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Director's Column

Fall 1997

By John Bancroft, M.D.

[Photo of John Bancroft]

Our fiftieth anniversary year has been busy and exciting. Mounting a major showing of selected works from our collections has been a wonderful way to celebrate, and the exhibition catalog is a memento that will be enjoyed for years to come.

It seems that author James Jones wanted to join our celebration with the publication of a new biography of Alfred Kinsey. Having read the book, I can confidently assure you that it fails to undermine, in any way, the importance and value of Kinsey's research. The "sensational revelations" about Kinsey's private sexual life are largely based on anonymous sources. I have yet to find someone who knew Kinsey personally who recognizes the man in Jones' negative portrait.

Those who have taken to attacking Kinsey in recent years will use Jones' book in a predictable fashion. The academic community will draw its own conclusions, particularly as Jones' book purports to be an act of scholarship. I await the scholarly reviews with interest. Here at the Institute, we see the book and the response it is eliciting as manifestations of an ongoing issue -- the attempt to obstruct sex research and education by attacking Kinsey and The Kinsey Institute. This is not a question of history: it is about today. We take heart from the fact that the majority of people in the United States and in other parts of the world recognize the need for good, disciplined scholarly inquiry into human sexuality. That is what we are here to do.

In this issue, read about our new and novel research program into male sexual response, with its relevance to both high-risk sexual behavior and sexual dysfunction. We are already getting fascinating results. Find out more about the work we are doing on our collections to safeguard against deterioration and to make them accessible to scholars with the help of modern information technology. We are poised to move forward into the next millennium as the foremost institute in the world dedicated to the serious interdisciplinary study of human asexuality. We'll keep you informed or our progress.

Photo courtesy of I.U. Photographic Services. Charles Lord, photographer

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