Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Changing sexual attitudes - normalizing the profoundly perverse


It was a Friday night a few months ago. Rob was standing on my doorstep, ashen and trembling. He still couldn't speak even as he sipped at a mug of tea after my flatmate and I had ushered him into our front room. We could not guess what had happened, but a feeling of dread was fast forming in our minds; we could only assume that something terrible must have happened to Rob's fiancee, Karen. Gradually, his powers of speech returned and the story emerged. Something had happened, but that something was terrible to Rob himself, not Karen.

Now, you have to understand that Rob and Karen were the most balanced, wholesome couple I knew. They had recently moved out of their flat while it was being redecorated, each returning to their respective family homes for a couple of weeks. That Friday, she had left her keys at his place by accident. He was passing by her parents' place later that night, so he stopped off and rang the doorbell.[...]


  1. A fascinating, and shocking, article.

    One thought (among many raised by the article): the notion that a sexual relationship between father and daughter can be perceived by the daughter as being fully consensual is, in and of itself, incredibly interesting. I would think that such a perception could only exist if the daughter perceives her relationship with her father as being non-hierarchical, i.e. she doesn't relate to her father as an authority figure.

  2. Well..........it was said about 30 years ago, that if we accept homosexuality as an "alternative" lifestyle, we will also have to tolerate incest in the near future as well.

    Either the Torah is from G-d or it is just a collection of fairy tales.

    And if the Torah is not from G-d and homosexuality is not an abomination, then incest is equally tolerable.

    And we also know that our Holy Torah would not need to forbid things that were not things that many among the nations engaged in and enjoyed.

    That being said, I feel I must vomit now.

  3. Why exactly did you feel it was necessary to include this article in your Daas Torah blog? I am clueless...

  4. regarding why I posted this - see Sura G's comment

  5. society's has lost its moral compassAugust 25, 2010 at 7:54 AM

    along the lines of Sura G.-

    yep, and its only a matter of time that ALL the Greek customs will be back in vogue, including bestiality.
    actually, i stand corrected (somewhat), since i am sure if someone creeped around on the net they could certainly find groups of people who sleep with their dogs, sheep and who knows what. but give it a few decades and you'll find governors and presidents getting in on it too.

    What Sura said is key: The Torah didn't forbid behaviors that the whole world saw as "gross", but rather behaviors that society engaged in.

    The sad commentary on our time is that moral relativism and political correctness have completely clouded our ability to see straight, lo aleinu.

  6. Princeton academic Peter Singer has been fighting for years now to legalize beastiality.

  7. In France, incest is not forbidden by law...
    (however, near relatives cannot marry)

    It would be interesting to study those cases. Up to now, I was under the impression that it happened especially when near kin were separated and did not know each other: if they met incidentally, they would fall in love and form a relationship...

  8. http://www.app.com/article/20100825/SPECIAL20/100823075/Lakewood-Orthodox-Jewish-leaders-want-abuse-accusations-addressed

    Rabbi, please comment befoer I lose any faith in establishment rabbonim.

  9. Actually, we once bought a house in LA that had been owned by a small time Jewish film maker who was married to a non Jewish actress.

    As we were renovating a bit and pulling up the rug in the bedroom we found pictures of the woman in bed with the dog. This was obviously a big turn on to the film maker husband.

    I think that bestiality is very common in the US.

    You know what they say about painting the walls when you buy a house because you do not know what the walls have seen?

    We made sure to paint every wall in the house after that.

  10. Sura's dichotomistic "either/or" thinking is itself patent Greek - as is ORTHO-DOX. "Greek custom", alluding to sexuality in ancient Greece - is a much more complex subject than homosexuality and cats marrying dogs and the like. There were distinctions and divisions of acts, hierarchies of participants, condemnations of overindulgence, the argument as to how many Greeks were involved in these "greek customs" is very highly debated.

  11. I also find this seriously yucky. That being said, incest is very different from homosexuality in two very crucial respects that even secular reasoning can recognize:

    1) Medicine has known for centuries that consanguinuity in general (i.e. even marrying a first cousin) is really really dumb in the long run, because it helps preserves and distills recessive genes that no one should want to pass to their kids. (For example, the Hemophilia epidemic among Queen Victoria's descendants, and Charles II of Spain...) Incest is, if nothing else, consanguinuity writ large, bold-faced, and underlined.

    2) Like Chizki, I find it extremely hard to believe that incest can possibly be consensual unless the nuclear family dynamic so beloved of sociologists has gone out the window.

    Don't get me started on Peter Singer.

  12. רמבם ה' מלכים פ"ט ה"ה. שש עריות אסורות על בני נח האם ואשת האב ואשת איש ואחותו מאמו וזכור ובהמה

  13. Notice that Koillel Nick's citation does not include father-daughter!

    What's more, a talmid chakham informed me that before matan Toran a man could marry his sister. But homosexuality was already prohibited. So it would seem that there are "natural" araiyos that precede revelation (homosexuality, bestiality), and then those that are incumbent upon man via revelation. If such is the case, then incest is not the worst sexual crime; homosexuality & bestiality are worse.

  14. whatspeshat, that was my point. some forms of incest are actually permitted for non-Jews according to most Rishonim, such as father - daughter and paternal siblings. others such as child - mother, maternal siblings, adultery with married women, male homosexuality (female is a complicated sugya), and bestiality are not.

  15. Regarding Fr's comment, estranged parent incest can't be as uncommon as one would think--as one of healthy, moral sensibility would think. For example, the (perverse & amoral) writer Anais Nin recounts being seduced into bed by her father after she sought him out. And the (dark & less perverse) writer Patricia Highsmith recounts her similar father's awkward & unsuccessful attempts to seduce her. On this very blog, you'll find a video interview with Marilyn Vanderbur, who throughout childhood tragically served, along with her two sisters (she only later learned), as a secret concubine for her unfortunately not-at-all-estranged father. She also discusses how the extraordinary influx of reader mail she received attesting to the same--and that's only from those who read her & bothered to write in!

    There's LOADS of evil in the world--smallscale, private evil. While it is not necessarily our job to go around crusading against it, it would be wrong to ignore it, and dangerous to underestimate its prevalence.

  16. Maybe that father-daughter "consensual" sexual relationship began as something abusive, and she has only convinced herself that it is consensual over time and now acts as if it is. Isn't that a form of Stockholm syndrome, and isn't that quite possible here?


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