Romantic/sexual relationships between cousins are a phenomenon that has been more accepted in some cultures and eras than others. A great many cultures today accept it, including a majority of the industrialized world. Marrying one's extended relatives (which is technically known as clan endogamy) seems to have been common in human evolutionary history, since hominids usually lived in small nomadic bands with few available sexual partners. Much of the modern U.S.A. considers cousin marriage completely taboo, so Hilarity Ensues at the very mention of it. People from backwoods areas (especially the Appalachian Mountains) are often the preferred butt of many bad jokes as well as occasional bits of Self-Deprecating Humor for the alleged prevalence of Kissing Cousins in their culture. Despite the taboo, cousin marriages are legal in about half the states in the U.S.A., though not as much in the backwoods areas and more in the modern industrialized states, the opposite of what one might expect from hearing all those jokes. Legal or not, these marriages are still not very common due to the lingering cultural taboo.
Some cultures distinguish between parallel cousins — one's mother's sister's child or father's brother's — and cross cousins — mother's brother's or father's sister's. Cultures in which a parallel cousin is taboo often regard the cross cousin as the best possible choice of a spouse, since the marriage will strengthen bonds among members of the bloodline and ensure that property remains in the family.
Most of the origins of the cousin marriage taboo are not inherently religious; the ancient Hebrew patriarchs demonstrably had no problem with cousin marriage at all (Isaac married Rebekah, his first cousin once removed). The largest Christian denomination, the Catholic Church, allows even first cousins to marry with special dispensation. First-cousin marriage is perfectly fine under Islamic law and some Middle Eastern and Central Asian cultures actively encourage it. Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Asian animist traditions have little to say against cousin marriages either.
One culture in which clan endogamy was primarily tabooed was medieval Europe, and that prohibition was not so much to prevent inbreeding as to force people to forge political loyalties and family bonds with other peoples beyond their tribal and dynastic relations; this taboo extended as far as third cousins and included in-laws. In a chronically violent culture that put a far higher value on tribal and dynastic bonds than we do today, this was in part an effort to mitigate warfare by extending people's social networks. This lead to royal or noble families seeking to end blood feuds by marriage alliances often needing dispensation from the Church to marry — as, for instance, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York at the end of the Wars of the Roses. (Coincidentally, it was Henry VII's son Henry VIII who put an end to this in England by breaking from the Catholic Church: The Church of England notably omitted first cousins when listing which relatives were covered by incest prohibitions.)
This is also the case in China — in a historical period analoguous to that of feudal Europe, nobles were explicitly banned from marrying any person that could trace their paternal lineage to the same historical tribe (effectively, anyone with the same family name). This was then extended to all people after the unification of the Chinese empire; people bearing the same surname were forbidden to marry even if they were not related at all. However, cousins with different surnames were allowed, and in many cases encouraged, to be paired together to strengthen the alliance between two clans during said period. Linguistic remnants of this tradition may still be found in some areas in Southern China, where the form of address used for one's mother- and father-in-law may also be used to address one's uncle and aunt.
Thanks to the discovery of the laws of genetics a fairly modern part of the taboo against cousin marriage is the perception that this form of inbreeding results in heightened risk of offspring with genetic disorders like hemophilia or albinism. A recent study in Western Australia discovered that while the risk of a serious defect does rise slightly, the change isn't that dramatic (i.e. a 4% risk for first-cousin parents instead a 2% risk for unrelated parents, roughly equivalent to the risk of birth defects in children conceived by women age 35 and older as compared to children conceived by women under 35) Please note, however, these statistics apply only to first cousins: any couples more distantly related are likely to be as genetically dissimilar as randomly paired individuals from the general population (how many of your third cousins do you even know?). *
On the other hand, getting any closer than first cousins is quite dangerous, because relatedness works on an exponential scale. An uncle-niece pair share 1/4 of their genes as compared to 1/8 for first cousins, and full siblings share 1/2 their DNA.
And the first-cousin marriages studied were one-time occurences, those statistics don't cover an entire family tree doing it for generations like has been seen in certain aristocratic populations—repeated, exclusive endogamous marriage is likely to have more serious genetic consequences.
Expect some strongValues Dissonance between the media from America and other countries, and between certain modern works and works from the nineteenth century and earlier, when the taboo was sometimes non-existent or even inverted. Full scholarly debate on why some cultures would forbid cousins, or even specific types of cousins, to marry, while others ignore or even encourage it, rages on, and lies beyond the scope of this wiki.
When cultures insist that Royal Blood is necessary for a monarch's consort, expect to find a lot of Kissing Cousins in the dynastic line. This is likely to be a short route to their dynasty's being Royally Screwed Up.
According to both Oxford's and Merriam-Webster's Dictionaries, the original definition of kissing cousins was simply a relative known well enough to be given a kiss in greeting, although this has fallen by the wayside.
Check out Incest Is Relative for more closely related tropes.
NOTE: This trope is for cases of actual relationships between cousins. Incestuous subtext goes in Incest Subtext.
In Nerima Daikon Brothers, Hideki has a crush on his cousin Mako, who in turn is attracted to her cousin (and Hideki's brother) Ichiro.
In Blade of the Immortal, Kagehisa Anotsu's true love is the swordswoman Makie Otonotachibana. Her grandmother was the younger sister of Anotsu's grandfather, which makes them second cousins.
In Naruto spin-off series Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth, Neji is implied to have more than just familial affection for Hinata, because there is a scene where he imagines the story of Romeo and Juliet, in which he casts himself as Romeo and Hinata as Juliet. In his fantasy, they're called Nejio and Hinaette and look at one another with sparkles in their eyes, before they run towards each other and embrace lovingly. In the same series, he gets so angry when he hears about Hinata trying to date Naruto, that he attacks Hinata in fury, and it's not just the big brother instinct anymore, but plain jealousy.
Neji: Never... you and Naruto... doing things like that... it's... an infamy!
There is also issue 20, where Neji gets a severe nosebleed when he hears about Hinata's breasts getting even bigger than they already were.
He also acts like a pervert towards the female characters in the Road To Ninja alternate universe movie, including Hinata. Preview scenes and the trailer show that he acts like this especially towards Hinata.
