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A publication of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction

Spring/Summer 2005

Table of Contents

Celebrating Kinsey...

Kinsey Special Edition DVD

Director's Column

Johanna Salazar
Joins the Institute

Turning Sexual Science
Into News

Kinsey Confidential

Sol Gordon Collection

State Funding Crisis Averted

In the Gallery

The Art of Sex

PDF Version


The editor-in-cheif of the Indiana Daily Student, Majorie Jean Smith, reviewing the newly released Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. This photo originally appeared in the 1948 Arbutus, the IU yearbook. Photo coutesy of Marjorie Jean Smith Blewett.

Celebrating Kinsey... and The Kinsey Institute

Above: Gail Mutrux, Laura Linney, Bill Condon, Dr. Julia Heiman

On Saturday, November 13, 2004, The Kinsey Institute hosted a benefit reception and screening of Fox Searchlight Pictures' film Kinsey at the Indiana University Auditorium. Among the 1700 guests in attendance were actress Laura Linney, producer Gail Mutrux, and director Bill Condon.

Gros Kenneth Gros Louis recognized long-time IU president, Herman B Wells, a strong Kinsey supporter and champion of academic freedom. "Wells believed the university's essential mission was to study topics, issues, and challenges that simply could not be discussed openly elsewhere."


Louis reflected on the nearly 60 year history of sex research at IU. "While Kinsey opened up the study of human sexuality, the Institute now provides leadership, research, and resources for the interdisciplinary study of that subject through history, the arts, literature, culture, medicine and societal trends."

Above: Laura Linney, Bill Condon, and Assistant Director of I.U. Media Relations, Susan Williams

Co-star Laura Linney, who received multiple accolades for her role as Clara Kinsey, flew to the event from work on location for a new movie.

Both she and director Bill Condon talked about what the project meant to them personally. They noted the significance of being able to screen the film before an audience that included The Kinsey Institute staff and board of trustees, and members of Alfred Kinsey's family.

"The most thrilling and anxiety-producing screening of the film was the premiere at Indiana University,"Bill Condon confessed later in a documentary about the making of the film, available on an expanded features DVD of Kinsey."This was probably the smartest audience we ever had."

Kinsey has received numerous awards, including most recently the International Award from the Director's Guild of Great Britain. At the premiere, Bill Condon presented The Kinsey Institute with a check from the Arthur P. Sloan Foundation, granted to him for the best depiction of a scientist in a film.

"It was not a given that the people associated with this project would become our supporters," says Nancy Lethem, director of development. "Bill Condon's gift to The Kinsey Institute is a remarkable sign of his commitment to the ongoing work of the Institute. We're lucky to have him as a friend."

Kinsey producer Gail Mutrux


The advanced screening of Kinsey at IU was a collaborative effort, involving the IU Office of the Vice President for Research and the IU Alumni Foundation. Local providers, including Bloomingfoods and One World Enterprises, donated food service for the reception. "The enthusiasm of everyone involved reflects the pride in our community about The Kinsey Institute," says Lethem.

Left: Laura Linney and Bill Condon

Photos by Chris Meyer/IU Homepages

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Kinsey Special Edition DVD Includes Features on The Kinsey Institute

A Special Edition version of the Kinsey DVD includes an interactive questionnaire developed by Kinsey Institute research scientist Erick Janssen, and a tour of the Sex Ed exhibit in the Institute gallery with curator Catherine Johnson-Roehr.

A documentary about the making of the film includes interviews with current staff, clips of the cast, crew, and director regarding the production process, and scenes from the Indiana University premier event.

"There is no mention at the end of the Kinsey film about the continued legacy of Alfred Kinsey," notes Jennifer Bass, head of information services. "With the special features on the DVD, viewers are introduced to our vibrant and productive Institute today."


Director's Column - By Dr. Julia R. Heiman

We, The Kinsey Institute mission and future, are you. How strong and vital we are is a reflection of you as citizens, academics, researchers, scholars, leaders and, though we are not a political action entity, political activists.
My questions over the past months have been: how do we navigate this tremendous public exposure--Fox Searchlight film, 2 documentaries, 9,092,647 hits to our website in November 2004 (compared to 3,324,360 in November 2003)? And, after that stardust has settled and we are back to the daily business, how can we best contribute to the breadth of scholarship needed in the field?

So the first issue was solved or at least addressed by responding to problems, taking the opportunities presented and using several paddles to steer our way down a river, with a few rapids along the way. We have a wonderfully skilled and devoted staff, and a proactive university administration that was there when we needed their knowledge and support . We went to major cities (New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and San Francisco) using the film as a springboard to talk about sex research today, in spite of the pressure to discuss Kinsey's personality and personal life.

