Watching a PBS documentary the other night on sex researcher Alfred Kinsey validated the stomach knots I experienced when I watched “Kinsey”, the Hollywood love-fest with a scientific madman. When I was young and liberal in college, a class on homosexuality as well as Psychology 101 exposed me to Kinsey’s findings on sexuality, all of which led students to conclude most, if not all sex was “normal”. The liberal college mantra is “Kinsey liberated our innate sexuality.” They miss that Kinsey was and is much more dangerous than that. He plunged those who agreed with him back into Eden, where temptation to sin was just one of many normal choices.
“Kinsey”, part of the American Experience documentary series, did something the movie “Kinsey” did not do: discredit the methods Kinsey used in conducting his research. He over-sampled rich white kids, sexually active fraternity boys and sorority girls, prostitutes and a host of other subgroups, all of which led to skewed findings. However, the show did go on to use the “fake but accurate” standard Dan Rather has made so famous, glorifying the by-products of Kinsey’s research, however much in error, as a net benefit to culture.
My criticism here is nothing new; Kinsey has been subject to plenty of Christian outrage since his research was “outed.” Most of these Christians were represented as backwards, unthinking moralist prudes who had failed to jump onto the sex bandwagon and were worse off for it. In fact, Christians who recently wanted to boycott the film “Kinsey” found themselves having to do so rather quietly for fear of the “any publicity is good publicity” effect. But the movie could not hide all of the problems with Kinsey’s research, and the fact that he and several of his associates were sexually promiscuous with each other was perhaps the most blatant problem. One could speculate for days the way the personal sex lives of the researchers skewed the research. Maybe they were tempted to justify their own sexual perversions, or sought out more and more lewd interviewees for private pleasure.
One of the more outspoken critics of Kinsey and his research is Judith Reisman, whose book "Kinsey, Sex and Fraud” has no doubt been labeled backwards, unthinking and morally prude by sex addicts everywhere. According to a Washington Post article by Alan Cooperman, Reisman labels Kinsey “‘massive criminal’ who cooked his statistical data and based many of his purported findings on interviews with convicted sex offenders.”
She confirms my unease with the film when she says that it “effectively treats Kinsey as a tragic hero, a scientist -- a wacko scientist, perhaps, but a scientist. Kinsey was never a scientist. He was a change agent -- the most significant agent of change in American cultural life in the 20th century. The consequences of this sexual adventurism include AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, child sexual abuse, incest and pornography."
These are broad accusations, and no doubt in a world where the sound byte is king, she had to make her point quickly. But it is hard to argue against the fact that Kinsey was a major player in the sexual revolution, and the end result of his fraudulent findings has been a mass-normalization of all forms of sex and sexuality. And what are the consequences of this? To my mind, it is safe to say the language is already in place to normalize pedophilia as one more sexual choice among many.
Kinsey’s evil coup was achieved by taking all moral consideration out of sex. Unlike other natural functions of the world whose study requires no moral consideration (like the sleeping habits of wasps or dung beetles, for example), humans do not have this luxury with sex. Sex is how we produce children, families, communities, and societies. Therefore, moral sex is the backbone of a moral society, and immoral sex births an immoral society. Two of the 10 Commandments are directly related to sex and adultery as an amoral enterprise, and to ignore this basic understanding of sex suggests darker force at work here than scientific objectivity. Kinsey interviewed at least one admitted pedophile, yet did not feel the moral obligation to protect future children from this criminal. How can we have any respect at all for a man who refused to protect the innocent in the name of science? Did he see no higher ideal for life beyond his petty research, no need to protect children? Yet, we are to believe he did great good in liberating us sexually?
Over the course of time, his research must be shown to be faulty and amoral. Until deviant sex is shown to be deviant and abnormal, and until we can freely use such language, pedophiles will have plenty of tools at their disposal to defend themselves. We are already witnessing a high interest in child pornography with a rise of it online, magazines like “Barely Legal” pushing the boundary of age-appropriate desires, and drivel like “Vagina Monologues” proudly enacting a scene where an older woman seduces a 14-year-old girl with the help of vodka. Oh, it may take a while for pedophilia to be legal, if it ever is. But cultural “sensitivity” to the issue (as opposed to absolute abhorrence) seems to be the path we are on, and we have Kinsey’s normalization language to thank for it. And all in the name of liberation, of course.
The moral person knows this to be a false liberation. Kinsey himself died a miserable man, driven to the point of self-mutilation to find some sort of satisfaction, sexual or otherwise. Is this liberation? Sounds like enslavement. Who would call an alcohol, drug or gambling addiction liberating? Yet sex is normal (right Alfred?), so there’s reason to consider it an addiction. (This is the exact language Bob Crane uses in “Auto Focus” to justify his own sexual pursuits, a much more honest film about the dangers of sexual deviance.) Yet, the mantra continues to be that being in touch with all of our true sexual desires is liberating. I might believe this lie to be true if Kinsey himself could have proved it to be so. But after 25 years and millions of dollars of research, 18,000 interviews and personal experimentation with sexual deviance, he died a man possessed of no joy, not the hero and martyr either “Kinsey” would like us to believe.