In , sociologist and ordained Episcopalian minister Laud Humphreys published his book The Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public. Ethics Controversies: Case Studies – Debates about the ethics of the Tearoom Trade Study Methodology. In the ‘s PhD student in sociology Laud. Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places. 2. \; f! ri. ‘; i’. ~j. ~. ” I. I.j. Ij. ‘e.:~ f :’ t. lAUD HUMPHREYS. ‘”,. “,. At shortly after five o’clock on a weekday.

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He was an invited speaker at more than a dozen symposia and other events, and was a guest on four TV shows. Nonetheless, others have defended Tearoom Tradepointing out that participants were conducting their activities in a public place and that the deceit laux harmless, since Humphreys designed the study with respect for their individual privacy, not identifying them in his published work.

Humphreys developed this idea to explain the apparent contradiction of presumably straight, paud men holding a public conservative stance against homosexuality, yet engaging in impersonal sex with men in public settings. The watchqueen took on a voyeuristic role, receiving pleasure and arousal from observing the sexual interaction.

Schacht states that an estimatedcopies of Tearoom had been sold bywhich makes it one of the best selling books ever written by a sociologist. He was able to gain the confidence of some of the men he observed, disclose his role as scientist, and persuade them to tell him about the rest of their lives and about their motives.

Humphreys influenced generations of sociologists and other social and behavioral scientists in complex ways. Humphreys revealed his role to some of those he observed, but he noted that those who tended to talk with him openly were better educated; as he continued his research, he decided to conceal his identity in order to avoid response bias.

That is, only 14 percent were members of the gay community and were interested in primarily homosexual relationships Humphreys, They were men whose marriages were marked with tension; most of the 38 percent were Catholic or their wives were, and since the birth of their last child conjugal relations had been rare.


The insertor presented his penis for fellatio. Humphreys separated from his wife in and began living with Brian Miller, a graduate student at the University of Alberta.

Those who were willing to talk openly with him tended to be among the better-educated members of the “tearoom trade. In the event that law enforcement saw fit to arrest Humphreys for conducting this controversial study, the sensitive data he meticulously collected would be demanded by the authorities.

Laud Humphreys – Wikipedia

This page was last edited on 28 Septemberat Laud Humphreys entered the field of sociology after serving for ten years as a clergyman in the Episcopal Church. Typically, tearooms were located in public parks.

During this time, sodomy accounted for the majority of homosexual arrests. Among a variety of other important factors, this lack of sexual gratification motivated many subjects to frequent tearooms. The University of Wisconsin. Understanding Human Sexuality 9th ed. Social Science and Social Policy. He played that role faithfully while observing hundreds of acts of fellatio. He then referred Humphreys to a restroom in another park known to be frequented by homosexuals and isolated from the unrelated presence of African-Americans that had increased police activity.

Was this article helpful to you? Inhe entered graduate school at Washington University St. They wanted only some form of orgasm-producing action that was less lonely than masturbation and less involving than a love relationship.

He was a charter member of the International Academy of Sex Research. At the time of this study, anti- sodomy laws were enforced nationwide.

Research ethics materials wimba 2.doc

Impersonal Sex in Public Placesan ethnographic study of anonymous male-male sexual encounters in public toilets a practice known as “tea-rooming” in U. The couple had two children, Claire and Humlhreys.

If the police had got hold of Humphreys’ data or if the identities of the men involved had lqud revealed, they would have been severely stigmatised, their family lives ruined, they could have lost their jobs, or even been arrested and imprisoned. Schacht notes that this fact “makes it one of the best selling books ever written by a sociologist.


Around the time Humphreys conducted his study, many superhighways were being constructed, and the rest stops along these roads provided ideal tearoom facilities due to their numerous locations and ease of accessibility. For most of the rest of his life, he was in private practice, although he and Miller hhumphreys articles about gay subcultures and victims of violent homophobia. These roles included an insertor, an insertee, and a lookout referred to as a watchqueen.

The advantages that made tearooms appealing to the men who participated were the inexpensive and liberating nature of the interaction, the impersonal sexual gratification that accompanied the tradf, and the speed and efficiency that allowed participants to quickly enter and exit the tearooms.

He preached a message of acceptance and tolerance to any who would listen, and embodied these principles by ministering mostly to the LGBTQ community. Schacht, who participated in the SSSP session.

Table of Contents Key questions Example of harm from social science research – Research merit and integrity Justice Special protections for vulnerable communities Ethics Controversies: Does the value of gaining information about sexual practices justify the violation of people’s privacy? The men involved did not know he was a researcher.

A year after recording his observations of tearoom trades, Humphreys tracked down the subjects using the license plate numbers that he covertly recorded. The book is an ethnographic study of anonymous male homosexual sexual encounters in public lajd a practice that was known as “tea-rooming” in U.

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