External Articles | Posted: August 29, 2011

PRISM Magazine book review: Sexual Sabotage

Reviewed by William M. Struthers
PRISM Magazine, September-October, 2011

In her newest book, Sexual Sabotage, Dr. Judith Reisman pulls no punches in her war with sexologists, pedophiles, pornographers, and pharmaceutical companies. Lined up in her crosshairs is Alfred Kinsey, the father of modern-day sexology. Sexual Sabotage reads as Reisman's magnum opus, which gives and takes no quarter with the sex-industrial complex and those who seek to promote a worldview that goes against traditional sexual ethics. It does so by coming at the issue from a variety of levels, ranging from a personal psychological analysis of Kinsey to the broad sociological effects from World War II to the advent of the internet and modern pharmacology. The book is interlaced with religious, social, political, legal, and historical arguments that can occasionally be difficult to tie together, but for those who can track with her, Sexual Sabotage offers a fascinating answer to the question "How did it come to this?"

Reisman's main thesis is that the groundwork for the radical shift in sexual morality occurred during the World War II era, when Alfred Kinsey began conducting his now famous texts, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. Kinsey's research, she argues, was based on sexual predators and sexual deviants who were not representative of the general public but whose data would advance a view of sexual immorality in which Kinsey was personally invested. The effects of these reports on the culture would culminate in the sexual revolution of the 1960s and contribute to the decline of traditional morality for generations to come.

Kinsey's reports presented sexually deviant behaviors as norms and, Reisman argues, is a critical tipping point for the cultural acceptance of rape, incest, and the sexualization of children. Capitalizing on academia's infatuation with contrarianism, Kinsey expanded his influence to the intellectual elites who then began utilizing the label of "science" as a way to protect themselves from criticism. Whether for personal or professional reasons, today's sex researchers, Reisman argues, are complicit in Kinsey's agenda by refusing to return to the original data or acknowledge the limitations, legitimacy, and moral questions which surround his "research." By refusing to do so, a broad agenda of sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, and pedophilia have been cultivated over the last half century, says Reisman, who offers an astonishing number of arguments and amounts of data as evidence. The more than 1,100 citations, references, and endnotes can be overwhelming at times and range from scientific studies, popular press articles and interviews, and a variety of data from multiple media forms.

The book has a clear and unapologetic agenda. Occasionally strident, but meticulous in its detail, Reisman's work should give pause to those who refer to Kinsey's research as part of the canon on human sexuality. "The fact is that Kinsey's deviants and psychopaths betrayed our nation," writes Reisman, "seducing us into 'hate America' and gutting a moral system that had brought our nation unparalleled health and prosperity, and into rejecting our traditional moral standards. With dishonest, mendacious research and a secret psychosexual agenda, Kinsey and his cadre of eugenicists led the sexual revolution--to eliminate babies, love, and family, to destroy our God-based morals, and to allow unfettered access to the bodies and minds of innocent children."

The primary criticism that many might have of Sexual Sabotage is that Reisman's explicit anti-pornography agenda colors the tenor of how the data is presented. But it is at least honest and explicit about the agenda, rather than disingenuous and subversive. To raise this as a concern is to miss Reisman's primary point--that the way Kinsey presented his data is not agenda-free (regardless of whether or not one considers this agenda to be explicit or implicit). To adopt a Pollyanna attitude about Kinsey's research as bias-free and objective without regard to the additional contextual data presented is irresponsible.

Make no mistake--this is no conspiracy theory, hatchet job, or anti-porn manifesto; it is, however, a clarion call to those who would sit by and do nothing. Rather than be lulled into assuming that the commodification of children and sexuality is a lost cause, she champions a critical re-examination of Kinsey's research and the cultural and economic forces that have influenced notions of human sexuality over the past six decades. Occasionally disturbing in its content and uncompromising in its rhetoric, Reisman's book should not be dismissed. Instead it should wake us all up to the fact that sexuality is not just an appetite that requires feeding but a unique aspect of human beings that is both sacred and integral to our spiritual and social health.

William M. Struthers is associate professor of psychology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., and the author of Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain (IVP, 2009).