Incest Between Fathers
The incest taboo is universal in human culture. Anthropologists generally believe it to be the foundation of all kinship structures. Claude Lévi-Strauss (1969), the French structuralist, suggests that the taboo is our basic social contract, while Margaret Mead (1968) proposes that it is required to preserve human social order. All cultures, including our own, regard violations of the taboo with horror and dread. Nonetheless, in spite of the length of the prohibition, sexual relations between family members occur more frequently than we had earlier imagined. And because of extreme secrecy surrounding the violation of our most basic sexual taboo, we have little clinical literature and no accurate statistics to guide us.
According to the Kinsey et al. (1953) report—probably our most reliable source of data on sexual experiences in America—one woman in seventy-five has had sexual contact with her father during childhood. That is, 1.5 percent of the U.S. female population are incest victims. A number of clinical reports estimate that the figure may be closer to 4 or 5 percent.
Mother-son incest, by contrast, is rare. The most comprehensive American survey ever undertaken, S. K. Weinberg's in 1955, found 164 cases of father-daughter incest, compared with only 2 cases of sexual contact between mother and son. A study of court cases in Germany