Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places, by Laud Humphreys, was first published in 1970. The text examined the subject of men who had had sex in public restrooms, or “tearooms.” The prize-winning text was immediately controversial and has remained so, becoming essential for students of sociology and readers of sociology and research methods texts. The text's infamy owes more to the research methods deployed by Humphreys, rather than the results found, with Humphreys's text cited as an example of covert and deceptive research methods that may have endangered subjects. Humphreys described in Tearoom Trade how his PhD advisor had asked him in 1965, “But where does the average guy go just to get a blow job?” Humphreys's search for an answer to that question led to his study of impersonal sex, which was conducted over 2 years, commencing in the spring of 1966. Humphreys had previously made informal observations ...