External Articles | Posted: August 12, 2012
THE SEXUALITY RESEARCH OF ALFRED C. KINSEY - 40 YEARS LATER
Time for Accountability
By Rev. Peter J. Blackburn
from Kinsey, Sex and Fraud. The Indoctrination of a People edited by John H Court & J Gordon Muir (Lochinvar-Huntington, Lafayette, 1990), pp. 1-16
No man in modern times has shaped public attitudes to, and perceptions of, human sexuality more than the late Alfred C. Kinsey. He advocated that all sexual behaviors considered deviant were normal, while polemicizing that exclusive heterosexuality was abnormal and a product of cultural inhibitions and societal conditioning. Beginning just over 40 years ago, he and his team of researchers presented the American people with "statistical data" showing that what they were supposedly doing sexually was more liberal, and more consistent with his own ideology, than anyone had believed possible. Put another way, Kinsey demonstrated with numbers that "normal" behavior was much more permissive than conventional wisdom had suspected.
Few people realized that the data he presented were not, as claimed, scientific. Nor were the data representative of societal norms. And it now is becoming clear that, in addition to being highly biased, Kinsey's results may have been fraudulent. For these reasons and because the foundation for some key Kinsey conclusions still accepted today as scientific fact is research conducted on human subjects illegally and against their will, it has become necessary to call on the scientific community to reexamine Dr. Kinsey's sex research effort.
That is one purpose of this book. The importance of this issue is underscored by the fact that Kinsey's conclusions have become, to some extent, a self-fulfilling prophecy. They are the basis for much that is taught in sex education and for an ongoing agenda to engineer public attitudes about human sexuality.
In 1948 and 1953 a two-part "cultural phenomenon" took place with the publication of Dr. Alfred Kinsey's monumental works on, respectively, male and female human sexuality (Sexual Behavior in the Human Male by Alfred C. Kinsey, Wardell B. Pomeroy and Clyde E. Martin [W.B. Saunders, Philadelphia, 1948] and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female by Alfred C. Kinsey, Wardell B. Pomeroy, Clyde E. Martin and Paul H. Gebhard [W.B. Saunders, Philadelphia, 1953]). These books, which, contrary to expectations for scientific works, quickly became national bestsellers, are customarily referred to as Kinsey's Male and Female Reports. More than any other documents in history, they have shaped Western society's beliefs and understanding about what human sexuality is. They have defined what people allegedly do sexually, thereby establishing what is allegedly normal. Their impact on attitudes, subsequent developments in sexual behavior, politics, law, sex education and even religion has been immense though this is not generally realized by the public today.
WHAT KINSEY CLAIMED
What Kinsey claimed about "statistically common behavior" in the United States population of the 1940s surprised most, shocked many and delighted a number of others. It was assumed that his "scientific" research among a sample of several thousand men and women could be extrapolated to the U.S. population as a whole to provide an accurate picture of national sexual behavior. Kinsey's findings were thus nothing short of stunning, but the most stunning finding of all went almost unnoticed, except, it appears, by the FBI.
Even before the 1948 appearance of the Male Report, magazine and newspaper articles proclaimed that a scientific study would reveal that:
- 85% of males in the U.S. have intercourse prior to marriage
- Nearly 70% have sex with prostitutes
- Between 30% and 45% of husbands have extramarital intercourse
- 37% of all males have homosexual experiences between adolescence and old age
Writing in Harper's, Albert Deutsch exclaimed, "The Kinsey survey explodes traditional concepts of what is normal and abnormal, natural and unnatural in sex behavior."
The Female Report in 1953 was almost anticlimactic by comparison. However, despite Kinsey's protestations that his books were presenting facts without moral interpretations, the "facts" of the Female Report continued the process begun in the male volume - "a persistent hammering at Judeo-Christian legal and moral codes", according to Albert Hobbs in The American Journal of Psychiatry. Stressed in the Female Report were data showing that premarital sexual intercourse was beneficial for women. This practice would help them adjust emotionally, sexually and socially. Avoidance of premarital intercourse was said to be a potential cause of damaging inhibitions that could persist for years after marriage.
However, the most profoundly shocking findings of both Kinsey Reports were almost totally ignored. These were Kinsey's conclusions on childhood sexuality. Kinsey's "scientific" "research" purported to prove that children were sexual beings, even from infancy, and that they could, and should, have pleasurable and beneficial sexual interaction with adult "partners" who could lead them into the proper techniques of fulfilling sexual activity.
