Updated: SEPTEMBER 19, 2016
Alfred Kinsey was an American biologist and sexologist who founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University in 1947. It is now known as the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. Alfred Kinsey showed that some long-held taboos like homosexuality, masturbation, and sex before marriage, were actually common.
Between 1938 and his death in 1956, Kinsey and his team of researchers interviewed more than 17,000 people about their sex lives. Their findings were published in two books: “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male” in 1948 and “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female,” released five years later. His interview subjects were diverse and included college students, prison inmates and prostitutes.
Kinsey also developed the Kinsey scale, which demonstrated that individuals fall somewhere on a scale between the two extremes of absolute homosexuality and absolute heterosexuality.
More About Alfred Kinsey
In 1930, Kinsey began to teach a marriage course. The participants inundated him with questions about sex, but he discovered there was little scientific data on the subject. So he set about applying his scientific knowledge to the study of human sexuality. He began interviewing the participants in his marriage course about their sexual histories and later broadened his study beyond these groups. His work was very controversial, as it was released at a time when sex was considered taboo. It also noted a gap between what society thought people did and what they actually did.
Alfred Kinsey’s research methods are still considered quite controversial, as he sometimes interviewed sex criminals but did not report his findings to the police. He also pretended that data taken from one source, a man who had sexual encounters with men, women, animals, and children, came from multiple sources.
Modern analysts believe that Kinsey was ruthless, caring more for his data and research than the safety of members of the public. Anti-Kinsey campaigner Judith Reisman even claims Kinsey himself was a pedophile, an accusation the Kinsey Institute vehemently denies. He has also been blamed for bringing “social pathologies” including pornography, divorce, abortion, promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases and child molestation into the mainstream.