See also Alfred Kinsey's Heterosexuality Homosexuality
- Kinsey, Alfred C. et al. (1948/1998). Sexual
Behavior in the Human Male. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders;
Bloomington, IN: Indiana U. Press.
- Kinsey, Alfred C. et al. (1953/1998). Sexual
Behavior in the Human Female. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders;
Bloomington, IN: Indiana U. Press. [Please note that Female
volume is a source of many comparisons of findings between male and
- Gebhard, Paul H. and Johnson, Alan B. (1979/1998). The
Kinsey Data: Marginal Tabulations of 1938-1963 Interviews Conducted
by the Institute for Sex Research. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders;
Bloomington, IN: Indiana U. Press. [Augments data in the original
1948 and 1953 studies and discusses Kinsey's interview and sample.]
- To describe individual and group variations in human sexual behavior
using taxonomic methods (primarily concerned with the measurement of
variation in series of individuals that stand as representatives of
the species being studied) from biology. Kinsey sought to accummulate
"an objectively determined body of fact about sex" (p. 5 Male)
that readers of the reports could use to make interpretations that fit
with their understanding of "moral values and social significances"
(p. 5, Male). He looked at quantifiable male sexual "outlets"
to orgasm: masturbation, nocturnal emissions, heterosexual petting,
heterosexual intercourse, homosexual relations, and intercourse with
animals of other species; and at what factors might account for variations
in sexual behavior, including marital status, age, educational level,
occupational class, rural-urban background, religious group, geographic
origin, and age at adolescence. He then compiled data for the female.
Data was gathered from 1938 to 1963, when the project was closed.
- 5300 white males and 5940 white females provided almost all the data,
with the majority of participants being younger white adults with some
college education. (This part of the sample is referred to as the "College
Sample.") Kinsey tried to compensate for volunteer bias in his sample
by interviewing 100% of the individuals available in a given organization
or group. Approximately 25% of the sex histories came from these 100%
groups. (Kinsey did not believe a random sample was possible.)
- Kinsey used in-depth, face-to-face interviews by highly trained interviewers.
In each history a subject would be questioned on up to 521 items, depending
on his/her specific experience (the average in each case being near
300). Histories covered social and economic data, physical and physiologic
data, marital histories, sexual outlets, heterosexual histories, and
Included here are data on selected topics from Alfred Kinsey's Male
and Female volumes (as well as from Gebhard and Johnson's Kinsey
Data) about which the Institute frequently receives questions:
11% of males reported, in marriage, a frequency of anal sex ranging from
a single attempt to often, (Table 334, p. 383, Kinsey Data, College
Sample, as corrected by data analysis of computer tape, 4/93).
There is little data in the original Kinsey Studies regarding heterosexual
or homosexual anal sex. Kinsey found some anal play in some of the male
marital histories and occasional instances of anal coitus but not enough
to determine "the incidence of individuals who are specifically responsive
to such stimulation," (p. 579, Male). He reported, among the
male homosexual, occasional individuals brought to orgasm anally, (p.
579, Male). For females, Kinsey said that good incidence data
was not available, (p. 585, Female).
- Kinsey estimated that nearly 46% of the male population had engaged
in both heterosexual and homosexual activities, or "reacted to" persons
of both sexes, in the course of their adult lives (p. 656, Male).
11.6% of white males (ages 20-35) were given a rating of 3 (about equal
heterosexual and homosexual experience/response) on the 7-point Kinsey
Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale for this period of their lives
(Table 147, p. 651, Male).
- Kinsey found only a very small portion of females with exclusively
homosexual histories. He reported that between 6 and 14% of females
(ages 20-35) had more than incidental homosexual experience in their
histories. (p. 488, Female). 7% of single females (ages 20-35)
and 4% of previously married females (ages 20-35) were given a rating
of 3 (about equal heterosexual and homosexual experience/response) on
the 7-point Kinsey Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale for this period
of their lives.(Table 142, p. 499, Female).
Age at first intercourse:
- 20.9% by age 16
- 10.7% at age 17
- 11.5% at age 18
- 10.8% at age 19
- 6% by age 16
- 4.9% at age 17
- 9.1% at age 18
- 11.2% at age 19
(Table 218, p. 267, Kinsey Data, College Sample). For further
male/female comparisons on premarital sex, see p. 330-32, Female.
Frequency of Marital Coitus
(p. 348-9, 351, Female). For further male/female comparisons
of Martial Coitus, see p. 392, Female.
- Females (average frequency reported):
- 2.8 times a week, in late teens
- 2.2 times a week, by age 30
- 1.0 times a week, by age 50
- Male data were comparable.
- Length of Coitus:
- 17.6% of males reported ejaculation less than 2 minutes after
- 47.6% less than five minutes in coitus in first marriage
- 22.9% claimed to have lasted 10 or more minutes, (Table 324, p.
373 Kinsey Data, College Sample).
- 22.8% of females reported reaching climax less than 2 minutes
- 52.6% less than five minutes in coitus in first marriage
- 19% claimed to have lasted 10 or more minutes, (Table 324, p.
