Morrison Hall, home of the Kinsey Institute, temporarily closed due to water leak.

The Kinsey Institute 

Learn our history

On April 7, 1947, Dr. Alfred Kinsey and his research team incorporated as the Institute for Sex Research. ISR had two primary goals: continuing the team's research on human sexual behavior; and accepting, holding, using, and administering research materials, a library, case histories, and other related materials. 

In 1981, the Institute for Sex Research was renamed The Kinsey Institute for Sex Research.

Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey

Dr. Alfred Charles Kinsey was an American biologist, professor of entomology and zoology, and sexologist. Known as the father of the sexual revolution, Dr. Kinsey's work has influenced social and cultural values in the United States and around the world.

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The Kinsey era

Dr. Kinsey was at the helm of the Institute for Sex Research from its incorporation on April 7, 1947 until his death on August 25, 1956. In that time: the Kinsey Reports entered the public consciousness (1948 and 1953); ISR moved from Swain Hall East to Wylie Hall and then Jordan Hall; and Dr. Kinsey took 7,985 of the approximately 18,000 sex histories gathered by the research team.

Drs. Paul Gebhard and Dr. Wardell Pomeroy were appointed executive director and director of field research (respectively) after Kinsey's death.


Past directors + major milestones

Since 1957, the Kinsey Institute has had six directors—each bringing new focus and vision to the study of sexuality, relationships, gender, reproduction, and love.


Dr. Paul Gebhard, 1956–82

Dr. Paul Gebhard, a Harvard trained anthropologist who joined the team in 1947, took over as executive director after Kinsey's untimely death. The ISR faced several difficulties at the time, including a protracted and expensive legal battle with U.S. Customs, the need to find new sources of funding, and several incomplete projects. Over the next 25 years, Gebhard succeeded in opening the institute's doors to scholars around the world, making it a leading resource center for those interested in all facets of human sexuality.

1957

  • The Customs Case: U.S. v. 31 Photographs settled in ISR's favor, granting an exception to laws banning the import of erotic and pornographic material. The case helped establish the legal support for academic and intellectual freedom for researchers and scholars of human sexuality.
  • Funded: ISR receives first grant from the National Institute of Mental Health

1958

  • Published: Pregnancy, Birth, and Abortion (Harper/Hoeber)

1965

  • Published: Sex Offenders: An Analysis of Types (Harper/Hoeber)

1970

  • Established: Information Services Department begins providing reference and referral information

1978

  • Published: Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women (Simon & Schuster)

1981

  • Renamed: The Institute for Sex Research becomes The Kinsey Institute for Sex Research, Inc. at a conference commemorating the 25th anniversary of Dr. Kinsey's death.

See Staff Publications for the list of articles, books, and book chapters published during the Gebhard era.


Dr. June Reinisch, 1982–93

Dr. June Reinisch, a psychologist from Columbia University, was appointed director after Gebhard’s retirement. Under her directorship, the institute—which was renamed Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction—expanded its vision and broadened its public impact. It also found its fourth home at Morrison Hall on the IU Bloomington campus. By 1990, the Kinsey Institute had grown enough to launch the first full cataloguing and exhibition of art collections.

1984–1993

  • Published: "The Kinsey Report," an internationally syndicated newspaper column, delivers research-based information to the general public

1987

  • Published: Masculinity/Femininity (Oxford University Press), the inaugural volume in "The Kinsey Institute Series"

1990

  • Published: The Kinsey Institute New Report on Sex: What You Must Know to be Sexually Literate (St. Martin's Press), the first institute publication written for the general public
  • Exhibited: Selections from the Collections of The Kinsey Institute, the institute's first art exhibit, serves as the catalyst project for the establishment of permanent gallery spaces within The Kinsey Institute and the development of future exhibitions

See Staff Publications for the list of articles, books, and book chapters published during the Reinisch era.


Dr. Stephanie Sanders, 1993–95

Dr. Stephanie Sanders, who joined the institute as a researcher in 1982, served as interim director for two years. Visit Dr. Sanders' profile to learn more about her research at the Kinsey Institute and beyond. 

See Staff Publications for the list of articles, books, and book chapters published during the first Sanders era.

 

Dr. John Bancroft, 1995–2004

Dr. John Bancroft is the first and only medical doctor to serve as executive director. During his tenure, the Kinsey Institute stepped into clinical research, as well as the digital age. Bancroft also drove the institute to reflect on its mission and its original publications with celebrations of the 50th anniversaries of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. Institute staff also expanded their impact during this period by hosting symposiums, numerous art exhibits, and public facility tours.

1995

  • Established: Kinsey Institute clinics for sexual health and menstrual cycle problems
  • Online: KICAT, the institute's online public access catalog, KICAT, is available on the Internet

1997

  • Celebrated: 50th anniversary of the incorporation of the Institute for Sex Research
  • Published: Researching Sexual Behavior: Methodological Issues (Indiana University Press)

1998

  • Reprinted: Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (IU Press) with a new introduction by Bancroft
  • Launched: The Kinsey Institute Sexuality Information Service for Students (KISISS), an online Q&A service targeting Indiana University students.

2001

  • Syndicated: The KISISS Report (now Kinsey Confidential) appears as a weekly column in the Indiana Daily Student

2003

  • Published: Distress about sex: A National Survey of Women in Heterosexual Relationships; Sexual development in childhood.

See Staff Publications for the list of articles, books, and book chapters published during the Bancroft era.


Dr. Julia Heiman, 2004–13

Dr. Julia Heiman’s tenure saw significant growth in research and the collections. Under her guidance, institute researchers produced a findings on a number of topics, including: arousal response in bisexual men; sexual satisfaction & relationship happiness in midlife couples; infidelity in heterosexual couples; the effects of hormonal contraceptives on women's sexual experience, and effective condom fit. The institute also hosted a number of art exhibitions. This included the Juried Art Show, which ran for 10 seasons.

2004

  • Debuted: Kinsey, a feature film starring Liam Nelson and Laura Linney

2005

  • Exhibited: The institute hosts the first Juried Erotic Art Show

2007

  • Celebrated: 60th anniversary of the founding of the Institute for Sex Research (now the Kinsey Institute)

2009

  • Awarded: Sarah Lindsley named inaugural John Money Fellow

2010

  • Honored: Heiman receives the Kinsey Award from the Society for the Study of Sexuality

2011

  • Archived: Kinsey Institute receives archives of noted sex research pioneers Virginia Johnson & William Masters

2012

  • Elected: Heiman becomes Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

See Staff Publications for the list of articles, books, and book chapters published during the Heiman era.


Dr. Stephanie Sanders, 2014

Dr. Sanders acted as interim director until the appointment of Dr. Sue Carter in fall 2014.

2014

  • Launched: Kinsey Reporter app released in collaboration with the IU School of Informatics and Computing

See Staff Publications for the list of articles, books, and book chapters published during the second Sanders era.

Support Kinsey

Love is more than an emotion. It is essential to our individual and collective well-being. Your support will help the Kinsey Institute advance research and education in the science of love and give a diverse field of researchers the resources they need to make new discoveries.

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