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A New Approach to Sensitive, Private Sexual Data Collection Engaging Citizen Scientists: The Kinsey Reporter APP

A New Approach to Sensitive, Private Sexual Data Collection Engaging Citizen Scientists: The Kinsey Reporter APP

Introduction & Objectives: Traditional measures of
sexual behaviors rely on surveys with various efforts at
probability sampling and diversity inclusion. There
remains a value for new tools to document the range
of sensitive, risky, and/or possibly stigmatizing behaviors
that are under-reported or under queried. Our
objective was to build a global mobile survey platform
to share, explore, and visualize anonymous data about
sex. Anonymity would be prioritized.
Methods & Sample: The Kinsey Reporter app (kinseyreporter.
org) was built (released in 2012, re-released
in 2019) by the technical Informatics team with survey
contents provided by Kinsey Institute faculty.
Results: To date over 14,000 reports have been submitted
on various topics, including Sexual Behavior,
Pornography, Flirting and Unwanted Sex. In 2019 the
Unwanted Sex survey was replaced by a survey on
Sexual Aggression.
Conclusions: Kinsey Reporter is a global mobile survey
platform to share, explore, and visualize anonymous
data about sex. Reports are submitted via
smartphone, then visualized on the website or
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SEXUAL HEALTH A19
downloaded for offline analysis. “Citizen sex scientists”
submit reports, each consisting of one or more surveys,
after participating in or observing sexual activity.
Surveys thus far cover topics such as flirting, sexual
activity, consumption of pornography, and hormonal
birth control side effects, and sexual aggression. Norms
and behaviors surrounding these topics vary depending
on geography, so location data is crucial. However, the
sensitive nature of these topics necessitates that reports
be kept anonymous to protect both the participants
and the researchers. The current implementation of
Kinsey Reporter balances both of these demands by
collecting no personally-identifying details and by anonymizing
submission time and location with userselectable
resolution: city, province, or country.
Opportunities exist to develop other surveys and translate
to non-English languages.
Keywords: global mobile survey, data anonymity,
sensitive sexual topics
Source of Funding: None. Significant support from
key departments at Indiana University.
Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Statement: None