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Death anniversary of Alfred Kinsey: ‘Father of sexual revolution’ who claimed babies have orgasms, child rape benefits victims

Alfred Kinsey was credited for authoring pioneering reports on human sexology that radically upended the prevailing view on sexual relations between humans. Kinsey’s research work is said to have influenced social and cultural values not just in the United States but across the world.

25 August 2021 marks the sixty-fifth death anniversary of one of the most controversial figures in American sexology, Alfred Kinsey. On this day in 1956, Kinsey died after Pneumonia had put him in a hospital and decades of chronic heart ailment had tired him down.

But before his death, Kinsey was credited for authoring pioneering reports on human sexology that radically upended the prevailing view on sexual relations between humans. Kinsey’s research work is said to have influenced social and cultural values not just in the United States but across the world. He was dubbed by the New York Times as the ‘father of the sexual revolution’.

Born on June 23, 1894, Alfred Kinsey went on to complete his majors in Biology from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. After completing his education at Bowdoin, Kinsey moved to Harvard University’s Bussey Institute, where he pursued the institute’s much-vaunted biology program. His interest in various forms of sexual practices piqued in 1933 after discussing the topic extensively with a colleague, Robert Kroc. Since then, he had devoted himself to the research and study of sexology.

From 1938 until his death, Kinsey conducted more than 17,000 face-to-face interviews with a broad set of people—college students, prostitutes, and even prison inmates—to understand their sexual experiences. His most infamous research subject was the 1944 interview of a sexual omnivore, who had a history of having sexual encounters with men, women, boys, girls, animals and family members, and which took about 17 hours to be recorded.

The results of his comprehensive interviews were published in two separate volumes— ‘Sexual Behavior in the Human Male’ (1948) and ‘Sexual Behavior in the Human Female’ (1953), also known as the Kinsey Reports, as well as the Kinsey scale. Kinsey’s reports stunned the entire world, stoking massive controversy during the 1940s and 1950s. Even today, almost 75 years since the first volume was first published, the findings and the methods employed by Kinsey remain deeply controversial and are hotly debated around the world.

While a set of people hailed the American biologist for revolutionising sexual customs, breaking taboos about the discussion of sex and challenging centuries of beliefs about human appetites and capacities, another set of people considered Kinsey as a paedophile, adulterer, attention-seeker, pornographic “filmmaker” and an addict, whose sole objective in carrying out research on sexology was to normalise and legitimise his many illegal fetishes.

Children from birth have orgasm, paedophilia and incest sex benefits children: Alfred Kinsey

Among the many shocking findings in Kinsey’s Reports, arguably the most scandalous one was about young children, as young as infants, observing orgasm. “All orgasms are “outlets” and equal between husband and wife, boy and dog, man and boy, girl, or baby? For there is no abnormality and no normality,” the Kinsey Report said.

Not only did Kinsey hypothesised that infants are orgasmic from birth, but he also suggested that incest relationships and paedophilia benefit children. In his writing, Kinsey asserted that there was no proven medical or other reason to forbid incest or adult-child sex. “Children are sexual and potentially orgasmic from birth (womb to tomb), are unharmed by incest, adult/child sex, and often benefit thereby,” a women’s rights group stated regarding its findings.

Regarding human sexuality, Kinsey opined that humans are naturally bisexual but religious precepts and prejudices have forced people into chastity, heterosexuality and monogamy. The American biologist also endorsed sodomy, saying that all forms of anal intercourse are natural and healthy.

In “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male,” touted by Kinsey’s disciples as the first major attempt to measure scientifically the range of human sexuality, the sexologist noted that sexual taboos and sex laws are routinely broken, and called for the elimination of all such taboos and sex laws. Kinsey believed that moral standards regarding sex result only from “cultural conditioning,” not from timeless guidelines for what is right and what is wrong.

The Irish Times recorded in a report, “But was he a scientist – or a voyeur and latent paedophile? He observed and filmed men and women having sex in various combinations. He had sex with some of his subjects and with his researchers and so, too, did his wife, Mac. He exchanged lewd, locker-room limericks with his students and got his young researchers to discuss their wives’ masturbatory habits. Once, when he had set up a sado-masochistic session involving two men, the researchers had to step aside occasionally when Mac came in to change the blood-stained sheets. He interviewed young children about their ideas on sex and incorporated the research of a self-confessed paedophile into his own work.”

Despite being aware of the acts of paedophilia, he never reported anything to law enforcement authorities.

With mounting allegations of pedophilia against Alfred Kinsey, John Bancroft, then director of the Kinsey Institute, said, “[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.”

Kinsey was a fraud who sought to normalise his illegal sexual obsessions: Critics

Even though Kinsey’s tendentious body of work had triggered outrage across the world, the mainstream media at the time was occupied with glorifying the biologist as one of the foremost authorities on sexology rather than probing the allegations levelled against him. Decades later, as the monopoly over the control of popular discourse became diluted, more people came forward to criticise Kinsey’s methods and his findings.

In 1990, a lady named Judith Reisman spearheaded the anti-Kinsey campaign. In her book titled “Kinsey, Sex, and Fraud”, Reisman called Kinsey a charlatan, whose research work engendered an array of social afflictions plaguing the United States.

Reisman argued that the rising number of 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. could all be attributed to the findings of the scandalous research undertaken by Kinsey. The author said Kinsey’s deductions cannot be described as normal sexual behaviour because they are based on evidence collected predominantly from prison inmates.

“If the public learns the truth, the sexperts in the field of human sexuality and the sex industry will be shaken to its foundations. . . . Whole shelves of books will have to be rewritten. Both public and religious schools will have to discard their sex ed courses. Lucrative public grants will dry up,” Reisman said.

She even alleged in her book that Kinsey was a paedophile. The Concerned Women For America later concurred with this view and declared that Kinsey-based sex education has put children at risk. In a scathing report, the group termed Kinsey’s research on sexology as fraudulent and inaccurate and asserted that it was biased towards his personal agenda and not towards exploring human sexology.

The report also highlighted how Kinsey’s research formed the bedrock of the sex education policy in the early 60s. “The sex-education revolution began in the 1960s when Kinsey’s disciples dominated the academic committees that issued accreditation for sex educators. Before this, sex education consisted of human biology and reproduction, hygiene and marriage. After Kinsey released his findings, several groups advocated teaching children that they are “sexual beings” from birth and that they need to be aware of all types of sexual behaviours,” it said.

John Bancroft, then director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University in Bloomington, in 1995 made a stunning revelation about the research undertaken by Kinsey. In an interview, Bancroft hinted that the numbers and findings in the Kinsey report might have been manipulated.

“The material in the tables came from one man, an extraordinary man with incredible numbers of sexual experiences on which he kept very careful notes…Kinsey gives the impression that the data came from three or four men, but it was just the one,” Bancroft said while raising aspersions on the validity of the findings of the Kinsey Reports.

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Jinit Jain
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