Alfred Kinsey was the great de-mystifier of sexuality who burst onto the scene in the 1940s and left behind a lasting legacy, even controversy.You could say that he single-handedly helped create a new language of sexualities.
Sexual Behavior in the Human Male
When published in 1948 this volume encountered a maelstrom of condemnation and acclaim. Nevertheless, it was a milestone on the path toward a scientific approach to the understanding of human sexual behavior.
The conclusions draw on the histories of approximately 5,300 males which were collected during a fifteen year period. But the study is perhaps most renowned for its shedding of light on homosexuality in the human male.
It made a provocative claim that approximately 37%of men have had one or more homosexual encounters in their entire lifetime. This was, and still is, bomb-shell controversy, especially given the rather considerable sample size.
Sexual Behavior in the Human Female
Sexual Behavior in the Human Female was originally published in 1953, five years after the volume on males. Personal interviews with nearly 6,000 women and studies in sexual anatomy, physiology, psychology, and endocrinology all made it into the publication.
The authors show how factors such as age, the decade of birth, and religious adherence are reflected in patterns of sexual behavior.Furthermore, the authors compare female and male sexual activities and account for the similarities and differences between them.
The Kinsey Scale continues to spark controversy to this day
Locked away in our bedrooms
Kinsey uncovered a vast, and up until then a hidden world of variant sexual behavior. What best describes it is that what people said and did was not one and the same.
He uncovered the near-universality of male and female masturbation, a wide prevalence of sex among the young, common enough premarital and extramarital intercourse. Brace yourselves – a lot of anal sex, fellatio, and even zoophilia, as well as famously, high rates of homosexual behavior.
With respect to the latter finding (homosexuality), one recent commenter on this well established body of work said:
as a gay man, this book would have been very useful earlier in life… realizing I’m more “normal” than I ever would have imagined and those who fight to keep the truths hidden are doing so under a guise of authority and morality (both of which are complete lies.
The controversy lives on…
The debate about what Kinsey means in today’s world and our sexuality in it is as relevant as it was 70 years ago.
As one commenter said in response to Kinsey’s lasting legacy:
we need to update sexual attitude. We have a schizophrenic attitude to it, we need to take sex out of the closet.
As long as we deal with it in the current confusion of ignorance and denial that corrupts intellectual honesty and human dignity.
Another one added: It is very shocking that how little acknowledgment this book receives in modern times.
It would be safe to say that this book was the first major credible investigation undertaken by any serious scientist on the commercial scale in sexology.