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When faced with the taboo topic of incest, most people would be understandably Squicked out. But for some reason, a number of fictional characters tend to have an inappropriate sort of love for family members that they're not really bothered by. For the sake of drama and tension, this sort of love tends to be mutual in order for the creator to find a way to make things interesting.

But, to absolutely no one's surprise, not everyone in Fictionland is perfectly fine with jumping into bed with relatives. This type of character has to fend off the disturbing advances of the younger sibling who wishes to become their spouse, the way too touchy uncle, the hot cousin who loves making them feel uncomfortable, the mother or father who's interested in them in all the wrong ways, or whichever other relative has a depraved opinion of them.

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This sort of relationship dynamic can either be used for Black Comedy or Played for Drama. The latter case tends to overlap with Villainous Incest if ever this has contributed to issues caused by a character's past (especially if the creepy relative managed to "have their way with them"). This can also be used as a darker take on a Sibling Yin-Yang or with any Long-Lost Relative reveal involving a villain and hero.

Take note, this does not apply if the object of incestuous affection is unaware of the attraction. The entire point of this is a character who's repulsed by their relative's inappropriate attraction to them. However, it can still apply if the admirer is unaware that they're related.


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Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Madelyne Pryor developed this in spades with Nate Grey, the Age of Apocalypse counterpart/half brother of her son, Cable (he was created directly from Scott and Jean's DNA), after he accidentally resurrected her while unconsciously searching for the 616 version of his mother. It didn't help that they looked more or less the same age, and neither recognised the other (Maddie's memories were initially scrambled and she only knew baby Cable), while Nate had only briefly met AoA Jean (their kinship was psychic). It also didn't help that they were written with smouldering sexual tension, the narrative blithely describing them visiting Paris like any other young couple in love. It never explicitly goes anywhere, and Nate backs off hard once he figures out who she is. Maddie, once she gets her memories back...not so much. She began as a textbook Tsundere, and became a textbook Yandere, periodically helping Nate, then trying to kill him, and vice versa, in between playing Murder the Hypotenuse. Despite, or because of all this, it got to the point where going by the letters column, they were the series' Fan-Preferred Couple - and the writers certainly seemed amenable.

