History of Sex Surveys: A Research in Marriage Part 1

About a survey by Dr. G.V. Hamilton entitled A Research in Marriage, findings from the study done in 1928 on sex and sexuality.


Researcher: Dr. G. V. Hamilton, a Harvard graduate specializing in comparative psychology, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis, known for his previous research study of sexual behavior among apes.

Topics Studied: Dr. Hamilton wanted to know to what extent marital sex problems are caused by the institution of marriage itself, and to what extent they were caused by the individuals involved. His primary areas of investigation were (1) "Important sexual events of childhood and puberty," and (2) "Beliefs, attitudes, predicaments, and characteristic modes of performance with reference to sex and marriage."

When Done: Approx. 1928.

How Done: The data was obtained by personal "interviews" during which standardized questions typed on a card were handed, without further discussion, to the subject, who then answered orally.

Subjects Studied: One hundred married females and 100 married males. Fifty-five couples represented pairs of spouses. A considerable number were persons of outstanding intellectual and artistic achievement, most of them college graduates between 30 and 40 years of age, most of them Dr. Hamilton's patients or their friends. All were Caucasian.

Where Done: Dr. Hamilton's consulting room in New York City.

Findings and Conclusions: A higher percentage of women than men expressed dissatisfaction with their marriages--41% against 36%.

Correlating data suggested that ". . . satisfying contacts with the mother during childhood may so condition the male that when he reaches maturity only a mother type of mate will satisfy him. Thus we find that, of the 17 men who stated categorically that their wives were physically 'like' or 'very like' their mothers, 16 were rated as having expressed satisfaction with their own marriages. Of the 60 men who married women physically 'unlike' their mothers, only 21 belonged to the satisfied group." (The physical likeness or unlikeness of husband to father did not appear to be an important factor in the case of the women's appraisals of their marriages.)

Masturbation--Ninety-seven percent of the men and 75% of the women reported having masturbated at some time during their lives. Only 17 men and 42 women categorically denied having masturbated since marriage.

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