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With the Help of the Kinsey Institute, Let's Talk About Sex

Sex.

This singular act has been the source of so much disharmony that it's almost not worth the trouble. We argue about it's education, about it's depiction, about the age at which it should be legal, and about simply doing it.

Society, in general, also treats sex in a furtive fashion, which is kind of funny if you think about it. Sex is a function that is necessary to our existence. How can something so engrained in our humanity be kept so closeted?

It was this question that in 1938 prompted Dr. Alfred Kinsey, a Harvard-educated professor of zoology, to begin an ambitious undertaking: the study of human sexuality. Before Kinsey set about this mission, knowledge about sex was scant, and the studies available in the public domain were either lacking depth or laden with bias. Seventy years, 18,000 face-to-face interviews, countless studies, and a major motion picture later, the Kinsey Institute has done more to further the understanding of sex than any other institution on the planet.

kinsey-editingtext.gif Alfred C. Kinsey taking notes.

Some of the Kinsey Institute's findings have been thought-provoking. Their studies have shown that a female's preference for qualities in sexual partners can change depending upon their menstrual cycles. The institute has also demonstrated that a higher amount of cuddling promotes male happiness in a relationship.

Some of the Kinsey Institute's findings have been slightly humorous. In a 2010 study, Kinsey researchers asked participants what it means to "have sex." They found that 77% of the older men who were surveyed did not consider penile-vaginal intercourse to be sex. Then what is, I wonder?

But most of the research conducted by Kinsey Institute has been incredibly vital to society. The organization has meticulously examined such topics as normal and abnormal sexual behavior, prostitution, homosexuality, overpopulation, sexual development, and sexual abuse.

Despite the obvious benefit of the Kinsey Institute's work, their research, and sexual education in general, has often been mired in controversy. Opponents of comprehensive sexual education contend that an abstinence-only approach is the more proper course of action. 

But by simply urging abstinence and shoving sex under the rug, where will our nation's youth learn about sex? We would hope that they would learn from responsible parents, but this is all too often not the case. Instead, their curiosity might drive them to learn from mediums that readily purvey sex in a vulgar manner: pornography and television.

We have all recently bore witness to an unspeakable tragedy at Penn State. The alleged perpetrator of those heinous acts of sexual abuse grew up in a time where sex education was poorly handled and often nonexistent at schools or in the home. I can't help but wonder if this lack of guidance may have ultimately contributed to what happened.

The discussion of sex should be out in the open. If we can candidly and scientifically discuss sex in decent society, then perhaps we can put an end to the repugnant manner in which sex is perpetrated and portrayed by indecent society. The research and direction provided by the Kinsey Institute serves as a valuable resource to further this endeavor.

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Ross Pomeroy
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