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Kinsey in the News

Three shocked-looking women read about the Kinsey Report, 1953. Few scientific publications have made the public splash of Alfred Kinsey's post-World War II volumes on human sexuality. Though issued by a medical publishing house and packaged in the sober style of research reports, both the male and the female volumes soared to the top of best seller lists and public consciousness.

Kinsey's published data showed that Americans were engaging in sexual behaviors more frequently and with more variety than conventional morality suggested. Though later research would correct some of the findings to a degree, the Reports were compared to "an atomic bomb" in their impact on American society.

Some critics felt human sexuality was not a suitable topic for public discourse; others took issue with Kinsey's research methods. Some stated that issues of sexuality could not be studied without also exploring morality. The Reports' champions, however, welcomed them as much-needed educational and diagnostic tools that would pave the way for better marital counseling, public health initiatives, and societal understanding.

Explore public reactions to the Kinsey Reports:

Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948)

Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953)

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