with Dr. Tower, her father. [Am. Lit.: King’s Row, Magill I, 478–480]
Warren, Nicole
suffers after having had sexual relations with father. [Am. Lit.: Tender Is the Night]


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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Indeed, the rabbis debated whether the action was inspired by an immoral or a noble motive, yet none of the rabbis could deny that an act of incest actually occurred.
Harkins' work challenges criticisms lobbied against women's incest literature, which was criticized for adopting an internal look at incest and failing to align incest narratives with institutional systems of oppression.
Given the fact that many tribal societies have westernized their incest taboos as a result of Christian missionary influence, illustrating how flexible they can be, we must ask: ff incest taboos are instinctual as so many believe, why do they vary so from one society to another, and why are they so subject to change over time?
Committed within the confines of the private home, incest is linked to the history of private life and the nineteenth century housing structure.
Tiptoeing through Taboo: Incest in 'the Child Who Favored Daughter.
Parosa argued that since Moody is an adult and also facing a felony incest charge, she should not be considered a victim.
The council wants to repeal laws in the country that ban incest because such regulations intrude into the right of people to sexual gratification.
Under the law, federal funds can be used for an abortion to save the life of the mother but private funds are required for abortions in cases of rape and incest.
Bruce Thomas Boehrer, Monarchy and Incest in Renaissance England: Literature, Culture, Kinship, and Kingship (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992), 50.
Among women who would be open to considering an abortion, substantial majorities said they would do so if a pregnancy endangered their life or health (84%), if it resulted from rape or incest (84%), or if their infant would be affected by a chromosomal abnormality or would have a mental or physical disability (70-76%).
This book presents an innovative approach to navigating the painful confusions and dilemmas experienced by families in which incest has occurred.