AirTalk for September 13, 2013

Sex research: there’s an app for that

Kinsey Reporter app

Kinsey Institute / Indiana University, Bloomington

A screenshot of the Kinsey Reporter app web site (www.kinseyreporter.org) on September 12, 2012.

Until Alfred Kinsey started researching and studying human sexual practices in the late 1930s, sex was something that Americans did more than they discussed.

Kinsey started out as an entomologist, but when he turned his scientific mind to the study of human sexuality he nearly single handedly invented the study of sexology. But in the ensuing decades some have criticized the scope of Kinsey’s research, given that his sample size largely consisted of white college kids from the Midwest.

Recently, The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University has brought research on American sexual practices into the 21st century with a mobile app that fits right in the palm of your hand. The app is called Kinsey Reporter and it allows users to anonymously and voluntarily report human sexual activity – both their own and acts they observe. The results are then used by researchers and shared freely on a central website.

But if you’re longing to report your more intimate moments you’ll have to wait. The new General Counsel at Indiana University decided to suspend the app for additional vetting. How can technology change the study of sex? Would you report your luckier moments in the name of science?

Guests:

Jennifer Bass, Communications Director, The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction

Filippo Menczer, developer, Kinsey Reporter smartphone app; Director, Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research and Professor of Informatics and Computer Science, Indiana University, Bloomington

Making The Kinsey Reporter App | The Kinsey Institute


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