The Kinsey Institute, for research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction
About the Institute Services and Events Library and Special Collections Research Program Graduate Education Publications Related Resources

[click to enlarge]
About the Instutute
Support the KI
Contact Us

KI Home

Sex Research and Federal Funding

The Kinsey Institute's sponsored workshop on "Methodologies in Reproductive Psychophysiology" and a research grant to study "Mechanisms Influencing Sexual Risk Taking" came under attack by some members of Congress in 2003. They objected to federal funds being used to study sexual behavior, citing the "underfunding" of other health issues, such as autism.

Later in the summer, the Coalition to Protect Research was formed to respond to the misinformation and attacks on sex research.

The Amendment to the House Appropriations Bill, July 2003

Representative Pat Toomey (R-Pa) proposed an amendment to the House Appropriations Bill that would have withdrawn funding of 5 grants from the National Institutes of Health, including a Kinsey Institute grant on sexual risk taking.

The American Psychological Association reported that "the amendment offered by Rep. Patrick Toomey (R-15-PA) to defund five NIH grants was defeated (212 to 210) with fellow
Republicans (Appropriations LHHS Subcommitee Chairman Ralph Regula
[R-16-OH], Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Bill Young [R-10-FL], Rep.
Randy Cunningham [R-CA-50] and Rep. Mike Rogers [R-8-MI]) rising to speak
against it. Ranking minority member David Obey [D-7-WI] and APA member
Rep. Brian Baird [D-3-WA] both eloquently defended the funded research and
the peer review process."

Overview of Research project:
Mechanisms Influencing Sexual Risk Taking,
Erick Janssen, PhD.
Sexual risk taking contributes directly to high rates of sexually transmitted disease and the continued spread of HIV infection. Despite many years of research, the mechanisms that lead to risk-taking behavior are still poorly understood. Specifically, prior research has largely assumed that sexual decision-making depends on rational thought processes and has not adequately addressed the role that emotional state plays in influencing behavior.

Description of Research

Public health relevance
This research was designed in response to recommendations by researchers and policy makers for a better understanding of the role of mood or emotions in sexual risk taking. This project is the first systematic attempt to improve our understanding of such processes. Findings may be helpful in developing and evaluating interventions to reduce risky sexual behaviors. The research may help to identify individuals who would be the most likely to engage in risky sexual behavior when they feel, for example, depressed or anxious.

A new and easy-to-use questionnaire has been developed that can be used to identify and target relevant populations in the context of risk prevention and intervention programs. Specifically, it will help identify people who are most likely to engage in risk behaviors because of mood or emotional effects.

This questionnaire also could assist in identifying younger adults who are not yet engaging in problematic behavior, but are at risk of doing so in the future. If response profiles that predict such behavior can be identified, it may be possible to identify 'at risk' individuals. This would lend itself to programs in educational and health settings, on the Internet, and in other relevant materials.

The findings may play a crucial role in designing appropriate one-on-one interventions. For example, individuals who take sexual risks when depressed, or who use sex as a form of emotional regulation, could be guided through a behavioral analysis of the relationship between mood and sexual behavior to confront the pattern and focus motivation for change. A cognitive-behavioral approach could then be used to develop and maintain alternative methods of mood regulation to control the problematic sexual behavior.

Funding: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development NICHD
First year: $237,038
Second year: $237,038

For more information, contact Jennifer Bass, Information Services,, 812-855-7686.

See also, Herald-Times Editorial.
More about Herman B Well's defense of sex research
Sign the Petition to Support Scientific Integrity

KI News Library Catalog Support the KI Site Index Search

© 1996-
, The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, Inc.