Even as a lad, Alfred Charles Kinsey was not quite what he seemed to be. A perfectionist, he could be hard on himself, both figuratively and literally. Perhaps as a way to punish himself, he inserted objects – ouch! – in his penis, graduating from straws to the handle of a hairbrush.
After two years of training as an engineer, Kinsey enrolled in Bowdoin College in Maine as a biology major, the first love of this budding naturalist. Indeed, his high-school yearbook had projected him, in a worthy bit of prophecy, to become “a second Darwin.”
As a graduate student at Harvard, Kinsey lost his faith in God. Like so many of his progressive allies, Kinsey came to see Christianity as oppressive and the source of much of the evil in the modern world. Nature would become his god, biological laws his Ten Commandments.
Kinsey imagined his own godless heaven on earth, one where people would be “freed from religiously prescribed notions of right and wrong.” Here, writes biographer James Jones, “People would be at liberty to act upon their sexual needs, without fear or guilt, provided, of course, their behavior did not harm others.” As shall be seen, Kinsey’s idea of “harm” and America’s idea of the same would diverge dramatically.
In 1920, Alfred and his wife Clara “migrated” to Bloomington, Ind. At Indiana, Kinsey switched his field of application from gall wasps, about which almost no one cared, to human sexual behavior, about which almost everyone did. To address his own many sexual concerns, he had been quietly studying the field.
In 1935, he gave his first public talk – an angry one – on the subject of sex. He laid the blame for the sexual dysfunction then presumably rampant in America “at the door of the Christian church.” As Kinsey saw it, Christianity channeled the essential animal nature of man into “cultural perversions” like celibacy and asceticism and away from healthier activities like those involving hairbrushes.
In 1938, Kinsey organized a course on marriage at Indiana University and went professional with his sexual interests for the first time. Appropriately, the course concluded with a discussion of procreation – more specifically, the various ways to avoid it. “In short,” says Jones, “Kinsey was preaching a new sexual morality with respect for diversity at its center and himself as its prophet.”
Kinsey was nothing if not a master of public relations. His 1948 epic, “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male,” hit the market with more gusto than any book since “Gone with the Wind.” Among its most ardent fans was an Illinois University student. “I wrote an editorial about it,” remembers Hugh Hefner, “and commented that I thought it was the most important booklet of the year.”
Hefner and others saw right through the countless tables and stacks of data to the heart of Kinsey’s thesis. Scientists did not create the sexual codes of the Western world based on real biological data. Instead, priests and clerics had contrived them long ago out of little more than “ignorance and superstition.” Bottom line: These codes had to go. “Society tries to restrict all sexual activities to monogamous relations,” Kinsey notes disapprovingly. “And moral codes put a taint on many sorts of sexual gratification.”
Hefner got the message. “The sexual revolution began with the ‘Kinsey Report,’” he observes. “I’ve said many times that Kinsey was the researcher and I was the pamphleteer.”
The researcher, in fact, was a serial child rapist named Rex King. A government surveyor from New Mexico, King had kept exquisitely chronicled – and often illustrated – notes on the 600 pre-adolescent males and 200 pre-adolescent females who he had sexually violated. This was an individual capable of sexually abusing children less than a year old, dressing up their frenzied responses as orgasms, timing them, and counting them for periods up to 24 hours.
When Kinsey heard of the man’s exploits from another sex researcher, he courted King with ardor. “I congratulate you on the research spirit which has led you to collect data over these many years,” he wrote to the man, hoping he would cooperate. The courtship paid off. King agreed to meet.
Impressed by King’s boldness, Kinsey specified the kinds of data he was looking for, especially the timed data that showed up in tables 30-34, and King happily obliged. “This is one of the most valuable things we have ever gotten,” wrote a grateful Kinsey after receiving some prized information. “I want to thank you for the time you put into it and for your willingness to cooperate.”
Kinsey went wrong in just about every possible way, and he likely did so knowingly. Before the publication of the report, he had consulted with one of America’s preeminent psychologists, Abraham Maslow, who had warned him that volunteers in sexual studies skewed toward the unconventional.
Kinsey blew him off, and the problems with his samples went well beyond this natural skew. “Despite the huge number of histories he had compiled,” writes Jones, “his sample was far from random and therefore far from representative – too many of his histories came from prisoners, too many from college students, and too many from subjects he knew in advance to be gay.” As Jones makes clear, too, Kinsey did a good deal more with his homosexual subjects than interview them.
The results, of course, were predictably astonishing. “A considerable portion of the population,” writes Kinsey, “perhaps the major portion of the male population, has at least some homosexual experience between adolescence and old age.” According to Kinsey, 10 percent of white males were “more or less exclusively homosexual” for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55.
The 10 percent quickly became received wisdom, as homosexual activists made it gospel through repetition. The fact that the number was roughly three to six times higher than that any other researcher had come up seemed irrelevant. Thanks to this politically inspired math and some dubious biology, the homosexual political bloc acquired a moral and numerical clout nearly that of African Americans.
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