Alfred Kinsey

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Alfred Kinsey was the father of sexology. His work in the area continues to be profoundly influential. Some of his research concerned adult-child sexual contacts:

"The contacts often involved considerable affection, and some of the older females in the sample felt that their pre-adolescent experiences had contributed favourably to their later socio-sexual development. On the other hand, some 80 per cent of the children had been emotionally upset or frightened by their contacts with adults. A small portion had been seriously disturbed; but in most instances the reported fright was nearer the level that children will show when they see insects, spiders, or other objects against which they have been adversely conditioned. If a child were not culturally conditioned, it is doubtful if it would be disturbed by sexual approaches of the sort which had usually been involved in these histories. It is difficult to understand why a child, except for its cultural conditioning, should be disturbed at having its genitalia touched, or disturbed at seeing the genitalia of other persons, or disturbed at even more specific sexual contacts. [...] Some of the more experienced students of juvenile problems have come to believe that the emotional reaction of the parents, police officers, and other adults who discover that the child has had such a contact, may disturb the child more seriously than the sexual contacts themselves. The current hysteria over sex offenders may very well have serious effects on the ability of many of these children to work out sexual adjustments some years later in their marriages."
Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, p.121

Kinsey scale

Introducing the scale, Kinsey wrote:

Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories... The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects. While emphasizing the continuity of the gradations between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual histories, it has seemed desirable to develop some sort of classification which could be based on the relative amounts of heterosexual and homosexual experience or response in each history [...] An individual may be assigned a position on this scale, for each period in his life. [...] A seven-point scale comes nearer to showing the many gradations that actually exist.[1]

Kinsey scale of sexual responses, indicating degrees of sexual orientation

Today, many sexologists see the Kinsey scale as relevant to sexual orientation but not comprehensive enough to cover all sexual identity issues. They suggest that sexual identity involves at least three different spectra, sexual orientation being only one of them (two others being biological sex and gender identity).[2]

There have been similar studies where the scale is from 0 to 10. In such studies, the person would be asked a question such as "If 0 is completely gay and 10 is completely hetero, what is your orientation number?".[3]

Kinsey reports

  • Men: 11.6% of white males aged 20–35 were given a rating of 3 for this period of their lives.[4] The study also reported that 10% of American males surveyed were "more or less exclusively homosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55" (in the 5 to 6 range).[4]
  • Women: 7% of single females aged 20–35 and 4% of previously married females aged 20–35 were given a rating of 3 for this period of their lives.[5] 2% to 6% of females, aged 20–35, were given a rating of 5[6] and 1% to 3% of unmarried females aged 20–35 were rated as 6.[7]


  1. Kinsey, et al. (1948). pp. 639, 656)
  2. Sexual Orientation & Gender |publisher=Planned Parenthood |date= |accessdate=2012-09-06
  3. Sexuality Now: Embracing Diversity (2006) - Janbell L Caroll
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kinsey, et al. 1948. Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Table 147, p. 651
  5. Kinsey, et al. 1953. Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, Table 142, p. 499
  6. Kinsey, et al. 1953. Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, p. 488
  7. Kinsey, et al. 1953. Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, Table 142, p. 499, and p. 474

See also

External Links