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Faculty Mentors

Dr. Scott Butler

Abstract

Alfred Kinsey’s two most famous books Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female characterized the sexual behaviors of thousands of Americans. The content of these texts shocked the nation and initiated public discourse on one of the last great taboos in our society. Sex was a controversial topic of discussion in the mid-twentieth century and many researchers had flirted with sex research as it related to hygiene, or as we would refer to it today, the prevention of sexually transmitted infections. But for all the research that was available, no one really knew what people did sexually. Kinsey took sexual behavior to task. He interviewed thousands of Americans to discover and report not what people were supposed to do, but what they were actually doing. The publication of his findings and his testimony to the outdated nature of 1950s sex laws started a discourse on sex that is still alive and well today. Looking back, Kinsey’s work has not only influenced our culture, laws, and public opinion, but it set the stage for generations of sex researchers to come.

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