    Fairy Tales 
  • "Donkeyskin" and similar fairy tales kick off with a king vowing that he will only marry someone as beautiful as/identical to his dead wife. Many years pass, and he finally realizes that there is one girl who fits that bill: their daughter. Understandably, the princess is horrified and manages to run away, then is put into a donkey skin as a disguise.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Back to the Future has a case of inverted Oedipus Complex when Marty travels to The '50s when his parents were in high school. After he ruins the chance for his parents to get together, Teen Lorraine (his future mother) ends up getting attracted to him instead. Of course, Marty does not wish to entertain those thoughts of hers and would rather get her back together with his dad (otherwise he and his siblings will be Ret-Gone). Needless to say, it was quite an uncomfortable experience for him. Lorraine, of course, has no idea that he is her son from the future, but eventually she clues into the fact that something is wrong with the whole situation after kissing him, although she can't put her finger on what.
    Lorraine: When I kiss you... it's like I'm kissing my brother. I know that doesn't make sense.
    Marty: Believe me, it makes perfect sense.
  • Brimstone: Joanna's unnamed father, a stern preacher, shifts his attention to his daughter after losing interest in his wife Anna, eventually raping her. Joanna is revolted and attempts to run away from home, kicking off a years-long vendetta as the preacher continues pursuing her and murdering everyone who gets in his way.
  • Gladiator: Lucilla, daughter of the late Emperor Marcus Aurelius, had to fend off the advances of her brother (now Emperor) Commodus, who killed their father to ascend the throne. She already has Unresolved Sexual Tension with The Hero Maximus, but mostly she's just repulsed by the idea.
  • Implied with Incest Subtext in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, where the villainous Prince Nuada seems maybe a little bit too fixated on his twin sister, the Defector from Decadence Princess Nuala. Nuala never brings it up but she always seems uncomfortable when he's around.
  • Hellraiser has Frank, who's very fixated on his niece Kristy. He even tried to rape her. Frank in general was portrayed as a savage hedonist who wanted to cross any boundary he could, including sleeping with his brother's wife, murdering people to replenish himself, and of course, seeking out the Cenobites in the first place.
  • Howling II: Stirba: Werewolf Bitch: At the climax, Stirba attempts to seduce her werewolf slaying nemesis, Stefan. In the same scene, she also reveals (to the audience, as Stefan presumably already knows this) that they're siblings. Stefan stoically ignores her seduction attempt and kills her.
  • Walter from Kiss of the Tarantula is his niece Susan's Stalker with a Crush and tries to convince her to be with him at one point.
  • In The Lodgers, the family consists of a long line of incestuous twins, each cursed to breed and raise the next generation of twins or fall victim to the eponymous Lodgers. While Rachel finds the idea repulsive and is determined to resist the curse, Edward is eagerly (and aggressively) determined to embrace it.
  • Not Another Teen Movie has Catherine, who likes, well, everyone, but has a very particular desire throughout the film to sleep with her brother Jake, and keeps chasing him. Jake doesn't seem to notice it to start with, but after their dad suggests he practice sex with his own mother, he becomes repulsed by his family's advances and seems to be the Only Sane Man trying to reason with them and fighting Catherine off from chasing him.
    Jake: What is wrong with this family!?!
  • In Precious, Carl desires to one day marry his own daughter Precious and continue sexually abusing her. Precious is disgusted at this.
  • Le Silence de la mer: Jeanne's cousin Pascal is attracted to her. She doesn't reciprocate the feelings, so he tries to sexually assault her, only to be stopped by the timely arrival of the German officer Jeanne and her grandfather are forced to house, and a mild Death Glare from said officer is enough to make Pascal go away.
  • Teeth: Dawn's older stepbrother Brad has wanted to have sex with her since they were kids. When he admits this is why he hates his father ("You made her my sister"), everyone including Dawn is shocked. Dawn only ever wanted them to be siblings and Brad is a grade-a Jerkass regardless. By the end, she decides to use her Vagina Dentata to castrate him.
  • In The Unspeakable Act the protagonist, Jackie, wants to commit the titular act with one of her older brothers, Matthew (the Westermarck effect still applies to her oldest brother for some reason). She claims her feelings are not based on him being her brother but instead just the best person she knows. She's aware he feels otherwise from the beginning of the film, and his awareness of her unreciprocated feelings doesn't deter him from continuing their very close relationship... until the end of the film when he finally gets fed up and says even that must end.
  • One vignette of Waxwork II: Lost in Time features a villain named Scarabis who plans to do a Kill and Replace of The Good King, which will not only put him on the throne but also allow him to get it on with his sister, who is the King's bride-to-be and whom Scarabis has been secretly lusting after for years. (The sister is genuinely devoted to him, but only in a sisterly way.) After going to absolutely ridiculous lengths to go through with the plan and get it underway, the plot finally gets revealed to the sister, who is horrified and repulsed by her brother's desires and gives him a righteous telling off. Scarabis seems genuinely dumbfounded that his sister doesn't share his urges, and comments that this changes everything, giving the protagonists a brief Hope Spot that Scarabis can be talked out of his plot. Scarabis then turns to his top minion and tells the minion to kill the sister too, now that she knows too much.