The damage done to children from sexual relations with adults - what the public thought was molestation - was almost always, in Kinsey's view, the result of overreaction and hysteria by parents, schoolteachers, police, etc. But one aspect of Kinsey's research was completely missed by everyone. That was the criminal childhood sexuality experimentation which formed the basis of Kinsey's conclusions on childhood sexual potential. The results of these experiments are the basis for beliefs on childhood sexuality held and taught by academic sexologists today.
According to an article in Esquire magazine, Kinsey was the "Patron Saint of Sex," whose books set in motion "the first wave of the sexual revolution." They inspired the sexual philosophy of Hugh Hefner's Playboy Magazine - Hefner wrote in the first issue: "We believe... we are filling a publishing need only slightly less important than one just taken care of by the Kinsey Report." And, according to sexologist Morton Hunt, Kinsey was "the giant on whose shoulders all sex researchers since his time have stood."
John D'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman, in their book Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (Harper & Row, 1988), noted that "the strongest assault on sexual reticence in the public realm emerged not from the pornographic fringe, nor from the popular culture, but from the respectable domain of science," with the publication of Kinsey's Male and Female Reports. By purporting to demonstrate a wide divergence between real sexual behavior and publicly espoused norms, the implication was that "cultural values surrounding sex needed revision." D'Emilio and Freedman observed that Kinsey's "scientific credentials" "gave legitimacy" to the way the media presented his findings and the way the public received them. They further noted that "The Kinsey studies, as much as pornography, shaped the context in which the Supreme Court responded to the obscenity issue".
One Kinsey legacy is the active and prominent Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction - located on the Indiana University campus. This institute is currently expanding its national role more than ever - entering biomedical research, initiating and participating in conferences, distributing syndicated sex advice columns and providing massive sex information resources on an international scale. [One recent Institute project was The Fourth Kinsey Symposium, Aids and Sex: An Integrated Biomedical and Biobehavioral Approach, where, among other things, the normalcy of heterosexual anal intercourse was suggested, even stressed (see chapter 7)].
If the legitimate pornography industry is, in a sense, another Kinsey legacy, then its leaders are clearly grateful. According to Christie Hefner, in the 1960s the Playboy Foundation became the major research sponsor of the Masters and Johnson Institute and made the initial grant to establish an Office of Research Services of the Sex Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS).1 The latter organization is heavily involved in the incorporation of Kinsey's basic sexual philosophy into school sex education programs, as is later explained (see chapter 4).
In 1971, Playboy, according to the junior Hefner, "awarded a grant to establish a pilot program at the University of Minnesota" with the aim of "changing the attitudes of men and women medical students". This was necessary because "today's medical students and practicing physicians perpetuate arbitrary judgments about normal and abnormal sexuality... [and] are ignorant of the variety of possible human sexual expression." Hefner added that "the state of medical practice today [in 1987] is not much better than it was in 1971".
Another group grateful to Kinsey is the proliferating pedophile movement, which justifies its advocacy of adult sexual relations with children by quoting Kinsey's child sexuality findings. Tom O'Carroll, an active pedophile, chairperson of the international organization PIE (Pedophile Information Exchange) and author of Paedophilia: The Radical Case (Alyson Publications, 1980), cites Kinsey's research (correctly) as supporting the harmlessness of adult-child sexual interaction.
A number of empirical studies have established some unassailable facts on the subject [of children as innate sexual beings]. The most famous of these sources is of course the work of the biologist Alfred Kinsey and his coresearchers which made almost as much impact in the early post-war years as Freud had in his time.
Perhaps the most striking of the Kinsey findings, as they concerned pre-adolescent children, relates to their capacity for sexual orgasm. "Orgasm has been observed in boys of every age from five months to adolescence," Kinsey wrote. Also, "Orgasm is in our records for a female babe of four months" [p. 36; emphasis added].
WHO WAS DR. KINSEY?
In his 1972 biography, Dr. Kinsey and the Institute for Sex Research (Harper & Row), Kinsey coworker and Male and Female Report co-author Wardell Pomeroy asks, "How was it possible for a sickly religious boy who grew up to be a serious college student with an obvious talent for biology and an abysmal ignorance of sex - how did this young man evolve into a world authority on sexual behavior who could be mentioned in the same breath with Freud?"
According to Pomeroy, Kinsey was a sickly child (rheumatic fever and rickets), brought up in a strictly religious atmosphere, who blossomed out in adolescence - becoming one of the first Eagle Scouts in the country (and later a scoutmaster) - before completing his college career with a D.Sc. in the biological sciences from Harvard.
