Guest blog: I experienced Genetic Sexual Attraction

Image courtesy of May More.

This week’s guest blogger is May More@may_more on Twitter. She’s here to talk about a topic I had never heard of before I spoke to her. In my opinion, one of the best things about blogging is being able to share some of our most private thoughts, and in doing so help other people realise that some of the frightening or isolating experiences in their lives aren’t unique. In short: you’re not alone, and there may be others who are going through similar things. In today’s post May explains GSA (Genetic Sexual Attraction), and the shock of discovering that she was falling for her half-brother.

I experienced GSA: Genetic Sexual Attraction

Little is known about human sexual attraction but I think it’s generally recognised that wanting to have sex with your brother is not an ideal situation. That would be immoral. Right?

My adoption story

I was adopted at six months so grew up without knowing any blood relatives – never looking into eyes that resembled my own. When I held my newborn baby I knew I had no choice. I needed to find my roots.

I learned that my birth mum, finding herself pregnant and alone as a teenager, was forced to give me up. On the rebound, she married the first man to court her and had four children. A catholic family. Tragically, her husband was killed in a road accident.

At the time I discovered this sad tale I was twenty-four. My birth mum was forty-two and her children, were adults aged between twenty-three and eighteen. What a discovery – unknown relations! I now had three half brothers – Chris, Angus and Jack, and one half sister Jane. Armed with a certain address for Angus, I crafted a letter explaining who I was. Of course, the thought of rejection scared me. Or perhaps I was a dreadful secret. The reply landed on my doorstep. As soon as I had some alone time I ripped it open. The first line read –

“We have been waiting for you.”

Going on to explain how my birth mum had always spoken about my existence

It was a fairytale. I burst into tears before reading on. What a relief, the pent-up emotion disappeared as I saw a phone number had been included with an invitation to call any evening.

Meeting my family

Having taken time to process the new information I plucked up the courage and rang Angus. We hit it off immediately and chatted for about an hour. Good and bad. My birth Mum, of a delicate disposition, suffered mental health problems. Giving me up and losing her husband had taken their toll. She was, nevertheless, eager to meet. Over the next few days my new relations phoned one by one.

My youngest half-brother, Jack, was a delight. He’d researched our heritage so had many interesting snippets for me. Jane called and we lamented those times we missed as teenage sisters, putting on make-up together and wowing the local lads at the disco. I felt I had known them all my life – a genuine bond seemed to exist. Things could have gone dreadfully wrong but so far everything was just right.

A few days later the eldest – Chris – just eighteen months younger than me, called. He’d been named after me, Christina. He was tentative, cautious even. After a short while, the barrier broke. He began to recite horrific incidents from his past. Sent to stay with his dad’s family as a child, he was beaten black and blue for misbehaving. Bruises that survived for weeks. I confided in him my own experience of abuse as a child: the isolation, how I loved my adopted mum but was in the wrong nest. We ended the conversation vowing to speak the following evening.

Awash with feelings

I couldn’t stop thinking about our chat. Irrationally, I felt responsible for his abuse. If I’d taken my place as his older sister, I could have looked after him and those atrocious things would never have happened. My focus was becoming skewed.

Deciding the next step would be a family get-together, the most sensible option was for me to travel to the town where they all lived, some two hundred miles away.

Leaving my baby at home, there was plenty to arrange. We all agreed I should stay in a hotel for three nights, and see them all together and individually.

My mind was awash with excitement and concern. What would I say? I didn’t blame my birth mum: the choice had been completely taken out of her hands. But I was not after another parent. My [adoptive] Mum had looked after me all of my life and I cared for her deeply. I was more interested in my siblings than my birth mother and I felt a little guilty about this.

The day of the first meeting was daunting, to say the least.

Family, yet strangers.

My youngest brother arrived first with my birth mum and the three of us had a bit of time before Jane and Angus appeared. Hugs, smiles all round and an uncanny familiarity. There had been no need to worry.

Now we all sat waiting for Chris. The others explained he was often late. My heart began to pound. I had spoken in depth with each of my siblings but with him, there had been a strong connection born of similar experiences. He had been the eldest child but now I was. Not to mention we had the same name when shortened. (Mine changed upon adoption.)

Finally, he walked in. We embraced. Stepping back, I looked into his eyes. We both felt it immediately – Attraction.

I bumbled back to my chair hoping nobody had noticed my blush. Jane arranged a cab and we left for lunch.

Afterwards, my birth Mum went home and the rest of us sat drinking and chatting, exhibiting similar mannerisms and talking about childhood. I felt very at home but was rattled by the way my stomach lurched at every glance from Chris.

The next day I met the two younger brothers separately. The following lunchtime I saw Jane in town before returning to the hotel, alone. I had arranged to meet Chris for a drink in the bar that evening.

Why did I feel this way?

Getting ready, I paid particular attention to my clothes and make-up. I felt alive, nervous, with apprehension shooting through every vein. Gazing into the mirror I saw too much cleavage on display, but couldn’t deny I wanted him to want me.

Sipping a vodka to calm myself I tried to push these bizarre thoughts out of my mind. I needed to get a grip and think of him as my brother, not a long lost suitor. But when he walked in all common sense vanished. His warm brown eyes smiling. He walked towards me. It was strange; we looked similar but that was part of the allure.

As we sat talking I couldn’t remember another time I’d felt such a powerful attraction. Pulse thumping, perspiration glowing on my forehead and -dare I say- my cunt was contracting each time we “accidentally” touched. The rest of the world seemed removed. We were there, together living the moment.