    Literature 
  • In Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, Georgia used to really get along with her cousin James as a kid, and when he visits when they're teenagers, Georgia is happy to repeat some of the childish games (i.e., wrestling, tickle-fighting, etc.) they used to play, seeing it as being for old times' sake. However, James gets the wrong idea and makes multiple attempts to put the moves on her, much to Georgia's disgust.
  • In Doctrine of Labyrinths, Felix is tormented by his attraction to his long lost half-brother Mildmay, and when Mildmay realizes what's going on he's pretty uncomfortable about it, given that he's neither gay, nor remotely enthused about the idea of committing incest, although he tries to be as non-judgemental as possible. Felix makes a pass at Mildmay on one occasion, even though he knows full-well his feelings are not reciprocated, but it was more a masochistic attempt to get his brother to beat him up than a genuine seduction. Thankfully, he comes to his senses afterward and the two of them ultimately manage to forge a healthier relationship.
    • Diokletian is a potential example. He never got over his love for Methony, so when he meets Felix, her son, who looks uncannily like her he tries to instigate a sexual relationship. Although he's disturbingly laid back about incest, Felix is offended as he wants to be desired on his own account and not because he looks like his dead mom, and he invokes this trope in order to rebuff Diokletian - Methony really got around so there's no way of knowing if Diokletian is actually Felix's father, but he's definitely a potential candidate. Diokletian is sufficiently shamed by this idea to leave Felix alone in future.
  • In Deerskin, a "Donkeyskin" retelling, the king manages to force himself onto his daughter, resulting in her getting pregnant. Though in this retelling, the king's reason for wanting to marry his daughter is slightly different. The princess looks very much like her mother, making his disturbing attraction a case of finding a Replacement Goldfish for his wife.
  • In Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi, Mo Xuanyu is kicked out of the Jin Sect by his half-brother Jin Guangyao for harassing him (at least allegedly, as it's never confirmed).
  • It:
    • Beverly Marsh's father Alvin physically abuses her and is revealed to be sexually attracted to her. Beverly only fears him and wishes to escape.
    • Eddie's mother Sonja is implied to be one, as she constantly hovers over him, gaslights him, excessively worries for his well-being and considers everyone he befriends (minus herself) to being a bad influence on him.
  • The Silmarillion:
    • Maeglin, who alone among elves lusted after a first cousin (albeit one he hadn't met/known existed until well into adulthood). Obviously being the only elf not turned off by the concept of incest, Idril rejected Maeglin. Still, Maeglin's lust/obsession was so great that he also became the only elf that ever willingly helped Morgoth, destroying Gondolin in an effort to get a romantic rival killed, and trying to murder her 7 year old son. Idril fights back, successfully, and her husband Tuor (an extremely angry Papa Wolf) pitches him off the cliff.
    • Ar-Pharazon, nephew of King Tar-Palantir of Numenor, forced Miriel, his uncle's daughter and heir, to marry him, and in doing so usurped the throne. Granted, here it's not clear if he wanted her or just wanted to be king.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Viserys was interested in the Targaryen tradition of Royal Inbreeding and as such, lusted for his sister Daenerys. Dany is clearly uncomfortable about it—not that she has an issue with incest in theory, but Viserys is an abusive piece of shit. Thankfully, they never actually got married due to Dany being wed to Khal Drogo out of necessity.
    • In A Clash of Kings, Asha reunites with her brother Theon (unknowingly on his part) under the guise of a shipwright's wife. Since Asha's fully aware of who he is, she of course, expresses displeasure when he starts fondling her. Fortunately, Theon's attraction to her doesn't last long.
    • Officially Petyr Baelish's attraction to Sansa Stark can be considered this, because she's his niece through marriage. Except not really in any meaningful sense. Petyr's short-lived marriage to an aunt Sansa barely knew is largely inconsequential to their relationship. Sansa is put off by him not because he's her uncle by marriage, but because he's too old for her, generally a creep, and fixated on her late mother and treating her as a Replacement Goldfish.
  • In Spinning Silver, Tsar Mirnatius's cousin Ilias has been trying to get him into bed since "before he'd know what to do with [him] there." Mirnatius isn't interested, but not because they're cousins, or because Ilias is a man, but because the demon he's possessed by would kill Ilias, and Ilias's death would be hard to cover up. That, and because Ilias's poetry isn't very good.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrested Development:
    • George Michael spends the entirety of the series in love with his first cousin, Maeby. Her feelings are much harder to pin down—she generally seems indifferent, or him more like a brother, and is a little creeped out whenever his obvious crush gets a bit too obvious. But it's not entirely unreciprocated. A Running Gag is his obsession with anything relating to cousin-incest. They do seem to get together years later after finding out they're only cousins by adoption.
    • Meanwhile, Michael and Lindsay (his dad/her mom) discover that the latter is adopted after having been raised thinking they were twins, and almost immediately she tries to jump into bed with him. She admits she "always" been attracted to him, and interprets several of his past actions (done purely out of familial affection, not romantic attraction) as being proof he felt the same way. He is understandably deeply disturbed by this development.
    • And it eventually turns out they are all biologically related after all — Lindsay is actually Michael's aunt, making Maeby and George Michael first cousins once removed. They don't mind.
  • In Chewing Gum, Tracey's cousin keeps on trying to have sex with her. She's repulsed at the idea.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • In an episode, one UnSub whose victims were daughters of wealthy figures has actually been projecting the image of his older stepsister onto said victims. Garcia finds out by digging through his background that he was in love with the daughter of his mother's second husband and was often overly affectionate with her even though she was clearly uncomfortable. This ended up driving him insane after her death, which caused him to go after young women who resembled her in an attempt to recreate the last moments of her life.
    • There was also an earlier episode where an UnSub was lusting after his adoptive sister, justifying it because they were Not Blood Siblings... only to find out she's actually his mother with the woman he thought to be his mother being his grandmother. The shock at finding out he has been unknowingly wanting to have sex with his mother is what led to him murdering single mothers.