People ask me if the film and media exposure has helped or hurt the institute, or sex research in general. Certainly, old critics resurfaced with wild and repetitive accusations intending to discredit sex research and The Kinsey Institute. On balance, I think it's been more positive than negative so far, bringing in new friends and sparking useful conversations. But it may be too early to judge the full impact.

In January we heard that the Indiana State legislature was proposing a bill to remove all state funding from this year's budget. The direct amount was significant enough but the more serious threat was to our affiliation with Indiana University -- the building, space materials and staff support, critical to our functioning as a research institute. As you can see from the specifics elsewhere in this newsletter, the visit of legislators to the Kinsey Institute and my discussions with them at a separate meeting at the statehouse ensued. No bill made it to the floor and we are safe for the moment. But we will not be surprised if it happens again. Of note for ourselves and the supporters of sex research, the institute, with university help, has a solid history of surviving these political attacks.

I think this was important for me, rather fresh from an urban coastal city and still adjusting to a different culture here in the Midwest. The major lessons for me that I hope will resonate with you in your own setting are that: 1. finding common ground is a good and preferred strategy (even if some will not want to try); 2. conservatives and liberals, even self-identified, do not all think the same, and thus should not be treated the same, 3. issues of public health and academic freedom can lift sex research beyond cultural and political divides.

As we move ahead, political issues will be part of the picture as they always have been, but in the more pronounced way we have come to expect in the last few years. There are still serious issues of threats to peer review, sexual health, the values of scientific thinking, the importance of research in general, ethics, and the respect of individual values and differences. We will be working on the research agenda and growing our faculty and collections with these values in mind. We hope you will as well.

Meanwhile it is just barely spring in the heartland and it is full of promise, inspiration and plenty of work. Come visit us with yourselves and your ideas!

Julia R. Heiman

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Johana Salazar Joins the Institute

The Kinsey Institute is pleased to welcome Johanna Salazar to the staff. Before joining as administrator in January 2005, Salazar worked at the IU School of Medicine in the Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine for 18 years. She has a BFA in painting from the Herron School of Art, and is shown here in front of one of her own drawings.

Salazar keeps a broad perspective while helping with the administrative and leadership transitions at the Institute.

"One of the things that makes The Kinsey Institute unique is that you are aware of history all the time - everything we do is part of our own institutional history," observes Salazar. "It's an honor to join the staff of such a respected organization, at another important moment in its history."

Turning Sexual Science Into News: Development of a Training Approach

If there's one thing the drama of the past year has demonstrated, it's that sexual science is a hot topic. Media coverage about The Kinsey Institute has appeared around the globe, begging the question: how do journalists learn to cover sex research, translating the insights of scientific writing to the general public? Do they have a responsibility to consider the impact of their work on policy makers and politicians?

These issues pose a challenge for sex researchers, too. How might they provide wider access to their methods in a way that honors the protocols of scientific process?

Julia Heiman and Trevor Brown

Should they court the media or ignore it, in an effort to protect the integrity of their findings?

The Kinsey Institute, with funding from the Ford Foundation, will partner with the Indiana University School of Journalism to systematically examine and answer some of these questions. Funds from this grant will enable journalists and sex researchers to develop an initial training program mentoring post-graduate fellows in journalism on the topic of turning sexual science into news.

Participants will collect data from journalists and sex researchers about their experiences dealing with sex news in the media. A second phase of the project will be to analyze and monitor the coverage of sex-related issues.

The project will culminate in a solution-focused national symposium bringing together sex researchers, newspaper and newsmagazine editors, TV news directors, and journalists.

"We expect this initial effort to reveal a great deal about what more is needed to impact or at least sensitize the tone of public conversations about sexuality," notes Julia Heiman. She and Trevor Brown, Dean of the Indiana University School of Journalism, are principal co-investigators.

"We will be looking at how this project might lead to broader collaborative efforts to understand the ways in which the media, public opinion, and public policy interact
on the topic of human sexuality."

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Kinsey Confidential

Advice columns are everywhere these days, many of them just for entertainment, or characterized by terse or flippant solutions to complex problems. An exception is "Kinsey Confidential," a sex information column appearing weekly in the Indiana Daily Student.

"Kinsey Confidential" carries on a practice of Alfred Kinsey, who was known for writing personal answers to public inquiries. Committed to dispelling ignorance and alleviating the suffering caused by a lack of accurate information about human sexuality, Kinsey made a point of responding to the concerns of college students (and others) with compassionate advice.

Today's questions cover a wide range of topics. Debby Herbenick, a doctoral candidate in the IU Department of Applied Health Science, has been involved in writing the column since its inception in 2001.

"When I first saw the movie Kinsey, I was struck by how many of the questions in the film are the same ones people ask today," observes Herbenick. Concerns include relationship issues, common sexual problems, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, and inquiries about gender and genitalia.

While so far there have been no formal efforts to syndicate the column, Herbenick was pleased when approached by Louisiana State University about using "Kinsey Confidential" in its student newspaper. "We are excited about the opportunity to share the column with college students at another campus," she explains.