Although he became "the world's foremost sex researcher," he was in his earlier years a "shy and lonely young man who had avidly pursued gall wasps instead of girls..." Naive and unsophisticated about girls and sexuality, the reserved young Kinsey, "The boy who never had a girl" and whose boyhood had been a "sexually sterile world," married the first girl he had ever dated!
Pomeroy relates that Kinsey was a "complicated man who remained virtually unknown to the public." Even his Male and Female Reports were probably not well known firsthand to the public. Pomeroy describes him as the "most talked about and least read author of our time; the majority of people got their opinions of his work second hand." This certainly appears true of many scientists then and since and may explain how major problems with his research (described later) have been overlooked for 40 years.
Kinsey, who majored in taxonomy (the classification of animals and plants), spent his pre-sex-research years collecting gall wasps. He became the world's leading expert on this subject because of his avid, single-minded, driven approach to this painstakingly clerical task. As a young professor of zoology at Indiana University he developed the habit of talking to students about sex and helping them with their sexual problems - perhaps not a surprising activity for a biologist in the stuffy moral atmosphere of the period.
After 18 years at Indiana, Kinsey was chosen to be the coordinator of the university's new marriage course.2 He quickly discovered that there was "no reliable body of statistics... on what people did sexually which might serve as a guide when people asked for the kind of advice he was expected to give." This was the starting point for Kinsey's great lifework. He began to do for sexual behavior statistics what he had done for gall wasps - he became a zealous, compulsive collector. He also, according to Pomeroy, began "to give expert advice [on sex]" despite the fact his "own knowledge ... was rather recent."
Ironically, and perhaps significantly, one of the forces that propelled Kinsey into his sex research at Indiana was the fierce opposition from the focal clergy to his Marriage Course lectures. This precipitated his choice between lecturing and field work in human sexuality. Hostility from the religious stuffed-shirts of his day, combined with his own loss of religious faith during his college student days and his reading of books on religion and culture, led Kinsey to be "indignant" about the effect of Judeo-Christian tradition on society.3
According to Pomeroy, Kinsey had also come to see a basic incongruity between science and religion and couldn't understand why all scientists didn't feel the same way. It is clear that he shared Pomeroy's view that Christians inherited an almost paranoid approach to sexual behavior from the Jews. Knowledge of this particular background is essential to an understanding of the subsequent difficulties Kinsey got himself into with statistics, experimental research and the attempt to undermine a system of morality without (he claimed) making moral judgments.
Following his formative years in which Kinsey came to reject the tenets of Judeo-Christian morality, he clearly developed a viewpoint on human sexuality that considered animal sexual behavior as a model for human sexual behavior. His basic sexual philosophy has been well described in his own works and by one of his biographers, historian Paul Robinson. Kinsey's overall view of sex is probably best summed up by a statement in the Female Report:
[C]onsidering the physiology of sexual response and the mammalian backgrounds of human behavior, it is not so difficult to explain why a human animal does a particular thing sexually. It is more difficult to explain why each and every individual is not involved in every type of sexual activity [p. 451; emphasis added].
To Kinsey, being involved in all types of sexual activity would represent freedom from the cultural conditioning which society imposes and which leads to artificial distinctions such as "right and wrong, licit and illicit, normal and abnormal, acceptable and unacceptable in our social organization" (Male Report, p. 678).
According to Robinson in his 1976 book The Modernization of Sex (Harper & Row),
[Kinsey] believed that human fulfillment, in the sexual realm at least, lay in following the example of our mammalian forebears... He evaluated every form of sexual activity in terms of its role in the sexual lives of the lower species, and he frequently concluded that outlawed sexual practices were entirely natural because they conformed to "basic mammalian patterns." ... [He] even sought to invest [sexual relations between humans and animals] with a certain dignity by suggesting they could achieve a psychological intensity comparable to that in exclusively human sexual relations [pp. 55, 56; emphasis added].
A few pages later, Robinson noted that Kinsey strongly implied
... all orgasms were equal, regardless of how one came by them, and that there were accordingly no grounds for placing heterosexual intercourse in a privileged position [p. 59].
Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin and Gebhard claim in Hoch and Zubin's 1949 work, Psychosexual Development in Health and Disease (Grune & Stratton), that this mechanical, stimulus-response explanation of human sexuality is biologically programmed for both young and old:
[W]e suggest that sexuality, in its basic biologic origins, is a capacity to respond to any sufficient stimulus. It is simply a picture of physiologic response and psychologic conditioning in terms that are known to the biologist and psychologist. This is the picture of sexual response in the child and in most other younger mammals. For a few uninhibited adults, sex continues to remain sex, however they have it [p. 27; emphasis added].