    • One UnSub had a somewhat more sympathetic take on this; after the death of their parents, he was left alone with just his older sister, and as he was heavily bullied she was also his only friend. He wasn't necessarily sexually attracted to her so much as she was the only person he had any positive interaction with, so he became overly attached to their relationship and expressed affection that was more than a little romantic. When locals noticed how affectionate he was to her, it started a rumour he wanted to have sex with her that lead to him being beaten up and driven out of town under the belief he was depraved, which messed him up further. He began starting fires to kill the people who had been responsible for it, and desired to reunite with his sister. For her part, she wasn't as attached to him as he was to her, but she still cared deeply for him and was troubled by the way he had developed.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Just like in the books, Viserys Targaryen isn't too subtle about his attraction to his sister Daenerys (see Literature for more information).
    • Officially Petyr Baelish's attraction to Sansa Stark is this, because she's his niece through marriage. (Again, see Literature.)
    • Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen find out that they're actually aunt and nephew (as although he's a few months older than she is, he's the secret son of her much older brother Rhaegar) after already having fallen in love and consummated it. She wants to continue it, and there is after all a tradition of Brother–Sister Incest in their family, but as he wasn't raised a Targaryen he is very visibly uncomfortable with it and rejects her every advance without outright saying it.
    • Played With regarding the Greyjoys; when Theon returns to the Iron Islands for the first time since he was a child, he unknowingly hits on and gropes Yara, his sister; she knew who he was and let him do it anyway, even encouraged it, purely so he'd be squicked out when he found out. The first time they interact afterwards, she makes a suggestive comment to gross him out further, but it's clear she's not actually attracted to him, and she's portrayed pretty definitively as a lesbian in later seasons.
  • Played for Laughs in The George Lopez Show, as the teenage son Max has a massive crush on his older first cousin Veronica (who doesn't reciprocate), that leads to him being teased by the rest of the family.
  • Gotham: Alice Tetch had to run away from home and go into hiding because her brother Jervis (aka the supervillain the Mad Hatter), according to her, had "thoughts a brother shouldn't have", and used his hypnotic powers to make her do things she didn't want to. Meanwhile, he's completely in denial about it, and insists that it was mutual.
  • Grimm: In the episode "Bad Moon Rising" an all-male clan of the werewolf-like coyote Wesen the Coyotl abduct a teenage niece/cousin of theirs in order to "bring her into the pack" in a sexual rite. She's definitely not into it and her dad is livid.
  • Kings: Andrew Cross, son of the King's brother-in-law and advisor William Cross, is a sociopath who lusts after his aunt Queen Rose. Needless to say, she's terrified of him.
  • Life in Pieces: It is no secret that Tim is attracted to Jen, Colleen, and Clementine, and it is hinted at that Jen finds Matt attractive. None of this leads to anything though.
  • This factors into the resolution of the Marple episode "Sleeping Murder," in which a young woman, Gwenda, gradually realizes that as a child, she witnessed the murder of a woman named Helen. It eventually surfaces that Helen was Gwenda's mother, and the killer was Helen's brother, the uncle with whom Gwenda recently reconnected. When Gwenda was a baby, Helen faked her death and moved to India to escape her brother's incestuous overtures, then returned to England after a few years using a fake name; she became her husband's "second" wife. But her brother found her, and when she rebuffed him again, he killed her.
  • In Twin Peaks, Laura Palmer had been the victim of years of sexual abuse by her father, Leland, before he finally murdered her. He did all of this as a result of Demonic Possession by the sadistic spirit BOB, who feeds on pain and suffering.
    • In the first season finale, Audrey Horne, going undercover at a brothel, is shocked to learn that the owner - whom she is expected to have sex with - is her father, Ben. She is able to hide behind a mask to prevent him recognizing her, and fight off his advances. When Ben finally realizes it was Audrey behind the mask, he is visibly horrified.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology: This happens a lot in Greek myth.
    • One example is the story of how Arion was conceived. Poseidon was pursuing his sister Demeter, who kept fleeing from him. She transformed into a mare in order to escape. Unfortunately, Poseidon managed to transform into a stallion and caught up to her, then raped her. Of course, given other godly couplings, it probably wasn't the incest she had an issue with...
    • Likewise, Zeus pursued Demeter, despite her rejection of him, resulting in the conception of their daughter Persephone. Persephone would later try to reject her uncle Hades when he fell for her, but ended up marrying him anyway (and in time, legitimately falling for him) after eating food of the underworld, giving Hades a permanent claim on her.
    • Played with in Hestia. Both her brother Poseidon and her nephew Apollo were attracted to her, but she rejected them, and all men, when Zeus asked which one she wanted to marry. In this case, they all accepted and agreed to defend her choice.
    • Hera also initially rejected her brother Zeus when he became enamored of her, and only agreed to marry him after he tricked her into bed.
    • Hephaestus pursued his half-sister (or possibly his stepsister, if Hera's claim that she conceived him on her own without any involvement from Zeus was true) Athena, but due to her oath of chastity, she rejected him. This didn't stop him from trying to force himself on her though. End result: Athena kept her oath and Hephaestus' seed instead spilled on the Earth, conceiving the infant Erichthonius, who later became king of Athens.
    • A princess named Myrrha fell in lust with her father (arranged by Aphrodite in revenge for the girl's mother claiming Myrrha was more beautiful than Aphrodite herself), and slept with him for nine nights without him knowing her identity. Upon the Bedmate Reveal, he tried to kill her; she ran away and was turned into a myrrh tree, which eventually split open and birthed a baby. Surprisingly this incestuous child was Adonis, the Worlds Most Beautiful Man.
    • Byblis from The Metamorphoses is in love with her twin Kaunos. When she confessed her feelings, he became (rightfully) disgusted and flees from her; Depending on the Writer, she either kills herself or becomes a nymph, though either way her tears become a stream. There's also a version where Kaunos actually begins the romance between them, but becomes disgusted with himself and flees before they can actually consummate it.
  • In The Bible, Amnon was heavily attracted to his half-sister Tamar. When he managed to get her alone, he tried to coerce her into having sex with him. Tamar protested and he eventually raped her, which would later indirectly cause him to get murdered by Absalom.
  • In Arthurian Legend, the Questing Beast was born from a princess who lusted after her brother. He rebuffed her, so she slept with a demon who claimed that he could make him love her. Instead she got pregnant and, on the demon's prompting, accused the prince of rape. Their father sentenced him to be torn apart by dogs. Before his death the prince prophesied that he would be vindicated when his sister gave birth to a monster that made the same sound as the dogs that were about to kill him.