The column helps meet the goals of Healthy People 2010, a national effort to increase the proportion of college and university students who receive information from their institution about behaviors that may cause unintended pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections. And it's a way The Kinsey Institute can contribute to quality of student life at Indiana University.

"The overall goal of the column is to help young people figure out what will contribute to their happiness and sexual health," Herbenick says. "As researchers, we don't advance a specific viewpoint about whether young adults should or shouldn't engage in specific behaviors. Instead, we give them accurate information and encourage them to think about the factors that shape their decision-making about sexuality."

"Kinsey Confidential" is a service of The Kinsey Institute Sexuality Information Service for Students (KISISS, found

Sol Gordon Collection Helps Document History of Sex Education

Sol Gordon with Kinsey Institute
librarian Liana Zhou

The Library of The Kinsey Institute houses scientific and scholarly materials from many disciplines, as well as erotica and popular culture materials. Included in the archive is a collection donated by Dr. Sol Gordon, a clinical psychologist and sex educator who began contributing materials in 1988.

The author of many books, including Raising Children Responsibly in a Sexually Permissive World, Gordon made a visit to The Kinsey Institute in February 2005. He spoke on the topic of youth and sex education at the Monroe County Public Library, and addressed an audience at Indiana University with answers to the question "How Can You Tell if You Are Really in Love?"

Gordon is professor emeritus at Syracuse University, where he was founding director of the Institute for Family Research and Education from 1970-1985.

Dr. Gordon encourages honest, open communication on topics such as sexuality and suicide prevention. "If there is one message to spread far and wide, " he insists, "it's that knowledge is not harmful."

The Sol Gordon Collection includes children's books (with his late wife Judith Gordon), professional publications, photographs, audio tapes, 35 mm films, correspondence, lectures, and sex education comic books.

"Sol Gordon's sex ed comic books, created in the 70s, appealed to young people because of their format," explains Liana Zhou, head of library. "At the time, they were both popular and controversial, and we appreciate having a set in the archive."

"We are particularly interested in the history of sex education, both in this country and abroad," explains Zhou. "The Sol Gordon Collection includes many documents that are important to an understanding of this subject."

Visit the KI library archives at

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State Funding Crisis Averted

In late January 2005 State Representative Cindy Noe filed a bill in the Indiana General Assembly that would have denied state appropriations for the administration, operation, or programs of The Kinsey Institute.

The bill, co-authored by Rep. Woody Burton and Rep. Marlin Stutzman, was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.

Indiana University Government Relations worked closely with The Kinsey Institute to provide information to the bill's authors. In February, members of the legislature toured the Institute and discussed current and past research. Dr. Julia Heiman also met privately with several legislators at the Statehouse. The bill eventually died in committee without receiving a hearing.

"The staffs of the Kinsey Institute and the IU Office of Government Relations were able to establish a good working dialogue with a number of legislators," says IU Vice President Tom Healy. "Finding effective methods to deal with problems of sexual behavior is surely a cause that most Americans find worthy. We are proud that Indiana University and The Kinsey Institute are playing a leading role in this effort."

"Attention to Alfred Kinsey always seems to ignite controversy," notes Jennifer Bass, head of information services. "It's reassuring to have the expertise and leadership at IU to help us respond to misconceptions about our research and our mission."

In the Gallery

Currently on display at The Kinsey Institute Gallery is a mixed media exhibition titled Identity - Sexuality - Gender: Contemporary Art from the Collection of Thomas Robertello.

The exhibit opened on Friday, April 15th, with a reception sponsored by the Friends of the Kinsey Institute. The show features recent work by an international group of artists, including Amy Cutler, John Delk, Peregrine Honig, Robert Horvath, Nikki S. Lee, Conor McGrady, Kim Murak, Sergei Pachomow, Ed Paschke, Missionary Mary Proctor, Michel Tsouris, and Anne Wilson.

"This show is somewhat unusual for us," explains Catherine Johnson-Roehr, KI Curator, "because the works of art are on loan from a local collector. Thanks to Thomas Robertello, we have an exciting opportunity to show how artists today are dealing with issues of identity, sexuality, and gender in their work."

Thomas Robertello, a member of the faculty of the IU School of Music, is an internationally acclaimed flutist. He enjoys collecting art as "a nesting instinct, a way to document my own evolution of thinking, an investment, an inspiration while I practice my flute, and ultimately a gift to a public institution."

The exhibit continues through August 5, 2005. For tours of the gallery, email, or phone 812-855-7686 for reservations.

The Art of Sex

To mark the release of the Kinsey Special Edition DVD, an exhibition entitled The Art of Sex: Selections from The Kinsey Institute, will be on display in Los Angeles for one week, starting May 17th at The Gallery at 8920 Melrose Ave.

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