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Kinsey (2004)Kinsey (2004)

In 1938 Alfred Kinsey, a young Harvard-trained zoologist whose speciality was the gall wasp, took over a course on "marriage" at Indiana University and, based upon his relentless curiosity and unapologetically scientific treatment of the subject, turned the class into something akin to sexology. He subsequently published Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953), based upon 18,000 sexual histories he and his staff collected. For the first time ever, sex was scientifically-situated. This biographical dramatization reminded me of Ray, in the sense of an overwhelming human force who grappled with a perennial subject and in the process shaped American culture. The main message of the film, if it has one, seems to be that repression and taboo melt in the light of frankness and tolerance of difference, no matter how quirky: "We are the recorders and reporters of facts—not the judges of the behaviors we describe," insisted Kinsey. But the film is careful to show in some deeply painful moments like pedophilia, sex encouraged among staff members, Kinsey's bi-sexual experimentation, and broken marriages that human sexuality is far more, and more complex, than the mere scientific documentation of its parts. Fidelity, intimacy, integrity and love define sexuality as much as our habits. Kinsey died in 1956 at the age of 62, although the Kinsey Institute continues today.

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