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"The Kinsey Institute Today" issue (Volume XX, Number 2, September 1997) comes at a time--the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the institute and of the publication of the Sexual Behavior of the Human Male volume--that has already engendered not only appropriate reconsideration of Alfred Kinsey's research methods, but cast grave doubts on his personal agenda and behavior. I knew Kinsey well for sixteen years, first as an occasional participant in his Sunday musical soirées, then as an interviewee for his Male volume (along with a large group of my fraternity brothers here at IU), and finally as a member of his staff, translating/condensing foreign language materials and checking foreign translation proofs of his books.

Kinsey was a driven man, or rather a driven scientist. He was, literally, a natural scientist, and his personal behavior was that of a "natural." But the last thing that can be said about him is that he was "indecent." I can't think of a more decent man I have ever encountered. In his drivenness he was a puritan, not a libertine. He never took advantage of anyone for his personal gratification. Whatever practices he may have observed, tolerated, or registered were to obtain behavioral evidence of an activity that is fundamental to humanity but also--and for good reasons- considered by most people the most private of all matters, although our sales culture makes billions exploiting it to the rim publicly. That kind of hypocrisy, that kind of narcissistic gratification was utterly foreign to Kinsey. He may not have been a moralist, but he was moral.

Henry H. H. Remak
Professor Emeritus of Germanic Studies, Comparative Literature, and West European Studies
Interim Director, Institute for Advanced Study
Indiana University Bloomington


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