- Incest in popular culture
Incestis a somewhat popular topic in English erotic fiction; there are entire collections and websites devoted solely to this genre, with an entire genre of pornographic pulp fiction known as "incest novels". This is probably because, as with many other fetishes, the taboo nature of the act adds to the titillation. With the advent of the Internet, even more of this type of fiction is available.
Besides this, incest is sometimes mentioned or described in mainstream, non-erotic fiction. Connotations can be negative, very rarely positive, or neutral.
For example, in
Gabriel García Márquez's " One Hundred Years of Solitude" there are several cases of sex between more or less close relatives, including that which occurs between a nephew and aunt. Other works of literature show consequences not so grave, such as the V. C. Andrewsnovel " Flowers in the Attic" and its subsequent sequels, in which brother and sister uphold a loving relationship; Arundhati Roy's " The God of Small Things", in which fraternal twins share a cathartic sexual experience.
Incest also appears in the writings of two major authors of
science fiction, Ursula K. Le Guinand Robert A. Heinlein. Le Guin's short story "Nine Lives" features ten clones (five male, five female) of the same person, whose intimate relationship includes incest. Her novel " The Left Hand of Darkness" contains a story of two siblings who mate, despite a taboo against it. Heinlein features incest in some of his later stories, such as All You Zombies--and Time Enough for Love.
Incest is a major element of the
Sophoclesplay " Oedipus the King", based on the story from Greek mythology, in which the title characterunknowingly kills his father and marries his mother. This act came to great prominence in the 20th century with Freud's analysis of the Oedipus complexas lying beneath the psychology of all men. Its female counterpart is called the Electra complex. Incest also plays a major role in the "sequel" to Oedipus, " Antigone", which revolves around the lives of the four children produced by Oedipus and his mother. The main figure is their oldest daughter, Antigone, who believes she and her siblings are cursed because of their parents. Also, Antigone is engaged to her first cousin, once removed, Haemon (which was, however, not considered incestuous in the culture of the time).
Incest is a frequent theme in the work of V. C. Andrews; in addition to the "Flowers in the Attic" series, the "Cutler" series, starting with the book "Dawn", features a character abducted at birth, who later discovers that her new boyfriend is really her brother. Her brother obsesses over her and at one point
rapes her. Elsewhere in the series, it is revealed that Dawn's father is really her half-brother, and that the woman she had believed to be her grandmother was raped as a teenager by her own father, resulting in the birth of a child.
Incest also appears in
John Milton's " Paradise Lost" in which Satancommits incest with his daughter Sin and their child, Death, after terrible childbirth, proceeds to rape his mother. Vladimir Nabokov's novel "" deals very heavily with the incestuous relationships in the intricate family tree of the main character Van Veen. There are explicit moments of sexual relations primarily between Van and his sister Ada, as well as between Ada and her younger sister Lucette. Nabokov does not necessarily deal with any complexities or consequences, social or otherwise, which may be inherent to incestuous relationships--outside of the strictly practical concerns of having to hide the taboo relationships from others. Incest in "Ada" seems mainly to be a sexual manifestation of the characters' intellectual incestuousness, and operates on a similar plane as do other instances of "sexual transgression" in Nabokov's novels of this period, such as pedophiliain " Lolita" and homosexualityin " Pale Fire".
William Shakespeare's " Hamlet", the King of Denmark, Claudius, marries his brother's widow Gertrude, which implies their sexual relationships. There has also been questioning to the relationship of Laertes and his sister, Ophelia.
Incest is a central theme in
Mario Puzo's the Family.
Incest appears in many of
William Faulkner's works, either enacted or imagined. Examples include " Go Down, Moses", " The Sound and the Fury", and "Sanctuary". Ralph Ellison's " Invisible Man" also deals with incest. The main character, at one point in the novel, comes into contact with a family in which the daughter has been impregnated by the father. Toni Morrison's " The Bluest Eye" echoes Ellison's work in its portrayal of father-daughter incest, which, like in "Invisible Man", is portrayed not as consensual incest but as child molestation.
In the novel "City of Bones" by Cassandra Clare, main character Clary and her romantic interest Jace discover that they are siblings. Their romantic relationship continues into the second book, City of Ashes.
Incest plays an influential role in
George R. R. Martin's bestselling fantasy series " A Song of Ice and Fire". In the series, incest is illegal and seen as abnormal; however, children born from incestuous parents (brother and sister, father and daughter) are healthy and no different from children born from non-incestuous parents, although one of them is extremely sadistic and psychologically unstable. Two of the main characters, the queen Cersei Lannister and her brother Jaime Lannister, practice incest in secret, which leads to a major war across the land when it is discovered that their illegitimate children (not the King's) have inherited the throne. Their public denials of the incest and their secret love for each other causes a great deal of tension and conflict in the series. The royal house of Targaryenwas known to have practiced the custom of sibling incest and often polygamyfor hundreds of years. The first Targaryen king, Aegon, wed both of his sisters, Visenya and Rhaenys. Baelor I, a.k.a. Baelor the Blessed, imprisoned his three sisters (who were also his wives) in the Maidenvault so as not to be tempted by their beauty. There may be evidence of genetic problems due to inbreedingin the Targaryen family, as some of them, such as Aerion Brightflame and Aerys II, were insane. King Jahaerys II once famously stated that the gods flip a coin when a Targaryen is born to determine his or her fate: on one side lies greatness, the other madness. Theon Greyjoy also unwittingly makes sexual advances upon his sister Asha, after meeting her for the first time in many years. Upon arriving at their father's castle, Asha's identity is revealed, and Asha, among others, proceed to mock Theon for his actions.
J. R. R. Tolkien's " The Children of Húrin", the characters Túrinand Nienor, who are brother and sister, unwittingly enter into an incestuous marriage when they meet for the first time while Nienor is suffering from amnesia. This is a development of the story explored more briefly in Tolkien's " The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales" and " Book of Lost Tales", all of which included versions of the tale.
In the "Planetary" comic book series by
Warren Ellisand John Cassaday, Doc Brasswas a the result of an eugenicsexperiment that went all the way back to the French revolution. In issue #5 'the good doctor' it is revealed that his parents were siblings.
