The Kinsey Institute Grant-In-Aid Program for Graduate Students and Faculty Mentors
The Kinsey Institute confers sexuality research grants to emerging scholars through the The Kinsey Institute Grant-in-Aid program. This program is supported by donations from Friends of The Kinsey Institute, and organized by local Indiana University Friends, Michael Reece, Debby Herbenick, and Kathleen Baldwin.
2007 and 2008 Indiana University Recipients
Laurie Legocki, Applied Health Science, School of HPER
Kathryn R. Macapagal, M.Ed., Psychological & Brain Sciences
Christopher Fisher, Applied Health Science, School of HPER
Sonya Satinsky, Applied Health Science, School of HPER
Rose Hartzell, Applied Health Science, School of HPER
Laura Hamilton, Sociology
Cierra Olivia Thomas-Williams, Gender Studies
Bradley Lane, Gender Studies
Lei Wang, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, School of Education
Amanda E. Tanner, PhD, MPH, Adolescent Medicine, IU School of Medicine
Kristal Cain, Biology, Program in Ecology, Evolution & Behavior
Laurie Legocki, Department of Applied Health Science, School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation
Kathryn R. Macapagal, M.Ed., Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences
Research demonstrates that decision making in sexual situations is significantly influenced by the presence of salient cues in the environment. Disinhibited individuals prone to engaging in high-risk sexual behavior may be hyperattentive to these cues, increasing attentional load and simultaneously impairing decision-making capacity. To test this in the laboratory, we are employing a go/no-go task to explore the influence of sexual cues on individuals' decision-making processes. We hypothesize that both sexual arousal and sexual cues will increase the amount of commission errors on the task, particularly in individuals who have a history of engaging in sexual risk behaviors and exhibit personality traits characteristic of disinhibited behavior. Preliminary analyses demonstrate that participants commit more errors in sexual conditions versus neutral conditions, suggesting sexual cues negatively interfere with decision-making. These findings can further our understanding of the interaction of personality and cognitive processes contributing to individuals' decisions to engage in high-risk sexual behaviors.
Christopher Fisher, Department of Applied Health Science, School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation
Sonya Satinsky, Department of Applied Health Science, School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation
Topic: Sexual status of women who attend in-home sex toy parties: An exploration of the effects of body weight, sexual subjectivity, and sexual function
The adult retail industry has been described as offering a new site for innovative sexual health promotion and information-sharing. Women especially have described how they find in-home sex toy parties to be comfortable environments not only for the purchasing of sexual health products, but also for asking questions about sexuality, sexual health, and sexual behavior. The purpose of this study is to determine the overall sexual characteristics of the sizeable group of women who attend in-home sex toy parties. These characteristics may be influenced by such factors as body image, actual BMI, sexual subjectivity, sexual function, and/or demographic characteristics, such as age or relationship status. This information can, in due course, help inform additional educational interventions both inside and outside the adult retail arena.
Rose Hartzell, Department of Applied Health Science, School of HPER
Laura Hamilton, Department of Sociology
Cierra Olivia Thomas-Williams, Department of Gender Studies
Bradley Lane, Department of Gender Studies
With the funds awarded from my Friends of the Kinsey grant last year, I was able to undergo training in an anti-pornography feminist conference ("Pornography and Popular Culture") at Wheelock College in Boston in the spring of 2007. My subsequent work analyses and critiques the contemporary anti-pornography feminist movement, its pedagogy, and its proselytizing ethic. In the popular imagination, as well as in the minds of many undergraduates, feminism is believed to be un-categorically opposed to pornography. Such is the case despite recent academic forays into a more complex understanding of sexuality, pornography, and representation in the works of scholars such as Laura Kipnis, Carole Vance, and Linda Williams. The association of feminism with a clear-cut opposition to pornography partly results from the visibility, and frequent oversimplification, of Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin as “representative” feminists, but it is also due in no small part to the organizational skills, networking, and pedagogic practices of anti-pornography feminists such as Gail Danes, Robert Jensen, and Jane Caputi. In my research, I have found that, in spite of their academic and theoretical credentials, writers and scholars who argue for nuanced and careful study of “the textual working of popular pornographies” (Williams 3) simply cannot compete, for sheer rhetorical bravado, with the arguments of anti-pornography feminists, who claim that pornography as the cause of everything from mass rape in Serbia to “racism, militarism, and environmental destruction.” This stance extends to how anti-pornography feminists teach the politics of pornography in the classroom, as well as to the very style of the argumentative structure they employ. Drawing from instructional materials submitted to participants at last year’s “Pornography and Pop Culture” conference at Wheelock college, I am subsequently examining how, in their use of de-contextualized slide show imagery, scripted “training tools,” and convergentist rhetoric, anti-porn feminist pedagogy works to produce a vision of the ubiquity of pornography that leaves its audience metaphorically battered and speechless, much like the victims it insists pornography produces.  My analysis is neither “pro” nor “anti” pornography per se so much as it is an examination of how anti-pornography feminist positions are enacted by those who hold them, as well as what they mean not only for our understandings of feminism and pornography but also feminist analysis in a larger sense. It is hoped that by employing rhetorical analysis as a method for analyzing anti-pornography feminism, I may provide feminist teachers and their students with tools for addressing and responding to radical critiques of pornographic material.
Lei Wang, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, School of Education
Amanda E. Tanner, PhD, MPH, Section of Adolescent Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine
Vaginal microbicides (substances that may substantially reduce transmission of STI and pregnancy when applied in the vagina) are proposed as a woman-initiated, potentially surreptitious method of STI prevention. High STI rates make young women an important focus for microbicide research. However, little is known about how such products are used in the context of young women’s lives and within their romantic and sexual relationships. Forty five individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with 40 young women (18-23 years old; 85% African American; 47.5% with children) following a 30-day period during which they were asked to use a microbicide surrogate (a commercially available vaginal moisturizer [VM]) with each act of coitus. Interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim and managed using Atlas ti 5.0. Content analysis identified salient themes related to VM use. Results of the study indicate that women’s use of the VM was highly influenced by individual, relationship, and ecological factors. The individual factors included young women’s evaluations of the VM and experiences with existing contraceptive methods. Partner specific issues included partners’ assessment of the VM and relationship dynamics. VM use for women in more established relationships with better communication tended to be higher, with covert VM use more common in casual relationships. Ecological factors included social support and social norms for sexual decision making. The data indicate that vaginal microbicides may not fulfill the need for woman controlled STI prevention since use of a microbicide surrogate was heavily influenced by significant others. These others included male partners, relationship characteristics, and social networks. Relationship dynamics affected women’s ability to introduce the VM into sexual situations, negotiate use, and determined comfort level with covert use potential. Most microbicide acceptability research has been conducted without consideration of the social interaction between partners, ignoring the complex gender and power structures often exhibited in young women’s relationships. Detailed understanding of these issues is essential for successful microbicide-related social marketing, education, acceptability, and use.
Kristal Cain, Department of Biology, Program in Ecology, Evolution & Behavior
Objectives/Hypothesis: My research examines the links among hormonal exposure in ontogeny, gonadal function, and extra-pair behavior with the working hypothesis that females whose phenotype suggests greater exposure to yolk hormones will exhibit higher gonadal function and greater propensity to produce extra-pair young.
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