The real significance of the two Kinsey reports lies less in their data on sexual behavior than in the remarkable excitement they have caused in American society, Clyde M. Kluckhohn, professor of Anthropology, said yesterday.
"Only a people with out puritanical tradition, our high literacy rate, and our avid press could become so infatuated with such pedantic books," Kluckhohn declared in an address to the Massachusetts Social Hygiene Society on the implications of the Kinsey studies.
Kluckhohn compared the Kinsey reports, a forthcoming study of British sexual behavior, and Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, which presents a French attitude toward sex, as products of their respective national cultures. Kinsey's work, he said, is so clearly a manifestation of a basic tradition in American culture that it "parodies and caricatures" this tradition
absence of Love
Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, published last year by Kinsey and his associates, is "self-consciously scientific," Kluckhohn said. The book is a sign of the American feeling that "if you get your numbers high enough and put them all together, significant answers will come out the other end," he added.
In addition, Kluckhohn charged that the Kinsey studies are scientifically inadequate. The second book has "a great deal of thinly disguised propagandistic preaching that cannot masquerade under the name of science," he said.
The anthropologist criticized the absence in Kinsey's books of any reference to love. "We don't need psychiatrists to tell us," he continued, "that an understanding of sex requires knowledge of its affectional as well as its physical side."
"Both from the statistical and scientific point of view the Kinsey reports don't hold water," Willem Pinard, chairman of the Department of Psychology at Boston University, told a Social Relations Society audience yesterday.
Kinsey has received so much publicity only because of the "psychological somersault" his sexual research reports present, Pinard said. In contrast to the popular concept that women are slow in sexual response, Kinsey has implied that men actually require a larger preliminary amount of stimulus.
In addition, Kinsey's claim that pregnancy and venereal disease can be avoided in intercourse has upset common beliefs on the subject, Pinard said.
"Kinsey tries to make out that the world is sexed up, but in my opinion it is not.... What the world needs is love. Love is the solution to all the problems of man, including the H-bomb," Pinard continued.
Pinard also raised several statistical objections to Kinsey's research techniques, claiming that religious denominational factors were disregarded in the choice of sections of the country for interviews. Kinsey's method of asking for volunteers to fill out his questionnaires is questionable, Pinard said. That way, you can never tell how many nymphomaniacs and sterile school teachers will be answering the questions," he explained.
Kinsey assumes too much in using the word "human" in his book titles, Pinard added. Despite the implication that the study is valid for the entire world, Kinsey has interviewed only 6,000 males and 6,000 females in compiling his reports.