Alfred Kinsey Criticism - Essay

Sociology and Social Research (essay date 1948)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male", by Alfred Kinsey, in Sociology and Social Research, Vol. 32, No. 4, March-April, 1948, pp.

[In the following review of Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, the critic commends Kinsey's research and findings, and declares the work necessary for overhauling the nation's previous works on sexuality and marriage.]

Called by one of the newsweeklies a "shocker in sex" and touted by columnist Winchell,Sexual Behavior in the Human Male this scientific study of the sexual Behavior of the male by three Indiana University scientists promises to become a best seller. One fortunate aspect of this is that it will be read by many who would otherwise avoid it. Certainly, physicians, psychiatrists, judges, administrators of both educational and penal institutions, officials in the Army and Navy, and social scientists will find in it a wealth of vitally useful material.

Presented as the objective factual study of sexual behavior that it is, the book reports the results of a nine-year survey, with 12,000 persons, representing every age, every social level, and several racial groups, who were interviewed by the authors and their staff of assistants. Funds from the Rockefeller Foundation provided a major portion of the cost of the survey. The study should demonstrate what well-conducted, scientifically organized research in the...

(The entire section is 554 words.)

Lionel Trilling (essay date 1948)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Kinsey Report," in The Liberal Imagination: Essays on Literature and Society, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979, pp. 210-28.

[In the following essay, originally published in 1948, Trilling identifies Kinsey' s work as an enlightening tool to break down cultural repression of humankind's primal and universal sexual consciousness.]

By virtue of its intrinsic nature and also because of its dramatic reception, the Kinsey Report,1 as it has come to be called, is an event of great importance in our culture. It is an event which is significant in two separate ways, as symptom and as therapy. The therapy lies in the large permissive effect the...

(The entire section is 7192 words.)

Lawrence S. Kubie (essay date 1948)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Psychiatric Implications of the Kinsey Report," in Sexual Behavior in American Society: An Appraisal of the First Two Kinsey Reports, edited by Jerome Himelhoch and Sylvia Fleis Fava, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1955, pp. 270-93.

[In the following essay, originally published in 1948, Kubie enumerates the benefits Kinsey's research has for psychoanalysts treating patients with sexual disorders.]

This is the report of an investigation of the sexual behavior of nearly 5,300 white American males, between the ages of three and ninety years, from several occupational groups, and from many economic, educational, religious, and social strata from the underworld...

(The entire section is 9550 words.)

Abram Kardiner (essay date 1953)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Behaviorism with a Vengeance," in The American Scholar, Vol. 23, No. 1, Winter, 1953-54, pp. 106-110.

[In the following review of Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, Kardiner finds the work invaluable as a study in social trends, but faults several of his conclusions as too reliant on behaviorism.]

Dr. Kinsey and his associates have by now, with their volume on Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, established themselves among the great sexologists of history. This book is a true product of our time, and it carries the popular authority of the opinion poll and the questionnaire method of tracking down social phenomena. It has, therefore,...

(The entire section is 1472 words.)

Joseph K. Folsom (essay date 1954)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Kinsey's Challenge to Ethics and Religion," in Sexual Behavior in American Society: An Appraisal of the First Two Kinsey Reports, edited by Jerome Himelhoch and Sylvia Fleis Fava, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1955, pp. 226-36.

[In the following essay, Folsom considers Kinsey's work as a long overdue statistical examination of human sexuality and a harbinger of related works in ethics, philosophy, and religion.]

"Maybe it's true, but it's not good policy to broadcast detailed truth without some consideration of how people are going to use it." Such is a common reaction to Kinsey. It is not peculiar to traditionalists nor to those lacking reverence...

(The entire section is 4075 words.)

Manford H. Kuhn (essay date 1954)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Kinsey's View of Human Behavior," in Sexual Behavior in American Society: An Appraisal of the First Two Kinsey Reports, edited by Jerome Himelhoch and Sylvia Fleis Fava, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1955, pp. 29-38.

[In the following essay, originally published in 1954, Kuhn challenges Kinsey' s conclusions as succumbing to reductionist fallacies.]

One would expect a zoologist, when he addresses himself to the study of some aspect of human behavior, to elect from the current assortment of theoretical orientations toward human behavior—such as psychoanalytic theory, field theory, symbolic interaction theory and learning theory—that one which has the...

(The entire section is 3828 words.)

Martin B. Loeb (essay date 1955)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of "Sexual Behavior in the Human Female," by Alfred Kinsey, in the American Journal of Sociology, Vol. LX, No. 4, January, 1955, pp. 409-10.

[In the following review of Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, Loeb questions Kinsey's methodology and characterizes the interpretations of his findings as Victorian.]

One can hardly review the latest Kinsey report [Sexual Behavior in the Human Female] unmindful of other summaries and critiques which have appeared in the last several months. Kinsey has been criticized, to list a few of the charges, for poor or inappropriate sampling, lacking a sense of humor, not being a woman, gathering...

(The entire section is 756 words.)

Regina Markell Morantz (essay date 1977)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Scientist as Sex Crusader: Alfred C. Kinsey and American Culture," in American Quarterly, Vol. XXIX, No. 5, Winter, 1977, pp. 563-89.

[In the following essay, Morantz presents a historical overview of the cultural shift aided by publication of Kinsey's work and provides detailed biographical analysis of Kinsey's motives for studying human sexuality.]

In January 1948, Robert Latou Dickinson, noted gynecologist and sex researcher, dashed off a note to his friend and colleague Alfred Charles Kinsey. Dickinson's copy of the newly published Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, which he had awaited "with one of the keenest anticipations of a lifetime," had...

(The entire section is 11327 words.)