May 9, 2021

Genetic Sexual Attraction: a Lesson from an Adoptee.

What is Genetic Sexual Attraction (GSA)?

GSA is a term used to describe the intense physical and emotional attraction experienced between biological family members meeting as adults after a long period of separation.

It is the search for attachment.

It has been considered a pseudoscience by some experts.

My intention of sharing my findings with such simplicity is to create awareness for those who have not heard of it. And to let those experiencing it know they are not alone.

During one of my trips, I first heard of GSA from an adoptee in our group. While others in the group seemed to understand what she meant, I was in the dark.

Years passed, and I again heard the same word recently. This got me concerned, as it sounded a great bother to the person. As usual, I later asked them to clarify. I was told it meant having strong sexual feelings toward a relative. Intrigued by this, I went ahead to find out more about it.

For many adoptees, there comes a time when they feel compelled to go searching where they came from. A reunion journey is triggered.

How does Genetic Sexual Attraction come into play?

It can be the byproduct of adoption. It can also be: a likely outcome in the adoption reunion stages. Or a likely outcome in the reunion stages of a child who got separated from their birth-mother immediately after birth.

There are several GSA Support forums online.

What are some of the main reasons that lead to Genetic Sexual Attraction?

1. The unconscious psychological response to separation from people with the same genetic makeup. There is a natural human attraction to genetically similar people, whether we are meeting them without prior knowledge or as familiar strangers.

Interestingly, the same sexual attraction is present in a family setup but is overridden by the Westermarck Effect. When separation occurs early in life, the Westermarck Effect is not activated; that social conditioning does not develop. This, therefore, can lead to intense attraction to the family members with whom we have no shared experiences.

2. The primal wound trauma. This trauma takes effect when a young one is separated from their birth mother immediately after birth. Babies’ bodies remember the experience of this separation. The mother and child attachment takes place while in the womb. When this attachment is interrupted by being given away for adoption or taken away because of other reasons like surrogacy, it comes back to the child as a strong need to reattach.

Why create awareness on Genetic Sexual Attraction?

>> It is likely to occur, especially in the adoptee’s reunion process with their birth family.

>> To prepare an adoptee for this likely/possible occurrence.

>> To safeguard the adoptee and to help them make informed decisions.

>> For the safety and healthy relationship of the adoptee with his/her birth family.

How do you tell if one is experiencing GSA?

>> Feeling like one is being pulled by a magnet, making one want to be physically close and to touch them.

>> Thinking about them when one is not with them.

>> One feels the need to touch the other person without realizing it.

>> Dopamine kicks in and makes one feel sexually aroused. The feeling of butterflies in the stomach.

>> Primal yearning is so intense that one cannot forget it nor push it away.

>> Those who experience it describe it as being similar to falling in love, an intense desire to be physical with the other person.

Healthy ways to handle/deal with Genetic Sexual Attraction:

For an adoptee:

One need not think that they are weird or crazy; this is a normal experience.

Remember that if these feelings are pursued, it will ruin the much-desired reunion, as it is not sustainable.

Acknowledge what is happening and strategies how to deal with it in a logical and healthy manner.

Talk about it to release and calm down the emotions—for instance, a competent adoption therapist.

Know that these intense feelings die away with time. The average is about two to three years.

For someone who is offering help/support:

Do not shame the person nor make them feel guilty.

Be compassionate.

Be understanding.

Help bring logic into the persons’ reasoning as these feelings are so overwhelming.

Let them understand that, even if they did reciprocate, they have a right to seek help.

Important to remember:

Prepare both the adoptee and adoptive parents on the likely outcomes of their child’s reunion with their birth parent/relatives. It is one way of supporting their child as they prepare for this tough journey.

The adoptee/child is the one who was abandoned; therefore, as they seek connection with their birth parents/relatives, they’re already vulnerable.

The older parent/relative carries the responsibility of respecting the child’s dignity, boundaries, and moral behaviors over fulfilling their desires.

If all fails, explain and flee for the detriments of a sexual encounter will ruin the reunion sometimes to an unrepairable level.

Genetic Sexual Attraction is many times a safeguarded secret by the victims, perpetrators, and families because of the shame, guilt, cultural taboo, and the fact that two consenting adults execute it.

Genetic Sexual Attraction is a real phenomenon and not an illusion. We cannot ignore it; real people are experiencing it.

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