January 21, 2005


Filed under: Entries — arglor @ 12:36 pm

This was an interesting night at the movies. Mary went into Manhattan for some pre-arranged business appointments, and i was supposed to go into the city and meet her to watch this movie. This was right after i watched TLAWSZ(talked about earlier). So i mile around the apartment startling the cats as i usually do, then jump on the Path train to go see this movie. I’m waiting outside the theater for Mary, when i begin to notice EVERYONE is going to this movie. It apparently is new and We are not the only ones curious. Finally Mary shows up 6 minutes late (she crossed several avenues and several blocks to get here, the tardiness was just neccessary due to spacial displacement). So we decide to go to a ritzy restaurant and wait till the next showing, 9:00.

The movie begins like one would expect after seeing the trailer.

Overall Impressions
– Very entertaining documentary of this man’s life.
– Curious about the facts behind the movie, what i know of the studies conducted they were and still are considered to have been very ethical in nature. The Majority of his research came from interviewing people about their sexual habits.
– I’m very surprised at how good Liam Neeson is in this movie.
– On the fictional side.
— There is an interesting argument going throughout the film. One side is the puritanical side of sexuality, and the other side is the mechanistic side of sexuality. I love how the movie portrays this because there seems to be a third side born from their strife. Born isn’t the right verb, the side exists and most see it and agree with it. The third side is the concern that sex is the greatest explanation of Love. Favorite quote, “Clyde Martin: Sex is a risky game, because if you’re not careful, it will cut you wide open.” He was crying during the statement because his wife had fallen in love with a co-worker of his because his co-worker has been cheating on his own wife with her. Of course this is all in the open. In the Kinsey “family”, sexual desires are the upmost importance and you should obey as many as are safe. Like a Hegelian dialectic the third view that is demonstrated as the most accurate is the understanding of our physiological mechanics for sexuality and yet our emotional attatchment to individuals. In other words, Sex isn’t just a mechanism nor is it something to be ashamed of.
– The above is demonstrated through the life of the researchers, and the work surrounding the whole database collection.

13 Responses to “Kinsey”

  1. mayfly Says:

    i want to go back to east of eighth when you come up… i really loved that strawberry and shrimp honey dijon salad, and their riesling was excellent. plus, though it was, as you said, ritzy, the price wasn’t bad at all. (maybe we could go saturday night? we could do dinner and a movie again. i remember how cute you looked that night… was that right after the rock star haircut?) good review of kinsey. i thoroughly agree with your thematic explanation, except i would’ve used the word “animalistic” or “physical” instead of “mechanic,” because “mechanic” makes me think of tron and invisible vertically flying robots. but that’s probably just me. i have to play d&d tonight. the last two weeks it’s been more of a burden than a pleasure. don’t know why. well, no, i do. i just have other things i’d rather be doing, since i’ve been writing so obsessively and prolifically lately. still miss you, by the way. have received no e-mail regarding knitting tomorrow, am assuming it’s not gonna happen and will be scheduled at a later date. therefore, i would like to speak with you this evening if possible after d&d because i will be able to spend all day saturday writing. i will be done with d&d around 11, 11:30 eastern. will be wide awake, as i only woke up at 11. hopefully we can converse if you are free… love, m

  2. arglor Says:

    we can ‘converse’…

  3. snaars Says:

    I don’t know much about this guy … but I seem to remember his sexual experiments involved children? Is this right?

  4. mayfly Says:

    Um, no!!!! Not according to the movie!

  5. mealymel Says:

    so the synthesis (since you invoked Hegel) is that sex is the greatest explanation of / for love? (Not that I would disagree… just wondering) By the way… are you living in NY now or something. It sure sounds like it (good for you if you are!)