Hanamori Pink did a short story called Cherry ♥ Blossom where the main couple were cousins. In fact, it's because they're cousins that they're able to save (the love lives of) their entire school by calling on the powers of their ancestors. It was published with other short manga in Japan, but the only official English translation is as an extra in the last volume of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch.
Likewise when NelvanaMacekredCardcaptor Sakura into Cardcaptors they made two of Sakura's classmates who were clearly fond of each other, with a snarky, cute relationship, into cousins. Whereas they removed the fact that Meiling and Syaoran were cousins by changing Meiling's surname to Rae.
Sakura and Tomoyo are second cousins, although their mothers, Nadeshiko and Sonomi (respectively), definitely fell into this trope. Or at least Sonomi wished they did.
And by cousin you mean that she's her mother's older sister's husband's uncle's third daughter.
Several of the couples and/or onesided crushes in Fruits Basket include cousins from the Sohma clan. Kana and Hatori, Kagura and Kyo (VERY reluctant from him), Haru and Rin (and maybe Yuki), Kisa and Hiro, Akito and Shigure.
Although admittedly these are not first cousins, since it's pretty clear that the Sohma family is a vast one and none of the parents seem to be closely related (as siblings).
In Narutaru, Shouko Fukuyama has these feelings for her cousin Kyouji. Hell, she has it bad for him; She's about 13 years old and wants to bear his child. She has an It's All Junk hissy fit after being told off by his old crush Jyun. Eventually, Kyouji, who had been comatose for years, dies, and Shouko is all alone... until she sees him after he turned into a..."Virgin Princess" and vows to keep on loving him.
In the manga Sakura Diaries, the main character Touma's younger cousin, Urara, is constantly trying to sleep with him and keep him away from other women.
In Fruits Basket, Kagura is violently in love with her (fairly distant) cousin Kyou, who wants nothing of it.
It's been mentioned in a Code GeassSound Episode that Suzaku Kururugi was engaged to his cousin Kaguya Sumeragi when they were children. Kaguya later decides that she is married to Zero, Suzaku's mortal enemy. What makes it particularly funny is that Suzaku eventually becomes Zero, though we don't know if Kaguya knows that.
In one of the earlier cases of Detective Conan, the killer's motive for killing his grandfather, etc, was he fell in love with his cousin, and the older man forbid them to marry. The killer's parents were also cousins, and the patriarch reluctantly agreed their marriage.
Suzuho in Macademi Wasshoi is Takuto's cousin, and naturally one of the haremettes fighting for his affection.
Which one of the girls in Onegai Twins is related to Maiku? In the manga, both of them. The one who isn't his sister turns out to be his cousin. They still get together, and if being cousins is an issue, they never say so.
In Venus Versus Virus, Sumire's male cousin, Riku, likes her. He's like ten years old, and she's fourteen.
Sachiko Ogasawara in Maria-Sama Ga Miteru is intending to marry her cousin Suguru after she graduates.
In a filler episode of Shugo Chara!, Amu admits that her cousin Shuu was her first real crush.
In the manga of Zero No Tsukaima the Prince of Albion, Wales, and the Princess of Tristian Henrietta are cousins who are in a secret affair (Long distance). Their love is unfortunately cut short when Wales is killed.
In Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~, it is revealed that Sifr is the daughter of the King of Windbloom's brother, and it is strongly implied that she eventually marries the King's son, Bruce.
The protagonist and his second-cousin in Hanayashiki no Juunintachi.
In Ten Yori Mo Hoshi Yori Mo, Tadaomi's father and Mio's dead mother were siblings, so a Tadaomi/Mio match-up would be this. Tadaomi wants it badly to happen, but Mio does not.
Bleach: Pure-blood Quincies are expected to accept endogamous ArrangedMarriages to prevent contamination of bloodlines. If this requires first cousins marrying, then so be it. Ryuuken Ishida's parents engaged him to his cousin Masaki Kurosaki when they were both teenagers. This is revealed in a flashback arc with a Foregone Conclusion: since Ichigo is Masaki's son by her husband Isshin Shiba, and Uryuu is Ryuuken's son by an unknown woman, the arc obviously couldn't hide the fact that the engagement between Ryuuken and Masaki fell through. It's implied from the outset that Ryuuken and Masaki care about each other as family but are reluctant to go through with the marriage. Not because they're cousins, but because they're romantically ill-matched.
Marvel superhero Black Bolt, the king of The Inhumans, is married to his cousin Medusa. Sorta justified: due to the limited gene pool of the Inhumans, just about every two-Inhuman marriage involves cousins.
Mark Millar's post apocalyptic Wolverine story "Old Man Logan" features a future were Hulk and cousin She-Hulk have bred and produced inbred offspring. This is all due to her being the only woman able to "Take the pace" of Hulk sexually. Hulk and She-Hulk are both radioactive too, which probably didn't help...
Not the first time romantic/sexuality thing has been brought up between these two as some of Fixit's dialogue with her implies he's more than game.
It bears mentioning that there were implications that the relationship wasn't exactly... consensual.
Superman's future daughter engages in a literal example◊ in a Silver AgeElseworld story taking place in the future. (For those who don't know the Superman mythos, Lucy and Lois are sisters, which makes Lucy and Jimmy's son the cousin of Lois and Clark's daughter. Apparently, that doesn't bother Lola or Jimmy Jr, let alone their parents, happily watching them make out. The issue itself makes no mention of them being cousins, with the main obstacle to their happiness being It's Not You, It's My Enemies. They do live Happily Ever After in the end. As an Elseworld, it doesn't really count, but still... how this got past the radar is a mystery.)
The Man of Steel himself apparently had such feelings for his cousin Kara◊ (Supergirl). In that one, Kara tries to find Supes a girlfriend. After many failed attempts, we get the panel above, which seems to make it perfectly clear that the law is the only thing stopping them from pursuing a relationship (maybe they minded a lot less in the 60s?.) Eventually, Kara fixes Supes up with a girl that is nigh identical to herself, but older, and they hit it off. Unfortunately, it turns out yellow sun is her Kryptonite, and he can't leave Earth unprotected, so they must part.
