The unreported, motherfucking trend

Ben Chapman
Mar 23 · 7 min read
Logo made, unfortunately, by me. Note: Chili Porn is not a real company.

Author’s note: This is Part 1 of a two part series about online incest communities. Both pieces contain descriptions of internet content that may be disturbing to readers. The conclusions made are based on a collection of evidence that is not all publicly available, but can be provided at the request of the reader. Part 2 can be found here.


Incest-themed content has taken over the porn industry. And it has done so silently.

You won’t share this article on Twitter. You won’t reveal your personal opinions on Facebook. And you certainly won’t discuss this topic over dinner. Why? Because the topic at hand is taboo.

Broadly, Americans don’t consider pornography and incest topics for polite conversation. But when laptops are opened, the subjects are increasingly difficult to avoid.

An article in Psychology Today said that 20% of mobile device searches are for porn, 30% of internet content is for porn, and porn sites are visited more frequently than Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter combined (source).

The internet really is for porn.

But despite these numbers, pornographers get the shaft when it comes to receiving their fair share of attention from journalists.

Media trends in music, movies, and TV shows are covered diligently by pop culture magazines and mass media. The Oscars, Emmys, and Golden Globes each garner reliable coverage in major publications, and pundits argue zealously about what the upcoming cinematic trends say about society and what they mean for the future.

Meanwhile, a tectonic shift in the porn industry has gone virtually unnoticed.

Importantly, the bulk of incest content is not literally “incest,” as the actors are not, in reality, familially related. It is instead role play, hence the term “faux cest.” Reddit metrics show a clear growth trend in faux cest porn.

The faux cest forum “r/incestporn” was created in 2014, has 141,000 subscribers, and was trending in early 2018. Another forum,” r/wincest,” was created in mid-2013, has 116,000 subscribers, and was also trending in early 2018. Both of these forums, along with the smaller ones of r/Incest_Gifs (78,000 subscribers) and r/IncestComics (57,000 subscribers) have been growing steadily over the past half decade.

In a rare case of the trend being noticed by media, VICE cited a report showing that in just 3 months at the end of 2014, there was a sharp 178% increase in the consumption of faux cest pornography (source). Utah and Michigan had the highest increases at 765% and 669% respectively.

In Pornhub’s 2016 “Year in Review,” statistics showed that faux cest terms ranked in the 1st, 3rd, and 10th spots for the most-searched terms in America, and 2nd, 5th, and 6th worldwide (source). Pornhub’s 2017 “Year in Review” showed faux cest terms still ranked 3rd, 5th, and 7th in America.

The Daily Beast also reported on the faux cest trend, quoting numerous porn producers who were seeing increases in their revenues after developing faux cest content (source).

Why the sudden trend?

Some experts and commentators point to one catalyst for the rise in incest pornography: Game of Thrones. The show exhibits several incestuous plotlines that may have tickled an untapped fetish for some viewers. Those viewers then likely sought out more content on porn sites.

Multiple explanations have been suggested for why incest fantasies carry so much appeal.

The most simple explanation is that pornography has, to date, thoroughly explored every taboo fantasy from orgies to rape, and incest is popular now simply because it’s what’s left.

Dr. Paul Wright of the Indiana University Media School told Esquire, “As types of pornography that were less common in the past — for example violence, this or that fetish — become more and more common and easily accessible, consumers get bored by them and need the extremity and deviance upped a notch to once again become aroused and excited. Few sexual acts are more extreme or deviant than incest” (source).

Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals, a sociologist and author on the topic of adult entertainment, explained to VICE that incest is an “interesting mix of commonplace coupled with marked taboo.”

Other theories suggest that there are more layers.

One familiar plot in porn is that of a long-term platonic relationship that, over the course of a film, becomes sexual. This plot contains a build-up of sexual tension over time, a mutual questioning of whether the sexualization of a relationship is okay, then a sudden release of tension. The plot offers the perception of a “chase,” because throughout the story, full-out sex is not guaranteed at any given moment. This effect is difficult to achieve in many other porn plots.

