Why Kinsey's Research Remains Even More Controversial Than The 'Masters Of Sex'
AP Photo/Alfred Riethausen
Although their methods and findings often led to criticism, what they faced was nothing compared to the controversy that surrounds their predecessor - Alfred C. Kinsey.
It's not surprising that Kinsey would generate controversy by being the first to break so many taboos, demonstrating the commonness of things like sex before marriage, masturbation, and homosexuality. What is notable is how much criticism his methods have faced despite him doing no more than interview people.
The problem was that Kinsey sometimes interviewed sex criminals and failed to report their behavior to the police, risking public safety for the sake of scientific data.
As Kinsey's biographer Gathorne-Hardy told The New York Times: "In a sort of way he was ruthless. And one could almost go as far as to say immoral, at least not conventionally moral. If someone had sexual information that was germane, Kinsey would use it."
Between 1938 and his death in 1956, Kinsey and his research team conducted more than 17,000 face-to-face interviews with a diverse group of people - college students, prostitutes, and even prison inmates - about their sexual experiences.
His most notorious subject, interviewed in 1944, was a sexual omnivore, "whose history of sexual encounters with men, women, boys, girls, animals and family members took 17 hours to record," according to The New York Times. Not only did Kinsey fail to report this man, but it was also later revealed that he pretended that ample data taken from this source - including extensive documentation of the sexual response of young boys - came from multiple sources.
The results of his interviews were published in two separate volumes that together make up the "Kinsey Reports" -"Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" in 1948 followed by "Sexual Behavior in the Human Female" in 1953.
Both books became bestsellers. Their sensational revelations (i.e. 90% of American males masturbated, 85% had had premarital intercourse, and 70% had paid a prostitute at least once in their lives) were met with both awe and disgust.
"Some criticized his methods (and conclusions) because of inadequate sampling techniques; others extravagantly praised him as another Galileo or Darwin," says a 2003 article published in the American Journal for Public Health.
Critics also question Kinsey's sexuality. Paul Gebhard, an associate of Kinsey's between 1946 until his death in 1956, is tight-lipped about Kinsey's sex life: "One of the cardinal rules of the Institute is we do not talk about the sexual behavior of anyone we've interviewed," Gebhard said in an interview with PBS. "So all I can say is, Kinsey was an experimenter. He was interested in things, and so he did some experimentation. But it was rather infrequent."
The strongest opposition to Kinsey came more than 50 years after his famous reports were published, as dissenters have tried to rebrand the "father of the sexual revolution" as a "sexual psychopath."
Leading the anti-Kinsey campaign is a women named Judith Reisman, author of the 1990 book "Kinsey, Sex, and Fraud." In an 1998 interview with Illuminati News, Reisman blames Kinsey's work for "the skyrocketing incidence of all the social pathologies afflicting us today: divorce, abortion, sexual promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, illegitimate births, cohabitation, pornography, homosexuality, sadomasochism, rape, child molestation, sexual crimes of all types, family breakup, endemic violence, etc."
Reisman's even alleges that Kinsey was a pedophile himself, and today, Concerned Women for America claims on its website that Kinsey "aided and abetted the molestation of hundreds of children in order to obtain data on 'child sexuality.'"
[Kinsey] obtained information about children's sexual responses from a few of his adult male research subjects, one in particular, who had been involved in sexual activity with children. Resiman [sic] is entitled to disagree with Kinsey's use of such evidence; she is entitled to the opinion that no researcher should obtain information from a sexual offender without reporting it to the police; she is entitled to question the validity of such evidence; but she is not entitled to make the allegations of criminal behavior on Kinsey's part. He did not promote this activity; he did not train anyone to carry out such observations; neither Kinsey nor any of his research team was involved in any sexual experiments on children; and none of them was in any sense, a pedophile.
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