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  Kinsey Publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Male Previous
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Title page from Kinsey's Male Report Alfred Kinsey finally started writing Sexual Behavior in the Human Male in the summer of 1945, almost seven years after taking his first sexual histories from students in the marriage course he taught at Indiana University. As in the marriage course, Kinsey proclaimed himself an impartial scientist: "This is first of all a report on what people do," he wrote famously, "which raises no question of what they should do." But despite his protestations, Kinsey constructed the entire work as a covert piece of advocacy, and what he was advocating was nothing short of a revolution in Americans' attitudes toward sex.

The book was divided into three parts: (1) "History and Method," which laid out the survey and interview methods and set forth Kinsey's approach to sampling; (2) "Factors Affecting Sexual Outlet," which talked about the influence of such factors as age, marital status, religion, and class on sexual behavior; and (3) "Sources of Sexual Outlet," which delved deeper into specific forms of sexual behavior, including nocturnal emissions, masturbation, and sexual intercourse. Stuffing the volume with hundreds of tables and graphs, Kinsey finished writing in the fall of 1947. Heralded by an extensive media relations campaign masterminded by Kinsey himself, the book appeared in bookstores the following January. The book was widely and favorably reviewed in the popular press, sold 200,000 copies in the first two months and hit the top of the bestseller lists by June of the same year.

Sensational Findings
Kinsey interviewing male 1948 The book's contents were nothing if not sensational. Among other statistics, Kinsey reported that more than 90% of American males masturbated, 85% had had premarital intercourse, 70% had patronized a prostitute at least once in their lives, almost 60% had had oral sex, and 30% to 45% had had extramarital intercourse. But most shocking was the revelation that some 37% of American males had had at least one homosexual encounter in their lives. Based on this observation, Kinsey argued that it did not make sense to divide people into two exclusive categories, heterosexual and homosexual; instead he argued for a six-point scale representing gradations of behavior from purely heterosexual to purely homosexual, and allowing for a range of possible combinations in between. In one fell swoop, Kinsey had blown the lid off the Victorian fiction that Americans simply did not have sex except within the bounds of marriage, and that to do anything differently was abnormal and wrong.

Questionable Methodology
Kinsey writing notes As scholarly reviews started to trickle in, it became clear that there were problems with Kinsey's work. Reviewers complained that he ignored love, emotion, and the complexities of culture. But the most damaging critiques focused on his sampling method, questioning whether the enormous number of people he interviewed -- his pride and joy -- were representative of the American population. Indeed this was not an idle question, given Kinsey's predilection for recruiting college students, prostitutes, and prison inmates to participate in the study.

Though they continued to back Kinsey, the Committee for Research in the Problems of Sex (C.R.P.S.) and the Rockefeller Foundation were inevitably drawn into the debate, and a split developed between the Rockefeller's officers, many of whom supported Kinsey's work, and its trustees, many of whom were troubled by it. In 1950, under pressure from George W. Corner, the chairman for the C.R.P.S. and Alan Gregg, a director at the Rockefeller Foundation, Kinsey reluctantly agreed to invite the American Statistical Association to evaluate his work. After a year of analysis, the three statisticians sent by the A.S.A. came back with a mixed preliminary assessment, dismissing some of the critiques but upholding others. Stung but not stunned, Kinsey swung into action, pressuring the panel and eventually convincing them to abate many of their criticisms for their final, published review, which was released in June 1952. By then, Kinsey had already moved on to his next, and last, magnum opus -- Sexual Behavior in the Human Female.

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