  6. mayfly Says:

    hello, mealymel. i’m not sure who you’re addressing. i suspect david, since you say in your reply that the person you were addressing invoked hegel and he certainly was the one who did that (i’m just a silly writer; the only thing i know about hegel is how to pronounce his name)… so… i don’t want to make a practice of answering for him, but since i’m currently bored and reading these boards and he is probably currently watching a movie or playing world of warcraft or studying metaphysics (or something else david-esque) and may not look at these boards all day, i’m gonna clarify the situation… :mrgreen: i currently live in new york, while studying at NYU. david visits frequently. david currently lives in lafayette, while studying at UL. i visit frequently. we see each other on average about once every 3-4 weeks. that may be what confused you. but plane tickets are cheap. this keeps us happy. welcome to the wonderful world of david-and-mary’s ldr. :mrgreen:

  7. arglor Says:

    I’m not moving up to New York right now. I am Moving to New York at the end of the semester when i graduate. About the Hegelian Synthesis, which i meant to allude to, it works like this in my mind: Thesis: Sex, as an act, is something to be ashamed of and only useful for utilitarian understanding. Love is connected to sex in only one form, that which understands the production of children in God’s name. (invoking of God is neccessary for this thesis to work, because the only reason deviant and unproductive sex is unnatural is because God deems it so. ) Religious belief pre-scientific explanation Anti-Thesis: Sex is a mechanical action that is inherent in the human species. It is not neccessary for Sex to produce a child, in fact the natural understanding of Sex is for pleasure. The child is of course the mechanical reasoning behind it, but there are scientific methods around it. Love itself doesn’t neccessary have to exist for sex to be good etc. Ergo Love and sex are fundamentally seperated. Synthesis: (my interpretation of what is true) Sex is a mechanical action inherent in the human species and therefore we *should* not be ashamed of it. It can lead to the production of children, but this aspect can be avoided. Love on the other hand is connected to sex in such that the only real way your going to enjoy sex in the best possible form is through feeling comfortable enough to let yourself go during the action. That kind of comfort only seems to come from drugs and love. Also i believe that there can be a kind of connection inherent in the act which if your not really in love with someone, will be non-existent. Of course i could be full of crap. I enjoy this belief and cannot site evidence to support it outside of my own experience. Remember i’ve said this before, if there is one subject i consider religious it is Love. I detest religion but i enjoy the idea of romantic love so much i would diefy it.

  8. arglor Says:

    [quote:0749dc3058=”snaars”]I don’t know much about this guy … but I seem to remember his sexual experiments involved children? Is this right?[/quote:0749dc3058] This information is flawed. It works off of an ambiguous use of experiment. When you say this you get the image of Kinsey having sexual demonstrations with children as he observes. Of course this is argued against by the method of his experimentation. His primary source of experimental data is through personal admition. He interviewed thousands of people across america to get their understanding of what they were attracted to and find out what the norm is for our society. What he learned is that homosexual attraction is a lot more prevelent then once believed. The only actual experimental data that arose from watching the sex act occured first when Kinsey himself engaged in homosexual sex with a collegue / student and when he started writing the book on female sexuality. During the process of his second book (female sexuality) he did ask for volunteers to do things like masturbate and perform sex while he and a panel of individuals watched. What is interesting is in the movie they show how the camera when pulled back they felt comfortable and just watched. As soon as they zoomed in on the female looking into the male’s eyes (an expression of love) Kinsey got uncomfortable. I think this was the Director’s dialogue showing through. Now what has been bandied about and holds truth in it is that he has interviewed child rapists/molestors. This is where the controversial information comes in. One man in particular had performed a great deal of sexual acts and a number had included children. In the movie there was no admition of wether the man continued this path, but in reality i read a journalist claim that kinsey did in fact write in the reports that the man had ceased all child molestation before the interview. So in effect he was just gathering data that was there and not promoting the actions itself. This brings up an interesting dillemma, if an action has occured that is irreprehensible, but creates data scientists can use for study, should we use the data? The most recent case i can think of was during World War II. There was a scientist who performed experiments on Jewish prisoners to find out the full threshold of humanitiy’s pain. So in scientific manner he performed physical experiments. It just so happens that we can use this data to help understand how humans percieve and react to pain, but if we use the data arn’t we justifing the actions of this doctor? This is the moral dillemma behind scientific experimentation. oh well enough rambling.

