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Modern researchers ignoring Kinsey report.

The landmark "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" report revealed major insights into bisexual behavior and orientation--without even using the word "bisexual"--when it was published 60 years ago by pioneering sex researcher Alfred Kinsey and his research team at Indiana University, Bloomington. The iconic "Kinsey Report" unveiled the seven-point Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale, commonly known as the Kinsey Scale, as a tool to gauge a person's sexual orientation or experiences with both sexes.

While the Kinsey Scale has become a fixture in sexuality textbooks--and even popular culture--the rating system and Kinsey's findings regarding male bisexuality, and cultural influences on male sexuality in general, largely have been overlooked by today's sex researchers, according to the Center for Sexual Health Promotion (CSHP) at IU, which collaborated with Paul H. Gebhard, an original member of Kinsey's research team and director of The Kinsey Institute from 1956-82, to reflect on recent research involving male bisexuality.

"Overall, Kinsey would be disappointed," Gebhard told researchers Michael Reece and Brian Dodge, director and associate director, respectively, of CSHP. Kinsey believed that culture plays a key role in a person's sexual behavior. Gebhard said Kinsey and his research team avoided looking for causes for sexual orientation out of concern that the findings could be used against people. Through sexual history interviews, they instead sought to capture snapshots of human sexual experience, which proved to be fluid, according to their research, with individual sexual preferences or orientation often moving along the heterosexual-homosexual scale during one's lifetime.

Since Kinsey's day, Gebhard noted that many researchers have moved to a medical model of sex research--looking for genetic causes of homosexuality, often conducting research solely in the context of sexually transmitted disease transmissions or in an attempt to define what is "normal," usually using heterosexuality as a reference point. The place for bisexual individuals in sexuality research is vague, with research generally categorizing people either "homosexual" or "heterosexual," giving scant recognition to the continuum described by the sexual orientation scale.


"It's not necessarily a bad thing that research is evolving," Dodge indicates. "Biology and genetics, of course, are part of the picture, but we seem to be swinging in the direction where some scientists are using these as universal explanatory constructs and trying to minimize, or even negate, the role of an individual's culture and environment, aspects that Kinsey thought were most important."

Dodge points out that the medical model of sexuality research has established heterosexuality as the norm even though Kinsey's findings suggested it was natural for people to move across the Kinsey Scale throughout their lives.

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Title Annotation:Alfred Kinsey's research on sexual orientation
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2009
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