This of course is the Kinsey principle of "outlet sex" - sex is sex any way you have it, the only difference in quality for some people being the effect of "inhibitions." [It should be noted that the Kinsey authors included the child in this description of sexual response as an ability to react to a sufficient stimulus.] As Robinson saw it, the notion of "outlet sex" enabled Kinsey to relegate marital heterosexual intercourse to an inferior place in the sexual spectrum:
The notion of outlet, for all its apparent innocence, performed important critical services for Kinsey. Principal among these was the demotion of heterosexual intercourse to merely one among a democratic roster of six possible forms of sexual release (the six, in order of their treatment in the Male volume, were masturbation, nocturnal emissions, heterosexual petting, heterosexual intercourse, homosexual relations, and intercourse with animals of other species)... marital intercourse, was even more rudely confined to a single chapter toward the back of the book, where it received about one third the attention devoted to homosexual relations... a remarkable feat of sexual leveling... the fundamental categories of his analysis clearly worked to undermine the traditional sexual order [Robinson, 1976, pp. 58,59; emphasis added].
Robinson here points out a basic truth about the presentation of Kinsey's work: it was designed "to undermine the traditional sexual order". Of course, there is nothing wrong with trying to change the traditional sexual order if sound scientific research shows it to be unfounded.
Some have dismissed critics of Kinsey's work as "moralists." However, careful review shows that Kinsey's own position on sexuality was a moral one - he had his own moral agenda. The Kinsey Reports, Robinson tells us, "were informed by a set of values and intellectual preferences that, taken together, could be said to constitute an ideology" (Robinson, 1976, p. 49; emphasis added). Robinson added:
... in undermining established categories of sexual wisdom... .Kinsey assigned [prominence] to masturbation and homosexuality, both of which were objects of his partiality... [He had a] tendency to conceive of the ideal sexual universe according to a homoerotic model [ibid. pp. 54,64,70].
Wardell Pomeroy states in his Kinsey biography that some of Kinsey's best friends were scientists like himself who, in one way or another, were part of his "grand scheme" (Pomeroy, 1972, p. 155).4 Kinsey's research was in fact the scientific base which Kinsey and colleagues hoped to use in their effort to change society's traditional moral values. The specific tactics for implementing the "grand scheme" are examined in later chapters.
Essentially, Kinsey initiated a two-part strategy. First, he advocated the establishment of bisexuality as the "balanced" sexual orientation for normal uninhibited people. In effect, this would encourage heterosexuals to have homosexual experiences. This was the basic step in obliterating the existing heterosexual norm of sexuality with its traditional protective family structure, values and conventional sexual behavior (spousal heterosexual intercourse implied). This would open the way for the second and more-difficult-to-implement step - creating a society in which children would be instructed in both early peer sex and "cross-generational" sex (adult sex with children).
Between the years of 1938 and 1963 (seven years after Kinsey's death), the Kinsey research team took the "sex histories" of about 18,000 persons. In his Male (1948) and Female (1953) Reports Kinsey used data from just over 5,000 of the male sample and almost 6,300 of the female sample. Somewhere and sometime in the course of the project, Kinsey appears to have directed experimental sex research on several hundred children aged 2 months to almost 15 years. These children were orally and manually stimulated to orgasm by a group of nine sex offenders, some of whom were "technically trained" (if they were not child sex offenders before, they were after the experiments). These orgasm tests on children constituted Kinsey's experimental child sex research database!
By presenting his male and female interview data in the form of numerous tables depicting the frequencies of various sexual activities, Kinsey provided a picture of what people were supposedly doing sexually in 1940s society. Kinsey co-author Wardell Pomeroy, writing in Forleo and Pasini's 1980 book Medical Sexology (PSG Publishing Co.), explained it this way:
By shifting to a scientific methodology that largely involved frequency counts and cross-tabulations with basic variables [Kinsey] implicitly and explicitly reinforced the view that what is done is normal. Nowhere in the Kinsey reports is there the idea of "normal" in the moral sense, although there is the recognition that ideas about normal sexuality do not correspond with statistically common behavior [p. 76; author's emphasis].
It was Kinsey who established in the public awareness what "statistically common behavior" was. And this was far removed from what anyone had ever imagined. Moreover, this revelatory behavior gradually came to be seen as normal. Psychologists Zimbardo, Ebbeson and Maslach, writing in their 1977 book Influencing Attitudes and Changing Behavior (Addison-Wesley), described the effect of this new sexual knowledge (of what people in society purportedly did sexually) on society itself:
[T]he results of the Kinsey surveys on sexual behavior of the American male and female established, to some degree, social standards of what was acceptable common practice [p. 89; emphasis added].
