Fact Check

What It's Like to Date Your Dad

Rumor: An 18-year-old girl revealed she's currently dating, and plans to marry, her biological father.

Published Jan 16, 2015


Claim:   An 18-year-old girl revealed she's dating, and plans to marry, her biological father.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, January 2015]

Is this a hoax.????

A woman who recently opened up to New York Magazine's Science of US Blog about dating her dad says she doesn't understand "being judged for being happy" and is hoping her interview will help shed some light on what it's like being in as unconventional relationship as the one she and her biological father are in.


Origins:   On 15 January 2015, New York Magazine's "Science of Us" blog featured an article

titled "What It's Like to Date Your Dad." The piece caused an immediate stir due to content that both intrigued and alarmed readers for a number of reasons.

One aspect at issue was the relative ages of those involved: the young woman interviewed claimed to be 18 and stated that her father (with whom she said she'd been intimate for two years) was roughly twice her age. According to the answers provided by the unnamed subject, she was conceived on her parents' prom night but was raised mainly by her mentally ill mother.

The article began with a bit of background on a phenomenon in which biological relatives who meet later in life experience a paradoxical romantic and sexual attraction to one another. Accounts of that sort of taboo chemistry developing between long-lost relatives have been anecdotally reported but rarely openly discussed, as the preface to the interview explained:

In the late '80s, the founder of a support group for adopted children who had recently reconnected with their biological relatives coined the term "Genetic Sexual Attraction" (GSA) to describe the intense romantic and sexual feelings that she observed occurring in many of these reunions. According to an article in The Guardian, experts estimate that these taboo feelings occur in about 50 percent of cases where estranged relatives are reunited as adults (GSA's discoverer had herself become attracted to the son she'd adopted out when she met him 26 years later, but her feelings were not reciprocated).

One of the article's key passages described the father-daughter couple's first tryst, which the young woman stated was also her first sexual experience:

Later that day, we went shopping because I had grown out of all my shorts, so I asked him if he could buy me some new ones. I was trying them on and asked him how I looked and he said I looked good and I felt like I was picking up on something more, but I pushed it out of my head. That night we were play wrestling in the room I was going to sleep in and I bit him. He was wearing a pair of basketball shorts and a tank top and after I bit him I could see goose bumps pop up from his toes to his shoulders. Then he pinched my inner thigh and I got goose bumps.

We stopped and said that we didn't know what was going on but admitted that we had strong feelings for each other. We discussed whether it was wrong and then we kissed. And then we made out, and then we made love for the first time. That was when I lost my virginity.

In the course of the interview, the unidentified woman provided a number of additional details that raised red flags for readers about both the truthfulness of the statements made as well as the potentially coercive nature of the relationship (should the account be on the up and up). Among those statements were that the couple planned to marry and have children, that the pair were indeed in contact for many of the woman's early years (calling the GSA aspect of the interview's preface into question), and an assertion that family members and friends of the family unequivocally approved of the unusual romance.

Perhaps understandably missing from the interview was any identifying information about the couple beyond mention of a very generalized locale, "the Great Lakes region." Less convincing was a lack of corroborating information presented by the article's writer. Were the woman's claims in any way fact-checked, and if so, to what degree? For instance, did anyone speak with the purportedly approving grandparents of the woman (parents of the father) to confirm they indeed supported their son's plan to marry his once-abandoned daughter?

In the absence of any proof to back up this unusual story, many readers remain highly skeptical about its veracity.

Last updated:   16 January 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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