For most of us incest is considered taboo. When and why is incest acceptable?
This essay examines the various psychological, sociological and evolutionary origin theories and the related ethnographic/ historical observations presented by several anthropologists and one psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud. It also discusses the functions which the incest taboos serve, their apparent universality and their influences on social structure.
“Sigmund Freud tried to account for the incest taboo in his psychoanalytic theory of the unconscious. According to him, the son desires the mother creating a rivalry with the father. he must suppress these feelings or earn the wrath of his father who is more powerful than him. The Electra complex places the daughter in rivalry with her mother. Freud’s theory can be viewed as an elaboration of the reasons for a deep seated aversion to sexual relations within the family.”