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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Research ethics materials wimba 2.doc

Rtade decided that it would be of considerable social importance for society to gain more objective understanding of who these men are and what motivates them to seek quick, impersonal sexual gratification.

Retrieved from ” https: 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.

Babbie notes, the “tearoom trade controversy [on whether this research was ethical or not] has never been resolved”; and it is likely to remain a subject of debates in the conceivable future. Impersonal Sex in Public Places in The watchqueen would alert the other men in the tearoom if a passerby approached and would notify them when it was safe to proceed again.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. A year later and carefully disguised, Humphreys appeared at their homes claiming to be a health-service interviewer and interviewed them about their marital status, race, job, and so on. Impersonal Sex in Public Placesan ethnographic study of anonymous male-male sexual encounters in public toilets a practice known as “tea-rooming” in U. Skip to main content.


The watchqueen took on a voyeuristic role, receiving tdade and arousal from observing the sexual interaction. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. He also bore witness to their illegal activity.

The men involved did not know he was a researcher.

Understanding Human Sexuality 9th ed. Those who were willing to talk openly with him tended to be among the better-educated members of the “tearoom trade. His impact on research and thinking about men’s public sexual encounters.

Laud Humphreys – Wikipedia

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 couple had two children, Claire and David.

Impersonal Sex in Public Places. If discovered, knowledge of the deviant sexual behavior would threaten the stability of their families.

Portraying himself as a social health researcher he interviewed them under false pretences to gain information on their marital status, sexuality and sexual orientations and occupations. He completed his dissertation ingraduated with his PhD Laud Humphreys died in from lung cancer. After changing his hair, attire, dress, and car, Humphreys visited taroom homes of the subjects.

Laud Humphreys and the Tearoom Sex Study

Case Studies – Debates about the ethics of the Tearoom Trade Study Methodology In the ‘s PhD student in sociology Laud Humphreys studied men who have sex with other men in public restrooms of city parks. In addition, after publishing the study, the public expressed concern over whether a researcher should be allowed to collect data which has the potential to jeopardize the safety of the subjects if it is revealed to the public.


Firstly, Humphreys believed that a scientist should never neglect an area of tearoomm or phenomenon because it was difficult to investigate or inherently socially sensitive. Impersonal Sex in Public Placesone of the most famous and controversial studies in sexology.

Following the release of his study, police arrests of homosexuals and raids on trqde actually decreased in frequency, exemplifying how the understanding of human nature benefits everyone. Informal inquiry Knerr, indicated that Humphreys’ research has helped persuade police departments to stop using their resources on arrest for this victimless crime. Humphreys’ findings destroy many stereotypes. The dissertation proposal was reviewed only by Humphreys’ Ph.

Laud Humphreys

Loneliness emerged as a prominent characteristic in many of the subjects he surveyed. He played that role faithfully while observing hundreds of hunphreys of fellatio. Though The Tearoom Trade made important contributions to sex research, Humphreys’ research methods violated modern contemporary ethical standards and raised serious questions about the morality of scientific observation.

A year later, he changed his hair, dress and car and went to the home of 50 of these men.