He called a cab when the bar closed. Hugging goodbye, our bodies pressed hard against each other, eyes lingering. We promised to talk soon.

Back in my room, I was elated even though I knew the magnetism between us was wrong. Yet it seemed that Chris was so right for me.

Just as I was falling asleep the phone rang. My heart leapt. I knew it was him. He said he’d had an amazing evening and was just checking I was okay, and then…

“I want to come back to the hotel?”

A voice in my head screamed YES, but I said nothing. After a moment of silence that seemed like minutes, he continued:

“But we both know I’d better stay away.”

I lay awake most of the night, contemplating. What would have happened if I’d told him to come over? Why did I feel this way? It was wrong. Taboo.

That evening I came so close to doing something I probably would have regretted. Something I would never have been able to share. It is illegal to have sex with a blood relative.

Genetic Sexual Attraction: I was not alone

Once home I mulled over my visit. Was I some kind of deviant pervert? Then, as if sent from a higher power, a program appeared on the TV explaining GSA.

GSA stands for Genetic Sexual Attraction. The term is used when family members, who haven’t been nurtured together, form an attraction as adults. Apparently, in adoption cases, a high percentage experience this phenomenon.

Thank goodness. Vindicated. Almost a common occurrence in my situation. I wondered how many actually acted on it.

Knowing about GSA helped but I still held Chris close for some time. We’d talked for hours on the phone before meeting and the chemistry between us had blown me away. I missed him.

After a few weeks, I anxiously tried to call. He was working and when he called back I was out.

In fact, Chris and I have never spoken again.

He moved to Australia two years later and never returned. Occasionally I hear from my youngest brother, who is not very informative regarding Chris.

Angus died a year after we met. I was so glad to have known him.

Jane and my birth mum are fine but I didn’t persist with contact. Every part of the experience had overwhelmed me. The past can shape you as a person and as I pined for a life I’d never had with them I began to lose sight of who I really was.

I had to move on for my own sake.


  • Missy says:

    Wow. This is an amazing piece. Firstly thank you for being so open and for sharing something which is highly personal and must be difficult to write about. Secondary I have learnt something new. I had not heard if this either but it sounds like a completley overwhelming and confusing experience. I am thankful you happened upon that tv programme 😊

  • Julie says:

    I have heard of this kind of scenario, but not that it had a name. Thank you for another brave and inspiring insight into your life May.

  • Well May – thank you for being strong enough to share this. I saw that programme too, so I was nodding along as I realised where the narrative was going, it’s as if the similarities are a powerful aphrodisiac. Some people succumb, I’m glad you were both able to resist and it is sad, but not too surprising that it spoiled the familial connection you were beginning to share. I’m sorry to hear about Angus passing.

    I have a friend who did exactly this, went through all the angsty gut wrenching drama of meeting her birth family only to find it didn’t gel together after the initial excitement of ‘discovering’ her blood family. You’ve got your girls, and your man and you had a wonderful relationship with your adoptive mother – you have real family xx

  • Andrew says:

    I saw from the link that this was a while ago, and your birth mother couldn’t contact you – I met my birth mother more recently, after she reached out to me through the adoption agency, and they provided me with a lovely collection of pamphlets from Barnado’s, which talks about this amongst many other things – it doesn’t make it any less odd to feel, but knowing that it is, as they say, a thing makes a difference.

    • Cara Thereon says:

      ‪Interesting. You hear about the occasional partner who meet and fall in love and find out a relation exists after. I’ve read of other stories in the past where long lost relations ended up together because of something similar.‬

    • May More says:

      Hi Andrew – interesting to hear your story – I was adopted in the early 70’s when a different set of rules existed – My birth mum had no knowledge of where I was – hence the line in the letter “we have been waiting for you” – I have dealt with kids now who have info and photos of their birth family as a matter of course. TBH I am not sure which is better. I came from a Catholic Mother and Baby unit – when I applied for my file there was no mention of GSA. Thanks for reading my post ;-)

  • Tabitha says:

    What an incredible post May, thank you so much for sharing your experience.

  • Cara Thereon says:

    My phone is being ridiculous. That reply went a bit rogue…

  • Phillip says:

    Very interesting and maybe even a bit informative. This I have to think on.

  • melody says:

    That’s a lot share. It must add to the mental scars surrounding the whole birth family discovery process.

    Wonderfully written, as ever. I hope posting here does expand your audience.

  • Cousin Pons says:

    I had never heard of GSA before May. I was deeply touched and moved by your experience. You have written about these deeply personal events in your wonderfully lucid style, allowing us to share your innermost thoughts and emotions. xx

  • Nero says:

    I’ve heard of GSA before, having also seen a doc on TV and I think an item 60 Minutes as well. In those reports it seemed to also be a problem between parent & child (long separated, but now both adults), which is a lot more contentious. As you say, the attraction is strong but you recoiled from it nonetheless. That’s what we do IRL, our brains prevail. A different story in erotica where both Pornhub and Literotica report that ‘taboo’ stories are very popular with their respective audiences. It’s a strange one!

  • Esk says:

    Hm. A friend of mine had a sister who fell in love with her cousin. They both married other people which resulted in big big drama. In the end, her sister married her cousin, and they decided to adopt children instead of having their own. My friend at first was disgusted, but now everyone is happy and the family is stable and loving, and much better than before so she feels different about it. It also changed my opinion (even though I’m glad that even though I had many attactive cousins, I never acted on it. Being attracted is not the same as love)

    • May More says:

      I think you can legally marry your cousin so somewhat different from falling for a brother or sister. And yes love is different from attraction. Though attraction may develop into love…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.