Homosexuality has always presented a controversial social problem and has aroused strong feelings, not only among the general public, but also among the various professional groups who are trying to adopt a more scientific attitude towards this subject. In particular the differing opinions of psychiatrists, penal administrations and sociologists may be due to the fact that they come into contact with various types of homosexuals who present disparate problems and may have dissimilar personalities.
The object of this research was to study three groups of homosexuals in the hope that it would advance our knowledge about their differentiating characteristics, and also to compare these groups with three equivalent groups. Several attempts have been made to classify homosexuals in various ways. Hauser ( 1962) listed no less than 41 types. But these classifications have always relied upon subjective judgements. For the purposes of this research a simple objective classification was required, and so the homosexuals were divided into three groups according to the social consequences of their sexual activities.
Researchers into this subject have never been able to explain why some homsexuals keep clear of trouble, while others are sent to prison, or require long periods of psychiatric treatment. Consequently it was arranged that the homosexuals should be classified into: (1) those in prison, (2) those currently under treatment, and (3) those who had never been in prison or under treatment. It was also hoped to have three corresponding control groups of nonhomosexuals to compare with the homosexual groups. These were obtained for two of the groups, after some difficulties were overcome (see Section B of the Appendix). Unfortunately the Prison Commissioners (as they were then called) would not agree to prisoners other than those convicted of homosexual offences being questioned about sexual matters. However, the Prison authorities agreed to an alternative plan which in some ways increased the value of the results although it meant that the homosexuals in prison could not be compared with a matching group of non-homosexual prisoners.
The original plan was to interview only prisoners convicted of homosexual offences with other adults. In fact many of the men in prison for so-called homosexual offences were child molesters.