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Krich, A. (1966). Before Kinsey: Continuity in American Sex Research. Psychoanal. Rev., 53B(2):69-90.

(1966). Psychoanalytic Review, 53B(2):69-90

Before Kinsey: Continuity in American Sex Research

Aron Krich, Ph.D.


Not too long ago venerable sexologists were able to claim that we knew less about the sex life of man than we did about that of the elephant. This rarely witnessed event—the male elephant is reported to achieve intromission, ejaculation, and withdrawal within a period of thirty seconds—had been more accessible to scientific study than the human act, which, with characteristic self-contempt, men have called “making the beast with two backs.” The sexual revolution, whose two phases are documented in this and the prior volume has made it possible to lift the veil of shame surrounding human physical intimacy. We have moved considerably from the days when Freud compared the limitations imposed on any examination of sexuality with those placed on physicians in the Arab world who were permitted only to examine a woman patient's arm extended through a hole in the wall.

Today we know more not only about the meanings and motivations that go into sex, but also about its physiology. Dr. William H. Masters and his colleagues at the Washington University School of Medicine, for example, have succeeded in recording on film and electronic devices a whole range of phenomena arising out of human reproductive biology.

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