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It’s 2015 and sticking your face in another person’s butthole for mutual pleasure is maybe surprising but not really that shocking. Booty eating is mainstream HBO fodder. But like nature hates vacuums, we need sexual extremes to orient ourselves, and the 2015 It Taboo might as well be incest.

If this year is to be The Year of Incest, let’s be clear what we’re talking about: by “incest” I’m not referring to (or condoning) any form of sexual abuse. I mean a chic sort of incest, a modern kind of cousin-fucking along the lines of “Game of Thrones” or Cruel Intentions. The former is always and will always be a crime, while the latter is perhaps vacant new sexual territory. I’m referring specifically to consenting adults who happen to be related to each other by blood or marriage—consenting to sex stuff. After going in and out of fashion over the millennia, incest is firmly on the “repulsive mistake” side of the human cultural spectrum—for now. If you discovered you were dating your long lost sister, you might suffer a nervous breakdown and/or vomiting spell, and bourgeois American enjoys belittling southern hill folk as “cousin fuckers.” What we haven’t considered is that maybe more of us should be fucking our cousins—or already are.

The sudden superflux of “incest content” right here on Gawker cannot be an accident. I refuse to believe that. In the couple months alone we’ve enjoyed a tight cluster of incestuous news and commentary that simply didn’t happen last year:

  • Woman Sentenced to 219 Years For Running Incest Sex Ring
  • Here’s An Alleged Dad Fucker On What It’s Like to Fuck Your Dad
  • Kevin Gates Won’t Stop Fucking His Cousin: “Shit, the Pussy Good”

The infamous Dadfucker originated in New York magazine—just after the Daily Dot published “In defense of Gyllencest and incest fanfiction”—and inspired another dadfucker to share her torrid story with Jezebel. As the Super Bowl concluded, we all raised eyebrows at this photo of New England coach Bill Bellicheck smooching his daughter as dad’s are not to smooch. We were all thinking the same thing. The next day, The Guardian published an article titled “I have had a sexual dream about my father.”

Then, this spring, as warm weather finally reached the eastern seaboard after a mind-breaking winter, there was more pollen in the air (I’m talking about incest vibes). With men reappearing in tees and shorts, man-fuckers of all orientations agreed to use a new term, and brought “dadbod” into the cultural fore. This prompted a week or two of discussing the male physique not in terms of shape (doughy, ample, wide) but in terms of what it resembled: a dad. A dad’s bod, to be exact; the piece of paternal machinery you’d use to have sex with a father. To wit: the entire editorial team at New York magazine’s The Cut blog discussing the sexual appeal of their fathers without really blinking. Either no one saw this for what it really was—the sexual fetishization of our own fathers’ naked bodies—or no one cared. It has dad in the name, for God’s sake! To treat dadbod as sexually legitimate is to quite literally find a major aspect of your father alluring.

What struck me most was that—particularly with Dadfucker and Kevin Gates—the public reaction wasn’t pure disgust. We were unsettled, but willing to hear them out—maybe, shit, the pussy really was that good, and the genetically similar D, too. In the case of dadbod, there wasn’t even any real reservation over finding the paternal physique fuckable. And even when we were unsettled by this year’s incest narrative, there was always an element of the erotic at play—lurid, but still erotic. Incest had regained its foothold, after an on-again-off-again taboo relationship with human civilization.

The internet’s apparent incest spike isn’t some ex nihilo fuck fluke: Forbidden familial love has been percolating across the web for many years now. Reddit, unsurprisingly, has been a bastion of anonymous incest discussion: “When I was in my teens,” one now-legendary posting begins, I had a sexual relationship with my mother.” This entirely uncorroborated 2012 story generated almost 4,000 replies, with few who seemed to care whether this was someone’s actual experience or just some very convoluted erotica. Reddit so deeply wanted this story to be true that verification was unthinkable. Another incest-heavy confessional thread, “What’s your secret that could literally ruin your life if it came out?”, spawned over 12,000 upvotes and 36,000 comments.

Incest fantasies are also shaping what we jerk off to, creating a spike in family relation make believe porn, Vice reports:

A report by leading multimedia-adult-content providers revealed a 178 percent average increase in the consumption of “family role-play porn” between October 2014 and January 2015. The stats show Utah had the highest increase with 765 percent; Michigan (698 percent), New York (669 percent), Alaska (524 percent), and Arkansas (452 percent) made up the five states where incest porn was growing in popularity the fastest.

As is the case with so much else these days, the internet pulls the cultural fringe closer to the rest of us than we realize; incest fever has a very small jump to make once it’s hit Reddit. Subforums are the absolute perfect incubator for subcultures, a kind of testing ground before the notion of kissing a relative has mass appeal. It seems entirely possible that the time is now.

After all, it wouldn’t be the first time. Moderate acceptance of incest—cousins, mainly—has gone in and out of fashion for millennia. But there’s always been something loose and wiggly about the incest taboo; it dips and dives like few other social prohibitions. [DERRIDA]

And why not? What’s left? We’ve basically run out of sexual frontiers. You can fuck an ass or eat it. What else? Any latent interests in BDSM can be sated with a trip to the movies—our most longstanding kink curriculum was fodder for one of the year’s dullest movies. Dismissing the taboo around oral contact with the place poop comes from was one very enormous obstacle we rid ourselves of; is sex with an informed, consenting, attractive blood relative significantly worse than having someone else’s fecal particles in your mouth? If we think so, could we even explain why, without defaulting to ick sounds? Incest remains the last icky sex possibility that isn’t outright vile—we can defecate on one another until our thighs are toned from squatting or dress up as bumble bees, but that’s only ever going to appeal to a very, very narrow portion of the sex-having population.

Incest, on the other hand, is a snap to grasp: It’s just sex with someone who shares a bunch of your genotype. So? Unlike the truly depraved and scatalogical kinks, you can have incest without even realizing it’s incest. It’s a purely conceptual sin, a paper transgression, something we’ve been taught to fear for the sake of fear. The looming possibility of hemophilia or freakish dolphin children is a canard in the age of birth control; fuck your kin, maybe, but absolutely don’t make a family with them. Everything short of incestuous procreation is harmless, and very possibly great—unlike having someone’s entire head pushed against a butt.

A Former Gawker staffer produced this work for hire in 2015.

The Cuck is Gawker’s pop-up, bespoke men’s interest site.