In two books of
Philippa Gregory's "Wideacre Trilogy", Wideacreand The Favored Child, the central female characters Beatrice and Julia have intercourse with their brothers Harry and Richard, respectively. Philippa Gregoryalso insinuates incest between siblings in her novel " The Other Boleyn Girl". It seems that George Boleyn has had some level of a sexual relationship with both of his sisters, Anne and Mary. Thomas Mann's " The Holy Sinner" explores the spiritual consequences of unintentional incest. His short story "The Blood of the Walsungs" also depicts brother-sister incest, drawing explicitly on Wagner's Siegmund and Sieglinde.
It also played a minor role in
Stephanie Lauren's 12th Cynster novel "The Truth About Love", where the villainous Fritham siblings, Jordan and Eleanor, often tryst in Hellabore Hall's Garden of Night. They murder the heroine's mother Miribelle, purely because she heard and witnessed them in the Garden of Night (which was directly under the balcony of the Hall), and thus tried to prevent her daughter Jacqueline from ever consorting with them again. This creates a huge problem for Jordan, who had plotted to gain Hellabore Hall through a marriage with Jacqueline.
Incest plays a minor role in
Robert Cormier's novel "Fade". The main character, a teenage boy named Paul Moreaux, has the ability to disappear or 'fade' from sight. He uses the 'fade' to spy on two new friends, twins Emerson and his sister Page Winslow, and is shocked to witness an incestuous encounter between the two. Doris Lessing's short story, "Each Other", in the anthology "A Man and Two Women" (Granada 1965) features the incestuous relationship between Fred and Freda, adult brother and sister and each in another relationship. Theodore Sturgeon's science fictionshort story" If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?"depicts an utopiansocietybased on the absence of an incest taboo.
A character in
Isaac Asimov's " The Last Question" states that he is the son of siblings.
One young adult novel of note is
Francesca Lia Block's "Wasteland", which features the incestuous relationship of a teenage brother and sister. Another is Sonya Hartnett's "Sleeping Dogs", in which a brother and sister's incest is only one symptom of the family's degradation. John Irving's book " The Hotel New Hampshire" chronicles the lives of the Berry family. Two of the Berry siblings, John and Franny, share a closeness that develops into an incestuous encounter when they are adults.
In "A Little Demonstration of Affection" by
Elizabeth Winthrop, teenage siblings Jenny and Charley struggle with their growing attraction to each other. Judith Krantz's book "Princess Daisy" contains some rather graphic scenes of a woman being raped by her half-brother.
Penelope Lively's book " Moon Tiger", the main character Claudia Hampton reveals to the reader that she had an incestuous relationship with her brother Gordon while both were in their late teens.
Ian McEwan's novel " The Cement Garden", the tension between the protagonistJack and his older sister Julie culminates in incest. Also, Donna Tartt's " The Secret History" contains incest between the twins Charles and Camilla, which is not revealed until the final chapters of the book.
At the end of
A. S. Byatt's novella " Morpho Eugenia", a Victorian naturalist - recently married into an aristocratic family - discovers the ongoing affair between his languid, alluring wife and her brother.
intersexnarrator of Jeffrey Eugenides' " Middlesex" traces his condition to a rare recessive gene which he inherited from his grandparents, a brother and sister who fled Greecefor Detroit, Michiganwhen the Turkish army invaded in 1922. Pauline Melville's "The Ventriloquist's Tale" explores the impact of European colonizationon the Amerindiansof Guyanathrough the affair of a pair of half-Scottish, half- Guyanese siblings at the time of a solar eclipse.
In the "
Elenium" trilogy by David Eddings, Queen Ehlana's widowed father Aldreas carried on an incestuous affair with his sister, Princess Arissa. She had initially seduced him in their youth with the intent of getting him to marry her, as one of the advisors had found an obscure law which would permit it, but was thwarted by the hero's father. The affair resumed after the death of Ehlana's mother and continued until the King's death, at which time Arissa was confined to a convent. Helen Dunmore's "A Spell of Winter" centers around the story of orphans Catherine and Rob Allen, who grow up in the bleak, desolate environment of their grandfather's country manor and whose relationship eventually becomes a sexual one.
Teresa, the troubled protagonist of
Alice Hoffman's "White Horses", idolizes her brother Silver, and only after several incestuous episodes and a lifetime of disappointment does she discover that all along she has only been in love with the man she thought he was.
Alan Mooregraphic novel " Lost Girls", incest plays a prominent part in the retelling of the story of Wendy Darlingand her brothers from Peter Pan.
In the Young-Adult series Blue Bloods by
Melissa de la Cruz, which features vampires reincarnated every lifetime and couples who are "bonded" and find each other every life time, two of the semi-main characters, who are a bonded couple, are twins.
Josephine Hartnovel "Damage" (and 1992 Louis Mallefilm) has an implicit depiction of incest. The character Anna (portrayed by Juliette Binoche) alludes to having had an incestuous relationship with her brother, who commits suicide because of his desire for her. Frank Herbert's "Children of Dune" at the end of the book sees the marriage of Ghanima and Leto as a non-sexual incest relationship. At this point they can consumate because of Leto's changes however all children born to Ghanima and Farad'n are Atrtreides
Japanese manga and anime
Incest has also been a recurring subject in
Japanese anime, dating all the way back to one of the medium's earliest pornographic titles, " Cream Lemon".
Certain anime programs, such as "
Koi Kaze" and " Please Twins!", are serious, even sympathetic, studies of the characters as they struggle with their emotions and societal taboos. Incest is also a main theme in " Boku wa Imōto ni Koi o Suru", " Tsumi Ni Nureta Futari" and " Flower of Eden".
In "Godchild/The Cain Saga" the protagonist, Lord Cain, is the son of a man who had been in love with his older sister and had raped her even though she had been married at the time. Cain's mother, the elder sister, went mad after having her younger brother's child and was confined to a mental asylum, where she died after falling from a window.
Hitsuji no Uta", the two protagonists (who are twins) suffer from a strange disease that forces them to isolate themselves from society and develop an infatuation with each other as a consequence of that.
Tenjho Tenge", Mana Kuzunoha, the deceased girlfriend of the deceased brother of Maya Natsume, Shin Natsume, once stated that Shin and Maya treated each other like lovers instead of siblings.
