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Cousin Marriage.

Last posted May 06, 2013 at 10:31AM EDT. Added May 04, 2013 at 09:57AM EDT
41 posts from 24 users

What are your opinions on cousin marriage?
Do you think it is okay for cousins to marry if none of them have genetic disorders?
What about royalty?

May 04, 2013 at 09:57AM EDT

I don’t particularly care who marries who. Royalty or not. If you and your cousin want to get hitched, I wouldn’t stop you (but I will look at you funny). But expect everyone else to enforce the social taboo with zeal so I still wouldn’t advise it anyway.

Incest is taboo due to the effects it has on childbirth, but if that reason can be avoided then it seems to be of little concern to me

On the other hand I expect incestuous couples to accept the obvious risk posed in childbirth and not reproduce. It would not be fair to any child to be born under such obviously risky conditions

May 04, 2013 at 10:33AM EDT
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Are we talking about first-cousins? If so, then no. However, if we’re talking about stuff like third-cousin twice removed on the mother/father’s side, then I really don’t see why not to be completely honest. But I also agree with Blue Screen about the reproduction issue.

May 04, 2013 at 10:44AM EDT
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Um… honestly, though others may look at it wrong, I find nothing wrong about marrying your cousin. Love is such a strange and wonderful thing, and if they have feelings for each other, no one should stop them. Now, if they want a child, that’s where I kind of tilt away from that (unless the child is adopted), because incest relationships WILL cause genetic disorders in the child, which wouldn’t be all right at all if you know that would happen.

May 04, 2013 at 10:50AM EDT
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There are some cases when cousin marriage is recommended.
An example would be if you belong to a miniature super-race.

Your family has a long tradition to keep themselves pure. Their standard of purity means that you are “pure” if you are intelligent, your parents and grandparents were intelligent too, and no-one in your family suffers from any permanent disease.
If only your family is pure, and everyone else around you is impure, then it is recommended to marry your cousin.

May 04, 2013 at 10:50AM EDT

It depends on what your standard of pure is.
If your standard of pure means free of genetic disorders, there are pure people. wink
If your standard of pure is “pure Persian”, “pure Chinese”, “pure Afgani”, then there are no people who are pure in that sense.

Pure can also be used in a sense such as “pure blond”, “pure redhead”, “pure green budgies”.
Pure blond for example means that the person’s genes related to hair colour are all homozygous. She lacks the genes responsible for production of brown, red, or black gene.

May 04, 2013 at 12:10PM EDT

A few thoughts here:

A: There is no ‘Afghani’ people; Afghanistan is populated by Pashtuns, Hazara, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Balochis, etc

B: I’m certain there are many, many pure Han Chinese. The same goes for Yamato Japanese and ethnic Koreans. Those populations tend to be exceptionally insular.

C: Genetically speaking, the genomic differences between someone and their cousin is great enough that the probability of any offspring bearing genetic defects is much lower than most people expect.

A lot of the exceptionally rare genetic defects that are observed in insular communities like the Amish and the Mennonites are due to sibling procreation, as well as the propagation of intra-family procreation throughout generations.

A distinction must be drawn here between ethnic inbreeding in, say, the Han Chinese, versus the Amish. The worldwide population of Han Chinese is 1,310,158,851, while the population of Amish is 249,000. Such a small population of Amish causes the magnified transmission and propagation of defective genes.

As far as the ‘marrying your cousin’ though, there’s really not much wrong with it. It is taboo in Western culture, but not so in some other cultures. Marrying siblings, though, is dangerous, and is rightly prohibited.

May 04, 2013 at 01:20PM EDT
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Incest incest is the best, put your sister to the test!

May 04, 2013 at 02:21PM EDT
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Ann Hiro wrote:

Here is a chart about where in the U.S. it is Legal

Apparently it is banned/criminal offense in the southern states.
Texas considers it a Criminal Offense.

In several states, you need to be sterilized if you want to marry your cousin.

That is unfair. Instead of sterilizing those that have bad genes, and will spread their genes, they sterilize cousin-marriers regardless of their DNA.
There is a misconception that cousin marriage aids the spread of bad genes. In fact, it is the opposite.
The reason for this misconception, is because in places where they stereotypically married their cousins, there were less options. The lack of options was a kind of dysgenics. The people in those limited populations were forced to marry unhealthy and disabled people, because there was a lack of options.
An example of these populations would be the

European Jews and Austrians
May 04, 2013 at 03:03PM EDT

A child born to related parents is more likely to have some kind of disorder, because it is more likely that both parents have similar recessive genes. Unrelated people have fewer genes in common, making their children less likely to exhibit certain defects.

The question is where you draw the line. People can be third or fourth cousins and not even know it, so that’s probably okay. Marrying your sibling is definitely NOT okay. At some point, you have to make some arbitrary line between okay/not okay.

First cousins’ marriage is considered not okay in the modern world because it’s still close enough to cause quite a lot of problems in children: birth defects, disabilities, etc. However in ancient times, it was considered just fine.

Whether or not either person exhibits a genetic disorder doesn’t preclude the possibility of their mutual children exhibiting the same. They’re called “recessive” for a reason, and EVERYONE has some recessive genes that they’re not aware of.

