Quote request: the only unnatural sex act is that which one cannot perform (attrib Alfred C. Kinsey circa 1963)

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Mar 9 14:02:21 UTC 2013

At 3/9/2013 05:21 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
>I have received a request to trace a quotation ascribed to the
>entomologist and sexologist Alfred C. Kinsey. The Yale Book of
>Quotations has an instance in 1979:
>[Begin excerpt from YBQ]
>The only unnatural sex act is that which you cannot perform.
>Quoted in Barbara Rowes, The Book of Quotes (1979)
>[End excerpt from YBQ]
>Google Books and HathiTrust indicate a match circa 1963.
>Journal: Mattachine Review
>Year: 1963
>Volume: 9
>Page: 12
>(Google Books snippet data may be inaccurate)
>[Begin extracted text]
>I suggest that the varied forms of sexual behavior are simply a part
>of nature. I urge others to regard them so. I remember Dr. Kinsey once
>said that the only unnatural sex act is that which one cannot perform.
>Then let's start accepting the fact, and chuck into the rubbish can a
>lot of the prudish nonsense the anti-sexualists are feeding us.
>[End extracted text]
>Apparently volume 9 of the journal is available at Duke (possibly on
>microfilm) and UNC (microfilm) and Yale (paper reprint), and some
>other places. If some kind soul is willing to help me explore this
>quote that would be great. The results will be placed on the QI

Vol. 9 is apparently on paper (reprint) at Harvard/Widener.  But did
you or someone go there already?  It's checked out until May 30.  I
hesitate to recall it, although the snow should melt shortly; it's
probably being used for serious research.  :-)


>The goal is to verify the above data on paper or microfilm and
>construct a complete citation with the name of the article containing
>the quote, the author, the year, the month, the journal, the
>If you are willing to create scans and email them that would be
>fantastic. If you are unable to create scans that is ok. Please
>contact me off-list.
>I know it is possible to try to obtain this information via inter
>library loan, a system which I have used many times, but my past
>experiences indicate that direct contact with a friend or contact at a
>library is vastly preferable.
>With appreciation,
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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