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Reflections on Kinsey, the Movie

Every scene in the film was worth paying attention to.  The plot that is based on the real life story of Prof. Alfred Kinsey is unusual and enlightening.

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  The movie has effectively depicted the life of the professor and has shown the audience his struggles in his research on  human sexuality.  Kinsey manifested how taboo the subject of sex and human sexuality was during the late 1940’s.  Moreover, the film has clearly shown how complicated it was to explore the subject and to impart the information to the public.

Thus, efforts of Prof. Kinsey to let out in the open all about the subject have created noise during the said period. There was a part in the film where he stated that people are anxious and guilty over sex because they are not aware of how others engage in it.  Because of his research on human sexuality, he was accused of aiding the communist aim of weakening and deteriorating the youth of America.  Furthermore, the book he wrote about the sexuality of the human male created chaos, even at the national level.  At the same time, however, his works opened the minds of its readers.

In addition, all the key actors in the movie have portrayed their parts well.  Liam Neeson in particular, effectively played the role of Prof. Alfred Kinsey.  Meanwhile, my favorite character in the movie is Prof. Kinsey’s wife, Clare McMillan whom he fondly called “Mac”.  She described herself as free spirited, which in the film, was actually depicted.  She is extremely supportive to Prof. Kinsey in all that he does.

There was a scene in the movie where I admired how Mac’s emotional weakness manifested strength.  It was when she showed Prof. Kinsey how hurt she was when he slept with a male friend, Clyde.  Here, she questioned Prof. Kinsey where marriage and family stands amidst all these human sexuality research that he has gotten obsessed with. Though she was supportive of Prof. Kinsey’s endeavors, she appeared to disagree at some aspects and ensured to let Prof. Kinsey know.  One surprise however was when she also agreed to have sex with Clyde.  It was not clear to me why she exactly did that but it seems she wanted to let Prof. Kinsey feel how she did when, he in the first place, slept with Clyde.  As she also enjoyed the act, perhaps she has also learned to take Prof. Kinsey’s reasons for sleeping with him.

I think Prof. Kinsey became obsessed with the subject of human sexuality because of his eagerness to create change by increasing the awareness of people on the subject of human sexuality.  As mentioned, sex was then taboo.  It appears that Prof. Kinsey wanted to unravel all secrets regarding human sexuality and let these all out into the open.  Prof. Kinsey was aware of the chaos that was certain to happen but still aimed to let the people know the diversity and richness of human sexuality.

As I understand it, his interest in the subject all started when he himself encountered difficulty in engaging in sex as shown in the scene where they first made love. He thought of consulting with an expert and has eventually managed to work on their sexual relationship.  Meanwhile in the university, he spoke with some students and learned that they had a lot of incorrect notions on sex.  He suggested to the academe that sex education should be part of the curriculum.  The teaching body, however, was adamant to this idea.  He then held a marriage course given to the engaged-to-be-married couples where he started teaching about sex, in a scientific and methodical approach.

One can see the intensity of his drive to research on this matter when he dramatically shifted focus from studying wasps to studying human’s sexual acts, homosexuality, sexual rituals, extramarital and premarital sex. In addition, he used his own body for research when he inflicted pain on himself by cutting his foreskin, intending to grasp why others find pleasure in pain during sex.  He even created a team, which later on seemingly became guinea pigs, as they engaged in group sex.

After watching the film, I realized that humans may be “animals”, as Kinsey maintains, but  have morals that have delineated decent form indecent, the socially unacceptable and acceptable.  This makes us distinct from dogs, pigs and other animals.  I think Prof. Kinsey went overboard in looking at sex objectively.  We still are subject to emotions and feelings.  I also learned that though science aims to quantify all things, human sexuality is still, most of the time, governed by morals and social norms.  There still are boundaries and limitations.