Incest involves sexual relationships between people who are related by blood. According to the laws in your state (and the laws in virtually every other state and most countries), incest is illegal. You’re committing a criminal act. It is a serious crime that is punishable by law.
Your state forbids marriage and sexual relationships between people who are closely related by blood. When the two of you were younger, and depending upon your age difference, your older brother could have been charged with the crime of unlawful intercourse with a minor. Had he been found guilty, he would have been deemed a sex offender, possibly sent to prison and potentially put on a sex offender registry that would have significantly limited his freedom.
In order to be successfully prosecuted for incest in the state in which you live, three elements would need to be present: 1) that you had sexual intercourse with a close blood relative; 2) that you knew about the blood relation at the time of the sexual act; and 3) the sex was consensual. Based on everything you’ve written in your letter, it’s possible that you could be prosecuted for your behavior.
In terms of punishment, it could range from spending 16 months to two or three years in prison depending upon your prior criminal record, whether both parties were consenting adults, the degree of the blood relationship, and other mitigating factors. Because incest is considered a sex offense, if found guilty, you would have to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.
The reason incest is outlawed is because of the serious birth defects that could result from inbreeding. In studies of children of incest, nearly half were born with severe birth defects, suffered early death or experienced mild mental impairments. That children are at a high risk of experiencing those types of problems is one reason why incestuous relationships are so morally indefensible.
You said that you can’t stop engaging in this sexual behavior but it’s important to recognize that you are making a choice. No one is forcing you to have sex with your brother. You are consenting to this behavior. You are an equal participant. You are choosing to continue to engage in a sexual relationship with your brother for personal reasons. The idea that you have no choice in this matter is simply untrue. You have a choice.
The good news is that you have control over your behavior. You can choose to not engage in this illegal act. Should you get caught, not only would you be facing potential incarceration, but you also risk being labeled a sex offender and being placed on a sex offender registry for the rest of your life. That outcome would be immensely detrimental to your life.
To admit that you want to stop but can’t indicates that this problem may not be something you can resolve on your own. I highly recommend that you consult a therapist. A therapist will not judge you or turn you in to the authorities. You will not shock them. They will simply help you to resolve this problem. It is better to deal with this issue now, rather than continuing to risk getting into legal trouble or producing a child that has a nearly 50 percent chance of living a compromised life. Good luck and please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle