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KINSEY TODAY
Director's Column


Spring 1998

By John Bancroft, M.D.

As we enter 1998, the Kinsey Institute is beginning to see results from what is essentially a new research program. All of our research projects are centered around common goals: to further the understanding of the ways in which biology and culture interact to shape our sexualities and to unite psychosocial and physiological approaches to sex research. In this issue, we give some preliminary findings from our unique oral contraceptive study.

Even as our new research program gains momentum, earlier Kinsey Institute research is being recognized as of enduring significance. A 1988 Kinsey Institute paper, "The study of sexual behavior in relation to the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus: caveats and recommendations" (American Psychologist 43(11):921-927), by June Reinisch, Stephanie Sanders, and Mary Ziemba Davis has been selected for a collection of seminal articles, The Evolution of Psychology: Fifty Years of the American Psychologist, edited by Joseph M. Nottelman.

The institute will be holding its next scientific conference, The Role of Theory in Sex Research, in May. The program looks exciting, and I anticipate that the proceedings will be another valuable addition to the institute's series of publications. This conference, and another scientific meeting scheduled for 1999, are funded as part of a two-year grant from the Ford Foundation, which, I am pleased to say, is keen to see the Kinsey Institute flourish. The Ford Foundation grant will also fund a study on the feasibility of extending our information services on the World Wide Web (more about that in the next newsletter) and help from a media relations firm in planning a proactive strategy to counter the ongoing campaign to shut down the Kinsey Institute and discredit its founder.

One attempt to discredit Alfred Kinsey, the recent Kinsey biography by James Jones that purported to be a scholarly work, has been poorly received by the academic community. The scholarly reviews have been predominantly critical.

Today, the Kinsey Institute is confronted by a well-orchestrated, well-funded, but highly dishonest campaign from certain members of the Religious Right, for whom, it would seem, the ends justify the means. Their "ends" include the end of sex education as we know it, the end of sex research, and the end of the Kinsey Institute. There must be many individuals out there who totally oppose the aims of this campaign. We need them to join our growing Friends group so that we can give a well-orchestrated, (well-funded), and honest response. Please read our Friends update to learn more about our Friends and how you can become one.

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