Also, from the same source as Lex Luthor stealing forty cakes*
comes Kara and Clark deserving a rest◊. Maybe it's just hard to make her look unsexy, but... that looks far from innocent, and the repetition, though intended to drill the definition into a kid's mind, really makes it sound like she is saying "We deserve a rest, nudge nudge wink wink," and the big blue boy scout just isn't getting it yet.
In yet another Silver Age Superman story, Clark has Kara disguise herself as a superheroine from another dimension, and she and Supes proceed to have makeouts (in front of Lois), all to fool some dim alien invasion. She was explictly underage at the time, too. Yeesh.
Namorita (daughter/clone of Namora, and therefore cousin of Namor) was in love with Namor at one point, though it was unrequited.
MAD's Monroe was once visited by his punky Scottish cousin, and they made out a few times. She decided she didn't want to see him anymore because of he was freaky with his "finger-skateboards", but as he said, at least he got to "make oot" that summer.
In the X-Wing Series, Plourr Illo was engaged to her cousin since childhood. In the arc where she returns to her homeworld and takes up the reins, she's shown resisting the idea of marrying him, but since he shows a number of her traits - lots of courage, love of fighting and freedom, disdain for tradition for tradition's sake - she warms up to him. It's never shown whether they actually get married at some point.
In the Douwe Dabbert story Florin the Loafer, count Justus van Bottericke attempts to force his cousin Gwendoline to marry him, because if she does not, he will lose the rights to his title.
In Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic, Knuckles the Echidna and his girlfriend Julie-Su are actually distant cousins, but neither one is aware of it, and it's not directly acknowledged anywhere in the series.
Helene and Franz from a story by Wilhelm Busch. Despite him being a Catholic priest.
In the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfiction, Maternal Instinct, the Changeling royal family, the House of Roachanov, has a reputation for practicing royal intermarriage, much like the European monarchies of old, ironic as the culture is predominantly of Imperial Japan. The Crown Princess, Pupa, is already set to marry her first cousin, Prince Morphin.
Colin, in The Secret Garden, wants to marry his cousin Mary when they grow up so that they can always be together. Mary is amused but uninterested. Colin's response is a jealous loathing of Dickon, the servant boy who helps them in the titular garden, with whom he suspects Mary of falling in love. In one film adaptation, their mothers are stated to be identical twins, thus making this even iffier genetically, since the offspring of identical twins are genetic half-siblings (assuming the other parents involved to not also be identicals, and to be two different people).
In the 1987 Hallmark adaptation adult Colin (portrayed by a very young looking Colin Firth) proposes to Mary at the end and she accepts.
In The Godfather Part III, Micheal’s daughter, Mary, and his nephew, Vincent, are in love. Michael is against their relationship, but Mary's mother, Kate, is not.
In the Victorian farce The Wrong Box, Michael tries to resist his attraction to his cousin Julia:*
It turns out they were both adopted; her parents were missionaries and were eaten by their congregation.
Michael: We both know what kissing leads to, and if I may be blunt, our children would be idiots."
Dar and Kin in The Beastmaster. It's actually achieved through Fridge Logic; their relationship to each other is never noted at all in the film after the reveal that Dar is the son of Kin's uncle the King, and they don't see any problems in a romantic relationship by film's end.
In Tombstone, Doc Holliday tells Wyatt Earp that as a teenager he fell in love with his first cousin; she entered a convent over their affair.
In The Yards, Leo, the main character, had a relationship with his cousin Erica when they were younger. There is romantic subplot between the two throughout the movie.
In Mean Girls, Karen talks about what a good kisser her first cousin is.
Karen: But... he's my first cousin, so it's okay, right?
Gretchen: No, honey. That is so not okay.
In The Lion King, Fridge Logic dictates that Simba and Nala must be either cousins or half-siblings because Scar and Mufasa are the only adult male lions in the pride.
The sequel defies this by specifically mentioning twice that Scar is not Kovu's father, though fans still speculate.
The romance between Heather Mason and Vincent Cooper in Silent Hill Revelation 3 D. In the first Silent Hill film, Heather's biological mother Dahlia was the sister of the villain Christabella. In Revelation 3D, Vincent is the son of the villain Claudia, who is Christabella's sister. Therefore, Dahlia and Claudia are also sisters and Heather and Vincent are cousins. It's likely, however, that the writer of the second film missed the fact that Dahlia and Christabella were sisters in the first film. It's not the only Retcon.
In Mansfield Park, the main character, Fanny Price, and her cousin Edmund Bertram.
Anne Elliot in Persuasion is wooed by her cousin (and her older sister wants to marry that same cousin).
In Sense and Sensibility, Colonel Brandon's first love was his cousin Elizabeth, as he confides to Elinor Dashwood.
Mr. Collins, in Pride and Prejudice, is a cousin of some sort to the Bennet sisters, and comes to their house with the intention of marrying one. Also, Lady Catherine de Bourgh wants her nephew to marry her daughter.
In The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien, the Elf Maeglin was in love with his first cousin Idril Celebrindal, who is squicked by this, for "the Eldar wedded not with kin so near, nor ever before had any desired to do so."
Also, Ar-Pharazôn, the last King of Númenor, married his first cousin, Tar-Míriel, against her will.
Aragorn and Arwen are first cousins several-times removed, as Arwen's uncle also happens to be an ancestor of Aragorn's many, many generations up the tree.note Elrond and Elros were both Half Human Hybrids. Elros identified with his human side and became the first King of Numenor, whose line descended to the Kings of Arnor and Gondor. Elrond identified with his elven side and got their functional immortality.
In Felix Salten's Bambi, Bambi and Faline are cousins (their mothers are sisters).
In the 1818 version of Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein and his fiancée, Elizabeth Lavenza, are cousins who also happen to have been raised in the same household. In the 1831 version, Elizabeth was adopted rather than being related to Victor, but the two were still raised as siblings.
A central part of the plot in One Hundred Years Of Solitude is the fact that the founders of the Buendía clan were cousins, and therefore they feared the family would sooner or later breed monsters if they ever in-bred from that point on. Despite all efforts, it happens anyway.
In The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, Rachel's has two suitors, both are her first cousins.
