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Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction

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Title: Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction  
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Subject: Kinsey Reports, Sexology, Alfred Kinsey, Bloomington, Indiana, Kinsey, Ian Hornak, George Platt Lynes, J. Fortescue, Gershon Legman, The Inner Circle (novel)
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Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction

The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction (often shortened to The Kinsey Institute) is a nonprofit research institute at Indiana University. It was established in Bloomington, Indiana in 1947.[1] The institute’s mission is "to advance sexual health and knowledge worldwide." Research, graduate training, information services, and the collection and preservation of library, art, and archival materials are main activities carried out by The Kinsey Institute.[2] The Institute and Kinsey himself have been the subject of much controversy, initially for engaging in open discussion of sexuality.



The origins of the Kinsey Institute lie in the scientific research of Indiana University professor and entomologist turned sexuality researcher, Alfred Kinsey. The 1947 creation of the nonprofit institute, originally named the Institute for Sex Research (ISR), was supported by both Indiana University president Herman B Wells and the Rockefeller Foundation, a major financial backer of Kinsey’s research. The ISR was established to protect and preserve the confidentiality of Kinsey’s data and research materials by creating a secure, permanent repository for them.[3]

Alfred Kinsey was director of the institute from 1947 until his death in 1956. Since then, the institute has had five directors: Paul Gebhard PhD (1956–1982), June Reinisch PhD (1982–1993), Stephanie Sanders PhD (interim director, 1993–1995), John Bancroft MD (1994–2004), and Julia Heiman PhD (2004–present).[4]

Kinsey's directorship (1947-1956)

Shortly after the ISR’s establishment, Kinsey’s interview based research was published in the 1948 bestselling[5] book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.[6] Its companion Sexual Behavior in the Human Female was published 5 years later.[7] These books were popularly known as the “Kinsey Reports”.[8] Also, in 1950, research materials being shipped to the ISR were seized by U.S. Customs thereby resulting in the federal court case U.S. vs. 31 photographs. This case continued on after Kinsey’s death, until it was finally settled in the institute’s favor in 1957. The ruling granted ISR permission to import erotic materials for research purposes.[9]

Gebhard's directorship (1956-1982)

Under Paul Gebhard's leadership, the interview based research project continued, resulting in the publication of Pregnancy, Birth and Abortion[10] and Sex Offenders: An Analysis of Types.[11] Other significant publications included JoAnn Brook’s Sexual Nomenclature: A Thesaurus[12] and Alan Bell and Martin Weinberg’s Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women.[13] Additionally, in response to criticism that Kinsey’s original data was biased and not well defined, Gebhard and Johnson wrote The Kinsey Data: Marginal Tabulations of the 1938-1963 Interviews.[14] To honor its founder, the Institute for Sex Research was renamed The Kinsey Institute for Sex Research in 1981.[15]

June Reinisch's directorship (1982-1993)

The institute’s name was changed again in 1982. This time, to The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction in order to better reflect its mission.[16] From 1984 to 1993, the newly named institute produced “The Kinsey Report,” an internationally syndicated newspaper column.[17] Reinisch’s directorship also saw the creation of a monographic series,[18] The Kinsey Institute Series, with the publication of Masculinity/Femininity[19] resulting from institute sponsored multidisciplinary seminars. Additionally, in 1990 the establishment of the institute’s art gallery led to exhibitions featuring its art collection.[20] The next year a trade book aimed at popular audiences, The Kinsey Institute New Report on Sex: What you must know to be Sexually Literate, was released.[21]

John Bancroft's directorship (1994-2004)

From 1995 to 2001, The Kinsey Institute operated a clinic for sexual health and menstrual problems under the directorship of John Bancroft.

Julia Heiman's directorship (2004-present)

In 2006, the institute began hosting an annual juried art show.[27] In 2007, The Kinsey Institute also hosted the inaugural conference of The University Consortium for Sexuality Research and Training.[28] Also, a question and answer column from the Kinsey Confidential runs in university newspapers including Indiana University’s Indiana Daily Student.[29] Ongoing research themes include such topics as condom usage,[30] sex in long-term relationships,[31] and hormones and reproduction.[32]

Library, archive, and art gallery

Library, archive, and art collection

The Kinsey Institute is considered to have one of the largest collections of library, archival, and art materials pertaining to sex, gender, and reproduction.[33] The current collection began as Alfred Kinsey’s private research collection. To ensure its protection, Kinsey sold it to the institute for one dollar.[34] Over the years, neither state nor grant money have been used to build collections. Instead the institute uses funds obtained from book royalties and fees in addition to donations. A sampling of the broad range of items housed at the institute includes scientific and popular books, pulp magazines, publications from both sexual and anti-sexual organizations, data from Kinsey’s original interview project, films, photos, erotic objects, and artwork by both professionals and amateurs. Items from all over the world are represented in the collection and some objects even date back to the pre-Columbian era.[35] However, materials do not circulate and must be studied within the reading room which is open to scholars, professionals, university faculty, and students over eighteen who are researching topics pertaining to sexuality, gender, and reproduction.[36] Due to the highly specialized nature of the collection, holdings are described using subject headings created by The Kinsey Institute and organized using a modified version of the Dewey Decimal System.[37]

Art gallery


Further reading

External links

  • The Kinsey Institute Website
  • Timeline of Events and Major Publications
  • The Kinsey Institute Sexuality Information Service for Students
  • The Kinsey Institute Gallery
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