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It weighed nearly three pounds, its 804 pages were a dreary morass of technical jargon and statistical charts, it cost $6.50. But last week the U.S. was taking to Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, commonly known as "the Kinsey report" (TIME, Jan. 5), the way it had once taken to the Charleston, the yo-yo and the forcing two-bid.

Not since Gone With the Wind had booksellers seen anything like it. Out less than two months, it had already sold 200,000 copies. Its publisher, Philadelphia's W. B. Saunders Co., a staid old medical-and-textbook house, kept two presses running steadily to stay abreast of the demand.

The itch for the book was most notable among urban intellectuals and college students. (Wellesley girls were told at the campus bookshop that they could not buy a copy unless they came back with a written O.K. from a professor. None came back.) But there were plenty of other customers. In Kansas City, a grain merchant bought a copy for his mistress, wistfully wrote on the flyleaf: "I hope this will help you to understand me better." In Miami Beach, where no cabana was considered properly furnished without "the report," one playboy bought 50 copies and sent them to all the women he knew.

After the Bobbsey Twins. In Hollywood, mentioning Kinsey was one of the few ways to break up a gin rummy game. Radio comedians, ever on the alert against censorship, tested the water with such gags as: "He's at the awkward age—you know, too old for the Bobbsey Twins and too young for the Kinsey report."

Hoosiers began to call Kinsey's base of operations at Indiana University "The Sex Center." "Hotter than the Kinsey report" became a common figure of speech. At Harvard, the chorus of a student song featured the lines:

I've looked you up in the Kinsey report And you're just the man for me.

Successor to Darwin? Sexologist Wilfred C. Kinsey was not taken aback by the uproar. He had predicted three years ago that his book might sell a million copies (all royalties would go back into the project). Journeymen book reviewers took a quick look and promptly hailed Kinsey as one of the greatest scientists since Darwin. He appeared to have found that some 85% of U.S. men have premarital intercourse, nearly 70% have intercourse with prostitutes, between 30% and 45% have extra-marital intercourse and 37% have some kind of homosexual experience.

Last week the Gallup poll reported that the U.S. people were agreed (by a 5-to-1 majority) that it was a "good thing" rather than a "bad thing" to have this information available. But how good was the information? And was its popular acclaim a healthy sign? Almost unheard amid the general hubbub, a few expert faultfinders began to ask these questions.

As a onetime student of insects, Kinsey had set out to apply the "taxonomic approach" to human beings. This involves studying a "series of individuals" large enough to stand as "representatives of the species." By the end of another 20 years, Kinsey and his colleagues hope to have interviewed 100,000 individuals. But data from only 5,300 interviews were used for Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.

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