  9. snaars Says:

    I think it would be immoral [i:2db8e709e8]not[/i:2db8e709e8] to use that data, if it helps someone. I hope it goes without saying that we should use ethical means to gather data in our own experiments, and that we should not encourage or condone unethical experimentation. If the data has been gathered already, and it is of good quality, and adds to our understanding, then we should use it. It seems to me that to do otherwise would not only be a waste, but would demean the memory of those people who were forced to be subjects. If we threw the data away, then those people suffered and died for no reason at all. As for Kinsey – what you say about his experiments leaves me with a lot of questions. If I ever get a chance, I may watch the movie. Maybe it’s my conservative background … I am suspicious of those who have a strong interest in deviant sex. I say ‘deviant’, although I guess I would have trouble coming up with a good defense for the term if someone really wanted to argue with me. I can handle the idea of homosexuality, even though I don’t understand it. Some other fetishes and turn-ons are just too weird for me. I have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. I guess what I am getting at is, what was it about Kinsey that he wanted to delve so deeply into this stuff? Did he have sexual issues of his own? It almost seems like he must have had. What goals, if any, did he have in mind? How was he planning on putting into practice what he learned? Or was he just enjoying the research? You don’t have to answer all these questions, I am just wondering.

  10. arglor Says:

    as a child he was told masturbation was a sin… as an adult, when he met his wife he felt inadiquate when he could breach her heiman (she was still a virgin) and so he went to a doctor and also found out he was abnormally large for male penis’s so that could have been why it was so painful, and she had an abnormally tough heiman. The doctor broke the heiman and he finally had sex (for the first time) and realized it wasn’t the horrible thing religions tend to view it as… So thats his personal life.. in his professional life he got his phd in biology and studied gullwings (i think or gullwasps..) he was the leading figure but recognized the futility of his own study. Who cares honestly about the study of this insect right? so he continued because he enjoyed it, but he never really got any respect from his colleagues… then students began coming to him with odd questions about their sexuality. Their belief is that these questions should be answered by a phd in biology. After a long time of not being able to answer the questions he finally decided that science needed to study humanity as an animal and like studying the mating habits of animals we needed to have a consive comprehensive study of sex. The reason is because the lies are hurting more people then the truth. People are feeling more uptight about their sexuality then is neccessary. Homosexuals are feeling subjugated when in fact they are more rampant then society gives them credit for. The Norm is being described by religion and not science. So those were his motivations, or at least the motivations given by the movie. Not sure about reality. I think your looking at the word deviant and responding specifically to it and not recognizing the time period. During the 1940s sexual deviancy was a lot more strict then it is now. Kinsey is recorded as telling several practicing child mollesters that they needed to stop their actions because society deems them false and they are harmful to the children.

  11. mayfly Says:

