The Kinsey Institute 

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our research

Understanding the human experience starts with our understanding of human sexuality in its many forms and functions. For nearly 70 years, Kinsey Institute researchers and affiliates have explored the what, how, and why of sexuality, gender, relationships, and reproduction to learn how we live our sexual lives—with others and ourselves.

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Kinsey Institute's research scope

Human sexual behavior

How do people behave in their sexual lives? In the 1940s and '50s, Alfred Kinsey and his team of researchers documented what American men and women did in their sexual lives and determined that sexual behavior comprises more than physical contact. It also includes desire, arousal, attraction, and fantasy. Recent research explores why people do what they do and the variation of their experiences.

Notable publications by Kinsey Institute researchers include:

Complexity in relationships

Relationships—whether romantic, platonic, or intimate—present complex questions. What factors and motivations drive infidelity? How do younger generations navigate "hookup culture"? How do hormones like oxytocin affect love and bonding? How do people experience various relationship contexts—whether single, partnered, monogamous, or sexually open? As various aspects of humanity and society evolve, so does the focus of our examination.

Notable publications by Kinsey Institute researchers include:

Sexual assault + aggression

Sexual assault and aggression impact more than individuals around the world. The lasting effects also reverberate through our communities and societies at-large. Kinsey Institute researchers are developing multi-level approaches to address these issues. That means taking steps to not only document the epidemic of sexual assaults but also to understand the factors behind it.

Notable publications by Kinsey researchers include:

Sexual orientation + gender diversity

In 1948, Alfred Kinsey developed the Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale ("the Kinsey Scale") to highlight the spectrum of sexual orientation and desire. Today, we incorporate our knowledge of variations in sexual orientation and gender identity into research on behavior and sexual wellness with particular foci on biology, psychology, history, and culture.

Notable publications by Kinsey Institute researchers include:

Reproduction + fertility

The body’s physiological and hormonal systems are delicately balanced instruments that respond to environmental and social context. Naturally occurring hormones such as oxytocin, vasopressin, testosterone, and estrogen affect and are affected by health, sexual activity, fertility, and environmental factors. They can even influence attraction, mood, and sexual interest. Kinsey researchers conduct ongoing studies of these issues to better understand the system that keeps humanity going.

Notable publications by Kinsey Institute researchers include:

Sexual well-being

The deep importance of sexuality to overall well-being and health is often overlooked. Kinsey Institute researchers examine the dynamic relationships between: sexual behavior; psychosocial factors such as attitude and emotional well-being; human biology factors like environment, fertility and immunity; and significant health issues such as condom use and contraception. A theoretical and empirical focus of this work includes the impact of medical intervention on people’s sexual lives. This broad scope aids in uncovering the effects these factors have on our health and quality of life.

Notable publications by Kinsey Institute researchers include:

All Kinsey Institute publications

Looking for references? The research publications page offers a comprehensive list dating back to the era of Dr. Alfred Kinsey.

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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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