Kinsey's Kookiness Uncovered
THE KINSEY CORRUPTION:
AN EXPOSE ON THE MOST
OF OUR TIME
by Susan Brinkmann
Ascension Press, 2004
84 pages, $5.95
To order: (888) 488-6789 or CatholicOutreach.com
Dr. Alfred Kinsey, famed sex researcher, was fond of saying that “only variations are real.” What started out as an insight into the complexity of gall wasps became a tragic moral and methodological error as Kinsey, trained as a zoologist, used his observations of variations in wasp physiology to explain variations in human behavior. And, while he was at it, he exaggerated the prevalence of sexual perversion and promiscuity in modern society.
To summarize the central point in Catholic journalist Susan Brinkmann's brief book: Kinsey used bad science to gain social acceptance for immoral and unnatural acts.
Brinkmann's work is timely not only because of Kinsey, the recently released movie that portrays its subject as a trailblazer and cultural hero, but because Alfred Kinsey's “everything goes” attitude about human sexuality continues to influence popular attitudes about sex — not least through public-school sexual-education programs.
The notion that 10% of the population is homosexual and that adultery is routine, and therefore “normal,” are two of his more dubious conclusions that continue to be widely circulated. Brinkmann, a correspondent for The Catholic Standard & Times, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, makes clear that her goal is to offer an overview of the work done by Dr. Judith Reisman, president of the Institute for Media Education and the author of several books on Kinsey, including Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences.
Brinkmann succeeds. The Kinsey Corruption offers a fine overview of Reisman's efforts to reveal the true character of a troubled figure whose dubious science has influenced several generations. The book's release is timed, of course, to coincide with the release of the ballyhooed Kinsey, in which popular actor (and likely Oscar nominee) Liam Neeson portrays Kinsey as “a nice gentleman in a bow tie” — to use the words of Time magazine in its favorable review.
The truth is a bit more troubling.
Kinsey was raised in a strict Methodist home in which prohibitions against smoking and dating predominated over the mysteries of a loving God. He would go on to become an avowed atheist and cut all ties with his parents.
Kinsey is most often described today as bisexual. That description is both euphemistic and misleading. His routine sexual practices cannot be described here, and his death at 62 in 1956 was probably the result of a disease brought on by the physical harm he did to himself in search of masochistic sexual fulfillment. Was this compulsive man suited to conduct serious research on human sexuality?
That's what Reisman and, by extension, Brinkmann, are asking. The question seems reasonable, given that “serious science” is what Kinsey pretended to do. A disproportionate number of the “sexual histories” he compiled were drawn from convicted sex offenders, patrons of “gay” bars, and prostitutes. (His work was quickly seized by Playboy magazine, Planned Parenthood and others eager to change the moral climate of America.)
Along with exposing the corruption of Alfred Kinsey's research — and doing so concisely and convincingly — the book also sounds a note of hope for a society mired in post-Kinsey sexual anarchy.
“The sexual confusion so prevalent in our world and in our own hearts is simply the human desire for heaven gone berserk,” writes Christopher West in the introduction. “Untwist Kinsey's distortions and we discover the astounding glory of sex in the divine plan: God created us male and female and calls us to be united in a fruitful, ecstatic union in order to prepare us for eternal love, eternal union, eternal bliss.”
Too bad Kinsey's questionings made no allowance for that part of the equation.
Joe Cullen writes from Floral Park, New York.
- December 12-18, 2004