HER: I’d like to start today’s article with a reading from the Bible. Please turn with me to Genesis chapter 19, as I begin to read from verse 33: “That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. The next day the older daughter said to the younger, ‘Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him’.”
HIM: Nothing beats the Bible for depravity, does it? And I mean that as a compliment. Surely one of the secrets of its enduring popularity is the willingness of its writers to shine a light into the darkest corners of the human psyche. Modern churches aim to project a squeaky clean image, but thankfully the Bible has survived hundreds of years of redaction with no such squeamishness.
HER: I have to admit, when I heard the story of Lot and his daughters as a kid in church, it became a fantasy I frequently revisited as I masturbated my way through childhood. I kept imagining what must have been going on in the minds of those young women. In my imagination, they were both repulsed and excited by this horribly wrong thing they were doing.
Of course, just because something is arousing, doesn’t mean you actually want to do it. That’s the curious thing about incest fantasies. In healthy people, it’s the fantasy that you really don’t want to come true.
HIM: And with good reason! Actual incest, as opposed to fantasy incest, is an undeniable disaster. Anyone who has ever worked with youth in crisis will know that the worst cases — the kids with the most self-destructive personality disorders — are depressingly often the victims of sexual abuse by a family member. So let’s be clear about this: real incest is evil.
That being said, it’s amazing how common these fantasies are. Clearly they serve some kind of metaphorical function. If you go to www.literotica.com, the popular website for amateur erotica, you can see how many postings there are for each genre. The most popular of the 32 categories is ‘Erotic Couplings’, with 46,421 stories about one-on-one sex. In second place, however, ahead of traditional crowd-pleasers like ‘Lesbian Sex’ (12,881), ‘Fetish’ (11,526) and ‘Interracial Love’ (10,053), is the ‘Incest/Taboo’ category with 35,308 stories. While the Literotica tallies are not scientific, there are almost a quarter of a million stories posted anonymously. It’s a good guide to what a large cross-section of the public finds arousing when their identities are concealed on the internet.
HER: Long before I’d ever heard of the internet, I bought a couple of Nancy Friday books. Back in the 70’s, she published collections of women’s fantasies as a journalist with feminist leanings, but, of course, for most of her readers they were just wank material.
HIM: I remember you showing me one of them early in our relationship. That specific book, My Secret Garden from 1973, is frankly shocking. Today, if you talk about porn for women, everyone pictures a sexual scenario with a strong relationship component. Something sensuous and wholesome. But Nancy Friday didn’t subscribe to that view at all. She saw women’s sexual imaginations as every bit as primal as men’s. Her stories are not politically correct. They are dark, tapping into powerful undercurrents of human desire: rape, beastiality, and all manner of taboo subjects.
HER: For me, the section I most frequently visited was the incest chapter. I still remember one woman’s story vividly. She imagined herself as a young girl who jumped into her parents’ bed one Sunday morning and started wrestling with her dad. Of course, her nightgown rode up and his robe fell open, and she found herself rubbing against something firm. She brought herself to her first climax while dad lay perfectly still. Even today, twenty years later, I get aroused imagining the scenario from both sides. When I’m the girl, I get carried away with my own pleasure, not really aware of how it’s affecting dad, but feeling safe and loved. When I’m the father, I lie there not wanting to be turned on by this, knowing I should get up and leave, but not being able to resist the sensations and the irresistible lure of the forbidden.
HIM: So what resonates with you in that story? What do you think it reveals about you?
HER: Well, I can tell you for sure what it doesn’t reveal: I loved my dad, but I never fantasized about him. My imaginings have a father figure, but not my actual father (that would explain, though, why I’ve always been attracted to older men). That being said, I suppose there are a couple things I react positively to in that story and others like it.
First, I like the idea that young girls are allowed to embrace their sexuality in these stories. I remember when I was three years old being caught rubbing myself on the arm of the sofa and having my mother tell me it wasn’t polite to do that in public. That was a perfectly acceptable response. She didn’t tell me I was bad or that I should never touch myself, yet I came away believing that it was wrong and shameful. I spent years praying that God would take away the temptation to touch myself, but — surprise! — he didn’t. Today, part of the joy in our sexual adventures is that I am allowed to be my sexual self without restriction.
It’s also revealing that I’m turned on by imagining the reactions of the men in this kind of story. They are not hurting the girls; they actually care about them. But what they are doing is absolutely not allowed, and they feel conflicted but unable to resist. I, like many people, clearly respond to the lure of the forbidden. I like the feeling that ‘I shouldn’t be doing this,’ which just makes me want it more. Again, that’s a big part of the appeal of being fucked by another man in front of my husband. It’s socially unacceptable, but I’m not hurting you, because you want it as much as I do.
Freud talked about each person having a ‘central masturbation fantasy’ that reveals something about their deepest traits/desires/beliefs about themselves. I guess my central fantasy is about the permission to be vulnerable, safe, sexual, and a little bad all at the same time.
So, what about you? I know you’ve also had incest fantasies since you were very young. Would you call them your ‘central fantasy’?
HIM: Oh, absolutely. I had never heard that quote from Freud before, but it really rings true. My fantasies are always about being granted permission. My typical incest scanario has the mother coming in to her son’s room at bedtime in a ridiculously revealing gown and noticing his arousal. She compliments him on his body, shows him how to touch himself and even poses for him as he jerks off.
Wow, this is embarrassing! You’re seeing right into my soul here.
Anyway, over the years it became obvious to me that these fantasies were a response to being brought up in a sex-denying, religious environment. To have a mother figure (or Mother Nature herself, if you look at it that way) saying, ‘Everything is ok; there’s nothing to be ashamed of; I like you the way you are,’ is very powerful.
HER: That definitely sounds like what Stanley Siegel is saying in his excellent article “What Our Sexual Fantasies Say About Our Past”. He explains,
“For some of us, parents, teachers, or church officials over-used guilt and shame to teach us lessons … To deal with these feelings, we sexualize them, encoding them in the themes in our fantasies. We become aroused thinking of ourselves as naughty boys or girls engaging in secret or forbidden sexual acts. … [we may] even exaggerate these feelings in themes of incest or other extreme forms of sexual behavior, attaching pleasure to what are considered unthinkable acts.”
You and I have similar fantasies because we come from similar worlds. We both grew up believing our sexual natures were sinful, and we both desperately wanted permission from a loving parent (or God) to embrace this powerful dimension of our personalities. And maybe that’s also why we’re so enjoying the freedom we’ve found in the Lifestyle. We’ve created a safe place to experiment and experience pleasure without shame or judgement.
Liam & Kate are a married couple, very much in love, writing honestly and insightfully about their adventures in the world of non-monogamy.