History of Sex Surveys: A Research in Marriage Part 2

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


Attitudes toward extramarital sex: CONSERVATIVE (believe adultery is not justifiable): 15% of the men; 32% of the women. LIBERAL (middle ground) : 69% of the men; 55% of the women. RADICAL (condoning adultery): 16% of the men; 13% of the women.

"Illicit" sex was admitted to by 59% of the men, 47% of the women. In addition, 29% of the men and 24% of the women had committed adultery.

The figures suggest that men who are virgins at marriage are much more likely to remain monogamous after marriage than are those who have had premarital sex experience, but that the factor of virginity at marriage is insignificant in this respect in the case of women.

Fifty-four percent of the women were rated as adequate in their capacity to experience orgasm in the sex act. "From almost every standpoint only the truly frigid woman (of whom there was but one in our group of 100 women) can afford to ignore an absent or seriously lacking orgasm capacity. Unless the sex act ends in a fully releasing, fully terminative climax in at least 20% of copulations there is likely to be trouble ahead." Dr. Hamilton's statistics also indicated that "inability to have the orgasm and more or less serious nervous symptoms occur together [in women] with significant frequency."

Thirty-six percent of the women had been able to have "normal" orgasms during the 1st year of their marriage; this number had increased to 54% at the time of their examination.

Hamilton felt that the institution of marriage fared better in his study than he had expected. Forty-eight percent of the subjects were "reasonably" satisfied with their marriages. Women were found to be more tolerant of sexual inadequacy in their husbands than the men were of sexual inadequacy in their wives. When the 200 spouses were asked, "If by some miracle you could press a button and find that you had never been married to your spouse, would you press that button?" Without qualification, 128 said No.

Public Reaction: A Research in Marriage was published in 1929 by the Medical Research Press. It was not intended for the general public. Professional reaction was respectful but the study was too limited to have a significant impact.

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