Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, Volume 10, October 24, 2007


Chapter 5


Forum readership during 1977 was 64% male, 36% female; 61% were between the ages of 18 and 34, with further age breakdowns unavailable. Over half the population was married (56%), with almost half employed in clerical and sales positions, and 10% as professionals and managers. Of the readers 60% had attended or graduated college. While data on household income were not collected for that year, in January 1976, 43% had an annual income of $15,000 or over. The average number of readers per issue in 1977 was over 650,000, of whom 352 responded to the questionnaire.

As compared on Table 1, questionnaire respondents seem similar to the total readership in that 59% of the sample were married (versus 56% of the total), and 64% of the respondents versus 61% of the readership were between 18 and 34 years of age. Additionally, while questions on sexual liberality were not asked of either the readership or the questionnaire respondents, it can be speculated that as readers of the sexually explicit content of Forum, both groups would possibly rank high in this area.

Table 1: Sample vs. Forum Readership, in %

1977 Readership N=650,000
Questionnaire Sample N=352
High School or less

Differences between the two groups include a higher percentage of females among the respondents (53%) than in the readership (36%), and a lower percentage of males. In addition, 54% of the respondents versus 74% of the readers had graduated or attended college.

The largest percentage changes were in the area of occupations. Of those in the sample, 19% indicated they had clerical or sales positions, with 42% characterizing themselves as professional or managerial. These figures compare to 10% professional and 45% clerical in the overall readership. Since the information was extracted from two separate surveys, it is possible that potential ambiguities in the occupational categories may have caused some bias in the self-reported data.

Areas where comparative information between the readership and the sample was not available include household income for the questionnaire respondents, and further breakdowns on age, marital status, nominal religion and religious practices of the readership. A further description of data collected on these variables for the respondents is given in Chapter 7.


Chapter 6


The self-report questionnaire on monogamous practices was developed with the assistance of the members of the Forum editorial staff and a number of Forum consultants. During its development the questionnaire was given to a number of volunteer subjects, and it was examined for clarity of expression and detail. It was revised twice, with the invaluable assistance of Dr. Wardell Pomeroy in preparing the final version.

A copy of the questionnaire in its published form is attached. Along with an article on monogamy, the questionnaire appeared in the May, 1977 issue of Forum magazine with the request that it be filled in and returned. The responses were thus confidential and voluntary ones from Forum subscribers, newsstand purchasers and others who may have read that particular issue of the magazine. As the article on monogamy included a favorable discussion of extra-monogamous sex, it should be noted that more individuals engaging in non-monogamous practices may have been induced to respond than would have if the article had been neutral or unfavorable.

The questionnaire was designed to be short and clear in order to obtain the maximum number of responses. Moreover, it was attempted simultaneously to include in it a number of variables previously found to be important in defining the monogamous practices of different groups in society.

These variables are age, education completed, occupation, marital status, and religion. Under this latter category were included questions on nominal religion and on actual religious practice as evidenced by frequency of attendance at religious services. This second question was designed to measure depth of religion, which has in the past been found to be a definitive variable. (Kinsey et al., 1948, 1953; Athanasiou, 1970, Bell, 1974)

In addition to the quick-response questions on the data mentioned above, respondents were queried on both their current and previous monogamous beliefs and practices. To minimize confusion on the part of questionnaire readers, monogamy was defined as "an exclusive sexual relationship between partners." Respondents were then invited to answer yes/no questions on their attitudes and behavior, and in addition, to provide explanations for their practices in their own words. By this method of providing space for longer free replies, it was hoped to elicit the kind of individually revealing responses that characterize interview and case history research. This was seen to be a vital supplement to the type of directed information collected by questionnaires where the respondent merely checks off his reaction to categories and ideas already defined by the questionnaire writers.

Responses were received at the Forum offices in New York for a period of four months after the publication of the questionnaire. At that point the data were sorted into tables of male and female responses, as well as into one aggregate response table. The responses were coded and processed by computer into twenty-five tables of information.

Tables 1 - 11 profile the data base of the respondents in terms of background variables. These categories were then used as a horizontal framework against which Tables 12 - 31 (behavior and attitudes) were matched. These latter tables report whether or not the respondent was monogamous at the time of the survey, and the various reasons given. They also indicate whether or not the respondent had been monogamous in previous relationships, and why or why not.

In considering the information collected and tabulated, the intent was:

- to give an accounting of the past and present monogamous or non-monogamous practices of our respondents

- to establish if there had been any changes in these practices over time

- to ascertain the reasons for any changes that have occurred to profile the respondents' current and past attitudes towards monogamy as separate from their behavior

- to describe any changes in their beliefs.

The results of the examination of the data were also compared to the background information collect to identify any correlations between different attitudes and practices and such variables as religion, age, and sex.

Statistical comparisons between the sexual data thus obtained from this sample and the U.S. population at large were not done due to a lack of available figures for the latter. In addition, difficulties in the validity of the survey responses (as noted in Chapter 4 - Problems and Limitations) rendered the reliability of and significance tests on percentage differences between various groups in the sample potentially invalid. Data collected in the survey were seen not as definitive, but as suggestive only.

Go to Chapter 7


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