The “Genetic Sexual Attraction” Excuse

This one is new to me:

The woman convicted of incest with her 16-year-old biological son was sentenced Wednesday in Napa County Superior Court to more than four years in state prison.

Mistie Rebecca Atkinson, 32, of Lake County, received four years, eight months in state prison under a plea agreement reached in May. Atkinson pleaded no contest to incest, oral copulation, lewd contact with a minor and distribution of lewd material to a minor.

The charges were filed in Napa County Superior Court because most of the offenses were committed in Napa, the Napa County district attorney’s office said in May.

In a hand-written letter to the court, Atkinson pleaded for leniency, saying she never intended to become intimate with her biological son.

“I don’t feel like I should have the charge of incest because there is something called genetic attraction that is a very powerful (phenomenon) that happens to 50 (percent) of people becoming reunited with a long-lost relative,” she wrote in her letter to the judge.

I had not heard of “genetic attraction” prior to this case. What I found sounds incredibly unlikely. According to a website dedicated to the topic:

GSA is a natural response to a broken situation. Humans have been designed to bond with their kin starting at the onset of the relationship and for whatever reasons (divorce, abandonment, adoption) it did not happen. This need to bond, which has been dormant for years, finally has the opportunity at the reunion to form a fierce and profound connection.

When these ‘strangers’ finally meet, their brain does not register a family member, they register a stranger that has a title of ‘brother, sister, mother or father.’ As a result, unexpected appealing desires, an attraction to a kin member that is involuntary and overwhelming with intimacy initiates GSA.

Statistically speaking, GSA that results in a sexual relationship usually is the catalyst for further and permanent separation, not just from that family member, but from an entire family unit. Evidence supports those who prepare and are supported during reunions are able to integrate the reunion experience better.

Again, this seems unlikely to me. For one, there is nothing stopping a person from forming a sexual attraction toward someone they grew up with. There are plenty cases of incestuous relationships that would suggest that the existence of familial bonds is not a barrier to potential sexual interaction.

Secondly, it makes little sense that a person would develop a sexual interest in a long-lost relative specifically because they are a relative. It is more probable that two people who do not know they are related would fall in love and then want to continue that relationship despite discovering the truth.

However, that is not what happened in this case. It would appear the boy knew this woman was his mother and she knew he was her son. According to the boy’s father, the mother engaged in sexual comments with her son, treating him more like a boyfriend than her child:

“She started to have a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship with him, not a mother-and-son relationship. It got to a point where their conversation began talking about harming me and killing off her boyfriend she was (now) living with. She was sending him pictures of her body and basically seducing him. The relationship needs to stop and we told both of them but they continue to get in contact with each other. It’s unhealthy and they need to stay apart,” the man said.

He took out a restraining order against the woman, which his son later ignored.

There is no way this is not an abusive situation. Even if one assumed the boy was a consenting partner, it is clear that Atkinson took advantage of the situation. She should have known how wrong having sex with your own son is, at least while he is still a minor.


9 thoughts on “The “Genetic Sexual Attraction” Excuse

  1. “For one, there is nothing stopping a person from forming a sexual attraction toward someone they grew up with.”

    Yes there is in most people, it’s called the Westermarck effect and is there to help stop incest. The lack of it would suggest that the stranger who you’re related to is still seen by some as just a stranger, someone your attraction system doesn’t see as a relative and so they get attracted. It wouldn’t surprised me if the westermarck could fuckup and go in reverse but I have doubts about it. Even pedophilia is a natural fuckup of a normal system but it’s still potentially very abusive (if acted upon).

  2. I think there might be something real. I believe people do tend to find people like themselves attractive. And I think that there may be a natural Westermarck effect from growing up with siblings and parents to not consider them possible partners. I could imagine a situation where people meet later in life and feel oddly attracted.

    In any case though, it doesn’t matter. People are expected to not act on their sexual impulses when those are harmful or illegal. I won’t judge her for her feelings. But I will judge her for her abusive actions.

  3. “People are expected to not act on their sexual impulses when those are harmful or illegal.”

    precisely. i don’t make as much money as i’d like so i should be given a slap on the wrist for robbing a bank. but considering this happened in california, i’m in NO way surprised. had the gender’s been revered the perp would be wearing nail polish and calling some 200lb inmate “daddy” for the rest of his life.

  4. Danny, any thoughts on making a comment on an article about a boy being raped by his “mommy”, and then reversing the genders and saying a guy would be raped by his “daddy”? Not to mention feminizing your hypothetical man by putting nail polish on him, thus, in a way, perpetuating the “females get raped, men do the raping” stereotype?

    On the article, I’d never heard of GSA either.

  5. this is entirely plausible on a psychological/biological/neurochem level

    individuals tend to mate with genetically similar partners

    Westermarck effect/imprinting does not occur b/c absent 0-6

    meeting later in life, particularly w/ mom just about to fall off the cliff and boy emerging as a viable SMP player (lol @ 16 & pregnant^2) ===> both have crazy high sex drives for respective decline/emergence

    but yeah, going oedipal is jail for a reason, tax dollars shouldn’t go towards feeding her genetically maligned lovechildren

  6. I’m sure that wasn’t his intent, but that could easily be the impact. That’s why I asked his own thoughts on what he had said. I doubt most men in prison aren’t feminized before being raped, unless you count the act of being penetrated as being feminized.

    More to the point, males convicted of crimes of that nature are more likely to be placed in PC and not have any social interaction at all.

  7. EOW-

    i have a very good friend that spent time in a california state pen. he told me exactly how the system works for new inmates. if you’re in on a “skin beef” involving a child, you are emasculated and very shortly after killed as you can’t be protected.

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