    Theatre 
  • Downplayed (but certainly present as subtext) in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi, where it's implied that Ferdinand, the title character's twin brother, opposes his sister's marriage not just because she married below her station, but also because he's attracted to her. She's definitely creeped out by the intensity of his opposition.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • In the Oglaf strip "Jocasta Loves Oedipus", multiple Jocastas (somehow) are attempting to seduce Oedipus, on the logic that the prophecy means he might have to have sex with them in order to be born.
  • Sexy Losers has Kenta's Horny Mom. And, a gender-reversed version of the storyline that takes a turn for the dark...
  • In White Angels Have No Wings, Sohwa does not reciprocate the extent of her sister's love towards her. Not that it stops Yeonhwa.

    Web Original 
  • CollegeHumor made a Played for Laughs version of Back to the Future's inverse Oedipus Complex scene, in which Teen Lorraine has sex with Marty in the car and Doc Brown sends back Marty to stop that, only to make it worse every time.
    Teen Lorraine: This feels so wrong... and yet... SO GREAT! [goes over Marty]
  • Dragonball Z Abridged has Bulma hitting on the mysterious half-Saiyan who showed up to dispatch Freiza and warn them about an upcoming threat, not realizing he's her Kid from the Future. To her credit, she's equally horrified upon learning his identity.
    Bulma: Hey, just throwing this out there, you're like really cute.
    Trunks (visibly uncomfortable): Well, my mom always said I was a cute kid.
    Bulma: Oh, a Mommy's Boy, huh? I'll be your mommy. *wink*
    Trunks: *internal screaming*

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: During a trip to the past Fry's grandmother starts hitting on him after her boyfriend Enos, who was presumed to be Fry's grandfather, is killed. Fry is initially squicked out by her advances, but then reasons that Enos can't be his grandfather and thus, she can't be his grandma. The next morning Professor Farnsworth informs him that he was wrong and, as a result, Fry is now his own grandfather.
  • South Park: In the episode "The Brown Noise", the subplot is about Mr. Garrison going home and confront his father about their history of sexual abuse. Namely, the fact that said sexual abuse didn't happen, making Mr. Garrison feel unattractive! Mr. Garrison's mother is also horrified to learn that her husband never raped their son, with the elder Garrison being the Only Sane Man in the family.

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