In the Kushiel's Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey, distant royal cousins (his father is her great-grandfather's brother) Imriel and Sidonie fall for each other. Hard. However, their relatives (and the nation at large) aren't so much annoyed at the idea of relatives marrying so much as they are annoyed that Imriel's mother tried to take over the kingdom (twice, orchestrating an invasion the first time around) and at least some of the populace (mostly the ones still healing the scars from the invasion) thinks Imriel would do the same.
In Rebecca the titular dead wife and her cousin, Jack Favell, were lovers. This relationship is presented to further underline Rebecca's depravity.
The Wilkes and Hamilton families in Gone with the Wind have the tradition of cousins marrying each other. The text makes it clear that multi-generational inbreeding is the main reason for Melly's frail health and physique.
The 1632 series has fun with this trope. The locals see nothing wrong with cousin marriage. The transplanted Americans are a lot more sensitive about this sort of thing (being from West Virginia, they've heard ALL the "inbred hillbilly" jokes).
In Anne Rice's Lives of the Mayfair Witches trilogy, 13-year-old Mona Mayfair has a list of the male cousins she intends to sleep with and gets a considerable way down it before going on to other things.
In The Book of Tobit, it's not clear exactly how closely Tobias and Sarah are related, but their marriage is not only allowed but considered obligatory.
Eat and drink and be merry tonight, for no man is more entitled to marry my daughter Sarah than you, brother. Besides, not even I have the right to give her to anyone but you, because you are my closest relative.
Due to the nomadic, tribal lifestyles of the ancient Israelites, this is true throughout the Bible. Jacob married TWO of his cousins, the sisters Rachel and Leah, and also fathered children by their handmaidens.
Also due to the fact that, in the list of relatives and other people an Israelite man is not allowed to have sexual relations with, "cousin" is conspicuously absent.
In the young adult book, How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, teenage cousins Daisy and Edmond fall passionately in love. Daisy wonders uneasily for a while "if that's the feeling your supposed to have when your cousin touches a perfectly innocent part of your anatomy that's even fully clothed". By the middle of the book, she doesn't care. The book treats their romance sympathetically.
In Harry Potter, it's implied that purebloodism leads to frequent inbreeding. Arthur Weasley, on one occasion, explicitly states that almost all, if not actually all, pureblooded wizard families (in Britain seems more likely, but I wouldn't rule out "the world" myself) are in some way related. There's simply so few left that those who haven't started marrying their cousins are going to have to, if they really think blood purity is that important.
Sirius and Regulus Black's parents, Orion and Walburga, were second cousins.
Teddy Lupin and Victoire Weasley are fourth cousins once removed.
Also, after Tonks's Patronus turns into a type of canine, Harry wonders if she had been in love with Sirius, her cousin once removed, since he was an Animagus who turned into a dog. It turned out to be Lupin, a werewolf, however.
The Gaunts family is described as "An ancient, in-bred, pure-blood wizarding family living in slovenly conditions in a shack in Little Hangleton." This is supposedly the main cause of poor Merope's "cross-eyed" appearance.
The corrupt churchman Annias tries to persuade Queen Ehlana to marry her cousin, Prince Lycheas, in the David EddingsElenium trilogy. She refuses, mostly on the grounds that she can't stand him but also on the grounds that he might actually be her half-brother, given that her father and his mother were a little closer than siblings ought to be. He isn't. Lycheas was actually the son of Annias, which was part of why he was pushing the marriage.
In the King Arthur trilogy that begins with The Seeing Stone, the narrator is a medieval teenager (named Arthur) whose family circumstances parallel King Arthur's. He and his first cousin Grace are pretty much planning on a betrothal when they find out that Arthur's parents are really his foster parents and that he's actually the son of Grace's father by a peasant woman — so they're half-siblings, not cousins, and any thoughts of marriage have to be dismissed immediately. There's close and then there's too close.
In Christopher Moore's Fool, Pocket has running on/off affairs with both Goneril and Regan, unaware that they're both his first cousins by way of rape. Probably wouldn't have stopped any of them if they did know, though. He certainly doesn't seem horrified by it when he does find out. In fact he winds up marrying the youngest sister Cordelia. Whether she knows about the family connection or not isn't revealed.
Skinflick in Josh Bazell's Beat the Reaper is a young mafioso in love with his cousin. The narrator is non-judgmental about this.
In Tanya Huff's The Enchantment Emporium Gales, a clan of witches usually (though not always) marry their cousins to keep from diluting the magic inherent in their genes and to keep said magic secret. Furthermore because there are far more more female Gales than male the boys usually "make the rounds" of their age group cousins before settling down. This imbalance between the sexes also leads to a lot of "close" relationships between the Gale girls. One of these, between main character Alysha and her cousin Charlie is particularly focused on in the book.
In the novel Middlesex, the protagonist's parents were second cousins that eventually fell in love, but what they didn't know was that the father's parents were actually brother and sister, resulting in a rare recessive gene to make their child Calliope (later Cal) born intersexed.
In Jude The Obscure by Thomas Hardy, Jude and his cousin Sue fall in love. It's not a problem at all (unlike everything else in the world.)
Without spoiling the story, it's a pretty major problem. It's the reason they resist their attraction in the first place which causes so many problems down the line. Though the novel attempts to make the argument that the judgments and restrictions of society are worse than the actions of the characters.
In the Iliad Achilles and Patroclus are cousins. Whether or not they were kissing has long been a matter of debate.
An interesting twist is found in the Alfred, Lord Tennyson poem Lady Clare. The titular earl's daughter is engaged to her cousin, Lord Ronald, much to the delight of her nursemaid...who promptly reveals that Clare is actually her own daughter, whom she substituted for the real Lady Clare, who died in infancy. Ronald, as the next male-line heir, ought to be inheriting everything that Clare's father left to her. Clare, horrified that Ronald would be "kept from his due" and married to a peasant, leaves the castle only to run into a bewildered Ronald. She explains everything, and he shrugs it off and says they'll marry anyway, "and you will still be Lady Clare."
Tess of the d'Urbervilles is a rather tragic example. Tess' cousin Alec is pretty much obsessed with her and it leads to him raping and impregnating her, and her eventually murdering him. Though, as it turns out, his family merely took the d'Urbervilles name and they're not actually related at all.
