Why does a mother develop an incest relationship with her son?
The Daily Mail Online brought a shocking story about a mother and her son in New Mexico. What makes this story shocking is the fact that a mother (Monica Mares) fell in love with her son (Caleb Peterson).
Monica did not raise Caleb. She only met him after 18 years when her son is already an adolescent.
Caleb moved to his mother’s mobile home. They stay together there and developed intimate feelings for each other.
However, the mother and her son were not free from public and legal discriminations. Monica is charged with incest – a fourth-degree felony case in Mexico.
An incestuous relationship is characterized by sexual activity between family members and close relatives. It could be between siblings, parents and sons or daughters, and first degree cousins.
The incest relationship between Monica and Caleb is commonly known as the Genetic Sexual Attraction. A tendency for a parent to develop sexual or intimate feeling for his/her son or daughter. This sexual attraction usually occurs when two related people first meet during adulthood.
The incest feeling started when Monica and Caleb met for the first time.
“The first time I met my son in person I was so happy and excited I gave him a big hug,’ Mares said.’I went to go pick him up at his dad’s house in Texas. He gave me a call and asked me to pick him up, I got butterflies in my stomach.” – Part of Monica’s statement on Daily Mail Online report
Both mother and son see no hindrance to their intimate relationship. They are both ready to face consequences. In fact, Caleb assured his mom to wait for her until her legal sentence is finished if she will be jailed.
The intimate relationship between them looks pretty normal. Except they are mother and son.
But how does incest or genetic sexual attraction develop?
There are several theories that try to explain this phenomenon.
Contributing factors of incest
One of the most plausible reasons for incest or genetic sexual attraction is assortative mating. This theory suggests that people tend to perceive people who have the same appearance to their own as attractive and desirable.
In the case of Monica and Caleb, they may have developed intimate feeling to each other due to assortative mating. Using this principle, the couple might have found similarities between them that made them perceived each other as attractive.
Secondly, it could be that Caleb found emotional comfort with her mother. He found someone who is always there to give him his daily needs.
“I never had anyone cook me meals or give me anything. I never got anything my entire life and she went out of her way to make me happy and after about a week or so I started having feelings for her and I guess I fell in love.” – Daily Mail Online
It is possible that Monica fills her son’s emotional emptiness. Unfortunately, such motherly care goes beyond mother and son relationship.
Because they were just met for the first time, the mother-child attachment might not establish. As a result, the feeling of attachment was missing.
It might be the reason why Monica and Caleb fell in love when they met. The excitement was turned into something else.
Another possible explanation is the Westermarck effect. Westermarck effect holds that sexual desensitization occurs during one to six years of life. Sexual desensitization is the process of elimination of sexual attraction to a member of the family. If desensitization occurs, then incest or genetic sexual attraction may not be possible.
Thus, if a child is separated from her parents during childhood until adolescence, that child might be attracted to one of his/her opposite-sex parents or another member of the family.
This might be the reason why most incest or genetic sexual attraction relationships occur among adopted children.
If you have another interpretation, please share your thoughts below.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.