Conjoined twins are, by nature, inseparable; some part of each of their bodies are joined so that two people are fused together as one.
For some reason, when presented with such a rare physical anomaly—only between 1 in 50,000 and 1 in 200,000 births are of conjoined twins—we can’t help but wonder what their love life must be like.
Alice Domurat Dreger is a professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and author of “One of Us,” a book about conjoined twins. As Dreger explains in an article for “The Atlantic,” while she was writing her book she “came across this 1984 line by a nurse writing in a medical journal: ‘Two people never being able to obtain privacy to bathe, excrete, copulate, or eat defies imagination.'”
This was a popular topic of conversation around 2012 when false rumors began to swirl that Brittany of the internationally famous conjoined twins Brittany and Abby Hensel had gotten engaged. Only Brittany. The conjoined sisters share a torso and reproductive organs and each controls one leg and one arm. People’s imaginations went wild.
Blogger Awesomely Luvvie documented and responded to a number of imaginative and inquisitive tweets about this subject:
“What is the other twin feeling? Will she have on a bridesmaid gown while the other has a bridal gown? Who loses their virginity?” asked @BigDEELight.
“Will the other twin have to close her eyes? does the other twin keep her clothes on?” pondered @RaeRenee731
“Do both women have to consent to sex?” inquired @Emti.
“Good question,” replied Luvvie. “Since their Love Pocket is shared property, I’d say so. But what if the other twin doesn’t wanna bone the other one’s husband that night? What happens then? What if they got different libidos? The questions are endless.”
Indeed, there are more questions than answers. You can rest assured that sex does happen, though.
Perhaps the most famous conjoined twins, Siamese (now they would be called Thai) brothers Chang and Eng Bunker—for whom the phrase “Siamese twins” was coined—married sisters Adelaide and Sallie Yates, respectively.
The Yates’ father initially objected to the 1843 marriage because he didn’t want his southern belles marrying Asian men, but eventually he relented and his daughters had a combined 22 children. So, yeah, sex happened.
In more modern times, conjoined sisters Ganga and Jamuna Mondal are dating a teacher named Jasimuddin Ahmad. They met him while he was filling in as a sound engineer for the circus in which the sisters perform, and it was love at first sight. Now the sisters call Ahmad “Mr. India.”
“Coming from a conservative culture,” the Daily Mail writes about the relationship, “the twins are understandably coy about discussing their love life—but say there has been intimacy.
“However, like many of the best relationships, their love is based mostly on fun and companionship.”
Northwestern’s Alice Dreger has a thoughtful take on the difficult-to-study topic:
“From my studies,” Dregrer wrote in her Atlantic article, “I would postulate that conjoined twins probably end up having less sex than average people, and that is not only because sex partners are harder to find when you’re conjoined. Conjoined twins simply may not need sex-romance partners as much as the rest of us do.
“Throughout time and space, they have described their condition as something like being attached to a soul mate. They may just not desperately need a third, just as most of us with a second to whom we are very attached don’t need a third—even when the sex gets old.”