Do women have fantasies about incest

About 3% of women report incest experiences (1). Sexual abuse mostly takes place in families and affects girls in 75% of cases, with the perpetrators predominantly coming from the family or the child's immediate social environment (2).

Freud already commented on the frequency of incestuous events: "Even real seduction is frequent enough, it comes either from other children or from caregivers who want to appease the child, put them to sleep or make them dependent on themselves. Where seduction has an effect, it regularly disturbs the natural one Course of development processes; often it leaves far-reaching and lasting consequences "(3). A wealth of scientific literature has now appeared on the consequences and therapy of sexually abused children (4,5,6).

Sexual acts on children always mean massive transgressions of boundaries. They offend and humiliate the child. It experiences itself as a powerless victim who cannot defend itself against the adult. Sexuality exercised on children, but also erotic behavior, also create a deep bond and fixation with the seducer. In the psychotherapy of incest victims, demarcation and detachment from the perpetrator play an important role.

Sexually tinted games or erotic allusions do not always lead to incest, of course, which is mostly committed by men. However, it is also mothers, especially single mothers, who succumb to the temptation to act out erotically tinged fantasies about their son in some way, albeit very covertly. What does it look like to act out incestuous fantasies?
A mother wants to go to the theater. She is wearing her evening dress and asks her 8 year old son: "Do you like the dress too?" Not the husband, but the son, with whom she gets along much better, is brought in to play erotic games. Later, when he was 18 years old, she said to him, "If you are born again, I will marry you." Misunderstood free sex education is sometimes a cover for incestuous acts. "My son should know and find out everything. He's already going quite far. He's 6 years old now. The other day he wanted to examine my genitals. That made me feel a little weird." A young mother reported this frankly about her relationship with her son.

The cause of acting out incestuous fantasies, which as a fantasy are something normal, lies in the inexacted sexuality of the parents and in relationship disorders between them. The lines between a father's normal affection for his refreshing, seductive daughter and the onset of incestuous behavior are fluid. However, they are exceeded in the case of explicit sexual practices.

Hirsch mentions another aspect of acted out incest, the function of which is "to avoid the family members' fear of separation, since all needs, especially sexual ones, are satisfied within the family" (7).

During puberty, incestuous desires on the part of the child are awakened again, so that the family comes under enormous tension if there is too strong a bond with the parental home. The bound feel like under a "bell jar". Your radius of action is severely limited, it ends at the boundary to the outside world, which lies beyond the glass bell. Invisible walls - the attachment modes - prevent the bound from freely moving outwards and making friends.

The incest in a dream

Incest dreams are confusing, shameful, and often shocking as incest is rightly taboo.
Incest scenes in dreams mean that there is too close a family bond, which was either caused by real incest or by other bonding mechanisms.


Incestuous acts by a mother

A physics student reports: "My mother dressed me every morning. When she stopped doing it, I was 8 years old. I often had to close the bosom strap for her when she got dressed. She justified it by saying that she was in a bad position in the back.
Saturday was our bathing day. At first I lay in the bathroom with her for a long time, showing a clear interest in her female body. We then also played with each other, and there were very clear contacts. I have washed her back many times and have shown interest in washing her chest.
The fact that I slept with her in the same bed until I was 9 or 10 years old certainly contributes to this form of bond, after all I could often look at her in the evening while undressing.
I think all of this contributes significantly to my fear of relationships. Because in addition to the fear of closeness, as the aspect of the limitless and thus of being devoured, I am very afraid of sexuality. On the one hand, because I have great expectations that I have to do something for her, namely to satisfy her and do it particularly well, on the other hand, because I see a vagina as gigantic, just as I see my mother's genitals as gigantic as a small child have seen. I can still see this picture clearly today. "

In a dream of the physics student, the son and mother meet, as before, in an enormous closeness and intimacy, which he overcomes through the murder of his mother:
"I come into a rather bright bathroom. My mother, who wears nothing but a white terrycloth bathrobe, crouches in front of the bathtub. She lets water into the bathtub and just feels the temperature with her hand. My father stands in the door and looks up us. I'm naked and standing right next to my mother. At first I am a little indignant that I'm standing here naked and my mother makes no move to leave me alone while bathing. I tell her that, but she doesn't answer. Instead she just looks at me with a smile like a small, not to be taken seriously child.
When I look at them, I find them very attractive. She is much younger than my mother now, has very nice legs and also looks like my girlfriend. But the feeling of indignation, the feeling against them, is stronger than their attraction. Finally, I lie in the tub with my mother, who is still wearing her bathrobe. Everything is chaotic, events are precipitous. I fight with her, squeeze her throat and submerge her. I want to drown her. But I'll wake up first. "
The student says about the dream: "I am happy to have withstood this siren song. The only thing I find worrying is that my mother has features of my girlfriend. That means that I am still projecting far too many of my mother's qualities onto her. That will destroy the relationship. I hope and wish that it will work without it, because I have the feeling that for the first time I see a woman in my girlfriend, to feel, to love. "


1. Finkelhor, D., Hotaling, G., Lewis, IA, Smith, C .: Sexual abuse in a national survey of adult men and women: prevalence characteristics and risk factors, Child Abuse and Neglect 14 (1990), p. 19-28

2. Deutsches Ärzteblatt, 21 (1987), pp. 1473-1477

3. Freud, S .: On female sexuality (1931) GW V, study edition, S. Fischer-Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. (1972), p. 282

4. Fegert, J. M .: Sexual abuse of children, Prax. Child psychol. Child psychiatry. 36: 164-170 (1987)

5. Heigl-Evers, A., Kruse, J .: Violent and sexual trauma in early childhood, practice. Child psychol. Child psychiatry. 40: 122-128 (1991)

6. Vugt, G., Besems, Th .: Psychotherapy with incest-affected girls and women, Acta Paedopsychiatrica 53 (1990), pp. 318-338

7. Hirsch, M .: Realer Inzest, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, London, Paris, Tokyo (1987), p. 7


Author: Dr. med. Holger Bertrand Flöttmann The original version of the article appeared in the book "Fear - Origin and Overcoming", Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart, 5th edition (2005)

The article is protected by copyright. Any use outside the narrow limits of copyright law without the consent of the author is inadmissible and punishable. This applies in particular to duplication, storage and processing in electronic systems.