1953 August 20

Kinsey Report on Sexual Behavior of Women to be Published


The New York Times reported on this day that the Kinsey Report on Sexual Behavior in the Human Female was scheduled to be published later in the year. Interestingly, the Times had made no mention of the first Kinsey report,  Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, which was published on January 5, 1948. There was no news story, despite the enormous public controversy over the report, and no book review. Apparently, the report’s treatment of sex was too sensitive for the editors of the Times.

Because of their candid discussions of sexuality, the two Kinsey reports had a major impact in changing public attitudes, which helped to end the censorship of sexually oriented novels and movies and sex education materials. In an amusing incident related to the report on female sexuality, the U.S. Army, on September 23, 1953, announced that it would not place the book in its libraries because the subject was “not of interest to GIs.”

Read it for yourself: Alfred Kinsey, The Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953)

Learn more: James H. Jones, Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public/Private Life (1987)

Learn about Kinsey’s battles with censorship: Leigh Ann Wheeler, How Sex Became a Civil Liberty (2013)

Learn more about the changing status of women in the 1950s: Stephanie Coontz, A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s (2011)

Learn more about the history of the Kinsey Institute:  http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/about/history.html

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