When famed father of “sexology” Alfred Kinsey released his bestsellers “Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male” in ‘48 & “Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female” in ‘53 who knew his revolutionary saucy statistical studies would fly off the shelves like aphrodisiacs & put the populace in a panic?
He was the subject of a self-titled Oscar-nominated movie in 2004, & underground film luminary Kenneth Anger said he would’ve made the best American president. But decades before all this post-mortem hubbub, cartoon editor Charles Preston gathered together a motley slew of mostly unremarkable gag cartoonists to fill up this quickie mainstream 1954 paperback response to the entomologist-turned-biologist’s controversial findings. And as the book’s intro implies, he tried to lighten the load; “if you’re a man are you interested in women? If you’re a woman are you interested in men? Do you wish that just for once someone wouldn’t take the whole business so seriously?” Yeah but why couldn’t it have been someone with an actual sense of humour? Chapters are divvied up with various Kinsey quotes as headers.
We get cartoons of little girls gleefully tarting themselves up slopped with lipstick & makeup cuz Kinsey’s findings determined “sex life in the human female begins at five.” HA, HA.
We get predictable deadpan caricatures of uptight prigs lamenting the collapse of society as we know it cuz of Kinsey’s dialogs. HO, HO.
And the inevitable overabundance of average-Americans turned sex-crazed after just a whiff of Kinsey, but with barely a bare bottom to be seen throughout all its 128 pages.
Preston chose to close his collection with a rather maudlin, borderline reactionary two-pager showing a conservatively illustrated fully-clothed romantic couple hugging under a full moon with the caption “the world BEFORE the Kinsey Report” & the second picture identical to the first; “the world AFTER the Kinsey Report.” Way to predict, Nostradamus.
But my favourite has to be the cartoon depicting one hubby’s extreme allergic reaction if only for its mind-boggling brutality (pictured below). Retroactive payback is the answer to Kinsey’s report that “nearly 50% of women married by the age of 25 have had pre-marital sexual experiences”! Ouch. The growing pains of a burgeoning sexual revolution. A picture sure tells a thousand words.