Research Report: Laud Humphrey's Tearoom Trade


I have chosen to do my research report on Laud Humphreys study of the tearoom
trade. This looks at impersonal sex in public places. The idea originally came from  
Humphreys graduate advisor raising the question of “Where does the average guy
go for a blow-job” and the idea of studying “deviant behaviour of a social subculture”
stemmed from this. Aware that sociologists had already studied gay bars and male
prostitution Humphreys wanted to push the envelope by researching the areas
where impersonal sex was common and the most arrests were made.
For this study there was no hypothesis or primary study Humphreys thought it better
to let one develop out of the work opposed to going in with any preconceived  
notions. He simply wanted to know what sort of men frequented tearooms.
Humphreys made no secret of his willing use of methodological triangulation
and for the purposes of his study the two gel together well.

“I employed the methods described herein not because they are the most accurate in the sense of neatness and cleanness but because they promised the greatest accuracy in terms of faithfulness to the people and the actions as they live and happen”

The main bulk of the research was done by way or participant observation where
Humphreys played the part of the watch queen (A sentry for an undesirables) and
And the next stage was done via surveys and structured interviews.

Reason For The Use Of Research Design

Participant observation was the most obvious choice of research given the secretive
Nature and reluctance of the group he wanted to study. Over history so called
“deviant subcultures” have always found ways to defend themselves against
infiltration by outsiders and to safeguard their own interests and identities.
No average man could walk in from the streets and be accepted.
Only by keeping clandestine about your true nature and intentions could you make
any kind of progress. This on its own is an...