Boffey, Philip M. "Sexology Struggling to Establish Itself Amid Wide Hostility," New York

 

Boffey, Philip M. "Sexology Struggling to Establish Itself Amid Wide Hostility," New York
Times, 31 May 1983, pp. C1, C3.

Here is the Times reporting on the difficulties of establishing acceptable knowledge, of having
unconventional knowledge not get rejected. When the time comes to discuss what gets accepted
as science and what does not get accepted as science, it might be well to recall this little piece
about rejected knowledge and rejected sources of knowledge. This is a report on the convention
of sexologists in Washington, D. C. They have not been sent messages of greeting by either the
President or by the city's Mayor, a courtesy in most cities hosting conventions; they feel they
have been snubbed not only by political leaders, but also by other scientists who look down their
noses at this special area of interest.

By way of introduction, the Big Names in sexology are first mentioned: Wardell B. Pomeroy,
associate of the late Alfred Kinsey, the "saint" of sexology research; William Masters and
Virginia Johnson; and Professor Money of Johns Hopkins. Then the history of the association is
gone into: sexology is at least 75 years old, and began in Germany. Some of the current problems
are mentioned. This reporter seems to dwell on the appearance of porn vendors who show up at
these meetings and give everyone a bad name. The complaint is aired that in a free and open
meeting, they can't be kicked out.

The present lack of appreciation of sexologists is suggestive of the sorts of problems through
which fledgling sciences must all go. It is hinted that sexology may be discredited today but no
more so than other social sciences have been in the past. Sexology, we are assured, will come
into its own in the not too distant future, certainly in the next twenty years. Sexology not only
gets a bad name from the porn people, it also gets a bad name from those who are not doing the
right kind of research. There is the suggestion here that sexology ought to get out of psychology
and other "soft sciences" and into biology and physiology, the "hard sciences."