373 Kinsey Data, College Sample)
In the discussion of marital coitus in the Male volume, Kinsey
speculated that for perhaps three-fourths of all males, orgasm was reached
within 2 minutes after initiation of coitus, and reported this as a frequent
source of marital conflict (p. 580, Male).
Kinsey found the most frequently reported coital position to be male-above,
and the most common variant position to be female-above.
- 100% used male-above position in marital coitus
- 45% used female above
- 31% used side-by-side positions
- 15% rear vaginal entry
- 9% sitting; and 4% standing (p.400, Female)
- In the Male volume, Kinsey estimated that as much as 70%
of the population only used the male-above position in coitus, (p.
- In about 35% of the male College Sample histories the female-above-male
position was used (Table 95, p. 372, Male).
- Preference for Coitus in Light or in the Dark:
- 40% of the males in the sample preferred to have sexual activities
in some light
- 19% of the females preferred to have sexual activities in some light,
(p. 664-5, Female)
The Kinsey interviews showed that there is no part of the human body
which is not sufficiently sensitive to effect erotic arousal for at least
some individuals in the population. He estimated that breasts and especially
the nipples of the breasts were erotically sensitive in perhaps half of
the females (with breast stimulation alone sufficient for orgasm in a
very small percentage of females), (p. 157, 161, Female). There
were some 2 % of females who even by their late 40s had never recognized
any sexual arousal under any sort of condition. (p. 512, Female
Males: Kinsey estimated that approximately 50% of all married
males had some extramarital experience at some time during their married
lives (p. 585, 587, Male).
Females: Among the sample, 26% of females had had extramarital sex by
their forties. Between 1 in 6 and 1 in 10 females from age 26 to 50 were
engaged in extramarital sex, (p. 416, Female).
Number of Extramarital Partners
- Number of extramarital sexual partners, not counting prostitutes,
during first marriage:
- 71.6% reported none
- 16.7% reported 1-3 partners
- 5.6% reported 4-6 partners
- 5.9% reported 7 or more (Table 351, p. 400, Kinsey Data,
- Number of extramarital sexual partners, not counting prostitutes,
during first marriage:
- 79% reported none
- 15.7% reported 1-3 partners
- 2.4% reported 4-6 partners
- 2.7% reported 7 or more (Table 351, p. 400, Kinsey Data,
- 84% of the males in the sample indicated that they were sometimes
aroused by thinking of sexual activities with females (p. 665, Female).
- 89% of males reported having used sexual fantasy with masturbation
(p. 225, Kinsey Data, College Sample).
Only 3-4 males, out of more than 5000 in the sample, had experienced
ejaculation by fantasy alone (p. 517-8, Male).
- 31% insisted they had bever been aroused by thinking about males
or sexual relations with them.
- 69% of females reported erotic fantasies about males, (p. 665, FEMALE).
- 64% of the female sample used fantasy as part of masturbation, (p.
- Some 2% of females in the sample had reached orgasm by fantasizing
erotic situations (without any tactile stimulation), (p. 163, FEMALE).
- Duration of foreplay in marriages, (from sexual histories):
- 11% of marriage histories, foreplay lasted 3 min.
- 36% of marraige histories, foreplay lasted 4-10 min.
- 31% of marriage histories, foreplay lasted 11-20 min.
- 22% of marraige histories, foreplay lasted more than 30 min, (p. 364,
- Comparative data:
- 18.5% of males and 20.7% of females reported foreplay of 3-7 minutes
in marital coitus
- 19.5% of males and 21.2% of females reported foreplay of 8-12 minutes
- 19.1% of males and 13.8% of females reproted foreplay of 13-17 minutes
(Table 315 p. 364, Kinsey Data, College Sample)
- In descending order of techniques of foreplay in marital coitus, Kinsey
- simple lip kissing (99.4%);
- manual stimulation of female breast (98%);
- manual stimulation of female genitalia (95%);
- oral stimulation of female breast (93%);
- manual stimulation of the male genitalia (91%);
- deep kissing (87%);
- oral stimulation of the female genitalia (54%);
- oral stimulation of the male genitalia (49%), (p. 361, FEMALE).
- See also Tables 316-323, p. 365-372, Kinsey Data for techniques
Kinsey said in both the Male and Female volumes that
it was impossible to determine the number of persons who are "homosexual"
or "heterosexual". It was only possible to determine behavior at any given
time. (See Kinsey's Heterosexual-Homosexual
Instances of at least one same-sex experience to orgasm:
- 37% of males
- 13% of females, (p. 650, Male, p. 475, Female)
- 10% of males in the sample were predominantly homosexual between the
ages of 16 and 55
- 8% of males were exlusively homosexual for at least three years between
the ages of 16 and 55. (p. 651, Male)
- 4% of white males had been exclusively homosexual after the onset
of adolescence up to the time of their interviews, (p. 651, Male).
- 2 to 6% of females, aged 20-35, were more or less exclusively homosexual
in experience/response, (p. 488, Female)
- 1 to 3% of unmarried females aged 20-35 were exclusively homosexual
in experience/response, (Table 142, p. 499, and p. 474, Female).