In The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies Flopsy Rabbit is married to her cousin Benjamin Bunny.
Owlsight has a brief relationship between Darian and (adoptive) double first cousin Summerdance.
Illyria by Elizabeth Hand is about the romance between first cousins Maddy and Rogan, whose fathers are twins.
In Nerve by Dick Francis, the protagonist is hopelessly in love with his cousin. She spends much of the story discouraging the idea, though it turns out the feeling is mutual, and she's beginning to come around toward the end.
In the Nero Wolfe novel The Red Box, Nero deduces that one of the characters is interested in marrying his cousin. Ultimately, she is revealed as not actually being related.
In Charmed Life, by Diana Wynne Jones, Cat and Gwendolen's parents were first cousins. Chrestomanci explains that when they decided to marry, it caused their family to make a great fuss. "It is, you see, rather a bad thing for cousins to marry when there's witchcraft in the family."
In the Knight and Rogue Series Michael has a rather serious crush on Rosamund who is his second or third cousin (it never says the exact relation) and who, since they grew up together, sees him as a brother.
Within the Kencyr race of Chronicles of the Kencyrath, it's not uncommon for cousins to marry repeatedly to increase their Shanir gifts and the author has already indicated that the most likely partner for Jame will be her brother, Torisen. Then again, the Kencyr are also noted to have magical healing powers which seem to clear up some of the recessive disorders. Then again, some of the pureblooded families are also starting to experience some side effects such as one character's whose body repeatedly rejects his teeth so that they rot out of his gums and grow back constantly.
In the Montmaray Trilogy, both Sophie and her brother Toby are in love with their cousin, Simon. To be fair, neither of them knew he was their cousin when they fell in love with him, but both continue to engage in...relations...with him after finding out.
Camille and Thérèse in Thérèse Raquin, though their marriage didn't involve much, if any, sexual activity.
In the Bunduki novels by J.T. Edson, Bunduki and Dawn are adoptive cousins. They end up married.
Cersei sleeping with her cousin Lancel becomes a plot point, thanks to how sensitive that information is, with her being the king's widow (and how easy it is to manipulate Lancel if you're aware of it) and how jealous her incestuous twin brother is.
One of Ren's sisters would rather marry Cullen Moorland, but his mothers were sisters to their father; they are seen as full cousins, and with birth defects and inbreeding being major concerns in this world, especially among the nobility with its fears of being polluted by common blood, she is voted out.
Eldest Porter is revealed to be the child of people who are genetically full cousins, but socially considered to be siblings. She's healthy - the onus is on her parents for breaking taboo like that. It should be noted that in this world men are very rare, and a man marries every sister in a family; the sisters themselves are born of several different mothers.
Also it's mentioned that the girls's parents did seriously consider to have him marry one of the girls, "sighing because there was only one if him".
In the Lowlands Of Scotland series, Jamie McKie ends up married to both of his first cousins (not at the same time).
In UK children's author Malcolm Saville's Lone Pine series, first cousins Jon and Penny Warrender are engaged by the end of the final book.
In "Warriors" there are plenty of kissing cousins. And more. Lots more. Needless to say, the family tree is... complex.
Live Action TV
An episode of Just Shoot Me! involved Nina being pursued by a handsome man who, for some unfathomable reason, she has no attraction to. When he mentions he is also from Colby, Kansas, they discover they are cousins. He's completely disgusted and flees, while Nina is relieved that she's not stopped being attracted to men.
Arrested Development had a recurring storyline about George-Michael's crush on his cousin Maeby who eventually turns out not to be his biological cousin). Furthermore, when these feelings become mutual, Maeby tries to hide from them by dating a boy from her school, who turns out to also be her cousin. Again, not by blood. This was mirrored in two storylines in the final season. The first saw Michael Bluth (played by Jason Bateman) thinking that a prostitute was his long-lost sister and hiring her to work at the company; she thought this was a Pretty Woman situation and started coming on to him. (The prostitute was played by Justine Bateman, who is Jason Bateman's real-life sister.) Then, in the final episode it was revealed that Lindsay was not actually Michael's biological sister. Upon finding out, she decided to act on a crush she had had for years. Additionally, Michael ended up going out with a woman who suffered from mental retardation on account of her parents being cousins. It was a lot funnier and less creepy than this sounds.
Relatively common in Hispanic Soap Operas. During Venezuelan soap Carita Pintada's pre-premiering the author claimed that the main couple could achieve a happy ending with white wedding and all because they were only third or second grade cousins, coincidentally the closest blood relation allowed to marry according to actual laws.
For the most (emphasis there) part in Latin America, people consider cousin relationship to be rather incestuous only if they are first cousins, second cousins and onwards are not subject to this taboo.
Jonathan and Tammy were a popular couple on Guiding Light. However, the first time they slept together Tammy had no idea they were cousins and Jonathan was using her for revenge on his mother. When she did find out, she was angry at him for a long time. (About a couple weeks.)
This is not uncommon in Soap Operas in general, given the frequency of "true parentage is revealed" storylines that can make previous non-relatives with crushes on each other into cousins. For example, Cassie DiMera and Shawn Brady on Days of Our Lives.
Then there are people who skirt the edges of this trope by dating their half-siblings' cousins on the other side...
In the HBO sex-farce-with-a-gimmick series Dream On, Martin and his cousin (played by Helen "Supergirl" Slater) briefly undergo a bout of frustrated desire for each other, which only dies when they notice, when they finally get the time and privacy to indulge themselves, that their feet are too similar. No, I didn't understand it either.
On What Would You Do, Marc invited a teenage boy and a teenage girl to practice kissing.
Marc: Would you want to kiss her?
Boy: She's my cousin, why?
Marc: She's your cousin!? Are you cousins? I didn't know that! Wow! I have something I want to say buy this will put us off the air!
30 Rock has this when Liz Lemon meets a guy that seems perfect for her. At least, until they go back to his place and she notices a picture of her great aunt. They do the math and figure they are 3rd cousins. There's a discussion on how close they would be without it being creepy. He says 5th Cousins. She says Never.
