It happens to many of us at some point or another. You’re at a family party, when a new person walks into the room. Immediately, you feel an undeniable attraction to them. You whisper to your cousin, “Hey, who’s that?” and the answer comes back: “He’s your mom’s uncle’s cousin’s son.” That’s too bad, you think to yourself.
Nevertheless, as you continue to watch him throughout the night, you find yourself mentally tracing his position on your family tree, and you can’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, he’s not off-limits after all. I mean, he’s not really a relative, right? If you look at the overall picture, the branch he’s on is distant enough from you that he shouldn’t even count as family. Oh, the dilemma!
For some of us, there is no dilemma. If he’s not your first or second cousin, he’s fair game. Some of us may take it even further, claiming that it’s okay as long as she’s not your sister. I’ll admit, that last one makes me a bit uncomfortable, but there’s no denying it: these things happen in families. There’s a reason for the saying “Los primos se exprimen” or the more crude saying “A la prima se le arrima hasta que gima”.
Is this kind of familial attraction wrong? It depends on who you ask.
Attraction to a relative is considered taboo in this country, but in many countries around the world, it’s common for cousins to date, and getting married is completely legal. In fact, in the United States, there are currently 26 states that allow you to marry your first cousin. Imagine that.
It makes you wonder how it even gets to that point. I don’t believe most people are thinking of love and marriage when they start fantasizing about their sexy cousin. The attraction is physical, at least at first. Still, if the attraction is mutual, and you choose to act upon your desires (over and over again), the continued intimacy may quickly turn from lust to love, as it does in any other type of relationship. And that’s when the real trouble begins, because most people, including the rest of your family, may not accept your love as decent.
Somos Latinos, and we’re a good-looking bunch, if I do say so myself. There are bound to be some very attractive people in your family. If your cousin is hot, then she’s hot, but your interactions should always be respectful. Never cross that line unless you’re sure the feeling is mutual. Otherwise, the repercussions of your actions could cause a huge family feud, or at the very least, you’ll lose your cousin’s friendship.
Before you start barking up the family tree, consider the consequences. Is the validation of your feelings, or a few moments of passion, really worth it?