Revolutionary Girl Utena", the character Nanami Kiryuu expresses sexual desire and jealousy towards her older brother Touga, who is the school playboy. Another character, Kozue Kaoru, uses her sexuality to elicit a frustrated protectiveness from her twin brother Miki. Incestuous themes between the central character Anthy Himemiya and her brother Akio Ohtori develop towards the end of the show.
Shakugan no Shana", the Tomogara twin siblings Sorath and Tiriel publicly expressed incest through kissing each other.
Angel Sanctuary" uses incest as a necessary plot device, others use incest mainly for shock value and titillation. For example, in " Ouran High School Host Club", two of the main characters are identical twins, (Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin), who often engage in romantic displays to titillate the female patrons of the Host Club; the two have a close bond, but there is no clear evidence that their romantic behavior is anything but an act.
In the anime and
manga" .hack//Legend of the Twilight", the characters Rena and Shugo, siblings, carry out actions that allude to an incestive attraction to each other's in-game avatars. This is usually done through comic relief, or more serious instances. Shugo's dedication to saving Rena when she disappears may be an incarnation for an incestive romantic caring for her, although this is questionable.
There may also be cases, used for dramatics, where one or both of the characters do not know of their relationship, such as seen in "Berserk" where the character Farnese appears to house incestuous feelings for her (although unknown to her) half-brother Serpico. He knows and refutes her advances.
The anime and manga "
Black Lagoon" alludes to an incestuous relationship between two antagonists, the twins Hansel and Gretel. It is mainly used to enhance the repercussions of their traumatic childhood and illustrate their unbalanced mental state.
In the anime "
Twilight of the Dark Master", an incestous relationship is hinted at/revealed between two of Tsunami's enemies, the Long siblings.
In anime and manga "
Vampire Knight", pureblooded vampires often marry siblings to keep their bloodline pure - Yuki Cross's parents were siblings, and it was stated that she was "born" to be Kaname's ( her older brother ) wife.
Also the popular "
Fruits Basket" involved incest between several of the members of the zodiac.
In the anime/manga series "
Shugo Chara!", the character Utau is in love with her older brother, Ikuto. She forcefully kisses him in both the anime and manga. Ikuto, though, does not return her feelings.
In the anime series "
Candy Boy", the main characters are twin sisters that in love with each other.
Incest is also a common theme in
hentaimanga and anime; there, its treatment ranges from lighthearted to serious, and can go as far as mixing the theme with controverse sub-genres such as ero guro.
A similar theme sometimes explored in both media is pseudo-incest, which is most often depicted as romantic/sexual relationships between step-siblings. The plot in "
Marmalade Boy" revolves around this theme.
Adult/child incest in fiction
Cameron Miller is aged 14 in "
Counterfeit Son", written by Elaine Marie Alphin. He has been sexually abused all his life by his father, a serial killerof more than 20 young boys. In Jim Grimsley's " Dream Boy", the adolescent Nathan is sexually abused by his drunken father and it is clear that his mother knows, but does nothing. In "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things" by JT LeRoy, five-year-old Jeremiah is physically and sexually abused by his prostitutemother.
Mya's grandfather in "", by
Darnishia Bolden, takes a special interest in her. By the age of 10, he is so tempted by her development that he builds her a cherished doll house, lures her to the basement, then rapes her. " In My Bedroom", by Donna Hilldescribes a girl raped by her father. Anne Rice's "Mayfair trilogy" deals with a family of witches who are heavily inbred. One character fathers children with his sister, daughter, and granddaughter.
Jessie is the central character in
Stephen King's " Gerald's Game". She is sexually abused by her father at the age of 10.
Charlotte Vale Allen's book "Daddy's Girl", she narrates how the main character was viewed by her father as his lover not his daughter.
F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel " Tender Is the Night", the character Nicole Driver eventually has a nervous breakdownas a result of an incestuous relationship with her father.
One of the main plots of Chuck Palahniuk's novel "Rant" features the possibility of
time travelcombined with incest. By replacing one's own father, grandfather and great-grandfather by the means of time travel, one might purify one's own genetic material to a great extent. The main character, who is assumably the product of such a process, has for example, a largely extended ability to smell, increased perception and has also an increased ability to deal with pain and poisoning.
Denise Mina's crime-fiction novel "Garnethill", the main character Maureen O'Donnell is raped by her father.
Harper Lee's only novel," To Kill a Mockingbird" it is not stated but insinuated that Mayella Ewell is sexually abused by her father.
Adult/child incest in non-fiction
"", by Carolyn Lehman, includes a number of true stories of incest.
Casanovatries to seduce his own 10-year-old daughter in " Casanova's Women: The Great Seducer and the Women He Loved" by Judith Summers. "Where There Is Evil" by Sandra Brown tells the story of the disappearance of 12-year-old Moira Anderson in 1957 and the involvement of Alex Gartshore, the author's father and a convicted child molester, as a member of a pedophilering.
"Daddy", written and directed by
Niki de Saint Phalle, tells the story of Saint Phalle's history of sexual abuse at the hands of her father. "Don't Tell Mummy: A True Story of the Ultimate Betrayal" tells the story of Toni Maguire who was abused by her father from the age of six to 14, when he gets her pregnant. "Please, Daddy, No: A Boy Betrayed" by Stuart Howarth describes his abuse at the hands of his father and the despair that drove him to kill him years later. In "A Girl Called Karen: A True Story of Sex Abuse and Resilience" by Karen McConnell, Eileen Brand is abused by both her father and stepfather.
In "Daddy: An Erotic Memoir", author
Raul Schmidt(pseudonym) chronicles his consensual sexual relationships with both of his adult daughters.
In "The Kiss," by
Kathryn Harrison, the author gives her account of the consensual sexual relationship she had with her father as a young adult.
Sweet Smell of Success" (1957), The treacherous newspaper columnist J.J Hunsecker (played by Burt Lancaster), has repressed incestuous feelings for his younger sister, Susan. Although not stated during the film, J.J's feelings are implied by several things. Such as him consistently touching Susan in borderline-inappropriate ways, keeping an 8×11 photograph of her (and "only" one of her) on his desk and(of course) his refusal to let Susan marry or even date other men.
