History of Sex Surveys: Kinsey Report on Female Sexual Behavior Part 4 Conclusion

About the famous Kinsey Report, a survey done by Dr. Alfred Kinsey on all aspects of female sex, sexual history, marriage and more, conclusions.

Survey: SEXUAL BEHAVIOR IN THE HUMAN FEMALE

Conclusions: Sexual behavior cannot be studied without taking into account the behavioral response of the total individual, which reflects biological, psychological, and social factors. Kinsey stressed that no one person is represented by his survey figures--rather "Each person is a unique combination of the data." He emphasized the need for further research, and planned to publish additional volumes based on his data at future dates.

Public Reaction: Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (872 pp.) was published by W. B. Saunders Co. in 1953. Although this book included, in response to criticisms of the earlier volume on the male, a statement clarifying the scientific objective of the survey and defending the right of the scientist to investigate and to deliver to the public his findings, it aroused as much criticism and controversy as its predecessor. Anthropologist Ashley Montague, one of its harshest critics, denounced Kinsey for ignoring love and motherhood, for failing to include certain segments of the population, and for dealing with people as though they were insects (referring to Kinsey's earlier studies of the gall wasp).

On the whole, the work drew more blame than praise. Psychologists emphasized that sexual behavior cannot be studied within the narrow framework of "outlet" and "incidences." Sociologists emphasized Kinsey's neglect of the role of social institutions in conditioning sexual attitudes and behavior. Others pointed out errors in sampling, collating, analyzing and evaluating this great mass of data. Some even maintained that the book would be used to justify "immoral practices."

When Kinsey died in 1956 (literally of overwork, having been warned that his heavy schedule was damaging his heart), The New York Times ran this editorial:

The untimely death of Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey takes from the American scene an important and valuable, as well as controversial, figure. Whatever may have been the reaction to his findings--and to the unscrupulous use of some of them--the fact remains that he was 1st, last, and always a scientist.

In the long run, it is probable that the value of his contribution to contemporary thought will lie much less in what he found out than in the method he used and his way of applying it. Any sort of scientific approach to the problems of sex is difficult because the field is so deeply overlaid with such things as moral precept, taboo, individual and group training, and long established behavior patterns. Some of these may be good in themselves, but they are no help to the scientific and empirical method of getting at the truth.

Dr. Kinsey cut through this overlay with detachment and precision. His work was conscientious and comprehensive. Naturally it will receive a serious setback with his death. Let us earnestly hope that the scientific sprit that inspired it will not be similarly impaired.

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