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Alfred Kinsey

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Alfred Charles Kinsey (June 23, 1894 - August 25, 1956) was an entomologist and zoologist at the Indiana University at Bloomington who in 1947 founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University at Bloomington, now called the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction.

In doing so, Kinsey single-handedly created the academic field of sexology. His Kinsey Reports led to a storm of controversy, and were regarded by many as a trigger for the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Christian, right-wing, and traditional groups attacked Kinsey for what they saw as his immoral and dangerous research. Indiana University's president Herman B Wells defended Kinsey's research in what became a key test of academic freedom.

Kinsey biographer James Jones claims that Kinsey was bisexual, masochistic and a group sex aficionado. He also claims Kinsey had many homosexual lovers, some of whom were his graduate students, and that Kinsey's wife also had sex with other men, but that the couple remained married for 35 years, in a relationship that remained sexual until Kinsey became ill near the end of his life. According to Jones, Kinsey also encouraged group sex among staff members. None of these lurid accounts of Kinsey's own sex life find any support at all among official sources and independent biographers.

There have also been allegations of abuse of children by the researchers. See Kinsey Reports, Judith A. Reisman.

Kinsey Institute director Bancroft claims that the subject of child/adult sexual interaction was deliberately chosen by Kinsey's opponents to discredit him because of the emotions surrounding it: "In recent years, when there has been anxiety bordering on hysteria about child sexual abuse, often resulting in circumstances where the accused is regarded as guilty until proved innocent, what better way to discredit someone?"

Kinsey's work continues to cause controversy decades after his death. While academic investigation into sex stimulated by Kinsey has resulted in an explosion of knowledge about topics previously considered taboo, there continue to be claims that the Kinsey Reports on male and female sexuality are handicapped by statistical and ethical problems, and that the enormous amount of data he collected should therefore not be quoted. These claims are disputed, and thus far none of Kinsey's critics have claimed to produce more reliable data.

References

  • Cornelia Christenson, Kinsey: A Biography, Indiana University Press, 1971
  • Wardell Pomeroy, Dr. Kinsey and the Institute for Sex Research, Harper & Row, 1972
  • James H. Jones, Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public/Private Life, Norton, 1997
  • Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy, Alfred C. Kinsey: Sex the Measure of All Things, London: Chatto & Windus, 1998

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