"The Unforgiven" (1960), Ben Zachary(
Burt Lancaster) represses his romantic feelings for his adopted sister, Rachel( Audrey Hepburn), although Rachel sees no problem with their relationship since they are not blood relatives.
In the political thriller, "The Manchurian Candidate" (1962), the character Raymond Shaw (
Laurence Harvey) has an incestuous relationship with his mother (who had an incestuous affair with her father) while in his hypnotized state. One of the film's most notable scenes is one which involves the two of them sharing a passionate kiss. Their relationship is shown more explicitly in the 2004 remake.
Anne of the Thousand Days" (1969), when Anne Boleyn is on trial for treason by adultery, her own brother(among many others) is accused of being her lover.
My Lover My Son" (1970), by John Newland, in which the main character (played by Romy Schneider) falls in love with her son (played by Dennis Waterman, who was only 10 years younger).
Murmur of the Heart" (French: Le souffle au cœur) (1971) by Louis Mallethat tells a coming-of-age storyabout a 15-year-old boy who is growing up in bourgeoissurroundings in Dijon, France. The various adventures of the boy lead to an incestuous relationship with his mother. Roman Polanski's "Chinatown" (1974) features father-daughter incest, resulting in the daughter giving birth to her own sister.
horror films "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (original series 1974-1994 and remake series 2003-2006), " Wrong Turn" (2003), and " The Hills Have Eyes" (remake series 2006-2007) feature villains who are the product of inbreeding.
In the musical "
The Rocky Horror Show" and the 1975 film " The Rocky Horror Picture Show", Riff Raff ( Richard O'Brien) and Magenta ( Patricia Quinn) are revealed to be brother and sister and there are hints that these siblings have a sexual relationship. In the unproduced sequel " Revenge of the Old Queen", it is implied that Dr. Frank-N-Furter had been incestuously involved with his own mother, the "Old Queen" of the planet Transsexual (in the galaxy of Transylvania); she later dies in the throes of seducing her own grandson.
The sequel to
Richard O'Brien's " The Rocky Horror Picture Show" is a musical called " Shock Treatment" which meets Brad and Janet some time after their adventure with Frank 'n' Furter. In this film, brother and sister Cosmo and Nation McKinley are clearly displayed as having a sexual relationship. The film even includes a bedroom scene between the two during the song 'Lullaby'. These two siblings are, as in " The Rocky Horror Picture Show" played by Richard O'Brienand Patricia Quinn.
In the "
Star Wars" original trilogy (1977-1983), Luke Skywalkeris attracted to his fraternal twin sister Leia Organa, whom he meets in '. She seems to reciprocate, as the two kiss romantically in ', although that was more to incite jealousy in Han Solo, who will ultimately marry Leia. They learn they are siblings in the final episode, "". They then realize that their initial strong feelings towards each other were not sexual but rather reflective of their strong brother-sister bond. Writer/creator George Lucashas indicated that this is intended as an example of genetic sexual attraction. In the Alan Dean Foster novel, " Splinter of the Mind's Eye", which was written by Foster under Lucas' authorization, the attraction between Luke and Leia is even more explicit, though not consummated.
Stay as you are" (1978), a girl ( Nastassja Kinski) falls in love with a man ( Marcello Mastroianni) who may be her father.
Bernardo Bertolucci's film "La Luna" (aka "Luna") (1979), Jill Clayburghplays an operasinger on tour in Italywhose desperate attempts to wean her son off of drugs result in an incestuous relationship with the boy.
In "Cat People" (1982), Paul Gallier (
Malcolm McDowell) wants to sleep with his sister Irena ( Nastassja Kinski) in order not to transform into a panther in order to live up to his family's werecatheritage.
In the film adaptation of "The Hotel New Hampshire" (1984), John (
Rob Lowe) feels intense sexual desire for his sister, Franny ( Jodie Foster). Franny succumbs and, after spending an entire day having sex, they move on a strictly platonic relationship.
Channel 4film "Close My Eyes" (1991), a brother and sister ( Clive Owenand Saskia Reeves) embark on a passionate but incestuous love affair. In this film there are few sexual scenes between the siblings. Guy Maddin's film " Careful" (1992) features one character, Johann, lusting after his mother and another character, Klara, who is attracted to her father (who lusts after his other daughter) [ [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103926/plotsummary Careful (1992) - Plot summary ] ]
The 1992 horror film "
Sleepwalkers", the energy vampires, Charles and his mother, Mary maintain a incestuous relationship. Although the reason remains unexplained, it may be the simple fact that they have lived so long with each other.
Australian film " Bad Boy Bubby" (1993) depicts an incestuous relationship between a mother and her adult son, who has never been outside his mother's house in his life.
Forrest Gump" (1994), it is heavily implied, though never outright stated, that the character Jenny and her sisters (who are never seen) are sexually abused by their widowed father. Forrest Gump, who narrates throughout the movie, observes that "he was a very lovin' man, always touchin' and huggin' Jenny and her sisters." Eventually, custody of Jenny is given to her grandmother.
A case of consensual incest between adult sisters Christine and Lea (
Joely Richardsonand Jodhi May) is portrayed in the English film " Sister My Sister" (1994), which is based on a true story.
"The Portrait of a Lady" (1996), Isabel Archer(
Nicole Kidman) and her cousin, Ralph( Martin Donovan) share a close friendship until, upon Ralph's deathbed, they each admit to being in love with the other (although this may not have been considered incest at the time the film is set). One the films most memorable scenes is an interpolated dream sequence in which Isabel has an erotic fantasy involving her cousin.
At the end of the 1996 film "Lone Star", Sheriff Sam Deeds (Chris Cooper) and his high school sweetheart and current lover Pilar Cruz (
Elizabeth Pena) both learn they have the same father, Pilar's mother having been Sam's father's mistress.
Angels & Insects" is a 1996 U.S. romance and drama film directed by Philip Haas. In it, the hero discovers that his wife has been participating in an incestuous affair with her brother which began when they were young, and that all of his children are in fact not his own but rather the product of the incestuous union.
In the 1997 film "
Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion", it is implied that the character Michelle lost her virginityto a cousin.
In the 1997 film "
U-Turn", Grace ( Jennifer Lopez) and Jake ( Nick Nolte) are initially thought to be husband and wife. Towards the climax of the film however it is revealed that after the death of her mother, Grace married her father Jake and had been having sex with him.
