Abstract

Until the work of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, which explored the science of the individual’s sexual response, Alfred Kinsey’s work on sexual behavior in males and females, which described population behavior, was not only the landmark reference on sexology but also the source of tremendous and varied reaction among moral leaders in America. In spite of the common moral ground implied by the newly popular “Judeo-Christian tradition,” Jewish and Christian responses to Kinsey revealed fundamental differences in attitude. Christians felt generally threatened, whereas some Jews found much that affirmed their traditions. Substituting Nazi ideology’s stereotypes of the carnal Jew (a stereotype with an ancient tradition) with an image of the sexually inhibited Jewish male, Kinsey’s portrayal of the Jewish approach to sex was almost as damning as what it replaced. Yet rather than attack Kinsey, a few Modern Orthodox voices used the occasion of his popularity as an opportunity to champion a Jewish approach to sex that spoke as much to Cold War heteronormativity as it did to post-Holocaust desires for a vital Orthodox Judaism.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2028
Print ISSN
0021-6704
Pages
pp. 72-99
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-04
Open Access
No
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