The journal contexts has an excellent article on the long history of exploring the sex lives of sex researchers as a veiled attempt to discredit their work.
…these stories suggest a troubling pattern: they tend to focus on researchers’ alleged sexual proclivities, spinning them as deviant motivations which compromise the research.
For example, James Miller’s biography of Michel Foucault links Foucault’s work to unconventional sexual activities like sadomasochism. Thomas Maier begins his biography with Virginia Johnson losing her virginity, portrays her as a sexually conniving secretary, and delights in exposing complicated aspects of the researchers’ sex life together. And historian James Jones depicts Kinsey as deeply twisted.
The problem is not simply that sexuality research remains stigmatized. It is that, in many circumstances, sex itself remains stubbornly discrediting. Sexuality’s cultural meanings are paradoxical—it is simultaneously repulsive and attractive, taboo yet vital to our happiness. It is difficult to write sexual stories without reproducing what Michael Warner calls “the ordinary power of sexual shame.” Moreover, stories that examine sex research through the prism of the researcher’s sex life rely on the simplistic notion that there is a specific connection between one’s sexual experiences and research.
A fascinating piece which covers the sort of leering interest sex research continually attracts despite it being one of the most important and under-investigated aspects of human health and behaviour.
Link to ‘The Sex Lives of Sex Researchers’ in contexts.
3 thoughts on “You won’t find the data in my pants”
Well, at least Alfred Kinsey was in fact deeply twisted. You get that also from reading “The Inner Circle” by T. C. Boyle. And the twistedness does not diminish his scientific achievements.
Feel free to delete this comment afterwards, just wanted to point out a typo. “under-investigate” should be “under-investigated.”
Thanks for the site and eBooks. Big fan!
Fixed. Thank you!