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 preached a message of acceptance and tolerance to any who would listen, and hjmphreys these principles by ministering mostly to the LGBTQ community. These restrooms were known as “tearooms”.

Laud Humphreys and the Tearoom Sex Study

This left some subjects in a position where their sexual desires were not met by their spouse, who avoided both the use of contraceptives and the chance of an himphreys pregnancy. His biography, written by John F. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Those who were willing to talk openly with him tended to be among the better-educated members of the “tearoom trade.

The insertee performed the oral sex.

Research ethics materials wimba 2.doc

For most of the rest of his life, he was in private practice, although he and Miller co-authored articles about gay subcultures and victims of violent homophobia.

He played that role faithfully while observing hundreds of acts of fellatio. 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.

Specifically, they put on a “breastplate of righteousness” social and humphreyz conservatism in an effort to conceal their sexual behavior and prevent being exposed as deviants.


Laud Humphreys and the Tearoom Sex 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. Thirty-eight trde of Humphreys’ subjects clearly were neither bisexual nor homosexual. 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.

Becker at Northwestern University from”Humphreys was enormously influential on graduate students and younger scholars in the field of deviance, ethnography, and what we called ‘participant observation’. Most social scientists agree that observing people’s acts in public spaces is not unethical, as long as people are not identified.

He completed his humlhreys ingraduated with his PhD The Best and Worst of Sociology. A year later, he changed his hair, dress and car and went to the home of 50 of these men. Humphreys married Nancy Wallace, a woman from a prominent Tulsa family in [3]. Case Studies – Debates about the ethics of the Teaorom 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 huphreys of the subjects if it is revealed to the public. Tracking and interviewing the subjects provided an opportunity to better understand the rationality the subjects used when engaging in tearoom acts.

Laud Humphreys – Wikipedia

Retrieved hkmphreys ” https: Impersonal Sex in Public Places in These roles included an insertor, an insertee, and a lookout referred to as a watchqueen. Only after the research had been completed did the other members of the Sociology Department learn of it.


This article will evaluate the social context, scientific methods, and ethical issues associated with this insightful, yet controversial study. Men could be arrested and sentenced to years in prison for it. The watchqueen took on a voyeuristic role, receiving pleasure and arousal from observing the sexual interaction.

A third benefit to tearooms, and an advantage humpreys traditional hotel rooms or other more private locations, was time efficiency. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Humphreys noted that the first challenge to studying tearooms was locating the facilities frequented by the subjects.

Fifty-four percent of his subjects were married and living with their wives, and superficial analysis would suggest that they were exemplary citizens who had exemplary marriages. His impact on research and thinking about men’s public sexual encounters. After spending some time in this harsh environment, Humphreys admitted that he questioned his own ability to resist if the authorities had questioned him.

Was this article helpful to you? Inhe entered graduate school at Washington University St. Of the other 62 percent of Humphreys’ subjects, 24 percent were clearly bisexual, happily married, well educated, taroom quite successful, and exemplary members of their community. Humphreys got his information by acting as “watch queen”, playing the role of lookout and warning the men if anyone was coming.

In the ‘s PhD student in sociology Laud Humphreys studied men who have sex with other men in public restrooms of city parks. The couple had two children, Claire and David. Humphreys influenced generations of sociologists and other social and behavioral scientists in complex ways. Laud Humphreys’ unheralded theoretical contribution to the sociology of identity.