The problem with Kinsey's "statistically common behavior" (or statistical morality), however, is that it was defined by using data from a sample of interviewees that was unrepresentative of society - that contained, in the case of the male sample, for example, a high percentage of prisoners and sex offenders. Present and former prison inmates made up as much as 25% of the group of men Kinsey used to find out what "normal" male sexual behavior was!
The entire make-up of Kinsey's samples was such as to undermine the credibility of his research findings (see chapters 1 and 2). His conclusions on sexual behavior in society, it turns out, corresponded more closely with his philosophy of what that behavior should be than with what it actually was. If even some of the information we now have of Kinsey's research methods had come out 40 years ago, the Kinsey team would have become scientific pariahs instead of instant celebrities.
What was the ultimate goal of Kinsey's research? It appears to have been dual. The first part was, as noted, to change society's view of what "normal" human sexuality was. The second was to establish himself as the world's foremost sex researcher. Both parts of this goal have been achieved, temporarily. And the achieving of part two has placed a stamp of authority on the "rightness" of part one.
Information very recently unearthed from the archives of the University of Akron adds to our understanding of the lengths to which Kinsey was prepared to go, and the level of deceit he was prepared to practice, in order to realize his ambition. When confronted with evidence from an expert that there was bias toward unconventional sexual behavior among the subjects who volunteered for his sex research, Kinsey ended his professional relationship with this individual and, in a clear breach of scientific ethics, deliberately ignored and concealed the information. The expert was the late and noted psychologist Dr. Abraham Maslow. The full story is recounted in chapter 6.
Even Kinsey's coworkers were chosen, apparently, with a particular set of results in mind. Pomeroy's qualifications for directing the evolution of human sexuality (by being part of the Kinsey team) were recognized by Kinsey himself (Pomeroy, 1972, p. 98). At a scientific conference in 1983, Pomeroy related that Kinsey had hired him on the basis of his personal sex history, deducing that he "had not picked up all the taboos, and the inhibitions, and the guilts that... [his] colleagues had..." (Eastern Regional Conference of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex, Philadelphia, April 17, 1983).
Pomeroy mentioned Kinsey's hiring stipulations in his biography, where he relates that "no one could have come to work for Kinsey without giving his [sex] history first. It was a condition of employment, which a few employees in the lower echelons resented" (Pomeroy, 1972, p. 461). Elsewhere Pomeroy recounted that Kinsey refused to hire an applicant for a research staff position because the person believed "extramarital intercourse harmful to marriage, homosexuality abnormal, and animal contacts ludicrous".5
What Kinsey and this handpicked staff concluded from illegal and even violent sexual experimentation on child subjects was that the orgasmic potential of infants and children was scientifically established for the first time. This "research" on infants and children has been translated into the "widely recognized" fact of infant and childhood sexuality, as is explained in modern college human sexuality texts, eg, Crooks and Baur's Our Sexuality (Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Co., 1983):
However, with the widespread circulation of the research findings of Alfred Kinsey and other distinguished investigators, the false assumption that childhood is a period of sexual dormancy is gradually eroding. In fact, it is now widely recognized that infants of both sexes are born with the capacity for sexual pleasure and response [p. 410; emphasis added].
Later chapters (especially chapter 1) examine the methods by which Kinsey's child sexuality "findings" were obtained.
Kinsey's conclusions on human sexuality have to some extent become a self-fulfilling prophecy through "the sexual revolution" that they helped inspire. Also, mechanisms are now in place to ensure the continuation of this process. New developments in sex education, for example, are leading to the exposure of more and more children to the teaching that heterosexuality is merely one "option" in a range of acceptable sexual behaviors.
Today, in many school systems children learn the "Kinsey scale," a seven-point numerical rating system in which bisexuality occupies a middle "balanced" position between heterosexuality (0) and homosexuality (6). They learn that Kinsey established that 10% of American males are "normally" homosexual. In the Los Angeles school district, for example, a program was introduced in 1984 called "Project 10" (after Kinsey) - a gay and lesbian counseling service for youth. Described in the publication United Teacher as "a model for school districts throughout the United States," this program offers books featuring stories on homosexual lovemaking (claimed to be written by children) and is an attempt to help children "accept" their homosexuality, as well as their sexual potential.6
Parts of Kinsey's "prophecy" have, of course, remained unfulfilled. Most members of the public have never heard of cross-generational sex. And despite Kinsey's claim that adult-child sex can be beneficial to children that is, if the police would just leave everybody alone (their interference "disturbs" children) - most members of the public are still likely to disagree with Kinsey on this point. But the process of continuing to educate society toward full acceptance of what Kinsey said was good for it, and "natural" to boot, is proceeding quietly.
