SOC229 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Desroches Island, Orillia, Voyeurism

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16 Oct 2015

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Module 10 - Humphrey's Research Methodology
Defining Tearooms
-locales where men go for impersonal sex
-Humphrey = park washrooms
-Desroches = shopping mall washrooms
-it’s a crime only bc of the public nature of the acts; it’s considered an indecent act
-typically a male behaviour, no studies about women being involved
Purpose and Scope of Humphrey’s Research
-made direct observations of tearoom participants, interviewed these men in their
homes, sympathetic and biased towards men who engage in this behaviour
-purpose? was to present a detailed ethnographic description and analysis of the
behaviour and characteristics of participants
-the nature of his topic and research methods were questionable in terms of ethics
-portrayed himself as heterosexual, but years later announced that he was gay
-the intimate detail he provides in tearoom trade makes people think he was engaged
in that kind of behaviour
-initially learned about tearoom behaviour by counselling homosexual men while being
a parish priest prior to the beginning of his sociology studies and PhD studies
Humphrey’s Research Methodology - Discovering the Tearooms
-used 3 major research techniques
direct observation (‘watch-queen role’ where he entered washrooms and watched)
interviewing men
identified their license plate numbers and interviewed them at their homes
** highly controversial methods!
-active tearoom signs include, graffiti and a broken pane of glass
Desroches’ Study - Discovering Tearooms
-involved police files / interviews / investigators
-communities include Kitchener, Peel Region, Oakville in park washroom and malls
-tearooms can now be located through the internet; major source of information for
sexual activity
Humphrey’s Study - The Watch-queen Role
-essential it’s a “voyeur-lookout role” - people who stand over at the broken pane of
glass, keep an eye out onto the park, and then let people who are engaged in the
tearoom sex know by coughing or some other signal that someone’s approaching
masturbating role
the waiter’s role
-control effect = effect that a researcher has on the action being studied
allowed Humphrey to observe the behaviour as it normally would have taken place
-a lookout role makes sense when you’re engaging in sex in open; when it’s open to
accidental discover by people coming in to washrooms
Humphrey’s Sample - In Depth Interviews
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-take places without participants speaking to one another
-the group of 12 men he interviews - the “intensive dozen” - provided more insight
about norms / roles / participants
-norm = silence
to keep sexual encounters impersonal
-by just observing, you’re not gaining much information which is why he got
participants to trust him and provide good interviews
wanted to find out subjectively what they were thinking
how they learned about this behaviour
what some of the norms where
their own explanations as to why people do this
-ways in which they’re not representative
more overt
less defensive
better educated
Module 11 - Rules, Roles, Players and Risks of the Game
The Rules of the Game
-no biographical information exchange
-participants avoid children and teenagers
-no coercion (forced sex) or payment in encounters
-risks include
loss of a job
The Players
-young males play 4 roles
straights - they just leave, they’re not bothered
enlisters - want to join in on the action but men typically avoid them
toughs - young hoodlums who want to beat up these gay men and harass them
hustlers - interested in tearoom sex, but for money - prostituting themselves
-Albert Reiss interviewed a number of young boys and found that many of them
prostituted themselves as hustlers to homosexuals
they would engage in sex with other men, but yet not see themselves as gay,
continue to see themselves as heterosexual
Humphrey also makes this argument
Insertee and Insertor Roles
-most of the sex activity that takes place is fellatio, which is oral sex (not reciprocated)
-insertee vs. insertor = each person takes a role, but not both
-insertee typically stays and fleet several men afterwards
-“aging crisis” - the insertee is usually an older man - more acceptable of being homo
-waiters - no one wants to be the insertee so they leave and come back another day
Non-Verbal Gestures and Tearoom Sex
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