The film "
The House of Yes" (1997), based on the play by Wendy McLeod, is about the ongoing consensual incestuous relationship of a pair of fraternal twins (played by Josh Hamilton and Parker Posey).
Little Boy Blue" (1997) features a forced incestuous relationship between a mother Nastassja Kinskiand son Ryan Phillipewho in one scene are forced to have sex at gunpoint to satisfy the father who is impotent. It is also revealed later on the film that the son is also the father of two of his siblings.
The Devil's Advocate" (1997) features two scenes where Kevin Lomax ( Keanu Reeves) fantasises about having sex with Christabella ( Connie Nielsen), who is revealed to be his half-sister towards the climax.
"Wicked" (1998), starring
Julia Stilesand William R. Moses, features an incestuous father-daughter relationship.
In the 1998 film "
Velvet Goldmine" the singer, Curt Wilde, allegedly had an incestuous relationship with his older brother when he was 13. His parents had Wilde start shock treatments to "shock the fairy right out of him".
The 1999 film "The Cider House Rules" depicts a father-daughter incestuous relationship that results in the daughter's pregnancy.
The film "
Cruel Intentions" (1999) and to a lesser extent, the film it is based on, " Dangerous Liaisons" (1988), features a quasi-incestuous step-sibling relationship. " Cruel Intentions 2" (2000) also includes a short part that features identical twin sisters Gretchen and Sarah (real-life twins Alicia and Annie Sorell) making out.
The film "
Spanking the Monkey" (1999) depicts a situation in which mother-son incest takes place, leading the latter to attempt suicide.
Julien Donkey-Boy" (1999) stars Julien ( Ewen Bremner) and his disturbing life and family. Toward the end of the film it is revealed that his sister Pearl ( Chloë Sevigny) is pregnant as a result of an incestuous act between the two of them. Tim Roth's 1999 film " The War Zone" explores the effect of father-daughter incest on a family.
Ridley Scott's film, "Gladiator" (2000), the new Caesar Commodusis in love with his sister Lucilla, though she does not return his affections in that way.
In "Girl, Interrupted" (2000), a recently released patient of the mental institution, Daisy Randone (
Brittany Murphy), is well known to have had a incestuous relationship with her father, which eventually leads her to commit suicide.
In the film "
The Royal Tenenbaums", (2001), Richie Tenenbaum ( Luke Wilson) has a lifelong secret love for his adopted sister, Margot ( Gwyneth Paltrow), who eventually returns his affections.
In the 2001 film "
Kate & Leopold", Stuart Bessers' ( Liev Schreiber) ex-girlfriend Kate McKay ( Meg Ryan) is revealed to be his close ancestor, as she is destined to travel back in time to marry another of Stuart's ancestors, Leopold ( Hugh Jackman). Park Chan-Wook's " Oldboy" (2003) features an instance of brother-sister incest as well as father-daughter incest, both resulting in possible pregnancies.
In the 2003 film "The Dreamers"
fraternal twinsThéo ( Louis Garrel) and Isabelle ( Eva Green) have an incestuous relationship.
In the 2003 Chilean film "
Sexo con Amor", a man has sex with his niece atop a washing machine.
Harry + Max" (2004) features an incestuous relationship between two teen idolbrothers.
The 2004 motion picture "
Eurotrip" includes a scene in which inebriated siblings Jamie and Jenny French kiss. This is then used as a plot device to reveal the (now sober) siblings' revulsion at their behavior.
Mean Girls"(2004), Karen Smith ( Amanda Seyfried), the ditsy one of the plastics, revealed that she made out with her first cousin, not understanding that "first" cousins are directly related.
In the 2004 film, "Van Helsing",
Count Dracula( Richard Roxburgh) intends to make a young, Gypsy princess, Anna Valerious( Kate Beckinsale), his newest bride, both of them knowing that Dracula is one of Anna's ancestors.
The French film "
La Petite Lili" (2005) portrays a fictional case of incipient consensual mother-son incest between independent adults. The Ballad of Jack and Rose(2005), Rose( Camilla Belle) is in love with her father, Jack( Daniel Day-Lewis), although he is unable to accept his romantic feelings for her.
The Quiet" (2005), an incestuous relationship between a father ( Martin Donovan) and a daughter ( Elisha Cuthbert) is a main plot device.
In the 2006 film "" features Borat Sagdiyev as an incestuous journalist, also featuring his whole village in Kazakhstan living under an incestuous way of life.
In the 2006 remake of "Black Christmas", Billy's mother, desperate to have a child, goes up into Billy's attic and has sex with him, resulting in her giving birth to her daughter and Billy's daughter/half-sister, Agnes.
Curse of the Golden Flower" (2006), a brother and his half-sister unknowingly enter into an incestuous relationship. There is also an instance between a woman and her stepson.
In the 2006 film "
The Hamiltons", Wendell and his twin sister Darlene have an incestuous relationship and share it openly.
In the South Korean film "Maundy Thursday" (2006), Yu-jeong (
Lee Na-young) reveals that she was raped at the age of 15 by her older cousin.
Pedro Almodóvar's 2006 film " Volver", a man lusts after his stepdaughter, who is in fact the product of incest between her mother and her mother's father.
The 2006 film "
Mini's First Time" features a sexual relationship between the main character, Mini, and her stepfather, Martin.
In the film "Hannibal Rising" (2007), a young
Hannibal Lecter( Gaspard Ulliel) falls in love with his aunt, Lady Murasaki( Gong Li) and enters into a mild incestuous relationship with her (although, as they are not biologically related, this may not truly be incest).
In the Italian film "My Father's Wife" (also in English) a woman frustrated with her husband's infidelity and her failing sexual life starts having sex with her stepson. Eventually the woman is killed by her husband.
"La Coupure" (2006) (French-Canadian) is a film about a brother and his sister in love since their adolescent years and their struggle to end their incestuous relationship.
The comedy "
Blades of Glory" (2007) features a pair of brother-sister figure skaters who are revealed to be lovers.
