Sexuality Research and Social Policy

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 95-98

First online:

Dangerous Politics and Sex Research: The Example of “Penis-gate 2011”

  • Christian GrovAffiliated withBrooklyn College and the Graduate Center, City University of New YorkThe Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training Email author 

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In summer 2011, a conservative lobby group released an inaccurate statement decrying the National Institutes for Health for allegedly funding four research studies the group deemed “bizarre.” Two of these studies explicitly involved sexuality research. This paper responds to the allegations around one of the studies and describes the subsequent media firestorm generated as a result of the lobby group’s report. This paper concludes by illustrating some of the dangers these types of allegations pose for science and researchers, and offers advice for how to navigate negative media attention.


National Institutes for Health Traditional Values Coalition Penis size Media Politics Funding