‘Kinsey’s pioneering work is still one-of-a-kind because in all the time since, only a handful of sex researchers have even tried to match his breadth, depth, and scale. For all our obsession with sex, we’re skittish about studying it. There’s one major exception: a large survey, conducted in the 1990s, that far outdid Kinsey in terms of statistical reliability. It’s the most authoritative sexual self-portrait the country has. But you’ve probably never heard of its author, because unlike Kinsey, he has worked hard to keep it that way.
‘As a pioneer in the field, Kinsey had methodological strengths. To begin with, he was a counter, to the core. He gathered his data by conducting detailed, face-to-face interviews, occasionally lasting six hours or longer, and then tabulating how many people said they did what. He was an innovator in this regard, zeroing in on behaviors (whether a person had a homosexual experience or response, for instance) rather than identities (whether a person described himself as gay).… Read the rest