Liz Lemon Fails Biology Forever. All human beings have common ancestors. That might be the joke, of course.
In a 3rd Rock From The Sun episode, the aliens went to the family reunion of a family with the last name "Solomon", pretending to be long-lost relatives. Tommy fell in love with his "cousin" and Hilarity Ensued.
Bo Duke: Daisy Duke, if you wasn't my cousin, I'd marry you! Daisy Duke: Never stopped anybody in this family before.
On the other hand, in The Film of the Series, the mere suggestion of this by a bar patron causes Bo to flip out and start a brawl.
George dated his cousin in an episode of Seinfeld in an attempt to get his parents mad after they started neglecting him.
On The George Lopez Show, Max gets a major crush on his attractive cousin. George made jokes about their mutant offspring (since Max by himself is already dyslexic) to discourage that. The cousin milks him for all he's worth by having him do all her chores.
On the Gilmore Girls, Lorelai (and later Rory) is horrified to discover that her paternal grandparents were second cousins. Emily doesn't think it's a big deal, since that was common among upper class family in those days.
The Nanny had an episode titled "Kissing Cousins" where Fran starts to date a Jewish doctor (played by Jon Stewart) who she thinks is perfect for her. They then meet up at a wedding in their temple, where Fran's mom declares, "Oh, I see you have met your cousin!" This makes them squick and they stop dating; however it is mentioned again in later episodes.
In an episode of Friends, Ross and Monica's female cousin comes to visit for the wedding, and ends up staying at Ross' apartment. After a slo-motion Hair Flip, Ross finds he is attracted to her and decides that she is attracted to him too, leading him to try and make a move... Hilarity Ensues.
In one episode of How I Met Your Mother, Ted, Barney and Robin go to a club. Barney grinds on this girl all night before she turns around and he realizes it's his cousin Leslie.
In Chouriki Sentai Ohranger, Kaiser Buldont and Princess Multiwa wed in episode 41 and have a child near the end. It's okay because they're robots.
The second verse of Weird Al'sAvril Lavigne parody "A Complicated Song" has the protagonist alone with his girlfriend for the first time, presumably about to engage in a little Angry White Boy Polka, when:
Discussed by Eddie Izzard, in regards to the British royal family:
She was one of our more frumpy queens. They're all frumpy, aren't they? Because it's a bad idea when cousins marry! (...) First rule of genetics: spread the genes apart, you know? But the royals are just obsessed with: "Are you a royal family? Are you a royal member? Well, then you can marry me, 'cause you're the same gene pool and our IQ's will go down the toilet." Fantastic. That's why there's no crazy royals, they're all kind of: (drawls) "Hello, hello. What do you do? Oh, you're a plumber. What on earth is that?"
In Antigone, the eponymous character is engaged to her cousin Haemon. Haemon's father Creon and Antigone's mother Jocasta are brother and sister. It's worth mentioning that he is also her first cousin once removed since Antigone's father is a son of Jocasta's.
His last line in the play addresses Gwendolen's mother as "my dear Aunt Augusta." It's not that easy to miss.
In 1879, Cyrano and Roxanne from Cyrano De Bergerac are cousins. Although they don't actually end up together, their familial connection is never presented as squicky or an obstacle in their relationship. Given Catholic rules on consanguity this probably means 'cousin' was more a courtesy then genetic relationship.
In most of the productions anyway. In Hungary it's less "he wishes his cousin returned his romantic love for her" and more "he's so obsessed with her that he thinks all men, including himself, are unworthy of her". There's still some weirdness going on there, though.
And technically speaking, Romeo and Juliet themselves are at least distant cousins. Laertes's own father was a Capulet man who abandoned him and his prostitute mother, and a good part of Laertes's reason to become a Self-Made Manand exterminate the Capulets was revenge against his dad.
In Brighton Beach Memoirs Eugene has somewhat of a crush on his cousin Nora. However it's not romantic so much as that he's entering puberty and there's a beautiful girl in the house. His older brother Stanley has a similar attraction to her.
As an extension for its love of the sibling versionFire Emblem has plenty of this, several preexisting relationships in 4s 2nd generation take on this form, and by selective pairing of characters in the first generation it is possible to make a vast number of such pairings.
Two particularly noteworthy incidents in FE4's second generation are the predestined couples of Lana/Faval and Lester/Patty. Because their mothers Aideen and Briggid were identical twins, IS pulled off the impressive feat of doing this and Brother-Sister Incest at the same time.
It is possible to make Roy and Lilina from the 6th game cousins... by pairing Eliwood with the Pegasus Knight Fiora and Hector with either of Fiora's youngest sisters Florina or Farina in the 7th game (which is a prequel to 6). Since 7 was not released yet (and the pairings involved exist among other possible pairings), the 6th game never makes any mention of the possibility.
Fire Emblem: Awakening uses a love system very similar to that of the fourth game. Lucina can potentially marry her paternal cross cousin Owain while other cousin pairings can be set up with certain combinations of parents. The international release has the status screens of such a pairing Bowdlerized to read "Companion" instead of husband/wife, though.
An ill-fated romance between two Kissing Cousins forms part of the plot of the adventure game The Dark Eye.
Though nothing ever comes of it, Brother in Final Fantasy X-2 has a noticeable (and one-sided) crush on Yuna. Brother's father and Yuna's mother were siblings.
It should be noted that in The Sims 2 and The Sims 3, the game does not even allow the option for first cousins to be married. (A certain cheat will allow them to have offspring, if the player so chooses). However, more distantly related Sims have the ability to seek romantic interactions with one another (probably because the family tree in the game does not recognize second cousins and beyond).
At the end of Persona 4, your little cousin Nanako tells you that she wants to marry you when she grows up, and apparently won't take "no" for an answer. If you didn't max the link, her father won't allow it. If you did, he's gonna hold you to it.
In Bully, the Preppies are the kids of a bunch of inbred rich people. When Gary gets them to attack you with his old trick of insulting them and saying you did it, the "inbred" insult is met with indignation and the phrase "And first cousins is legal anyway!"
