January 5th, 2008
Today it’s 60 years since Alfred Kinsey’s groundbreaking ‘Sexual Behaviour of the Human Male’ was published. This research featured the sexual histories of over 5000 men and included discussions about sexual attitudes, experiences and behaviours.
To celebrate the Kinsey Institute have created an archive of information about Kinsey and his research, including information about the research, a video of Kinsey (wearing his trademark bow tie) and details about some of the controversy relating to his work.
Kinsey’s survey wasn’t the first sex survey and nor was it the first time sex was studied. As with any sex research there are limitations to his work (for example in an overuse of white participants and some selective sampling). However, his work remains important since it documents in detail many issues that had not been captured at the time of research. For a post war audience he was able to reassure people over what was ‘normal’ in relation to their behaviour, thoughts and desires.
Moreover Kinsey invented a novel form of measuring sexuality. Rather than seeing sexuality in binary terms he viewed it as a more complex issue and allowed people to rate themselves on a scale to describe degrees of sexual atttraction and fantasy. This measure is still in use today.
A few years ago Bill Condon released his film ‘Kinsey’ starring Liam Neeson. This generated a lot more interest in Kinsey and in sex research. It led to wider discussions about sexology that were positive, as well as some classic examples of bad journalism.
I wrote a series of blogs about Kinsey and sex research to coincide with the film’s release that you might find interesting as we celebrate this 60th anniversary….
Barriers and opportunities in modern sex research
What’s it like to be a sex researcher?
Measure your sexuality
How the media misunderstands sex research
Why sex research is important
Sex research since Kinsey’s day
I hope you find hearing about Kinsey and sex research interesting. Perhaps if you’re really inspired you might want to donate to the Kinsey Institute
And to end our celebrations here are a couple of clips for the movie Kinsey – enjoy!Tweet