Kinsey and His Institute
The sexual revolution was kicked off by scientific research into human sexuality. This research was the beginning of normalizing sexual needs. This normalization began unraveling the tapestry of sexual repression, which is still being pulled apart one thread at a time. The man who is credited with spearheading the scientific research into human sexuality was Alfred Kinsey. Alfred Kinsey published landmark studies concerning human sexuality and worked to redefine sexual behavior in biological terms. Kinsey went onto found the Kinsey Institute, who's sole purpose was to continue research into human sexual behavior. Many people believe that Kinsey's major motivation was being reared in a incredibly religious and repressive household. As is the case with so many people, it's very possible that Kinsey was fueled by his childhood.
Alfred Kinsey grew up in a household ruled by an oppressive father. His father was very religious and enforced the sexual repression that is taught by Christianity. Kinsey's father was also a teacher at Stevens Institute of Technology. As a result of that he spent an enormous amount of time pushing young Alfred towards the field of engineering, regardless of Alfred's interest in biology. Kinsey and his father eventually had a falling out, which was never repaired, over Kinsey's decision to study biology. It turned out to be lucky for society that Kinsey was preoccupied with biology rather than engineering. It was due to this preoccupation that led Kinsey to conduct landmark studies on sexual behavior. It was because of these studies, which applied the scientific method to sex, that fueled the sexual revolution(1). However, Kinsey had a long time of rigorous study before the plans for these studies entered his mind.
It was probably due to Kinsey's strict upbringing that he had so much dedication to his studies. After the rift formed between Kinsey and his father, Kinsey completely dedicated himself to the field of biology. When it was time to enter college Kinsey was accepted into Harvard as a biology student. After showing himself to be an exemplary student Kinsey gained a powerful mentor in William Morton Wheeler. With Wheeler's guidance Kinsey was put onto the track of a doctorate. In fact, he fulfilled that goal in 1919 when he attained his Doctor of Science Degree. After which he went on to teach at Indiana University. In 1924 Kinsey married Clara Bracken McMillen, who was a chemistry student at Indiana University. Five years after his marriage, Kinsey's research regarding insects earned him a full professorship at Indiana University. In fact, it wasn't until 1938 that Kinsey began to research human sexuality. In 1938 Kinsey began teaching a course on marriage and the family. In this course Kinsey began to use illustrated biological lectures on sexual stimulation, the mechanics of intercourse, and techniques for contraception. It was also during his teaching of this course that Kinsey began his efforts to try and normalize sexual behavior by putting it in biological terms. By the time that 1940 rolled around Kinsey had shifted his entire focus to sexual behavior. As Kinsey realigned his focus the enrollment grew to 400 students. As his interest in sexual behavior got piqued Kinsey began his studies into sexual behavior. In 1948 Kinsey published 'Sexual Behavior in the Human Male', which was followed up, in 1953, with 'Sexual Behavior in the Human Female'. Three years after 'Sexual Behavior in the Human Female' was published Kinsey died of a combination of heart failure and pneumonia(1). Luckily before his death, Dr. Alfred Kinsey had already founded the Kinsey Institute to continue his research on sexual behavior.
Nine years before his death Kinsey created the Institute for Sex Research with his research team. This institute was essential for continuing the research on sexual behavior long after Kinsey's death. On April 8th of 1947 the Institute for Sex Research was incorporated in order for Dr. Kinsey to continue his research. In 1957 the Institute for Sex Research won a court case, US v. 31 Photographs, which granted exceptions in porn bans when it comes to academic research. In 1970 the Institute for Sex Research made an Information Services Department in order to provide reference material for research studies. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Kinsey's death his institute was renamed the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research in 1981. In the time period between 1984 and 1993 the Kinsey Institute published the 'The Kinsey Report', a newspaper column that dealt with sex research. During 1995, as the internet began to grow in power, the Kinsey Institute created their online public access catalog - KICAT. The Kinsey Institute started publishing 'Kinsey Confidential' as a weekly column in the Indiana Weekly Student as of 2001. The Kinsey Institute's latest endeavor into educating the public was a smart phone app called the Kinsey Reporter App. As the Kinsey Institute has made great strides in sexual behavior research it has had six directors since Alfred Kinsey's death. During the tenure of each director the Institute has never stopped publishing research papers on sex and sexual behavior(2). The Institute has been Kinsey's long and successful legacy in the field of sexual research.
An important part of the sexual revolution was the normalization of sexual behavior that Kinsey began. By forcing biological terms onto sex Kinsey made sexual behavior more accessible to academics. Those academics then pushed that same normalization into the mainstream public. A large part of why Kinsey pursued his research was probably his strict upbringing. His very religious father tried to force sexual repression onto Kinsey, who proceeded to rebel as hard as he could. In his rebellion Kinsey followed a path toward sexual research which would enable the sexual revolution of the 1960s. After his death the Kinsey Institute continued his research on sexual behavior. Leading to a better understanding of our natural state.
“Alfred C. Kinsey: A Pioneer of Sex Research,” accessed on April 3, 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447862/
“Learn Our History,” accessed on April 3, 2017, https://www.kinseyinstitute.org/about/history/index.php