Tearoom Trade And The Study Of Sex In Public Places

In the not too distant past, scientists could get away with almost anything because ethics boards did not yet exist and it was up to the researchers themselves to determine what types of risks were acceptable. This resulted in the publication of a number of studies that we look back on today as being ethically dubious.

For example, a 1938 study published in the Journal of Social Psychology involved two psychologists surreptitiously hiding under college students’ dorm room beds in order to eavesdrop on their conversations [1]. I’m quite sure that if a similar study were attempted today, the researchers would be thrown in jail. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the history of questionable research ethics. In this article, I’m going to share one of the most fascinating and ethically ambiguous studies ever conducted in the history of sex research.

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