- 92% of males reported that they had masturbated (p. 499, Male).
- 62% of females reported that they had masturbated (p. 142, Female).
- 45% of females who reported having masturbated indicated that they
could reach orgasm within 3 minutes (p. 163, Female).
- Masturbation techniques reported by females:
- 84% used clitoral and labial manipulation
- 20% used vaginal insertion
- 11% used breast stimulation
- 10% used thigh pressure
- 5% muscular tension
- 2% had fantasy alone to reach orgasm; and
- 11% used other techniques (p. 189, Female)
Masturbation was the most important sexual outlet for single females
and the second most important sexual outlet for married females, providing:
7-10% of orgasms for those 16-40 (p. 525, 532, Female). In males,
masturbation after marriage occurred with reduced frequency (p. 507, Male).
For further female/male comparisons of masturbation, see p. 173, Female.
Kinsey found that attitudes toward nudity differed by level of education
and socioeconomic status. Still, about half (41%) of males in the College
Sample reported sleeping nude, and half of the married females in the
sample had regularly slept nude, (p. 366 Male and p. 365, Female).
- Percentage of males who said they had performed cunnilingus:
- before marriage about 10%
- in marriage 48.9% (Tables 207, p. 256 and Table 322, p. 371, Kinsey
Data, College Sample)
- Percentage of females who said they had performed fellatio:
- before marriage, 19.1%
- in marriage 45.5% (Table 208, p. 257 and 323, p. 372, Kinsey Data,
- Percentage of males who reported experiencing homosexual fellatio,
with climax, at least once:
- 14% had performed fellatio
- 30% had received fellatio (p. 373, Male)
- Sources of first ejaculation for males:
- 68.2% masturbation
- 13.11% nocturnal emission
- 12.53% coitus
- 4.33% homosexual contact
- other sources, including premarital petting (p. 190, Male)
- Sources of first orgasm for females:
- 40% masturbation
- 27% coitus
- 24% premarital petting (not found in chart)
- 5% nocturnal dreams
- 3% homosexual
- 1% other sources (p. 545, Female)
10% of all females in the sample had never reached orgasm in their marital
coitus, (footnote, Table 113, p. 408, Female). 39-47% of females
reported reaching orgasm in nearly all of their marital coitus, (Table
112, p. 408, Female). About 50% of females had experienced orgasm
by age 20; about 90% by age 35. (p. 513, Female)
Females: 14% of females in the sample reported regularly responding with
multiple orgasms, (p. 375, Female).
Males: 15-20% of males in their teens and twenties reported that they
were capable of repeated orgasm in a limited period of time. Kinsey stated
that most men lost this capacity by age 30 or 40, (p. 233, Male).
For comparisons of orgasm in marital coitus, see p. 392-393, Female.
Nocturnal Sex Dreams and Orgasms:
Approximately two-thirds of females reported overtly sexual dreams (and
Kinsey estimated over the life course that 70% of females experienced
sex dreams), and almost 100% of the males (p. 196, 215, Female).
By age 45, 37% of females in the sample had experienced a sex dream with
orgasm (p. 196, Female); Kinsey reported that 83% of males reported
nocturnal emissions, with or without dreams (p. 518-199, Male).
The frequencies with which the average female had nocturnal orgasms stayed
fairly constant for single and married females of all ages (adolescence
to 50 yrs. old), (p. 200, Female). The highest incidence (70%)
and frequency for males came in the late teens, but declined in the thirties,
(p. 523, Male).
Peak Performance and Maximum Activity, Age of
In the male, the average maximum sexual frequencies for the total sexual
outlets occur between 16 and 20, (Table 45, on p. 226, and Table 60, on
p. 266, Male).
In the female, solitary sexual activities (such as masturbation, nocturnal
dreams to orgasm) gradually rise to their maximum point. They level off
and then decline after 55 or 60 years of age. (p. 353, Female).
Kinsey thought that female instance of coitus was dependent on the male's
sexual behavior. (p. 353-4, Female).
- Occurs in:
- 67-98%, depending on socioeconomic level.
- 68% by age 18 had experienced premarital coitus, (p. 549-52, and Table
136, p. 550, Male).
- about 50%, (p. 286, and Table 75, p. 333 and Table 79, p. 337, Female).
Prostitutes, Sex with
- 69% of white males had had at least one experience with a prostitute;
- among unmarried males, sex with a prostitute was about 10% of the
total premarital intercourse;
- among married males, sex with a prostitute was never more than 1.7%
of the total sexual outlet reported, (p. 597, 599, 601, and Table 97,
p. 382, Male).
Kinsey's studies do not say much about sadomasochistic behaviors. Some
12% of females and 22% of males reported having an erotic response to
a sadomasochistic story, and 55% of females and 50% of males reported
having responded erotically to being bitten, (p. 677-8, Female).
For More Information
The above data have been provided for quick reference. We have tried
to present this data in a clear and concise way; something made difficult
by the complexity of Kinsey's monographs. If you have questions about
the above data, or need further information, contact Information Services.
History of the Institute Other
Frequently Asked Questions