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How was the Kinsey movie received?

March 6th, 2005

Dr Petra

As a sex researcher, I was as interested to see people’s reactions to the film as the movie itself. So it was heartening to see that most of the reviews of the film were positive, and it generated a number of discussions about sex, research and relationships.

As well as numerous reviews of the films, many UK papers decided to run other features based around Kinsey and sex research. The Times Higher Education Supplement ran two pieces – one documenting modern day Kinseys, the other highlighting the risks posed to contemporary sex research by Big Pharma.

The Financial Times also picked up on this problem, extending it to discussions about the lack of statistical information to support traders within the adult industry. The BBC reviewed sex since Kinsey, whilst the British Medical Journal reflected on modern sexual health research in relation to the movie (and included my review of the film).

I took part in a really enjoyable discussion about Kinsey at the National Film Theatre, where audience members braved the snow to ask questions about modern sex research – showing people are interested in both the process and results of studying our sex lives.

Unfortunately a few reviewers and writers based their stories only on the movie, rather than finding out about Kinsey and sex research, and a few relied on outdated ideas to underpin their work. For example, The Guardian women’s page covered the film on the day of it’s release, but the author of the piece clearly hadn’t realised that sex research has moved on since Masters and Johnson and Shere Hite’s work in the 1960s and 1970s, and that Relate (who they cited extensively) provide sex counselling, but aren’t sex researchers.

But that’s a minor gripe. Overall Kinsey has delivered far more than us sex researchers could ever have hoped. It got people reflecting on their sex lives, asking about what’s going on in sex research today, and finding out what else needs investigating. And whatever you think of Kinsey, it has allowed us to remember and catalogue his work, and reflect on the science of sex. A fitting memorial for a groundbreaking sex scientist.

But to paraphrase what Laura Linney says in her role as Kinsey’s wife Clara in the film – “I’ve hardly seen my husband since he took up sex” – I have a partner who’s patiently put up with the Kinsey frenzy of the past few weeks. So I’d better pay them some attention.

Anyway, all this sex has worn me out! Am having a rest, back later in the week.

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