In this regard, influential figures in today's sex education establishment who share Kinsey's views on childhood sexuality are beginning to broach the subject of the legitimacy of adult-child sex. Consider, for example, the article "Sex Education in the Future" in the Journal of Sex Education and Therapy (Spring/Summer 1985), by SIECUS co-founder Dr. Lester Kirkendall of Oregon State University and Dr. Roger Libby of the University of Massachusetts. In this, they predict that sex education programs of the future "will probe sexual expression ... with same-sex [partners]" and "even across... generational lines". They proclaim that with "a diminished sense of guilt... these patterns will become legitimate" and "[t]he emphasis on... normality and abnormality will be much diminished with these future trends".
The loosening up of restrictions on adult/child sex is just one of the goals of several influential sex educators and their academic mentors. In the case of "sex across generational lines," the "scientific" basis for the merit of these developments is Kinsey's experimental research among children - conducted by sex offenders - in the 1940s.
In the chapters to follow we will examine Kinsey's research and conclusions, particularly with respect to children. In addition, we will look closely at the type of people who formed the "samples" from which Kinsey got his information, and the persons involved in his child sex experiments. It will become increasingly clear that many of Kinsey's conclusions derived from his male and female samples are invalid because of the flagrantly unrepresentative group of "interviewees" he used. With respect to Kinsey's experimental child sex research, it will become obvious that this involved the actual perpetration of illegal and sometimes violent sex acts on children - perhaps (as we surmise) prospectively arranged. Surviving Kinsey colleagues are invited to respond.
Lately, the error of some other of Kinsey's conclusions is beginning to show up. According to Kinsey's results, 10% of white American males are "more or less exclusively homosexual" (ie, near the right end of Kinsey's "scale") for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55; 8% are "exclusively homosexual" (6 on the "scale") for the same period; and 4% are exclusively homosexual throughout their lives (Male Report, p. 651). These data have been used by the Centers for Disease Control and others (including the New York City Department of Health) to prepare forecasts of AIDS-virus infection rates (since the early spread of AIDS has been largely among the homosexual population).
According to Bruce Lambert in The New York Times (July 19, 20, 1988), the estimate of the number of homosexual/bisexual men in New York City, which was based on Kinsey's 1948 data, has had to be revised downward (based on observations of the spread of AIDS) from 500,000 to 100,000-a massive reduction, by any measure. And on a national level, the Federal Government's estimate - first made in 1986-of up to 1.5 million Americans infected with the AIDS virus, based largely on Kinsey's data, may have to be revised downward to 1 million or less, four years later!
Kinsey's statistics on the prevalence of homosexuality in society have been grossly in error, which would probably be no surprise to Kinsey - he knew the bias he was building into his research. He even presented his homosexuality numbers deceptively, counting as "adult" homosexual experience the isolated same-sex experimentation of adolescent heterosexual males. More recently, published surveys of male sexual behavior have indicated that the occurrence of exclusive homosexuality has been significantly overestimated (see chapter 6).
WHY THIS BOOK
There are now so many indications of serious error and irregularity in Kinsey's human sexuality research, even upon a superficial examination, that it became necessary for this book to be written. In fact the whole notion of Kinsey's sex studies being considered "science" will have to be re-evaluated. This is a vitally important social issue in view of Kinsey's conclusions on childhood sexuality (chapters 1 and 2)-accepted in academic sexology as scientific fact-and the pervasiveness of his theories in current sex education and AIDS education programs (chapters 4 and 5). If Kinsey's science is flawed, then today's children are among his prime victims, which is ironic in a way because children also were the prime victims in the live sex experiments which took place in the 1940s and which form the basis of many Kinsey conclusions.
It is Kinsey's work which established the notion of "normal" childhood sexual desire. This "scientific" fact about children provides justification for pedophiles and a "scientific" basis for the children-can-enjoy-sex-with-peers (then with adults) movement that clearly exists within the sexology and sex education establishments today. Children are victims here also because they are not in a position to take part in the debate over the scientific evidence for their own sexuality. They are not in a position to analyze Kinsey's research data that are used to argue the case that they can benefit from, and have a right to, sex with adults. The debate also is being directed to some extent by those who, while seeming to champion "children's rights," are on record as desiring legal sanction for adult sex with children.
