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Alfred Kinsey: A Pioneer of Sex Research

By HERWriter
 
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Dr. Alfred Kinsey was a biologist at Indiana University when, in the late 1930s, he began compiling data from tens of thousands of interviews about the sexual practices of men and women. That research became the best-selling Kinsey Reports. And Dr. Kinsey became the foremost pioneer of sex research.

Born in 1894 in Hoboken, New Jersey, he attended Bowdoin College and Harvard University before Indiana University hired him to teach in 1920. He established a solid academic reputation and was listed by American Men of Science as a "starred" scientist.

In 1938, Kinsey took over a new marriage course. In preparing for his lectures, he discovered little survey research was available on human sexuality so he and his staff began gathering case histories of sexual behavior. Initially they interviewed students in his classes, then other students and faculty, and later people persuaded to be interviewed.

This data was published in 1948 as "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male." Its revelations about the sexuality of white American males created immediate controversy. It sold more than 250,000 copies and was translated into a dozen languages.

Just before publication, the Kinsey Institute was founded to guarantee confidentiality to individuals interviewed and provided a safe and permanent location for the growing collection of data.

From 1938 to 1963, Dr. Kinsey and his staff interviewed more than 18,000 men and women. They asked the frequency of practices like masturbation, premarital, extramarital, and homosexual sex. Dr. Kinsey’s research was not without controversy. He expanded it to include observing and participating in heterosexual and homosexual activity, with his co-workers and others.

In 1953, the Institute published “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female,” which also sold more than 250,000 copies and was translated into several languages.

Many Americans were shocked to learn women are as capable of sexual enjoyment as men. Previously people thought women merely engaged in sex to procreate or please their male partners. Kinsey's findings on homosexuality were also shocking.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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