Happy K-Day! Celebrating the History of Women’s Sexuality Research

August 21, 2023 by Emily Mendelson

Sixty-nine 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. This book was the first of its kind to explore women’s sexual attitudes and behaviors from a scientific standpoint.

Kinsey’s book sent shockwaves around the world and was labeled by many as “obscene” due to the prevailing views on sex at the time. Today, though, we look back on Kinsey’s work as being among the most important publications on human sexuality ever. Kinsey’s research was groundbreaking in many ways, but especially because it debunked many myths and misconceptions surrounding women’s sexuality.

Kinsey found that the women he surveyed were more sexual than most people at the time assumed. For example, many of them were masturbating, having sex outside of marriage, and engaging in same-sex behaviors.

Thanks to Kinsey’s willingness to publish his work even in the face of major controversy, female sexuality—and the study of sex more broadly—eventually came to be seen as a worthwhile area of scientific inquiry. While its value and importance to society are increasingly recognized, sex research in general continues to be controversial to this day.  Visit the Kinsey Institute website to find out how you can show your support.

In addition, check out our recent podcast episode with Dr. Justin Garcia, the Executive Director of the Kinsey Institute, which explores the past, present, and future of the Institute.

To celebrate this important milestone in the history of women’s sex research (or “K-Day,” as some have nicknamed it), below are links to 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.

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Image Credits: Indiana University

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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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