The incest plotline takes the platonic friend plot to another degree, adding even more tension, taboo, and “chase” before the eventual sexual release.

Note that it is not important that the act of incest necessarily be committed by people of blood relations. The tension and taboo are still just as present between step-relatives, which is why most faux cest titles use a step-relative plotline.

The complex and diverse nature of familial relationships offer porn writers a cornucopia of plots to build from — and porn audiences can easily select their experiences precisely to their fetishes and fantasies.

For older men fantasizing about younger women, or vice versa, step-father and step-daughter porn may appeal. For those with fantasies about people that are “off-limits” for reasons of social politics, step-sibling pornography may appeal.

As pornographers realized the demand and potential for faux cest pornography, they made more and more content and began promoting it widely on their sites. Eventually, even viewers who previously had no interest in faux cest were inundated in the themes and began viewing it. As more people watched, more content was created and it was promoted even further.

Faux cest porn was caught in a positive feedback loop.

In summary, following the popularity of Game of Thrones, the discovery of a new widespread fantasy, and the porn industry’s capitalization on a nascent fad, faux cest pornography has become of the biggest internet trends of the last five years.

Is This Bad?

The debate over the societal effects of faux cest pornography is, well, almost nonexistent. But one fact is certain: The trend is unsettling.

Because of its hardcore nature, faux cest porn may pose an even more severe threat of addiction than standard pornography. Porn addiction is a growing concern in America (source). In fact, Utah was the first state to declare pornography a public health crisis (source). And while currently, experts don’t believe there is enough evidence to consider porn addiction a diagnosable disorder, the topic is being researched (source).

In respect to faux cest porn specifically, there are unique concerns.

Champions of the argument that violent video games cause violence in the real world may raise concerns about an what an increase in incest porn will incite.

There are also concerns that online incest content might remove barriers for people wishing to experiment sexually. While many taboos, such as BDSM, same-sex, or multi-partner experiences can be explored safely (to some degree), it is more difficult to safely explore incest fetishes because of the deep emotional context necessary for full effect.

Furthermore, if faux cest porn is normalizing or “de-taboo-ing” incest, it may remove a social or psychological barrier for people desiring sexual relations with family members. This could lead to abuse and grooming, causing irreparable harm.

A Tale of Two Taboos

At the heart of this story are questions of what is normalized in society, what isn’t, and what is okay to talk about.

The first taboo is pornography in general. Even though porn makes up a substantial portion of internet traffic, popular media are loathe to report on it. The result is an unchecked industry free from the moral guiderails of public opinion.

To remove this first taboo, the porn industry must be checked and balanced with the rigor that its size and influence warrant. The deft hand of investigative journalists and the sharp wit of editorials must be applied to the industry to ensure that a level of integrity and transparency exists.

The second taboo is incest, and it is being eroded rapidly. Whether faux cest pornography is just a fad or here to stay is uncertain. Presently, on incest porn, there remains a slew of unanswered questions, both in the scientific and moral realms. Most will require more qualified minds than mine to answer.

But I can answer one question.

What happens when large groups of online incest-fetishists are grouped together?

I answer that question in Part 2 of this series.

-Ben Chapman

Ben Chapman is a reporter and commentator in Illinois. He writes on food, electoral reform, and the internet.


This concludes Part 1 of a two part series on internet incest content. Part 2 examines actual incest communities and their sinister, underlying danger.

The Bigger Picture

Oddly specific. Universally applicable. Submit your writing to biggerpicturemedium@gmail.com.

Ben Chapman

Written by

I write about politics, food, and the environment. My goal is to improve the world through policy. Email me at benbart.chapman@gmail.com

The Bigger Picture

Oddly specific. Universally applicable. Submit your writing to biggerpicturemedium@gmail.com.

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