Coping with Incest

Repost from old blog, 11/25/2006
Incest is so fucking hot! Well, in theory, anyway.

In actuality incest is pretty sad and pathetic, but that doesn’t stop it from being “one of the big players in our theater of desires,” to quote Alan Moore (who deftly dissected the incest fantasy in his fantastic graphic novel “Lost Girls”).

When, many years ago, a friend gave me an educational book called Coping with Incest that he’d stolen from his high school library, I got a jack-ass kind of kick from it. The book took incest very seriously, while I probably didn’t take the subject seriously enough. But looking again at the book, it still presents a strange and subversive conundrum. Namely: to profess the dangers and damages of incest to its audience, the authors were obliged to come up with a whole host of incest “situations” and then write them out. Which basically means that the book reads like a compendium of common incest fantasies, only drained of all lust and pleasure and with a heavy sense of disgust and foreboding in its place.

Of course I jerked off to it. But this was before I discovered “Handjobs” magazine; and re-reading it today, it leaves a lot to be desired:

Chip’s Story
Chip and his brother, Donald, are eleven and thirteen years old respectively. Donald has spent the weekend with their cousin, Howard, who is also thirteen. Donald is eager to show Chip what their cousin has taught him. He takes Chip into his bedroom and shows him how to masturbate. They are both excited and scared at how it makes them feel. What would happen if someone caught them?

“Chip’s Story” is presented as an example of healthy sexual experimentation, and it’s the only one I care to quote, cause the rest are pretty pathetic. Oh, okay, maybe one more:

Kyunghi’s Story
Captain Pham of the Los Angeles Police Department was one of the most feared policemen the force had ever hired. He received numerous honors, citations, and awards from the department and the city, but everyone knew he bent the law when it came to catching criminals. When Kyunghi was younger he had loved riding in his father’s patrol car.

Kyunghi tried not to make his father angry, and he obeyed him without question. Unfortunately, this allowed his father to sexually abuse him. At first his father said he would show Kyunghi how to be a policeman, and he handcuffed him and laughed while Kyunghi struggled to get loose. No one knew that Captain Pham later forced Kyunghi to have anal sex with him.

Like I said, not so hot, but when you’re young and have a good imagination, you can make good use of odd materials.

It’s weird to me to think that people actually wrote these stories. Sometimes, you come across an odd detail like this one in “Juanita’s Story,” which concerns Juanita’s grandfather taking her out to the romantic spot where he and her grandmother used to go. One thing leads to another, and of course:

He threw her to the ground and raped her amidst the singing birds.

Why the singing birds? What compelled the writer to add this strange detail? It blows my mind.

The book reminds me of the Christian “hell house” phenomenon, in which Christian youths produce elaborate haunted houses around Halloween that graphically depict situations such as rape, abortion, and pre-marital sex. There’s a wonderful documentary (called “Hell House”) that shows the fine line that gets crossed when one enacts a taboo or criminal situation for the purposes of condeming it. A young Christian DJ, in charge of the “rave room” that shows the dangers of club drugs, waxes excitedly about the possibilities of pimping out the fictional rave by procuring a water tank with a girl swimming in it.

He’s getting the opportunity to explore worldly temptations in a safe, Christian context. I’m not going to go so far and say the authors of Coping with Incest are doing the same thing, because the book is written for kids who are actually dealing with incestuous relationships, and by spelling out these situations they are doing everyone a service. But still, they are tapping into a very powerful fantasy that many people feel ashamed to confront.