Essential Kinsey

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Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey (June 23, 1894 – August 25, 1956) is generally regarded as the father of modern sexology, the systematic, scientific study of human sexuality. His research on human sexuality, foundational to the modern field of sexology, provoked controversy in the 1940s and 1950s. His work has profoundly influenced social and cultural values in the United States and many other countries. On this page of quotes, I’ve excerpted a number of his findings.

Time-1953-08-24Though there are many things that people do sexually, there are only a limited number of sexual outlets, and they are: masturbation, nocturnal emissions, heterosexual petting, heterosexual intercourse, homosexual relations, and intercourse with animals. Most people depend on two or more outlets for their sexual activities.

Most of the complications which are observable in sexual histories are the result of society’s reactions when it obtains knowledge of an individual’s behaviour, or the individual’s fear of how society would react if he were discovered.

In men, no other single factor affects sexual frequency as much as age. Having reached its peak in adolescence, sexual activity in men drops steadily into old age. Reasons for this may be due to the general decline in physical and physiologic capacity and also psychologic fatigue, which at times may be partially reversible with new stimuli.

Heterosexual intercourse continues longer than any other outlet. It is probably that heterosexual intercourse would provide the major source of pre-marital outlet if there were no restrictions on the activity of the younger male.

The sexual differences between religiously devout persons and religiously inactive persons of the same faith are much greater than the differences between two equally devout groups of different faiths. No social level accepts wholly the Judeo-Christian code, but each level derives its taboos from some part of the basic religious philosophy.

About 85% of younger males could be convicted as sex offenders if the law were as efficient as people expect it to be.

There seems to be no question but that the human male would be promiscuous in his choice of sexual partners throughout the whole of his life if there were no social restrictions.

At least 37% of males between adolescence and old age have had some homosexual experience, and for males who remain unmarried until age 35, almost 50% have homosexual experience.

No single factor more than determination is at the basis for the survival of any single marriage. And yet, about 3/4 of divorces have some sexual components.

Kinsey noted in both Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male and Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female that: “…pre-marital petting experience contributes definitely to the effectiveness of the sexual relations after marriage,” “…pre-marital experience in masturbation may actually contribute to the female’s capacity to respond in her coital relations in marriage,” “…the quality of the marital response was furthered by the female’s previous knowledge of the nature of a sexual orgasm,” and “…77 percent of the married females, looking back from the vantage point of their more mature experience, saw no reason to regret their pre-marital coitus.”

Human infants, both female and male, are capable of being stimulated by and responding to tactile stimulation in a way which is sexual in the strictest sense of the term.

If a child were not culturally conditioned, it is doubtful if it would be disturbed by sexual approaches…(and) it is difficult to understand why a child, except for its cultural conditioning, should be disturbed at having its genitalia touched, or disturbed at seeing the genitalia of other persons or disturbed at even more specific sexual contacts.

…millions of the females in the United States, and a larger number of the males, have had their self-assurance, their social efficiency, and sometimes their sexual adjustments in marriage needlessly damaged — not by their masturbation, but by the conflict between their practice and the moral codes.

…definitely smaller percentages of the religiously devout females and higher percentages of the religiously less devout or inactive females were experiencing orgasm from any source prior to marriage.

It is doubtful if any type of therapy has ever been as effective as early experience in orgasm, in reducing the incidences of unresponsiveness in marital coitus, and in increasing the frequencies of response to orgasm in that coitus.

The human female is born with the nervous equipment on which sexual responses depend…(and) acquirement of any full capacity for response depends upon the sort of sexual experience that the female has in pre-adolescence, adolescence, and the later years, and on the variety of social factors which may condition her psychologically.

Most of the material on this page was taken from: Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) Alfred C. Kinsey, Wardell Pomeroy and Clyde Martin & Sexual Behavior in the Human Female(1953), Alfred C. Kinsey, Wardell Pomeroy, Clyde Martin, and Paul H. Gebhard; both volumes published by W.B. Saunders company.

© Dr. David Hersh