Home » Spring 2010 » KI Archives Welcomes Contemporary Women Leaders in Sex Research

KI Archives Welcomes Contemporary Women Leaders in Sex Research

The Kinsey Institute welcomes recent additions to our archives from four women who have made an impact in sexology as we know it today, and who are still active contributors in the field. These women have had a substantial impact on how women’s and men’s sexuality is researched and understood, helping to guide the research questions, and challenging ingrained attitudes and ideas. Their contributions to the KI library are helping create a living and breathing archive, to reflect sexuality studies and advancements in our knowledge today, and for future scholars tomorrow.

Dr. Leonore Tiefer

Leonore Tiefer's multi-faceted career as scientist and activist, researcher and educator, therapist and author has led her from animal laboratories to health clinics, from the classroom to the newsroom and finally to the streets to advocate against the medicalization of female sexuality. Concerned about the role of pharma in sexology in the 1990s, Dr. Tiefer convened the New View Campaign to raise awareness of potential professional conflicts of interest in pharmaceutical initiatives, and to challenge the notion of sexual variability as a disease or a disorder.

Through political and scholarly work, Tiefer and her colleagues assert that female sexual problems "should not be in the hands of reductionist research and marketing programs of the pharmaceutical industry, but rather should be treated by research and services that are driven by women's own needs and sexual realities."[1] She is currently Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at both New York University School of Medicine and Albert Einstein College of Medicine and has a private psychotherapy and sex therapy practice in Manhattan.

Dr. Pepper Schwartz

Dr. Pepper Schwartz, sociologist, sexologist, columnist, and professional matchmaker is best known for her research on sexuality and couples. She has written extensively on her studies of both homo- and hetero-sexual intimate relationships. In addition, she has served as an expert witness on many important trials, including "Don't Ask, Don't Tell” and in the Hawaii gay marriage trial. She has developed the Perfectmatch.com Duet Personality Profiler used by internet dating services to successfully match adults seeking long-term relationships. She has also been appointed as the AARP's sex, love and relationship expert and as their Ambassador for these issues as they apply to men and women over 45. and the Centers for Sexuality (and the National Sexuality Resource Center) and winner of the American Sociological Association's award for Public Understanding of Sociology.

Dr. Schwartz is the author of over 50 academic articles and sixteen books, including American Couples, The Great Sex Weekend and Prime: Adventures and Advice on Sex, Love, and the Sensual Years, and has contributed to many publications including The New York Times, Sexual Health and Psychology Today. She is currently Shrag professor of Sociology at The University of Washington in Seattle.

Dr. Elaine Hatfield

Elaine Hatfield is considered the scholar who pioneered scientific study of passionate love and sexual desire. Earning her Ph.D. in psychology and receiving many prestigious grants throughout her career, Hatfield experienced first-hand the consequences of government incursion in scientific research. In 1975, after receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation to study passionate love, Dr. Hatfield's research was hurled into the spotlight by Senator William Proxmire (D-Wisc.), who accused her research of being a gross misuse of government funding. Proxmire launched an aggressive (and successful) campaign to revoke Hatfield’s funding, bestowing upon her the Golden Fleece Award given for “the most outrageous examples of federal waste.”

Despite this notoriety, Hatfield's research paved the way for the scholarly study of intimacy and pleasure. Her books, A New Look at Love (1979) and Mirror, Mirror: The Importance of Looks in Everyday Life (1986) were awarded the American-Psychological Foundation's National Media Award for the best books in psychology. She is past president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, and is currently a professor of Psychology at the University of Hawaii.

Dr. Beverly Whipple

Beverly Whipple, whose many credentials include PhD, RN, FAAN, professor Emeritus at Rutgers University, certified sexuality educator, certified sexuality counselor, certified sex researcher, and certified sexologist, made a name for herself by publishing research, naming and popularizing the woman's G-spot. Her co-authored The G Spot and Other Discoveries About Human Sexuality (1982 and 2005) has been translated into 19 languages.

She has since established herself as a leading expert in women’s health issues and sexual health. According to Whipple, the brain and its relation to the nervous system is more important to experiencing sexual pleasure than physical anatomy.

Some of her recent work, presented in The Science of Orgasm (2006, with co-authors Barry Komisaruk and Carlos Beyer-Flores) explores the complex biological processes involved in sexual response, suggesting that even women with complete spinal cord injuries can experience orgasm. She has co-authored 7 books. The latest is The Orgasm Answer Guide, published in 2010 by Johns Hopkins University Press, and over 170 research articles and book chapters.

Dr. Whipple was named by the New Scientist as one of the 50 most influential scientists in the world (one of only 4 women so honored). She continues to be very actively retired, with ongoing efforts to research, publish, and travel widely to share her expertise on women’s sexual health. Dr. Whipple is the only person who has been president of both AASECT and SSSS, and she has served on the Executive Committee of the World Association for Sexual Health for 12 years.

Read more about these collections and other notable archives in the Kinsey Library Archival Collections.

We honor our donors, and invite scholars to use these collections of our colleagues and leaders in the field.


[1] http://www.newviewcampaign.org/manifesto1.asp


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