Was listening to the chatter box on the drive home last night when I caught the end of a conversation about people who are labeled “GSA.” I didn’t catch the earlier part of the broadcast and the story ended without redefining what the acronym meant. Of course, the useful little acronyms of today usually stand for some type of behavior that would demand much more scrutiny if referred to in terms other than the sympathetic innocuous alphabet soup that seeks to brand the behavior as “normal” or looking for acceptance. Turns out, this is just another opportunity for me to be labeled a hater, a bigot, regardless of the fact that the definition causes me an autonomic reflex akin to a finger down the back of my throat.

Who walked her down the aisle?

Who walked her down the aisle?

Turns out that GSA stands for “Genetic Sexual Attraction,” another useful term in the long road to marginalize behaviors once thought of as quite repulsive. Another supportive term for this behavior is “consensual incest.” How sweet. What Neanderthal could be against something consensual? Certainly not someone enlightened. Hey, it doesn’t affect others right? What two people do in their own bedrooms and all. Well, you know.

The article that spawned the conversation called “What it’s like to date your dad” was written by Alexa Tsoulis-Reay for New York Magazine. In it, she recounts a conversation she had with an eighteen year-old girl (woman?) who is on her way to marriage with the man of her dreams, the man who took her virginity; her father. The article is painful to read and though it’s been edited, it’s quite evident that we’re dealing with two psychologically damaged individuals. At least Ms. Tsoulis-Reay doesn’t take a stand on the issue; she lets the young woman speak for herself and the only mention of acceptance of the behavior is buried in a link to the “marriage equality” blog of adult incest advocate Keith Pullman. I didn’t bother to peruse his website. Wanted to keep my dinner down you know.

Reading through this interview leaves one with the impression that there are truly affected individuals in this world, seeking acceptance where they should be seeking help. But that hasn’t stopped these types of crusades before. One wonders how long it will be before this last taboo is challenged somewhere in some obscure courtroom, with advocates assuring us that it happens in nature, it’s part of the human experience, that it’s part of our history and it’s between consenting adults, that it affects no one other than those who are being oppressed by a biased society. Hey, incest is just a social construct we’ll be told, and of course, someone will suggest that we’re born that way. That your skin crawls at the thought of a man grooming his sixteen year-old daughter for sex is your problem, not theirs.

Samantha Allen at The Daily Beast calls it rape, pure and simple. Ms. Allen correctly describes the power imbalance inherent in these types of father-daughter relationships, an imbalance always present in cases of incestual rape. Reading again through the interview with the young woman in question, one can see that she’s a person who has very little control over her life or her own emotions, looking for someone in authority to give her the relationship she always wanted with the most important male figure in her life, her father. She is a product of her damaged childhood, a childhood he helped damage and one he’s now willing to take complete advantage of. Of course, we can’t glimpse his own personal story as he’s not interviewed for the article. So maybe I’m passing judgment here without the facts, but this is one sick bastard too. Of all the men in the world, he is in the best position to understand the difficulties she had in her past, her abandonment issues, and her emotional immaturity. Had he not been her father, we would view him as a child abuser, grooming his intended target for his own warped sexual gratification. Applying the term “consensual incest” does little more than give him and others like him a moral “pass”, excusing behavior that we would condemn him for if she had been a student of his or a neighbor’s daughter.

As always, there is data. Of course, it’s provided by Pullman and it is suspect. His claim is that up to fifty per cent of these types of relation-reunions end up in sexual attractions. I won’t bore you with the details; Ms. Allen does that quite well. At the end of the day, we have a man in a position of power and authority abusing the trust and vulnerability of his daughter for his own sexual gratification. That there are people like him in the world is truly depressing. That there are others in the world like Mr. Pullman who advocate for them is truly frightening.

We used to argue about the slippery slope. At best, the slope is now greased with all manner of personal lubricants; at worst, it’s gone completely vertical.