Some readers will doubt that things have come to this pass. Society, they would argue, could never look approvingly on adults having sexual access to children. This is not necessarily a valid assumption. One requirement necessary for legitimization of adult-child sexual activity has been met with Kinsey's "demonstration" that children can and should have active sex lives. Steps toward meeting the other requirement have just recently (1988) begun to be discussed openly, with the proposition from a "nationally recognized expert on sex offenders" that "pedophilia ... may be a sexual orientation rather than a sexual deviation." The comparison, in this sense, to homosexuality is beginning to be made (Behavior Today, December 5, 1988, p. 5; see also chapter 7).
Whether or not Kinsey's research could stand close scientific examination was never an issue in 1940s America. It had all the required attributes for that period: it was a major project, it was headed by a scientist and it had never been done before. Perhaps most impressive of all, it dealt with large numbers of "facts" that seemed to have been handled in a statistically proper way. Co-researcher Wardell Pomeroy described it this way:
No research in human behavior on so broad a scale had previously been attempted. Along with this, one has to consider the peculiarly American trait of counting noses. If this project had been undertaken in Europe or Asia it might never have attracted any attention or even succeeded, but in America we like to count things. As a result, the research was done and it accomplished the primary objective of making such investigation acceptable [Pomeroy, 1972, p. 466].
Thus a new view of sexual behavior was presented in the form of numbers and brought forth to an awed American public. One of the early Kinsey reviewers caught on to this. Physician and author Iago Galdston wrote in his critique of the Female Report, "So Noble an Effort Corrupted",
Kinsey of course does not "advocate" libertinism. He doesn't advocate anything. He allows his figures to do that for him. But his figures are like puppets, and he pulls the strings [In Geddes DP: An Analysis of the Kinsey Reports on Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Female, Mentor Books, 1954, p. 47].
The scale of Kinsey's sex research was matched by the pretentiousness of its presentation. His book titles imply that sexual behavior for all peoples is being defined, when, in fact, as Kinsey contemporary Ashley Montagu of Rutgers University astutely noted, "These books deal with the sexual behavior of a very limited branch of humanity, namely the American variety, and a small segment of that variety at that" (ibid., p. 127).
Kinsey's Male and Female Reports did not, however, get the scrutiny of experts in the "hard" sciences that might have demolished their credibility at the time. Practically all of his advisors and scientific readers were "behavioral scientists" who knew very little about scientific procedures themselves. What Kinsey presented was scientism? as opposed to science. As such, it was not recognized or acknowledged by those also involved in its practice.
Since Kinsey's work was misconstrued as "science," serious error has been allowed to masquerade as fact for 40 years in our understanding of perhaps the most important area of human behavior. The ready acceptance of this "science"- though it overturned cherished values-is partly explained by Amherst professor Benjamin DeMott in a March 1980 Psychology Today article describing attempts to weaken the incest taboo:
[It is believed that] the history of mankind is properly understood as a progress from dark restricting superstition to reasoned liberating enlightenment. [It is also believed that] since moral and spiritual versions of the human condition come to us from the past, they're necessarily infected with superstition, whereas scientific versions of our condition are myth-free [pp. 11,12; emphasis added].
A further reason for a second look at the work of Dr. Kinsey and colleagues is the disturbing fact that major social conclusions are based on a body of research that involved the use of experimentation on human subjects against their will. This actuality somehow escaped the notice of reviewers at the time. There remains therefore an obligation to the principle of scientific integrity, as well as a responsibility to the pursuit of truth in science, to reexamine the research of Kinsey and colleagues and the circumstances under which it was carried out.
THE ISSUE OF FRAUD
It will become clear from subsequent chapters that the issue of fraud in Kinsey's research is one that now has to be faced squarely by scientists and lay persons alike. The critical importance of this is that many influential figures in sex education are "true believers" in a philosophy of human sexuality shaped by Dr. Kinsey and his coauthors. And the Kinsey team's research conclusions provide a scientific basis for, among other things, the acceptability of early childhood sexual activity and adult sexual relations with consenting children. Just as Hugh Hefner, according to author Thomas Weyr,8 found in Kinsey's work "demonstrable evidence" to undergird his Playboy philosophy, so does today's sex education establishment find in Kinsey the justification for teaching the normalcy of homosexuality, bisexuality - and much more.
