Sex Ed

Celebrating 66 Years of Women’s Sex Research This Week

August 19, 2019 by Justin Lehmiller

Sixty-six years ago this week (August 20, 1953), the media first reported on some of the major findings from Alfred Kinsey’s classic book Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. As many of you probably know, this was the first book of its kind to truly explore women’s sexual attitudes and behaviors from a scientific point of view.

Kinsey’s book sent shockwaves around the world and it was quickly labeled “obscene” by many, due to the prevailing views on sex in the 1950s. Today, though, we look back on Kinsey’s brave work as one of the most important publications on human sexuality ever. Kinsey’s research was groundbreaking in so many ways, but largely because it debunked many myths and misconceptions about women’s sexuality.

Kinsey found that the women he surveyed were far more sexual than most people at the time assumed: many of them were masturbating, having sex outside of marriage, and engaging in same-sex behaviors. This landmark study showed the world that men aren’t the only ones who have sexual needs and desires. Women most certainly have them, too, and they’re no less important to study than are men’s.

Thanks to Kinsey’s willingness to buck the norms of his time and publish his controversial study, female sexuality—and the study of sex more broadly—eventually came to be seen as a worthwhile area of scientific inquiry. To be fair, it still has plenty of detractors today, which is something that I can attest to as a sex researcher myself.

In order to honor this important milestone in the history of sex research (or “K-Day,” as some have nicknamed it), here’s a look at a few of the many interesting studies on women’s sexuality that have emerged in recent few years precisely because Kinsey and his team of research associates paved the way. Happy K-Day!

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Image Credit: Justin Lehmiller

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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