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Allegations About Childhood Data in the 1948 book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male

Allegations against Alfred Kinsey and his research on children's sexual responses, as reported in Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, were first made in 1981 by Dr. Judith Reisman. She subsequently enlarged on these ideas in a book written jointly with Edward Eichel and published in 1990 (Kinsey, Sex, and Fraud).

When The Kinsey Institute responded, Reisman filed suit in 1991 against The Kinsey Institute, then director June Reinisch, and Indiana University, alleging defamation of character and slander. In September 1993, Reisman's lawyer withdrew from the case, and in June 1994 the court dismissed Reisman's case with prejudice (which means that Reisman is prohibited from refiling the suit).

Below is a reiteration of some of the accusations against Kinsey and his research from Dr. Reisman and others, and the Institute's response:

The act of encouraging pedophiles to rape innocent babies and toddlers in the names of "science" offends. The act of protecting them from prosecution offends. The act of falsifying research findings which, in turn, open the floodgates for the sexual abuse of children, offends. (from Dr. Laura Schlesinger's website)

This would be a cause of great concern if it were true. It is not true. Kinsey did not carry out any experiments on children, nor did he hire, collaborate, or persuade people to carry out experiments on children. He did not falsify research findings and he in no way condoned any sexual abuse.

Kinsey did talk to thousands of people about their sex lives, in confidence. Some of the behaviors that these people disclosed, including abuse of children, were illegal. In fact, many sexual behaviors, even those between married adults, were illegal in the 1940's and 1950's. Without confidentiality, it would have been impossible to investigate the very private lives of Americans then, and even now.

Where did Kinsey's information about children's sexual responses come from?

Kinsey clearly stated in his male volume the sources of information about children's sexual responses. The bulk of this information was obtained from adults recalling their own childhoods. Some was from parents who had observed their children, some from teachers who had observed children interacting or behaving sexually, and Kinsey stated that there were nine men who he had interviewed who had sexual experiences with children who had told him about how the children had responded and reacted. We believe that one of those men was the source of the data listed in the book.

The 'Esther White' allegations: In a British documentary, from 1998, a woman says she was sexually abused by her father and grandfather, and that her father justified it as doing research for Alfred Kinsey by filling out questionnaires, and claimed he was paid by Kinsey for abusing his daughter.

We have no reason to doubt that this woman was sexually abused. People may have used Kinsey's name to justify any sorts of behavior, but that is beyond the control of the researchers.

It is possible that this woman's father or grandfather wrote to Kinsey, as many people did, but he never encouraged any such behavior. Following that documentary, we checked through Kinsey's correspondence and could not find any that would match this story.

Kinsey did not ask people to fill out questionnaires or forms. There was no experimentation, and no one was 'recruited' to 'participate,' and certainly not to molest anyone. There is absolutely no evidence to support any of these claims. The research consisted of interviewing people about their sexual lives and relationships.

Kinsey used a Nazi SS officer from Germany as one of his key contributors.

In Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Kinsey invited people to write to him about their sex lives. In 1955, a German wrote to him and told him about his sexual experiences with children. Kinsey, in his reply, was non-judgmental, as usual. He did however point out how strongly society condemned such behavior. Kinsey never made use of the information from this man. He also had no idea that this man had been a Nazi ten years earlier.... To suggest that Kinsey had something to do with Nazi torture of children is a bizarre fabrication.

Kinsey Institute has hidden its files and has threatened to destroy them for fear of being sued by victims of the Kinsey research.

No files have been destroyed.

The people in Kinsey's studies were not representative of normal, average Americans, they were disproportionately prostitutes and criminals. Kinsey used improper sampling procedures and/or his sample was illegitimate.

Actually, the majority of the male sample was educated (beyond high school education), white males. For specific information on the sample used in the surveys and subsequent books, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953), see www.kinseyinstitute.org/about/images/Intro%20to%20Female%20vol.pdf.

Kinsey's colleague, Gebhard, acknowledged they were coordinating with nursery school directors and operators and parents and grandparents of these kids to obtain the so-called research. He admitted they knowingly were collaborating with these people as they molested the children, and were making use of the fruit of the poisonous tree in Kinsey's research.

That is absolutely false. Kinsey did interview teachers and parents about the children, but in no way encouraged nor tolerated any such behavior.

Dr. John Bancroft, former Director of The Kinsey Institute refuted these and other allegations in his 2004 article, "Alfred C. Kinsey and the Politics of Sex Research." Printed in Annual Review of Sex Research; 2004 (15): 1-39.


Allegations and Controversy, 1995-1998

More Controversy About Childhood Data
Soon after John Bancroft, M.D., assumed the directorship of The Kinsey Institute in 1995, he was called upon to respond to an allegation by the Family Research Council (FRC) about data on pre-adolescent orgasm that the late Dr. Alfred Kinsey had included 50 years ago in Chapter 5, "Early Sexual Growth and Activity," of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (W.B. Saunders, 1948).

In the fall of 1995, Rep. Steve Stockman, Galveston, Texas, took up the FRC allegation, circulating a letter on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, in which he asked for support for a bill he had introduced to investigate Dr. Kinsey's research. Stockman alleged that this data was derived from federally funded sexual molestation of children (the so-called "Children of Table 34"). Although Stockman's staff were invited to put any questions to The Kinsey Institute and Indiana University, they declined. Stockman held a press conference December 7, 1995, calling for a congressional hearing. No hearing was held and the bill died. Stockman was defeated in the 1996 election.

In 1997, Concerned Women for America referred to this allegation in a press release with a renewed call for a Congressional investigation. In January 1998, Indiana State Representative Woody Burton submitted a House Concurrent Resolution to the Indiana General Assembly regarding Kinsey. In August 1998, a British television station produced a program based heavily on these allegations.

Other public statements on Alfred Kinsey and controversy issued by The Kinsey Institute and Indiana University


Back to Responses to Controversy
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