Thursday, July 09, 2009

Readings - then and now

From a 1948 New Yorker article reviewing the then published Kinsey report on sexual behavior.

The Kinsey report also reveals a widespread failure to live up to the popular ideals of virginity until marriage and monogamy thereafter. Eighty-five per cent of all men who marry have had some sexual relations with women before marriage. Nearly one-half of all married men have extramarital relations. Moreover, more than one-third of all men have engaged in homosexual practices at some time or other after the start of adolescence. There is a definite difference between the patterns of sexual activity of men who go to college and the patterns of those who leave school at an early age, which means, roughly, between the patterns of the well-to-do and the patterns of the poor. The latter are much more likely to engage in premarital sexual activities, though rarely with the girls they marry. They are also far more intolerant of most types of perversion. (Such practices, the report indicates, are so common that "perverted" begins to have a slightly ironical sound.) It is often said that the sex impulse can be sublimated —turned aside into artistic or other forms of creative endeavor. This volume shows no evidence that this is true; on the contrary, it justifies a strong inference that it is not. The sexual power of each individual appears to be an inborn characteristic; evidently it is diminished neither by extensive sexual activity at any one period of life nor by the expenditure of energy in other directions.

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