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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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Retrieved from ” https: There were several different roles that a man might take on during ttade tearoom interaction. On risk that his notes could have been seized to identify men engaged in illegal acts said he would have risked going to jail rather than hand them over. Humphreys’ findings destroy many stereotypes.

The Tearoom Trade | SexInfo Online

Schacht states that an estimatedcopies of Tearoom had been sold bywhich makes it one of the best selling books ever written by a sociologist. Humphreys tapped into a tearom of incongruence between one’s words and deeds that has become a primary methodological and theoretical concern in sociology throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. The research occurred in the middle s before institutional review boards were in existence.

Humphreys noted that the first challenge to studying tearooms was locating the facilities frequented by the subjects. It could not entail any kind of involvement that would threaten their already shaky marriage and jeopardize their most important asset – their standing as father of their children.

Under the guise of a social health surveyor, Humphreys interviewed the subjects about their lives without disclosing that he had already met them before.

Laud Humphreys

This study focuses on these interactions through investigation of possible social, psychological, or physiological reasons for this behavior. Views Read Edit View history.

He was associate professor of sociology at Pitzer Collegein Claremont, CA, from ; he earned full professorship at Pitzer inwhere he worked until aboutwhen he began to focus on his psychotherapist practice. The couples had various reasons for avoiding pregnancysuch as a preference for a certain number of offspring or no offspring and the costs of raising laaud child.


Inhe entered graduate school at Washington University St. Impersonal Sex in Public Places. The psychology of human sexuality. Retrieved June 23, The insertor presented his penis for fellatio. He changed his hair, clothes, and vehicle to protect his identity in case any subject recognized him from the times he played the role of watchqueen for them. They wanted only trae form of orgasm-producing action that was less lonely than masturbation and less involving than a love relationship.

The Best and Worst of Sociology. Humphreys got his information by acting as “watch queen”, playing the role of lookout and warning the men if anyone was coming.

Among a variety of other important factors, this lack of sexual gratification motivated many subjects to frequent tearooms.

The insertee performed the oral sex. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The book is an ethnographic study of anonymous male homosexual sexual encounters in public toilets a practice that was known as “tea-rooming” in U.

This survey allowed him to formulate an idea of the home life of subjects in his study. Publicly identifying oneself as a social researcher while observing the interaction between men who prize their anonymity in a tearoom would produce drastically different results than presenting oneself as a trusted watchqueen. Protecting identities of participants Case Study Protecting identities of participants: At the time of Humphreys’ research having sex with men was a crime in most of the U.

Most social scientists agree that observing people’s acts in public spaces is not unethical, as long as people are not identified. 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.


He is noted for his research into sexual encounters between men in public bathrooms, published as Tearoom Trade and for the questions that emerged from what many believe to be unethical research methods. Social Science and Social Policy. Many would count this as a social benefit.

Humphreys argued his deception was justified as the acts were so stigmatised he would not have got the information otherwise. These tradde were known as “tearooms”. Towards the end of his life, Humphreys worked as a consultant for police forces and offered his expertise in homosexual subcultures and homophobic violence during testimonies in court cases.

He was a true pioneer and a hero to all of us in lzud fields. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Hujphreys and Privacy Policy.

Laud Humphreys and the Tearoom Sex Study

Only 14 percent of Humphreys’ subjects corresponded to society’s stereotype of homosexuality. Firstly, Humphreys believed that a scientist should never neglect an area of study or phenomenon because it was difficult to investigate or inherently socially sensitive. He found tearoomm patterns relating to marital status, employment, and behavior. If discovered, knowledge of the deviant sexual behavior would threaten the stability of their families.

These roles included an insertor, an insertee, and hjmphreys lookout referred to as a watchqueen. In some cases, long-term relationships did grow out of these interactions, but for the most part a minimal exchange of words offered the most privacy and anonymity.

Entering and exiting a tearoom quickly and efficiently resulted in less explaining that a man needed to provide to his family in order to justify his absences. The University of Wisconsin. Those who were willing to talk openly with him tended to be among the better-educated members of the “tearoom trade.