Season 4, Episode 5: Jane - Genetic Sexual Attraction

Genetic Sexual Attraction (GSA) can be a controversial and uncomfortable subject to broach, but we are exploring the topic today. Today Jane shares her personal experience of a GSA relationship with a sibling and Leslie Pate Mackinnon, LCSW brings her professional expertise to the topic. Some estimates are up to half of all adoptees in reunion feel some sort of attraction to a genetic family member, which Leslie believes is likely a search for attachment. We recommend where to go for support and we try to examine GSA in a safe way, without blame or shame.

Show Notes


Topics We Discussed

  • Jane shares her story about her relationship with her brother Joe (found in reunion in adulthood, they share the same Father). Jane describes the feelings she immediately had as she connected with Joe. She talks about how their relationship grew and what happened when she disclosed to a friend about her relationship with Joe. Jane also tells us how she found her therapist who has been very understanding and compassionate. >Names have been changed to provide anonymity
  • Interview with Leslie Pate Mackinnon, LCSW begins at 32:40
  • GSA: “It is a real phenomenon” - Leslie
  • People experiencing GSA are filled with shame
  • It is so difficult to study, but estimates are between 10 - 50% of adoptees experience GSA in reunion
  • Leslie explains that reunion preparation is key, as well as finding support during reunion.
  • “I think a lot of what gets mistaken for GSA is a search for attachment” - Leslie
  • Attachment is the basis of what we’re seeking: going back to the primal attachment that we didn’t get to have.
  • Our culture has translated these feelings and urges as romantic and they can grow into sexual attraction.
  • GSA Forum
  • Third-Party Reproduction: Leslie believes we are about to see an “explosion” of GSA as “so many people conceived with third-party reproduction have no idea that they were”
  • “We cannot shame a person for this. We need not shame a person for this.” “This is not [your] fault in any way. This is because we disrupted the attachment process and the bonding process.”- Leslie
  • The feelings of GSA are intense and that’s how Leslie understands they come from an incredibly primal place.
  • Adoptees On episode: How to find an adoption competent therapist


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