THE FUTURE OF SEX RESEARCH
Modern sex research has contributed greatly to a better understanding not only of sex and reproduction, but also of human behavior in general. Nevertheless, there is much that still has to be learned. In fact, many scientists agree that, so far, we have taken only the first few steps into a vast, new, unexplored territory. Nobody can say where these steps will eventually lead us.
We need to know still more about the physiology and biochemistry of sexual responses. Thus, new research is being conducted on the role of hormones and other glandular secretions (such as those produced by the bulbourethral and greater vestibular glands, for example). There is also some hope that the continued study of the reproductive process may lead to a reduction of infertility, a better control of birth defects, and more effective contraceptives. In addition, scientists are seeking for vaccines or other preventive methods that could finally end the venereal disease epidemic. Some researchers are turning their attention to the sexual capacities of people with various handicaps, or they study the effects of sexual activity on the aging and on persons with a damaged heart. Furthermore, by systematically comparing sexually dysfunctional young people with older people who once had the same problems, but overcame them, sex therapists may learn to become more successful and may even discover how to prevent sexual inadequacy altogether.
The study of sexual behavior in a wider sense is also important. For example, it would be very useful if Kinsey's original work could be repeated today, and if similar large statistical surveys could be made in other countries. This kind of research can greatly illuminate the problems of sexual conformity and sexual deviance. If we want rational public attitudes and workable sex laws, we need to find out a great deal more about the various sexual minorities, including sex offenders. We also need a better understanding of gender identity problems, such as transvestism and transsexualism. Very few studies have been made of female homosexuals. Indeed, the entire subject of homosexuality remains shrouded in mystery and mired in confusion. It seems that, so far, only the wrong questions have been asked. Anthropologists, sociologists, economists, and even political scientists may find new ways of approaching such matters. However, it is not only the sexual minorities that need to be studied and explained. The presumed majority is just as mysterious. We therefore have to start questioning even our most innocent assumptions. Such a critical spirit can not only teach us more about ourselves, but also prevent us from becoming self-righteous and intolerant. We will also have to remember that, while sex is a fascinating subject, it is never more than a small part in a much larger picture. We are not likely to understand very much about sex until we realize that it is, at most, only one aspect of the whole human personality. In the final analysis, therefore, it is the human race and the human condition that have to be studied. Sex research, properly understood, is destined to transcend the narrow confines of any single discipline.