Although interest in cultural explanations of topics like incest waned among Anglo anthropologists along with the abandonment of kinship theory in general, other paradigms provided a renewed interest in some older theories about the prohibition of incest. The approach presented in this paper gives due critical consideration to both evolutionary and ‘cultural’ explanations of incest and its prohibition suggesting their mutual involvement, but the necessity of a close analysis of the specificity of the cultural forms in which shared substance, connection, difference and nurture are expressed as reproductive ontology. Particular cases are discussed in the light of recent suggestions that the cross-cultural incidence of incest and its prohibition is to be understood via theories of dissociative disorders in the West that allegedly illuminate a wide range of practices claimed to be linked to sexual abuse in childhood.