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Making the Times

In April, a New York Times article on sexual desire highlighted the work of several Kinsey Institute researchers and research fellows. In interviews with our scientists and other sex researchers, reporter Natalie Angier explored a variety of current research efforts to quantify human sexual desire. She found that attempting to establish even a simple definition of sexual desire that matches the range of human experience is an exercise in complexity – one that intrigues researchers even as it perplexes them.

And that fascination with the variety of human desire informs a multitude of current Kinsey Institute projects. Research Scientist Dr. Erick Janssen has conducted work on a dual-control model of sexuality which offers insight into what psychological mechanisms lie behind our sexual responses to desire. In different studies, the work of Kinsey researchers Dr. Stephanie Sanders, and Dr. Heather Rupp both reveal important differences in responses found between men and women, and point to a wider range of variability in women’s responses to sexual stimuli.

In Amsterdam, Dr. Ellen Laan, a Kinsey Institute Research Fellow who has collaborated with Erick Janssen and Julia Heiman, has evidence that desire itself may be an afterthought – that first the body is aroused by stimuli, and then the mind plays catch up. Indeed, their studies suggest the body even responds to stimuli we receive unconsciously, raising questions for more research about motivation and sexual response.

The full article is available at the New York Times Online here.

Other Kinsey Institute research ‘in the news’ is at www.kinseyinstitute.org/about/news.html


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