US zoologist and sexologist, noted for his surveys of human sexual behaviour in the USA.
Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, Kinsey graduated in 1916 with a BS degree from Bowdoin College and received his ScD in life sciences from Harvard University in 1920. He joined Indiana University as an assistant professor of zoology, becoming associate professor (1922) and full professor (1929). Between 1922 and 1936, Kinsey published numerous papers on gall wasps as well as several high-school biology texts. In 1938 he started his survey of human sexual behaviour, interviewing people and compiling data. Based on over five thousand case histories, Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male (1948) revealed distinct correlations between sexual habits and social class and disclosed a hitherto unsuspected diversity of sexual practices and mores. It became known as the ‘Kinsey Report’ and aroused much controversy. This was followed by Sexual Behaviour of the Human Female (1953). Both books became best-sellers and profits went to finance Kinsey's Institute of Sex Research, which he established at Indiana University in 1947. In recent years both the methodology and the ethics of his research have come under severe attack from some quarters.