So, what about the sex lives of cojoined twins?
Lest you think I’m just being frivolous and/or sensationalistic, the topic raises perplexing issues of identity and perception. With cojoined twins such as Chang and Eng Bunker, the original “Siamese” twins, who had separate bodies joined at their intact livers and with a small bit of extra cartilage, their sex lives would probably have been more like having a constant witness. But that ever-present spectator would be a person so psychologically close that non-cojoined non-twins can’t even begin to imagine the relationship, except to say that everything—toileting, sleep, walking, going to the movies—would have been occurring in the company of the other person since birth.
The Bunker twins could have been easily separated these days, with modern surgical techniques. Those cojoined twins who remain joined today are much more inextricably entwined. Modern twins such as Abby and Britanny Hensel (subjects of a recent TLC TV show), who have two upper bodies and one lower, face a very different situation. Quite obviously (unless there’s something I’m missing), sharing a single lower body would mean that each twin would physiologically participate in each act of sex.
But the mind is an amazing thing. Any cojoined twins would have to have had almost no notion of privacy throughout their entire lives—or rather, perhaps, an exquisitely attuned and highly developed sense of privacy that involves remaining separate psychologically while being in each other’s constant company, a delicacy and discretion born of extreme necessity. And to twins cojoined in the particular manner of Abby and Britanny, sex would present only a specialized subset of a conundrum the twins had been forced to deal with long ago.
It’s their partner[s] who might have more difficulty growing accustomed to the situation, rather than the twins themselves. The legal system might have a bit of difficulty with it, too: who would actually be married to whom? For example, would any marriage to the Hensels be defined by necessity as bigamy? And would they both be the legal mothers of any child? To the Hensel twins—who have surmounted so many difficulties so far, with such overwhelming psychological health—it probably all seems like small potatoes.