If Kinsey's research is seriously flawed or fraudulent, a whole house of cards collapses. Could a research project of this magnitude and importance be bungled or even rigged and no one notice for 40 years? Even in the 1970s and '80s, when scientific research has been scrutinized and peer-reviewed more stringently before publication than ever was the case with the Kinsey team's work, it has now been discovered that intentional misrepresentation in science is not an isolated aberration (Editorial, British Medical Journal 296:376, 1988). This was highlighted not too long ago by the fraud conviction of medical researcher Stephen Bruening, "who published some 50 articles based on fraudulent data on the use of psychoactive drugs in mentally retarded patients" (ibid.). [Perhaps as disturbing as some of the recent fraud exposes has been the reluctance of authorities to investigate when presented with reasonable grounds for suspicion. Despite this and recent publicity, however, it is likely that fraud in science still is unusual.]
Breuning's data impacted public health policy nationally. Kinsey's data have impacted public morality and the understanding of human sexuality internationally. There is good evidence that Kinsey's research was designed to provide a scientific base for his preexisting radical sexual ideology: his coworkers were chosen for their bias; biased samples were knowingly used; unwarranted conclusions were drawn from data presented; methods are sometimes obscured, sometimes flawed; some data are contradictory; there is a prior history of deception in other scientific endeavors; Kinsey has dissembled in the medical literature; Kinsey co-authors have knowingly misrepresented their data in subsequent publications; criminal experimentation has been the prime source of Kinsey's childhood sexuality data; and then there is the Maslow affair, which reveals Kinsey as a man on the way to a scientific conclusion regardless of the evidence.
If even only some of the above are correct, then Kinsey's research results clearly are false. Normally in a major project in an important area of research, false conclusions would sooner or later be detected. As Daniel Koshland, editor of Science, has pointed out, "You may falsify an important finding, but then it will surely form the basis for subsequent experiments and become exposed" (Science 235:141, 1987). However, the Kinsey research never has been replicated, and even an attempt to "clean up" the data was suspiciously botched. False conclusions in science can be an honest mistake, but outright deception is quite another matter. In the case of Kinsey's sex research, there is strong (we believe compelling) evidence of fraud, which would make this research the most egregious example of scientific deception in this century.
This brings us to an interesting situation. With the exception of Dr. Kinsey, all of the scientists involved in the creation of the Kinsey research findings are alive and functioning as influential scholars, writers, lecturers, experts on national and international panels and commissions, courtroom witnesses, and academic luminaries in the sexology and sex education fields. What will now happen? Will scientific peers have the courage to investigate this landmark work of 40 years ago? If they do not, the public will be entitled to know why. Here is what should happen when there is even a suspicion of fraud in scientific research:
[O]nce suspected or detected, fraud needs intensive investigation with publicity given to the results and retraction in the journals concerned and in the bibliographical databases [Stephen Lock, Editor, British Medical Journal, February 6,1988, p. 377; emphasis added].
The argument for investigation is even more powerful when data have been derived from the abuse of human subjects - in this case children. Can the reader begin to imagine what such an investigation could mean for society and its understanding of human sexuality and values?
1 Christie Hefner, in the Foreword to Sexuality and Medicine, Volume 11, Earl E. Shelp (ed.), Reidel Publishing Co., 1987.
2 In her forthcoming book Softporn Plays Hardball (in press, Huntington House Publishers), Dr. Judith Reisman challenges the official version, repeated here, that Dr. Kinsey was "chosen" for the university's new marriage course. Reisman argues that Dr. Kinsey maneuvered for many years to gain approval for this course.
3 Two of Kinsey's four favorite books, according to Pomeroy, were Man and His Gods, by Homer Smith (1952), and Sex Laws and Customs in Judaism, by L.M. Epstein (1948). Pomeroy noted that "Kinsey knew a great deal about the Judeo-Christian tradition, and he was indignant about what it had done to our culture. He often cited the inaccuracies and paranoia in which he asserted it abounded. He was quite blunt in talking about this tradition and its effect on the sexual lives of people in our own time, and he backed up his opinions with a sound background of knowledge acquired not only from extensive reading but from numerous discussions with historians who were expert in the subject" (Pomeroy, 1972, p. 30).
4 Pomeroy elsewhere in his book says that the "grand scheme" or "design" was in its "simplest terms" to find out what people did sexually (p.4). As will later become apparent, it was to provide a statistical base for a new morality.
5 Brecher R. Brecher E (eds.), An Analysis of Human Sexual Response, Andre Deutsch, 1967, p. 117.
6 See Appendix D for an account of Project 10 in action.
7 Defined as the application of quasi-scientific methods to unsuitable subjects.
8 Reaching for Paradise: The Playboy Vision of America, Times Books, 1987, p. 11.