In "The Other Boleyn Girl" (2008), Anne Boleyn (
Natalie Portman), in pure desperation to be with child, asks her own brother George ( Jim Sturgess) to have sex with her. At first George agrees for the sake of Anne's safety, but as they prepare, they both realize they cannot go through with it. They are both later charged with incest, and although innocent, they are both sentenced to death.
Incest features heavily into the plot of a second season episode of the NBC medical drama ER, entitled "The Secret Sharer" (airdate: 11/16/1995). A 17-year-old girl named Julia (
Miriam Reichmeister) is brought in after a suicide attempt. She at first resists all attempts at treatment and won't talk about the reason for trying to take her own life. As the episode progresses, however, the reason for her bizzare behaviour is revealed: following the death of their mother, the girl's attempts to comfort her younger teenage brother Kyle ( Austin O'Brien), who was hit particularly hard by the loss, evolved into a sexual relationship and she is now pregnant with his child.
In an episode of the FOX sitcom "
That '70s Show" entitled " Eric's Hot Cousin", Eric Forman( Topher Grace) is tricked into thinking that he is not related to his cousin, whom he desires but only learns the truth as he is embarrassed in front of his parents.
The FOX television drama "
The X-Files" featured an episode, "Home", in which a family in the real Pennsylvania town had been inbreeding for several generations and had developed genetic deformities as a result. The episode received a TV-MArating and was banned from replaying for yearsFact|date=February 2008.
The FOX television drama "House" featured two young patients, a husband and wife, who share the same symptoms. Later it is revealed that they are
agnatehalf-siblings and they suffer from hereditary angioedema inherited from their father. (Episode 3x05, " Fools for Love")
The Simpsons", Springfield's rival town Shelbyville was founded specifically to allow men to marry their cousins. There was also the relationship between Cletus Spucklerand his wife Brandine, who may be siblings, mother and son, or even father and daughter.
PBS" Mystery!" production of "Heat of the Sun" (1999), former Scotland Yarddetective Albert Tyburn investigates a murder that involves what seems to be father-daughter incest in colonial Nairobi, Kenya.
soap opera" Brookside" ran a storyline featuring consensual incestuous sex between the two sibling characters, Nat and Georgia Simpson, in the 1990s.
In "The Killings at Badgers Drift", an episode of the British television series "
Midsomer Murders", an old woman discovers a brother and sister in an incestuous relationship.
The hit television series "
Prison Break" (2005) portrays the character Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell( Robert Knepper) as the product of incestuous rape, specifically that of his Down's Syndrome-afflicted aunt by his father; he was also molested by his father. Siblings President Caroline Reynoldsand Terrence Steadmanwere also incestuous lovers.
In the finale episode of the third season of FX Network's television drama "
Nip/Tuck", Quentin Costa( Bruno Campos) and Kit McGraw( Rhona Mitra) are exposed as incestuous lovers, of likewise incestuous parents. This discovery comes soon after Quentin is unmasked as the serial killer The Carver, the main antagonistof the third season, along with his accomplice, Kit.
In the FX Network's comedy series "
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", the McPoyle brothers are heavily implied to have an incestuous relationship with each other as well as their deaf-mutesister.
In the "
Futurama" episode "Roswell that Ends Well", the crew is sent back in time to the 1940s while watching a supernovaoccur. With the loss of all guidance systems, their ship crash lands at Roswell, where Philip J. Frymeets his grandfather, Enos. Professor Farnsworththen warns Fry not to interfere with anything lest he disrupt his own timeline. In an attempt to prevent his grandfather's death, however, Fry locks him in a cabin out in the middle of nowhere - which unknown to him is a nuclear test zone (resulting in his grandfather's death). Soon afterwards he quickly becomes entangled in his young grandmother's emotional despair and ends up sleeping with her. The Professor, after discovering the two, then informs Fry that he is his own grandfather. This is a reference to the famous Grandfather Paradoxof time travel.
Incest is sometimes added to the plot of episodes of "".In the episode "Blood Drops" (1.07) of , a young girl is sexually abused by her father, who is also her grandfather. Her mother is also her half-sister. The episode "Committed" (5.21), portrays mother-son incest. "Table Stakes" (1.15) a brother and sister fake being a couple to avoid the authorities, they even allow themselves to be caught making love by the CSI's.
The Fox sitcom "Arrested Development" constantly plays with the idea of incest. The most ongoing is
George Michael Bluth's ( Michael Cera) crush on his cousin Maeby Fünke( Alia Shawkat), who in turn has a crush on Steve Holt ( Justin Grant Wade), another cousin. In another scene, Michael Bluth( Jason Bateman) sings the song "Afternoon Delight" with his niece Maeby at the company Christmasparty, not realizing the sexual innuendo of the song, Lindsay Bluth( Portia de Rossi) and her nephew George Michael also sing the song in the same episode, also not realizing the sexual content. Lindsay reveals to her brother Michael, that she has always had a small attraction towards him once it is stipulated that she was adopted. Lindsay also attempts to steal her daughter Maeby's love interest, Steve Holt (her nephew), by pretending to be Maeby's sister, although she is unsuccessful. Lucille Bluth( Jessica Walter) and her son, Buster ( Tony Hale), live together, even though Buster is in his mid-30s and they have a comedic codependent relationship, although it is not sexual. Lucille also has a long affair with her husband's brother, Oscar, and Buster develops a romantic relationship with Lucille's best friend/social rival, Lucille 2, who has a personality and first name similar to Buster's mom.
The British comedy "
Green Wing" features a mother and son, Joanna and Guy, sleeping together, albeit unknowingly as Guy was abandoned by Joanna as a baby.
The British soap "
Eastenders" featured a storyline between adopted brother and sister Sharon Wattsand Dennis Rickmanin an incestuous relationship.
"EastEnders" also featured a storyline between
Zoe Slater, Kat Slaterand Harry Slater. Zoe discovered Kat who she thought was her sister is actually her mother who had been sexually abused by her uncle Harry resulting in her becoming pregnant with Zoe.
The British soap "
Family Affairs" featured a storyline involving Gavin and Polly Arnold, a brother and sister in a consensual incestuous relationship
The American teen drama "
The O.C" features a sexual relationship between Ryan Atwoodand Lindsay Gardner, who find out later that they are legally step-relatives, although not blood relatives.
