Alfred Kinsey

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Alfred Kinsey in 1955

Alfred Charles Kinsey (June 23, 1894 – August 25, 1956) was an American biologist.[1] He was born in Hoboken, New Jersey.[2]

In the first part of his career he was an entomologist specializing in gall wasps of the family Cynipidae. Later, he became famous for the research he did on human sexuality.[3] His research had a great influence on social and cultural values in many parts of the world. It also had an influence on the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 70s.

Kinsey and his co-workers wrote two books which became known as the Kinsey Reports. They were based on thousands of interviews with men (first report),[4] and then women.[5] The aim was to find out how widespread or differentiated human sexual practices were. He developed the Kinsey Scale to measure sexual orientation. On one end of the scale, at the value 0, the individual is entirely heterosexual. On the other end, at value 6, he or she has a purely homosexual orientation. Kinsey was bisexual.

Kinsey died of heart disease and pneumonia in Bloomington, Indiana.

A biopic of him, Kinsey, was released in 2004.

Early work[change | change source]

Kinsey wrote his doctoral thesis on gall wasps. In 1919, Kinsey was awarded a ScD degree by Harvard University, and he accepted an academic post in biology at Indiana University.

In 1920 he published several papers in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The papers introduced the gall wasp to the scientific community and described its phylogeny. Of the more than 18 million insects in the museum's collection, some 5 million are gall wasps collected by Kinsey.[6]

Biographies of Kinsey[change | change source]

  • Christenson, Cornelia (1971). Kinsey: A Biography. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Drucker, Donna J. (2014). The Classification of Sex: Alfred Kinsey and the Organization of Knowledge. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-6303-5
  • Gathorne-Hardy, Jonathan (1998). Alfred C. Kinsey: Sex the Measure of All Things. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 0-253-33734-8
  • Hegarty, Peter (2013). Gentlemen's Disagreement: Alfred Kinsey, Lewis Terman, and the Sexual Politics of Smart Men. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0-226-02444-8
  • Jones, James H. (1997). Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public/Private Life. New York: Norton. ISBN 0-7567-7550-7
  • Pomeroy, Wardell (1972). Dr. Kinsey and the Institute for Sex Research. New York: Harper & Row.

References[change | change source]

  2. Scherrer, David L. ; Linda M. Klepacki 2004. How to talk to your kids about sexuality Cook Communications Ministries Colorado Springs, CO, page 56
  3. Gathorne-Hardy, Jonothan 1998. Sex the measure of all things. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 1-8561-9604-6
  4. Kinsey, Alfred et al 1948. Sexual behavior in the human male. Saunders.
  5. Kinsey, Alfred et al 1953. Sexual behavior in the human female. Saunders.
  6. Yudell, Michael (July 1, 1999). "Kinsey's Other Report". Natural History. 108 (6). ISSN 0028-0712. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008.