CINEMA: by Roslyn PhillipsNews Weekly
Behind the Kinsey legend
, January 29, 2005
Kinsey? Who is Alfred Kinsey? He's the man whose story is told in the new, critically acclaimed film now showing in selected Australian cinemas.
In 1948 he turned the Western world upside down with his controversial book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male
, detailing research into the sex lives of thousands of American men, not to mention boys.
It was published - even in those far-off, prudish days in 1940s America, when Hollywood restricted bedroom scenes of married couples to full pyjamas and separate beds - for one key reason.
It was because Kinsey was perceived as a conservative family man - a faithful, married heterosexual father of four - whose interest in his subject was purely scientific.
That perception was very carefully maintained and promoted by Kinsey, his wife and carefully selected colleagues throughout his life and for decades afterwards. But it was a lie.
And one achievement of the new Kinsey
film is to expose that lie. But it doesn't tell the half of it.HomosexualityKinsey
's director, Bill Condon, is a homosexual activist - some would say like Kinsey himself. Condon portrays Kinsey's homosexuality in the film as something which developed as a result of his scientific pursuit of knowledge and thirst for experimentation.
However, other accounts suggest an earlier origin, with a library of homosexual pornography beginning during teen years.
Alfred Kinsey was a sensitive boy whose stern, forbidding father may have failed to bond with his son.
It is not uncommon for homosexual men to mention hostile or absent fathers, abusive older brothers or bullying peers in their life stories. It has been suggested that their homosexuality may be a reaching out for intimate connection with maleness which they failed to achieve in early life.
Kinsey's research found that most homosexuals in the 1940s did not believe they were born that way. The "gay gene" theory, so popular in the media, is the product of a more recent homosexual PR machine.
A large, randomised study of 14,000 Australian twins recently debunked the "born that way" idea. Dr J.M. Bailey and his co-workers found that where one identical twin is homosexual, the other twin (with identical genes) is heterosexual in most cases (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
, vol. 78, 2000). But this news has been carefully kept under wraps.
Kinsey's "open" marriage was kept under wraps too. Alfred had many affairs with males and females and encouraged his wife to do the same. He included some of his young male university students among his paramours. But even though he died in 1956, it was not until 1997, when admirer James H. Jones published Kinsey's biography after being granted access to private archives, that Kinsey's bisexuality, promiscuity and pursuit of sado-masochism were finally revealed.
Kinsey may have been motivated to do his sex research because he (perhaps unconsciously) wanted to justify his own bisexual condition as normal and relatively common. He certainly asked questions which no researcher had ever asked before, and he asked thousands of people.
However, his surveys were seriously flawed. The Kinsey
film attempts to justify his methodology, but several scientists of his day, including Kinsey's friend Abraham Maslow, pointed out to him that volunteer surveys are not valid research.
In 1940s America, people who went out of their way to attend Kinsey lectures and later answer about 350 highly personal questions on their sex life were more likely than not to have a sexual axe to grind.
They were not randomly selected and they were not your average citizen. Nor were the 1,400 prison inmates - many of them sex offenders - who comprised about a quarter of Kinsey's interviewees.
Kinsey did not respond to Maslow's advice and offer of help. He did not want to know.
But what about Kinsey and paedophilia? Some conservative groups in the US have picketed the Kinsey
film, claiming that he sexually abused children. Some US congressmen have called for an official investigation of Kinsey and the sex research institute he founded in the University of Indiana.
There is no proof that the adult Kinsey molested boys - but chapter 5 of his famous book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male
, cannot be explained away. Tables 30 - 34 in this chapter show that a person or persons masturbated 131 boys - some as young as five months - to observe their reactions. Some of the children became very distressed. However, the "trained observers" persisted, claiming that the children enjoyed their orgasms despite their tears. The "observers" apparently used stop watches to record time details of the "experiments".
Kinsey defenders such as Dr Marty Klein insist that no child sex-abuse ever occurred - that accusations by congressmen and others are completely false.
But if that is the case, how does he explain chapter 5 of Kinsey's book - not to mention Kinsey's correspondence with a convicted paedophile?
Was Kinsey a fraud who reported sexual "experiments" on children which never happened? Or was Kinsey an active supporter of paedophilia?
He must have been either one or the other. His credibility is seriously compromised - and the Kinsey
film is, like Kinsey himself, guilty of deception.
As one reviewer claimed, "It's like making a film about Hitler and leaving out the Holocaust!"
- Mrs Roslyn Phillips, B Sc, Dip Ed, is a research officer with Festival of Light Australia.