"I, Claudius" was a 1976 BBC Television adaptation of
Robert Graves's I, Claudiusand Claudius the God. In it, the sordid lives of the Caesars are detailed including the historical incestuous relationship between Caligulaand his sister Drusilla.
Twin Peaks", David Lynch's 1990-91 cult hit, 17-year old Laura Palmer, whose brutal murder causes the events depicted in the series to unfold, has been sexually abused on a regular basis by a demonic entity referred to as Bob, who has taken possession of her father Leland.
In HBO's "Rome", Octavia seduces her brother Octavian in the hopes of learning some of his secrets during pillow-talk and Octavian is once accused of having an affiar with his great uncle,
Hollyoaksplot has dealt with incest between two members of the Ashworth family, Rhys Ashworthand his half-sister Beth Clement. They did not know they were half brother and sister when they began seeing each other, upon finding out they were related when their dad died they tried to halt the relationship, but in the end couldn't stay away despite Rhys moving into a relationship with Mercedes McQueenand Beth moving into a relationship with Rhys' best friend, Gilly Roach. When Beth is planning to be married to Gilly, they decide they must leave Hollyoaks, as they cannot end their relationship and see no other way to be together.
In the seventh season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", its revealed that after Spike bit his own mother, she was so overwhelmed with the power that she tried to rid herself of him. Spike tried to reason with her, but his mother grew so angry that she insinuated that Spike had always had a sexual fascination with her. She even tried to seduce Spike before he killed her.
A storyline arc at the end of "
Melrose Place"'s second season (which concluded early in the third) dealt with Alison Parker ( Courtney Thorne-Smith) and her sister Meredith being molested by their father when they were children.
Prince's groundbreakingly explicit album "
Dirty Mind" contains the song "Sister", an ode to incest.
Perhaps the first incest line in
pop musicwas "The End" by Los Angeles psychedelic rock band The Doors, in which singer Jim Morrisonsings: "Father/Yes son?/I want to kill you/Mother, I want to... fuck you". This is apparently an Oedipal reference, however, rather than a true reference to incest.
Kate Bush's song " The Kick Inside" from her 1978 album of the same name depicts an incestuous relationship, pregnancy and suicide involving a brother and sister.
The song "Fa La Fa Lee" by rock band Sparks contains the line:"Fa la fa lee /she ain't heavy, she's a brother to me/What I need, she can't be /Nature, nurture, who's to say?/But still fa la, fa lee / Anything between us is a
Joking about incest in popular music has become a norm.
Punk rockband Blink 182are notorious for being lighthearted about it in songs like, "The Grandpa Song", and "The Country Song", as well they joke about it frequently at live shows.
The song "Don't Wake The Baby" by
Jack Off Jillis also apparently about father-daughter incest.
American rock band
Giant Draghave a song called "YFLMD" - which stands for "You Fuck Like My Dad". Alternative rockband Pixies utilize themes of incest in several songs, including "The Holiday Song", "Nimrod's Son", "Break My Body", and "Broken Face"..
metalband Rammsteintouches on incest in “ Spiel mit mir”, ("Play with me"), featuring an incestuous relationship between brothers. In “"Spiel mit mir"”, the older brother apparently forces himself on his younger brother for sex so he will be able to sleep. Rammstein has written other songs dealing with incest including “Laichzeit” (“Spawn time”) and “Tier” (“Animal”).
Alternative rock band
3 Doors Downalso deals with father-daughter incest in the song "Sarah Yellin'", and the subsequent murder of the father by his daughter.
The song "Little Sister" by
Queens of the Stone Agedeals with what can be seen as a brother x sister relationship.
Nirvana released an album entitled "
Incesticide" on December 15, 1992. Steely Dan's "Cousin Dupree" from their 2000 album " Two Against Nature" is about a travelling singer who lusts after his cousin. For example, "When I see my little cousin Janine walk in / All I could say was ow-ow-ouch / ... How about a kiss for your cousin Dupree."
Sophie B. Hawkinssings about brother-sister incest in her song "Don't Stop Swaying" from the 1992 album " Tongues and Tails". The spoken phrase at the end of the song is explicit: "Hansel and Gretel are holding hands deep in the forest. They are lost. This is their own story. The two have fallen in love, and so, after a long quietness amidst the creatures of the night, they begin to kiss."
There are many examples where incestuous themes are interpreted into lyrics that are undoubtedly dealing with "normal sex". For instance, the term "mama" and "my old lady" are sometimes misinterpreted as representing "mother".
Arena rock band Queen was criticized for their song "
Tie Your Mother Down", even though the lyrics obviously refer to the "singer's" girlfriend's mother who wants to prevent her daughter from seeing the "singer".
On his 2003 album "
Poodle Hat", Weird Al Yankovicincluded a parody of Avril Lavigne's song, " Complicated" entitled, "A Complicated Song". The song was sung in the first-person, and one of the verses sung was about going to dinner to propose to his girlfriend, only to learn that she was his cousin. The verse was sung as, "How was I supposed to know we were both related? / Believe me, if I knew she was my cousin we never would have dated".
In their 2003 "metal opera" "Days of Rising Doom", the band Aina tells through music a story that features an unknowing incestuous relationship between the Ainae princess Oriana and her half-brother Syrius. The evil warlord Sorvahr abducts the queen Oria from his brother Talon, the king of the land of Aina, and rapes her until she bears son named Syrius. Oriana, whom Oria had conceived with Talon before Sorvahr kidnapped her, encounters Syrius many years later, who was being groomed to be the leader of Sorvahr's Krakhon army, falls in love with him, and has
sexual intercoursewith him. In a later battle between the Ainae and Krakhon, Syrius calls a truce between his forces and the Ainae when he spots Oriana on the Ainae battle line. Furious, Sorvahr kills Syrius with magic and appears in the sky, telling Oriana how Syrius was her brother. Oriana then destroys Sorvahr, and with the help of the Ainae army, defeats the Krakhon, rescues her mother, and restores peace to the realm of Aina.
