Thursday, January 10, 2013

Alfred Kinsey (part 6/7): The Kinsey Institute Today

In 1982, The Kinsey Institute officially changed its name to The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. The Kinsey Institute continues to conduct research in various aspects of human sexuality. Alfred Kinsey’s research asked what humans do, the Institute now asks why humans do it. Current questions regarding human sexuality pertain to neurochemistry, hormones, mood, psychology of relationships and pairbonding, what effects partner choices, etc. is a site for information on sexual health and contains podcasts, newsblogs, and an on-line Question & Answer section. The Kinsey Institute hosts sexology conferences, art exhibits, courses on various aspects of human sexuality, and an extensive library (Kinsey Institute website).

The Kinsey Institute library houses 150,000 volumes on everything from scientific articles, journals, and magazines, to erotica, pulp fiction, and pamphlets, to early erotic photography, films and documentaries. Su Wo Pien (The Lady of the Moon) is an illustrated Chinese sex book published in 1610, and as the only complete surviving copy in existence, it is one of the gems in their collection. The library also contains a collection of Alfred Kinsey’s correspondences in its archive. The library is open to scholars and students of sexuality (Inside).

The Kinsey Institute continues publishing books on various aspects of human sexuality. One book worth mentioning is The Kinsey Institute New Report on Sex: What You Must Know to be Sexually Literate, published in 1990. It is written for the layperson with helpful information on everything from physiology, sexual functioning, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sex and aging, sexual health, and contraception (Reinisch). Despite the prevalence of sexual data in the age of the internet, the amount of sexual illiteracy among laypeople continues to be substantial. Therefore, it would be useful for the Kinsey Institute to revise the book, especially in the sections pertaining to birth control, the Grafenburg Spot, the medical treatment of intersex infants, recent data on the study of orgasmic response in both men and women, and other recent developments in sexology.

Alfred Kinsey once said, with a straight face, “Frankly, I should think the public would be extremely tired of the subject” (Dr. Kinsey). Little did he know!

Kinsey even left his mark on popular music. Tin Pan Alley came up with some catchy tunes like “The Kinsey Boogie”and “Thank You, Mr. Kinsey” (Jones 570). Martha Raye, the wacky singer/comedienne, recorded the jazzy tune “Ooh, Dr. Kinsey.” Take it away, Martha!!

Ooh, ooh Dr. Kinsey (2 x)

I just read your essay

On men’s behavior today

And men are great…

Like a hole in the head!

I used to get such comfort

Wrapped in the arms of males

But now I find that less than 60%

Go for us frails.

I used to think my lover

Could do some fine, fancy tricks

But according to Kinsey’s data,

He’s strictly from the sticks!

Ooh, ooh Dr. Kinsey

Look what you’ve done to me!

Since I’ve read your report,

I’m disillusioned as can be!

Now, if he’s timid around the girls,

But around the boys, he’s soo sporty,

His history is no mystery,

It’s on page 240!

No wonder Bill was so estranged

And kissed me with such poise!

When I asked him where he’d been,

He’d say “oh – out with the boys.”

Hey, hey Dr. Kinsey, here’s thanks to you from me.

Now you’ve taught me what a fool I used to be.
(American Experience)

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