In 1947, the Boy Scout organization asked their most famous Eagle to give them his advice about modification of what they called their “conservation section” in the Scout Handbook, in which sex is discussed. Replying to the New York executive who sought his help, Kinsey carefully made the distinction he always drew in these cases, namely, that he was making no moral or social judgments.
But he did have five complaints. One was the “erroneous intimation” in the Handbook that the testes were the source of the ejaculate and that ejaculation “wasted” sex hormones. Then he attacked the Handbook’s condemnation of masturbation as “the source of very considerable personality disturbance for a high proportion of the boys.” On the contrary, he said, “it is impossible to condemn masturbation without causing disturbance in a high proportion of the teenage population….Our years of research have failed to disclose any clear-cut cases of harm resulting from masturbation, although we have thousands of cases of boys who have had years of their lives ruined by worry over masturbation.”
Then Kinsey annihilated another of the Handbook’s implications, that sexual activity has a deleterious effect on athletics. Citing his histories of hundreds of athletes, he told the Scout executive:
We find athletes with every type of sexual history and those with the most active sexual histories are successful fully as often as those with restrained or apathetic histories. We have many histories of athletes whose performances were definitely improved by regular sexual outlet. We have specific records on athletic performances that were lost because the men had worked themselves into a nervous disturbance through sexual restraint. In our histories of athletes who do abstain for considerable periods of time from any sexual activity, they are very clearly the histories of persons who would have been apathetic in sexual performance under any conditions. Because of the custom among many coaches to forbid sexual activity, the athletes who are sexually active rarely admit it to the coaches, but we have the precise records on hundreds of such individuals now.
He might have added that we had the history of one track star who broke a national record within an hour after masturbating.
There was a touch of sarcasm in his polite closing: “We should be glad to serve wherever the Boy Scouts can use factual material. You and others interested in social and moral problems will have to make the interpretations of our data.”
-- Wardell Pomeroy, Dr. Kinsey and the Institute for Sex Research