Patterson Hood of the
Drive-By Truckersbased their song "The Deeper In", from their "Decoration Day" album, on the real-life consensual incestuous relationship between Allen and Patricia Muth. The Muths are a brother and sister from Wisconsin, although Hood mistakenly implies Michigan in the song. In interviews he has claimed this is due to incorrectly recalling an article from "Esquire" magazine, in which he read about the couple. Patricia was adopted at birth and didn't meet Allen until she was 18 and he 33, however both were aware of their relationship to each other. They went on to produce four children, one of which was disabled; this led to their arrest and subsequent imprisonment in 1997. Allen was sentenced to 8 years and Patricia 5 years, to be served in maximum-security prisons, 25 miles apart.
The so-called "Mamasan Trilogy" by
Seattlerockers Pearl Jamtells the story of a man's incestuous relationship with his mother and the subsequent unfolding events. The trilogy begins with Alive, which singer Eddie Vedder explains as being part autobiographical and part fiction. When Eddie was a teenager, his mother revealed to him that the man he thought was his father was actually his stepfather, and his biological father was dead. It is the first piece to a trilogy of songs: "Alive", "Once" and "Footsteps." "Alive" tells a story of incest, which leads to the murderous killing spree described in "Once", and eventually looking back from a prison cell in "Footsteps".
The song "Cry Little Sister" by
Carfax Abbeyis also apparently about brother-sister incest.
The song "My Promiscuous Daughter," By
West Chester, Pennsylvaniaband CKY starts off with lyrics, "I caught my daughter giving head to my brother," suggesting sexual relations between a man's daughter and her uncle. Eyehategodhave a song called "Sister Fucker."
"Suck My Left One" by
Bikini Killwas about father-daughter incest.
"" features the song "
Uncle Fucka", in which accusations of incest are leveled by Terrance and Phillip.
"Chinese Dunkirk" by the Australian blues/hard rock band,
Rose Tattoo, on their 1981 album Assault & Battery contains lyrics that suggest brother-sister incest.
The song "Ark" from the Japanese band
Sound Horizondeals with an brother x sister relationship where the sister falls in love and kills her older brother.
Adult/child incest in songs
A 13-year-old boy is molested by his mother because he looks like his deceased father in the song "Alive" by
Pearl Jam, from the album "Ten". In " Janie's Got a Gun" by Aerosmith, from the album "Pump", a teenaged girl kills her sexually abusive father. Similarly, The Prize Fighter Infernoreleased a song entitled "Our Darling Daughter You Are, Little Cecillia Marie" on the album "My Brother's Blood Machine", detailing a case of habitual father/daughter incest/rape, resulting in her attempted murder of her father. In "Bad Cliché" by Cosy Sheridan, from the album "Grand Design", a girl is sexually abused by her uncle from the age of nine to 12.
"Breaking Silence" by
Janis Ian, from the album of the same name, is about fathers sexually abusing their daughters. In "Cherokee Louise" by Joni Mitchell, from the album " Night Ride Home", a young girl hides from her sexually abusive stepfather. In "Crack in the Mirror" by Betty Elders, from the album "Peaceful Existence"; also covered by Joan Baezon "Gone From Danger", a girl is sexually abused from the time she is a baby. In "Daddy's Girl" by Scorpions, from the album " Face The Heat", a mother denies that her daughter is being molested by her father. In "Daddy's Song" by Toni Childs, from the album " House of Hope", an incest survivor sings of sexual abuse by her father. In "Fiddle About" by the Whofrom the rock opera"Tommy", Tommy is molested in bed by his uncle.
"Icy Barrel of a Loaded Gun" by
Darcie Deaville, from the album "Tornado In Slo Mo", describes her experience of being molested by her grandfather. In "Nightmare" by Gaye Adegbalola, from "Bitter Sweet Blues", a girl molested by her father forgives, but does not forget. "Sleep" by Stabbing Westward, from " Wither Blister Burn & Peel" tells of the despair felt by a child who is a victim of incest, and her withdrawal from reality. "Wednesday's Child" by Leslie Smith, from the album "These Things Wrapped" is a portrait of an abused daughter. "Who Will Hold Me?" by Amy Fix, from the album "Spoon"tells of a mother who molests her child. "Island" by Heather Nova, from her album "Oyster", deals with a daughter being sexually abused by her father with nowhere to escape.
The song "Amy In The White Coat" by
indie rockartist Bright Eyes tells the story of a girl (and her sisters) being molested by her father.
"Family Tree" by the
thrash metalband Megadeth, from their album " Youthanasia", is about incest between a father and daughter.
The song "The Dark I Know Well" in the 2006 musical Spring Awakening tells of a girl who's father sexually and phisically abuses her "You say all you want is just a kiss goodnight/then you hold me and you whisper/ "Child the Lord won't mind"/ It's just you and me, Child you're a beauty"
"" is a
visual novelgame about the relationship that develops between an older brother and his ill younger sister. Depending on the choices made by the player the relationship can develop along traditional brother-sister roles or can become an incestuous relationship.
"" is a game where Victor Vance's important ally, Phil Cassidy, confesses that he was beaten by his father under the belief that he had sexual attraction for his sister and cousin, to which Phil denies. Later on in the game when Vic starts dating Phil's sister, Mary Beth, Phil is fine with that relationship.
In "", Hal "Otacon" Emmerich confessed to his dead stepsister Emma that he had an affair with her mother and his stepmother, Julie. The affair was what led Hal's father to kill himself by drowning in the family's swimming pool and nearly killed Emma in the process. As a result, Hal left the family, unable to face Emma for not being able to save her. Emma grew to resent Hal in the years that followed, but continued to feel a degree of romantic attraction towards him (even though he admitted that he could never see her as a woman).
Incest as a metaphor
Sometimes the word "incestuous" is also used metaphorically to describe other inappropriately close relationships, for example between an
authority figureand a subordinate, between co-workers, or between people in the same professionor creative field. The term "incest group" is also common in high school, and denotes a group of friends that only date others within their group. Institutions such as churches, colleges, and sometimes whole nations can be described as "incestuous" when inappropriately close relationships, corrupt conflicts of interest and secret collusions occur inside the institution and especially within the institution's top echelons such as in cases John Boyd exposed in the Pentagon.
Biblical references to incest
Incest in folklore
List of books portraying paedophilia or sexual abuse of minors
List of songs portraying paedophilia or sexual abuse of minors
List of films portraying paedophilia or sexual abuse of minors
List of works for the theatre portraying paedophilia or sexual abuse of minors
* Incest between twins in popular culture
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