In Jade Empire, it's revealed that Dawn Star is the long lost daughter of Sun Li, the brother of the Emperor. As a result, when a male protagonist forms a ménage à trois with the Princess Silk Fox and Dawn Star, the two ladies are in this kind of relationship.
In Matches And Matrimony, this is one of the nine paths which the player character can take, if she accepts (or is too weak-willed to refuse) the proposal of her cousin Mr. Collins.
A lot of visual novels will often feature a cousin as an option. Whether or not the main character ends up in a relationship with her (or him) depends on the player's choices.
While he's joking for the most part, Umineko No Naku Koro Ni's Battler Ushiromiya is not adverse to playing grab-ass with his first cousin Jessica. As for more serious cousin-cousin relationships, the second half of the story suggests that Yasu (who is heavily implied to be Shannon, Kanon, and Beatrice III) is involved with as many as three of his/her cousins. Who are also his/her niece/nephews (since Kinzō is both Yasu's father andgrandfather). It's complicated.
The entire Nanaya clan from Tsukihime, with the exception of Shiki due to his situation. They only breed within the clan to sustain and increase the psychic power within their bloodline.
Referred to in Dead Days. Brown-hair claimed he knew everything, so Blondie tested him out. Brown then stated Blondie's first kiss was with a cousin at a family reunion. His name was Steve.
Tedd of El Goonish Shive averts this trope, being almost allergic to the idea of his "ugly cousin" Nanase as a sexual being at all. (Said cousin is, of course, scorchingly hot actually, as Tedd admits much later.)
It is tempting to try shipping their half-siblings Coney and Francis, who actually are biological cousins. Kind of. It's really complicated. Namely, Francis's mother is the human counterpart of Coney's father's sister, who crossed over into this world and turned into a rabbit. Genetically, they're related, though, which is what counts for this trope, I suppose.
In Templar Arizona Mose's grandfather want him to "keep the bloodline pure" and tries to browbeat him into taking up with the temple dancers. Mose objects on the grounds that they're his cousins... and underage.
Trigger Star: Saeurkraut and Avacado's idol, Exlax The Mighty. Not only are they cousins, they were lovers.
HomeSchooled: Juan the gardener has an infatuation with Dulce the housekeeper, despite the fact that they're 2nd cousins. This disgusts her to no end.
In Monster Buster Club, Cathy's big secret is that she kissed her cousin Elton, but only on the cheek, and only on a dare.
Wolverine and the X-Men made Silver Samurai and Mariko Yashida into husband and wife, even though they're cousins in the comics. It's not mentioned one way or another if they're still related in the cartoon.
When Hervé and Nicolas follow the gang to the factory in an episode of Code Lyoko, Odd and Aelita pretend to have sneaked out of school on a date, despite the fact that Aelita joined the school under the pretense of being Odd's first cousin. Note that it works as a perfect in-universe Fridge Brilliance: it was Fake-Out Make-Out, but Hervé and Nicolas probably reads it: "They are kissing? But... They are cousins! Oh... No wonder they are hiding." Notably, when Hervé report the fact to Sissi, she obviously doesn't believe him and find the concept absurd.
That family tree in the page image belongs to King Charles II of Spain, the last of the Habsburg Dynasty, which took it Up to Eleven. That "only 2% increase" thing mentioned at the top assumes the sort of gene pool you get in the general population - with such a history, the child of you and a cousin - or closer - has an overwhelming likelihood of being perfectly normal. If, on the other hand, you only have eight five-times-great grandparents on your mother's side (you should have 64) because for the better part of two hundred years nearly all your ancestors were the children of relatives and went on to marry relatives, and many of the marriages are even closer than cousins (note the number of uncle/niece marriages), you may end up like "Charles the Bewitched." His body and mind were both quite disabled, obvious from birth and ever worsening as he became older until his death at 38.note No, dying at 38 wasn't normal in those days. The low averages when it comes to lifespans in the past are due to high infant mortality dragging down the average, creating the illusion that people older than 25 are something invented in the 1900s. Actually, if you managed to clear toddlerhood, you would most likely live to a ripe old age. Charles died quite young, and it's because he was screwed genetically.. Unsurprisingly, he was far from an effective leader. Many of his relatives were no better off than he, and the family had more stillbirths than peasant families. The dynasty ended with Charles, as he was evidently unable to have children (as neither of his wives were more closely related than second cousins and the plan to marry him to his niece fell through, it is hoped that his keepers had noticed a pattern).
It gets worse. Charles II had an older sister who married their uncle/first cousin and they had a daughter. Said daughter died a couple of months after bearing her only child that lived more than a day, who for his part died at age sixnote nearly two years before his Great Uncle Chuck.
This sparked the War Of The Spanish Succession, with the French Bourbons and Austrian Hasburgs stating their ties to the Spanish Hasburgs made the Spanish crown rightfully theirs. The results weren't pretty.
Some geneticists believe that all humans are at least 50th cousins to each other.
John Adams, the second President of the United States, married Abigail Smith, his third cousin (that is, they shared great-great-grandparents).
Naoto Kan, former Prime Minister of Japan, is married to his first cousin Nobuko Kan. They have two sons.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States, married Eleanor Roosevelt, his fifth-cousin once removed. Note that Roosevelt was already Eleanor's maiden name. Theodore Roosevelt, President at the time of the wedding and her uncle (the elder brother of her father Elliott), gave the bride awaynote Elliott had committed suicide in a fit of delirium tremens when Eleanor was 10 and joked that "there's nothing like keeping the name in the family" (more or less).
American outlaw Jesse James married his first cousin, Zerelda Mimms.
Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, married his second cousin Regina Peruggi, whom he had known since childhood.
Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg married his first cousin, Nina Hagerup.
Irish political leader Daniel O'Connell married his third cousin, Mary O'Connell.
Charles Darwinmarried his first cousin, Emma Wedgwood. After fully understanding the implications of his theories, he feared greatly for his children—and indeed, they did appear to be unusually sickly. (However, his concern seems primarily to have stemmed not only because he was first cousin to Emma, but because their families had intermarried even before, leading to a very (very, very) mild version of the problem that afflicted that Habsburgs.
Albert Einstein married his first cousin (through his mother) and second cousin (through his father), Elsa Einstein. Interestingly, Einstein was Elsa's maiden name before she took her first husband's name upon her first marriage; that changed back to Einstein when she married Albert.