    according to the movie, kinsey published a few books on sexuality that broke new ground by recording what people were actually doing behind closed doors. not just deviant people–large portions of the populace, statistically sampled (unless there were mistakes with his sampling techniques that were not explored in detail by the movie–they said he interviewed like 100,000 men for the one book). in any case, his results indicated–as you might expect based on the puritanical roots of america and the social climate of the mid-twentieth century–that many people felt compelled to PRETEND that they found certain sexual practices “disgusting” or “weird” because they didn’t want to be ostracized or because they had been taught to feel ashamed, when in actuality they themselves–and many other people–were doing them. we’re not just talking homosexuality (and if kinsey was truly responsible for breaking some of the stereotypes and misconceptions about homosexuality with which he was credited for breaking in the movie, i applaud him, because people have a hard enough time with that in THIS day and age, and i can only imagine how hard it must have been back then). but kinsey also broke other even more restrictive taboos. we’re talking things we believe to be commonplace heterosexual acts today. as an example, one young married couple in the movie said “you mean there are positions other than missionary?” you may think that it is not necessarily important to get information out there about sexuality, because there are dangers that come along with a society that is too open about sex, and i’m with you on that point in the modern age to some degree–for example, i would NEVER let my children watch reality television, because they show certain sexual behavior as if it is acceptable, without showing the emotional or physical consequences, and so i think it’s a skewed picture of reality and unhelpful and i wouldn’t want my children to grow up perceiving that behavior to be “normal” or “socially acceptable.” that being said, in kinsey’s time, people were really uneducated on this subject. and his books were not material for children, they were material for adults. i think fighting widely accepted misinformation on such an important topic as sex is a worthy cause. at the time that kinsey was publishing his first book (on the sexuality of the human male), it was a common belief that there were terrible medical consequences when a man performed oral sex on a woman. also, the freudian idea that a woman was immature if she couldn’t achieve orgasm during intercourse still held sway. (those are examples from the movie, but they are also true. in the first case, i actually heard the wives’ tale firsthand from an elderly person who believed it, and in the second case, a friend of mine researched popular psychology in the early-mid 1900s for her novel, so i know that freudian views of sexuality were still popular at that time, too.) according to the movie, the book was also his attempt to break the taboo of talking about sex in general. at that time, sex was talked about far less than it is now, especially in rural, religious areas of the country. for example, my grandmother–true story–got her period the night before her wedding. she was so convinced that this would make my grandfather not want to marry her anymore, that she made his sister go out and find him and the other bachelors to tell him and make sure the wedding should still be on. so, this is the level of naivete women had in some areas at that time. ridiculous. if the movie was accurate, kinsey was driven to correct misconceptions about sexuality and to broaden the definitions of “normal” to be more of a reflection of bedroom practices, so that consenting adults would feel freer to enjoy healthy, loving sex, so that men and women like he and his wife would have some sort of source to reference when they experienced sexual difficulty, and so that people might learn to feel less shame at what can be–when love is involved, and when handled responsibly–one of the most wonderful parts of being human. on a more personal note… you may have noticed that i have a lot of energy about this topic. however, that doesn’t mean that–as you say must have been the case with kinsey–i am a “deviant.” 😯 there are other reasons a person might have a strong interest in this subject. for example, i was brought up catholic, and it took me YEARS to overcome the guilt and shame instilled in me by my parents and religion teachers regarding the idea of sex. if we as a society could stop teaching our children to connect sexuality with guilt and shame, and start teaching our children that it is a natural and wonderful part of being an adult (with adult consequences), then maybe future generations will not have so much to overcome. that’s my two cents… 🙂

  12. snaars Says:

    Thank you both for correcting my misinformation. I also got a chance to talk with David yesterday about it, which reinforces everything that was said here. It sounds as though the man did us a great service. Just a quick response to this:[quote:47d1332ef0]that doesn’t mean that–as you say must have been the case with kinsey–i am a “deviant.”[/quote:47d1332ef0] Don’t worry, that never occured to me. 🙂 Everything you said about Kinsey seems positive and healthy. If my understanding of what you are saying is correct then I’m glad he was portrayed that way in the movie and I hope the portrayal is accurate. I didn’t say he [i:47d1332ef0]must[/i:47d1332ef0] have been a deviant – I said I was suspicious. People have been known to use science to legitimize immoral behavior. The case mentioned earlier about the pain experiments inflicted on helpless Jews by the Nazis is one extreme example. I guess I just have nightmares about perverts in lab coats conducting sexual ‘experiments’. I heard a rumor last year that this was the sort of thing Kinsey engaged in. Given what you have pointed out about the social climate and the taboos Kinsey was breaking, it’s not surprising that rumors persist to this day.

  13. mayfly Says:

    kinsey is nominated sex- education year, movie of the i’msobored. 🙁