Archives for posts with tag: Kinsey

This year, a book containing a study similar to Kinsey’s research was published. A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals About Human Desire, claims to be more accurate because of its much larger sample size. Doctors Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, authors of the book and the main researchers in the study, analyzed and categorized millions of web searches and media for their research. Ogas and Gaddam believe that their research can be more reliable than Kinsey’s because of the sample size and the raw data that was collected. Because the data wasn’t collected by just voluntary people (psychology students, etc.) or personal interactions, the data is more truthful. Although the honesty of the individual data collected is correct, the claim of the larger sample size is still not helpful in explaining sexual desires. The authors and critics of the book agree that Kinsey’s research was not very accurate because not only of the sample size but also that fact that the subjects were white middle-class males and females. The Internet data collected is of course not biased with race immediately, but can be when looked at other factors that grant certain people access to the Internet and especially to erotica.

Janice Irvine explained in her book Disorders of Desire: Sexuality and Gender in Modern American Sexology the methods and outcomes of different sexology approaches, like Kinsey’s well-known history with the science of sex. Irvine shows that Kinsey’s results were unreliable because they didn’t include non-white middle-class males and females. People of Color, intersexed, transsexual, working class, and other minorities were not included in his research, therefore excluding those lived experiences that may affect sexual desire. Irvine also argues that although Kinsey intended to help explain sex and sexual desire, he and other sexologists hindered certain sexual practices.

Likewise, the work of Ogas and Gaddam have excluded certain populations and can be harmful to certain populations. The study excludes people without access to erotica and/or the Internet in general. This data could exclude many areas in the world without computers and/or Internet and many older generations that prefer not to use modern technology. Like other things relying so heavily on modern technology, it can be ageist. There may also be people who simply choose not to use the Internet or a computer to express or explore their desires. This study can also be harmful because it categorizes and adds negative stereotypes to certain groups of people. Explaining something phenomenal as natural can become dangerous for the reputation and treatment of certain groups, as Irvine and others have warned.

-Eleanor Stevenson

We all do it. We “do the do,” as professor Marlon Bailey says. But we are so shy to talk about anything involving sex. Why? Without sex, none of us would even exist. Yes I know, you just got the gross visual of your parents doing it. You’ll survive! Human sexual behavior and it’s implications within society was never fully explored until scientist Alfred Kinsey decided to bring thousands of peoples sexual secrets to the surface in order to evaluate commonalities between human sexual behavior.

Kinsey’s was a hardcore essentialist, and he used this for explaining sexuality in women. His essentialist point of view on human sexual behavior was both liberating and problematic for those who were affected by his research. In Janice M. Irvine’s Disorders of Desire, Irvine digs deep into Kinsey’s history and praises his research in saying, “…Kinsey’s empiricism and sexual enthusiasm were generalized to his research on women in a fashion that was truly supportive of female sexuality” (Irvine 40). To Kinsey, sexual behavior was a natural phenomena, and “natural” to him was anything that occurred. This embracement of female sexuality opened up doors to the understanding of female desires within the vast variations of human sexual behavior. Our culture was not as quick to explore female sexuality like Kinsey was. In fact, Irvine says, “It seems likely that the lack of public attention to his findings about female sexuality had more to do with sociopolitical variable than with Kinsey’s personal research interests” (Irvine 41). This lack of public attention stemmed from the uncomfortability of exploration of human sexual behavior within our culture. Socially and politically, Kinsey crossed lines. And if he didn’t do so, our culture could be even more quiet about sex than we already are.

-Sophie Reynolds