At age 23, Jerry Lee Lewis married Myra Gale Brown, his 13-year old first cousin once removed, causing a scandal and ruining his career when the news came out. Myra later remarked she could have prevented the loss of her husband's career if "she had kept her mouth shut about their relationship". They were married for 13 years.
Specifically, at some point soon after they were married, Myra was traveling with Lewis' entourage while on tour. While he and other band members were conducting interviews, a random reporter came up to her and asked her what her relationship to Lewis was; i.e., what was she doing there touring with the band? Having not been instructed to do otherwise, she replied, "Oh, I'm his wife". Reportedly, the reporter stood there shocked for a moment before replying, "You're his what?!" (Of course, in this incident, her quite young age was likely much more obvious to the reporter than her genetic connection to her husband.)
English author H. G. Wells married his first cousin, Isabel Mary Wells.
Martin Van Buren, the eighth President of the United States, married his first cousin once removed, Hannah Hoes.
The French politician Christine Boutin, leader of the Christian Democratic Party, is married to her first cousin, Louis Boutin. They have three children together.
Philippine national hero Jose Rizal and his first cousin Leonor Rivera were in love with each other when the latter was just 13 years of age (to the objection of the latter's mother) and he was 19. They maintained contact through coded letters when Rizal went abroad two years later (before which was the last time they ever saw each other in person). After 8 years of corresponding they were forced apart when Rizal was branded a filibuster by the Spanish Colonial Goverment. The character Maria Clara in Rizal's novel Noli Me Tangere was inspired by Rivera.
Alexandra Feodorovna was pushed towards marrying her first cousin, Prince Albert Victor, by her grandmother, Queen Victoria, but she rejected him. She ended up marrying her second cousin, Nicholas II of Russia.
Queen Victoria (as mentioned above) was a big promoter of the cousin marriage; this included her own marriage to her first cousin, Prince Albert. Once their nine children were married off (admittedly all to non-relatives), she arranged several marriages for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren among themselves, as well as into other royal families. This is the reason so many European royals have hemophilia; Victoria was a carrier of the gene, as were her daughters, and one of her sons had the disease (having had the misfortune of inheriting her defective X chromosome, unlike his four brothers). This is also the reason Victoria was known as "the grandmother of Europe."
In some cultures parallel cousins, the children of the father's brother or the mother's sister, are not allowed to marry.
This may be more sociological than genetic in nature. Parallel cousin marriages tend to strengthen and isolate clans, where cross-cousin marriages tend to bring clans closer together.
There's also the fact that there is at least a small chance that your father's brother's child or your mother's sister's child will turn out to actually be your half-sibling (i.e. one of your parents was boning their spouse's sibling). This risk is even greater in societies that encourage more than two generations to live in one house-hold. Barring Brother-Sister Incest, this is unlikely to happen with your father's sister's children.
In Colonial Latin America, the landowners and rich people married their cousins pretty often to keep the family riches and influence in their inner circle.
Of course, this might also have something to do with the fact that no country/culture east of Poland was taken into consideration, which is odd, considering there are at least 4 countries between Poland and Finland nowadays and Finland was part of the Swedish and then the Russian Empire for a long time...
Spanish has its own version (even made it into a popular verse): "A la prima se le arrima, si está buena se le encima y le das hasta que gima". It roughly translates to "get closer to your cousin, if she's hot you give her more and bang her until she moans".
A less explicit version is "Entre primo y primo más me arrimo, y si es primo hermano más bacano", or in English, "between cousins I'll get closer, and with a first cousin it's even cooler".
And there is the Double Entendre "Carne de primo también se come", "Cousin's meat is edible, too"
The Middle East has the rather less explicit "there's always your cousin," which is a Stock Phrase told to women having trouble finding a husband. Cousin marriage is perfectly acceptable in the Middle East, where it is used to strengthen family ties and keep property in the family. This even works when the woman doesn't marry her father's brother's son, at least among Muslims: Islamic inheritance laws have always allowed women to own property and entitle female-line descendants to a share of the inheritance. Granted, women inherit only half of what their brothers inherit.Note on Islamic inheritance This involves some headachy math. Let's say the estate is valued at $120,000 and the parent was an only child who died after his/her parents intestate and widowed (so the decedent has neither a spouse nor any siblings nor any living parents nor any named heirs to mess with things further). In general, this is how it works under Islamic inheritance law: an only child, male or female, gets the whole thing. If there are multiple children, but all of the same sex, then the estate is divided equally: if the decedent had three daughters but no sons, or three sons but no daughters, each child will get $40,000. If the decedent had both sons and daughters, each son takes twice as much as each daughter. So if there's one brother and one sister, the brother takes 2/3 ($80,000) and the sister takes 1/3. ($40,000). If there are two brothers and one sister, each brother takes 2/5 ($48,000) and the sister takes 1/5 ($24,000). If there are two sisters and a brother, each sister takes 1/4 ($30,000) and the brother takes 1/2 ($60,000). If there are two sisters and two brothers, each brother takes 1/3 ($40,000) and each sister 1/6 ($20,000). And so on and so forth. This is why Muslims invented algebra: the above rule can be very simply expressed as E=2s+d (where E=size of the estate, s=the number of sons, and d=the number of daughters). Al-Khwarzimi's original treatise on algebra included a huge chapter on the implications of his theory to the calculation of Islamic inheritance, which adds a number of other variables for other relatives, depending on the situation. But it's worth a lot.
The nation of Iceland was founded by a small group of determined 9th century Norse colonists...very few other people have been crazy enough to emigrate there since. Even today, the inhabitants number only about ~300,000 and virtually all can trace their ancestry back to the initial settlement. When the national genealogical record became available online, one of the primary questions citizens started using it to address was whether or not they were TOO closely related to their hot date for the night. The probability of being sekrit cousins with someone you meet over the parsnips in Whole Foods Reykjavik is seriously THAT HIGH.
Scientists have found that the amount of genetic similarity with one's cousin is roughly the same as that of a resident of the same city. Apparently, every major city has specific genetic traits which are more likely within its population.