Let's Talk about Sex; Kinsey's Legacy Lives on in a New Movie and in the Work of Scientists Who Study Our Intimate Acts

Newsweek, November 8, 2004 | Go to article overview

Let's Talk about Sex; Kinsey's Legacy Lives on in a New Movie and in the Work of Scientists Who Study Our Intimate Acts


Byline: Claudia Kalb (With Karen Springen, Ellise Pierce and Joan Raymond)

Sex isn't always fun. Just ask Jeffrey Deckham, who volunteered to have his brain scanned while he lay flat on his back inside an MRI machine watching erotic video clips. The room was freezing, the MRI magnets clanked like a cement drill--and then there was the pediatric-size blood-pressure cuff wrapped around his penis. As Deckham stared up at a small video screen, health psychologist Linda Banner monitored changes in his heart rate, brain activation and sexual arousal. The goal: to better understand the physiology of sex. "Not exactly romantic," says Deckham, a family physician in Los Gatos, Calif., "but I did it in the name of science."

A half century after biologist Alfred Kinsey published his groundbreaking and controversial exposes on American sexual behavior, sex research--whether low or high tech--is as illuminating and contentious as ever. While researchers are studying subjects ranging from aphrodisiacs to arousal, conservative politicians continue to crusade against funding the science of human desire. In the midst of all this, the grandfather of sex research is being catapulted back into the spotlight. Next week, just days after the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality holds its annual meeting in Orlando, "Kinsey," the Hollywood film starring Liam Neeson and Laura Linney, debuts in New York and L.A., and a companion book hits bookstores nationwide. T. C. Boyle has recently been on tour with his new novel, "The Inner Circle," about a Kinsey disciple, and a PBS documentary on the scientist airs this winter. Nearly 50 years after his death, Kinsey is once again heating things to a sizzle.

It was Kinsey who shattered any vestiges of Victorian modesty, leading curious Americans from bedroom peephole to upfront view between the sheets. In his best-selling tomes, "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" (1948) and "Sexual Behavior in the Human Female" (1953), the scientist, who was first obsessed with the biological diversity of gall wasps, laid out human sexual behavior--from foreplay to orgasm--in methodical detail. Kinsey's data, taken from in-person interviews with 18,000 people, were exhaustive. And both the questions ("Have you ever had group sex?") and the findings (10 percent of males were homosexual, 62 percent of women masturbated) shocked the public. In 1954, as a result of McCarthy-era politics, he lost his funding; two years later, at the age of 62, Dr. Sex was dead.

Kinsey's methods were far from perfect. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Let's Talk about Sex; Kinsey's Legacy Lives on in a New Movie and in the Work of Scientists Who Study Our Intimate Acts
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.