Utilizing criminal records from the secular courts, this article examines incidents of sexual relations between parents and their biological children or stepchildren—both of which were considered incestuous under Spanish law—to explore how marriage and the marital relationship could motivate or rationalize episodes of parent-child incest in colonial Guatemala. Examination of parent-child incest through this lens shows how sons and daughters could become entangled in the sexual and emotional lives of their parents, providing a more nuanced view of the lived experience of kinship in colonial Latin America. It also demonstrates how incestuous offenders and their peers could allude to the culture of marriage and the state of the conjugal bond to both subtly and explicitly diminish the incestuous aspects of a sexual encounter, rendering it more culturally intelligible in the process.

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