May 04, 2013 at 03:36PM EDT
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Serious Business wrote:

A child born to related parents is more likely to have some kind of disorder, because it is more likely that both parents have similar recessive genes. Unrelated people have fewer genes in common, making their children less likely to exhibit certain defects.

The question is where you draw the line. People can be third or fourth cousins and not even know it, so that’s probably okay. Marrying your sibling is definitely NOT okay. At some point, you have to make some arbitrary line between okay/not okay.

First cousins’ marriage is considered not okay in the modern world because it’s still close enough to cause quite a lot of problems in children: birth defects, disabilities, etc. However in ancient times, it was considered just fine.

Whether or not either person exhibits a genetic disorder doesn’t preclude the possibility of their mutual children exhibiting the same. They’re called “recessive” for a reason, and EVERYONE has some recessive genes that they’re not aware of.

Have you heard of Genetic testing?

May 04, 2013 at 03:43PM EDT

King Charles the Second of Spain was like the result of incest. i am on aphone cannot link.

May 04, 2013 at 04:12PM EDT

SIRSWAGGYBALLS666<3 wrote:

King Charles the Second of Spain was like the result of incest. i am on aphone cannot link.

Pretty much every king ever was the result of incest.

May 04, 2013 at 04:16PM EDT
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Cale wrote:

Pretty much every king ever was the result of incest.


What did you say? Did you know that some of us here have great-grandfathers who were Persian or Moroccan kings.

May 04, 2013 at 04:27PM EDT

Meh, the chances for birth defects in the children of first cousins are twice as high as the general population that is 4 percent compared to the average 2 percent. Genetically, this is somewhat of a high risk but is still lower that the chances of birth defects of siblings that averages around 7 to 9 percent. With age, the chances of birth defects in all of these cases will increase, but just for simplicity sake I am just going to stick with these statistics. Is the marriage of first cousins unethical? The answer depends on who you ask, the moral justification love creates for the eyes of the beholder, and the culture they live with.

May 04, 2013 at 04:39PM EDT
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Would you do it?

May 04, 2013 at 05:24PM EDT

Iran wrote:

What are your opinions on cousin marriage?
Do you think it is okay for cousins to marry if none of them have genetic disorders?
What about royalty?

My great grandparents were cousins.

May 04, 2013 at 06:06PM EDT
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Do you think it would be more okay if the cousins were of different race. Like if one cousin was half-black half-white, and another was half-asian half-white?

May 04, 2013 at 06:51PM EDT

I was going to say it, then opspe beat me to it, then it appeared that almost nobody noticed it:

Studies have shown that in the general population, there is not a significant increase in risk of genetic defects for children of cousins.

That being said, I’ve always found it an interesting topic as far as how it functions as a cultural taboo. As a lot of people know, all humans are pretty much related, although of course may of them more distantly than can be easily traced. Nonetheless, the way people feel about cousin marriage varies greatly.

When I was in college, my grandfather had gotten into studying genealogy as a hobby, and he found out his girlfriend (my grandmother had died many years previously) was his 14th cousin. I mentioned this to someone I knew, and their reaction was, “Ew, he’s dating his cousin?” Seriously? Genetically, they say that you should share 50% of your genes with a sibling, 25% with an aunt/niece, 12.5% with a cousin, etc. Carrying the math out, you and your 14th cousin should share slightly less than 0.0000002% of your genes, a number so small that it may be meaningless; a quick Google search informs me that humans have about 20,000 genes, meaning your 14th cousin is fairly likely to have no genes in common with you, certainly not defective ones.

For those in this thread who think marrying a cousin is unacceptable, do you find the idea of marrying cousins distasteful solely because of genetic issues, or is it something else? For instance, I have a regular first cousin who happens to not be genetically related to me in any way I am aware of (she’s the stepdaughter of my mother’s sister). If I had married her, would it seem wrong to you, and if so, why?

May 04, 2013 at 07:35PM EDT
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What about Amish people?

May 04, 2013 at 08:50PM EDT

I don’t see the problem, besides messing up the children.

May 04, 2013 at 09:41PM EDT
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I echo Brucker that the taboo is the most curious part of this.

As other posters have pointed out, the taboo has grown in significant strength in the Western world. Enough to influence some very harsh laws. Perhaps to levels that may seem unnecessary to some.

And this has happened without fully understanding how serious the effects of cousin procreation are.

There are some places where cousin relations are not taboo at all, but here it is akin to covering oneself in fecal matter. Is this the result of people taking one concept (birth defects) and slowly exaggerating that consequence over time? Or was there a period where it was suddenly demonized by an active group?

Either way, such a significant taboo that has been active for so long, will not be weaned from society quickly. Not even with convincing studies

May 04, 2013 at 09:47PM EDT
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First-cousin marriage is legal in my state? Good to know.

I do know that birth defects in married cousins is an overly exaggerated fact, and yet there is still something about the thought of marrying a cousin that makes me uneasy, even if said cousin was not actually genetically related (adoption, in-laws, etc). I suppose this feeling just comes from the fact that the idea that it is wrong to marry a cousin has been beaten into my head pretty hard over the years.

If you asked me if it was ok to marry a cousin the logical side of my mind would say yes. If someone I knew married their cousin I would not somehow think what they were doing was wrong or have a lowered opinion of them. But still, there is just something about it that makes me uneasy.

Last edited May 05, 2013 at 01:05AM EDT
May 05, 2013 at 01:04AM EDT
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@Crimson

But still, there is just something about it that makes me uneasy.

Same here. As much as I understand what Brucker, Chengis and opspe are saying…the thought of marrying (let alone sexing up) a cousin, even an in-law…is just…ugh.

On a purely logical basis it does not appear to be a problem. But it remains one psychologically, and I cannot bring myself to support it due to those ingrained social queues

Marrying a cousin will certainly lead people to judge you for it and not just for the procreational implications. For instance, people would accuse you of being too laid back to find a girlfriend outside of your immediate family and deem that pathetic.

I’d be more afraid of how society reacts to marrying a cousin than the marriage itself.

This must be how taboo’s become deadlocked into society.

Last edited May 05, 2013 at 03:01AM EDT
May 05, 2013 at 02:55AM EDT
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Technically we may or may not be all cousins in a way.

Just really, really far cousins.

He explains this into a more clear sense.

May 05, 2013 at 03:07AM EDT
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Iran wrote:

There are some cases when cousin marriage is recommended.
An example would be if you belong to a miniature super-race.

Your family has a long tradition to keep themselves pure. Their standard of purity means that you are “pure” if you are intelligent, your parents and grandparents were intelligent too, and no-one in your family suffers from any permanent disease.
If only your family is pure, and everyone else around you is impure, then it is recommended to marry your cousin.

This post is only a tad inaccurate…

You know what happened to dogs, right? Surely through this kind of ‘selective breeding’ problems will occur, especially since no one is completely ‘pure’.

May 05, 2013 at 04:25AM EDT
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量子 Meme wrote:

This post is only a tad inaccurate…

You know what happened to dogs, right? Surely through this kind of ‘selective breeding’ problems will occur, especially since no one is completely ‘pure’.

Imagine that you only want to marry an Iranian. The only smart, healthy, beautiful Iranians are your third, second, and first cousins. The rest of the Iranian population is deformed, disabled, stupid, or all three.

May 05, 2013 at 06:32PM EDT

Are people really suggesting that inbreeding is harmless?

May 05, 2013 at 09:46PM EDT

Black Vulture wrote:

Are people really suggesting that inbreeding is harmless?

I don’t think anyone is outright saying inbreeding is harmless (although I certainly could be wrong), but rather that the supposed dangers that people associate with it are blown out of proportion. Sure, marrying your cousin and procreating with them could lead to genetic problems, but so could procreating with someone not related in any known way.

Another issue is whether having sexual relations with a close relative is morally wrong aside from genetic issues, and why. Most people seemed to think it was wrong for Woody Allen to marry his ex-girlfriend’s adopted daughter (including me) even though she’s not really any relation to him at all. Aside from the fact that there’s about a 40-year age difference between them, it’s hard to put a finger on what it is that’s wrong with that.

May 05, 2013 at 10:59PM EDT
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Black Vulture wrote:

Are people really suggesting that inbreeding is harmless?

If you look at the studies and facts that people in this thread are linking to and discussing, maybe you would understand why people in this thread are saying inbreeding (between cousins) is virtually harmless. You can think it’s still wrong (morally) but thinking it harmful is completely off base.

May 05, 2013 at 11:00PM EDT
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Well… as far as inbreeding goes. Cousins is lesser of the potential evils presented.

Though, it still has potential for genetic disorders over many repetitions though generations, so I still think it should be banned.

May 05, 2013 at 11:15PM EDT
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Well, if anything, you can certainly still say it’s harmful to one’s reputation if not your gene pool…

May 05, 2013 at 11:33PM EDT
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Natsuru Springfield wrote:

Well… as far as inbreeding goes. Cousins is lesser of the potential evils presented.

Though, it still has potential for genetic disorders over many repetitions though generations, so I still think it should be banned.

This is an important point. The numbers I gave above were for a pair of cousins that are the only inbreeding cousins in their family. If someone comes from multiple generations of inbreeding, the amount of shared genetic material is going to be higher.

Wikipedia has some stats on these factors, including the fact that while the Amish don’t allow first cousins to marry, they have a high incidence of genetic defects due to the fact they are “descended from only a few hundred 18th century German-Swiss settlers”.

Charles Darwin, who was married to his first cousin, apparently noted that first cousins have higher fertility rates, but this tends to be offset by higher infant mortality rates.

May 06, 2013 at 12:19AM EDT
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Maybe if its your step cousin, if thats even possible. Then i guess you could fuck him/her all you want because you’re not connected as a blood relative. Kind of like if you fucked your step sister/brother it’d be weird as fuck ok, but your kids wouldn’t be mentally retarded however your family will most likely view you as a retard for doing so.

May 06, 2013 at 10:31AM EDT
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