Sex: Kinsey Redux

In the 1940s and '50s, he revolutionized our attitudes toward sex. Experts speculate on what Alfred Kinsey would think of today's sexual climate.

By Viviana Mazza, Neil Parmar, published on November 1, 2004 - last reviewed on January 17, 2005

Kinsey, the film about the entomologist-turned-sex researcher Alfred C. Kinsey, pays tribute to the man who shocked America in the 1940s with his frank talk about human sexuality. He died in 1956, but his findings from Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953) are still cultural reference points.

Few people today believe that "frigidity" is the root of all female sexual issues or that masturbation is unhealthy, thanks largely to Kinsey. We live in a seemingly hang-up free society in which politicians hawk erection drugs and college co-eds vie for spots in Girls Gone Wild. PT asked the new guard of sex researchers what Kinsey would think.

On Teen Sex: He was certainly not for 14-year-olds having sex. But he offered his car to engaged couples to give them an opportunity [to have sex]. June M. Reinisch, director emerita, Kinsey Institute, Indiana University in Bloomington

On Internet Porn: Kinsey had a sense of the arts, so he would have asked, "What's the value in this? It all looks the same." Ted McIlvenna, president, The Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco

On Viagra: Kinsey was for sexual pleasure and for sexual joy. Of course he would have used it. June M. Reinisch

On Gay Marriage: Kinsey was a champion of gay rights. He would advise gays to try to do a better job at marriage than straights have. Ian Kerner, clinical sexologist and author