Interview with Amy, 16-17, British, working class, Roman Catholic. Women, Risk and AIDS Project, London, 1989. Anonymised version including field notes. (Ref: LSFS4)
Anonymised transcript of an interview with Amy, a second generation migrant who is training as a painter and decorator. Her parents haven't been very supportive of this, and think she should have a more 'feminine' or domesticated job role. They are quite protective of Amy, especially when compared to her older brother who seems to have a lot more freedom, and hold traditional values. Amy didn't get much sex education at school due to wider parental protests, but is adamant on condom use and fairly clued up around AIDS. She thinks she would like marriage and parenthood in the future, but changes her mind a lot at the moment.
Reanimating Data Project
CC BY-NC 4.0
LSFS4 /12/13 30.3.89
Q: So you do painting?
Q: So what does that involve?
A: Well at the moment just clearing this place up, we have just moved in and it’s in a mess.
Downstairs is going to be our area, you know, workshop, and it’s alright.
Q: Why did you pick painting?
A: I always liked to do it and at home I have always helped around and everything and I
really enjoy it.
Q: And you are still living at home?
Q: Is that alright?
A: I just don’t get on with them.
Q: Is that recent or has it always been like that?
A: Well I mean it’s been going on like that for a year and a half, about that. They get on my
nerves and I get on their nerves and things like that.
Q: So are you in much or do you try and stay out?
A: Well I try and stay out, you know, but usually when I get home my brother ain’t in and I
think, and he usually goes out as well.
Q: How old is he?
Q: Does he get on at home?
Q: So it’s just you?
Q: Why do you think it is?
A: I don’t know. I just think my Mum and Dad, they are ....., like the girl stays at home doing
all the cooking and work and, you know what I mean, and the boys go out and enjoy
themselves and that’s it. And they just can’t see my point of view where it’s not fair like that.
You know, like this job they don’t like it either.
Q: Why not?
A: Because they consider it’s a man's job. They say, ‘you can’t do that job’ so I went on, I
used to train as a mechanic before and they didn’t like that either. They just say to me why
didn't I get a job like a secretary or something you know, but you try telling them you don't
like that job and they still don't want to know.
Q: So does that mean they have not been giving you that much support?
A: Well I mean they did not say much when I joined it. Well like know they keep on saying
why are you doing that job and you don't need to do that job, you know, and I bet you don't
like it and this that and the other.
Q: So do you have a lot of arguments?
Q: But you end up doing what you want?
A: Yes. I can't have them run my life. My brother, he had a job as a [SKILLED TRADE] and
he only had four months to go and he left. I mean he's working as a [SKILLED TRADE] now
but they didn't say nothing about that, leaving one job just to go to another with four months
training left and they never said nothing. But with me, you know, it's why are you doing that,
that's going to get you nowhere, you know.
Q: So they treated you quite different than your brother?
Q: Is that because of the tradition in the family?
A: Yes that’s what I think because my parents aren't English, my dad's Italian and my mum's
Portuguese, and over there the girl stays at home you know, doing the house work and the
other things like that, I don't like it.
Q: So they lived over here all the time?
A: Yes, my mum's been here for about 20 years and my dad's been here for about 40, they
still live their own way and I have been bought up like this and I never used to do that when I
was young, that stuff.
Q: So do they see you as a bit of a rebel?
A: Yes, that’s what my dad calls me.
Q: Is he proud of you as well?
A: Sometimes, but I mean we still have arguments as well, I have worse arguments with my
mum. My dad ain't that bad, he sees my point of view, but my mum just goes on and on.
Q: So what do they want to happen to you except getting a job as a secretary?
A: Marry a rich bloke who could keep me all his life.
Q: Have they got anyone in mind?
A: No, but if I go out with anyone they want to know their parents, they want to know what he
does, what he's like and this that and the other, but things ain’t like that nowadays. You don't
bring the boys home for dinner, you know to meet your parents, it ain’t just like that and like if
I just go out with someone as a good friend they go like, 'you can't go out with him he's this
he's that', and it's terrible.
Q: So do you take anyone home?
A: No you’re joking, oh my God no, never even, if they phone up they get told everything on
the phone, they get asked questions, you know, it’s terrible.
Q: So do your parents not really know what you do outside?
A: No not really. I try not to tell them because you know, because they want to know this,
when you tell them once they want to know all the time. And if my brother goes out, if they
ask him where he's going he just says, 'oh I am going out', that’s it, that’s good enough for
them, but if I say it they have to know if I am going out with my mate, she is a girl, they want
to know her parents, they want to know where she is from, how old she is, what she does
and everything. I mean you just go out with someone, it ain’t worth it.
Q: Do you know they are worried about you?
A: No, they are just pig headed. I don’t know, I go out a lot but before I never, because they
used to ask too many questions when I used to go out before and I used to get fed up of it
so I didn't go out that much, but now I think forget it, if they're going to treat me like this I ain’t
going to accept it. Like when I went out yesterday I didn't tell them where I was going and I
came in and it was about 8 o'clock and my dad goes to me, 'where have you been?', I said
'out', and he goes, 'that is not good enough'. I said. 'if it’s good enough for HARRY to say it I
can say it,' and he goes, 'right, have it your way then'. I went out again, he asked, 'what time
are you coming home?' and I said, 'I don't know', but I mean like he won't say nothing but he
will let me out once or twice and then he will start again you know.
Q: And do you get home really late?
A: It depends where I go. I mean if I go out to a disco or something I might come in three in
the morning, discos finish at that time and you’re not going to leave at midnight to get home
you know, but it depends on where I go. I'm not as bad as my brother, my brother goes out
and comes home about one or two in the morning nearly every night and you know I come
home about eleven, that’s the latest I come home cause I don’t like walking the streets at
night, you know, that’s the only reason.
Q: So where do you usually go?
A: I usually meet up with SOPHIE, she works here as well, and we just go out and we talk
and we go for walks and that’s it usually.
Q: Do you go to pubs?
Q: And you have got a special boyfriend?
A: Well he's not really a boyfriend, he's a friend, do you know what I mean. I can talk to him
and everything, he is really understanding and everything you know. My mum doesn't like
Q: Why not?
A: There's three brother's and I used to go out with one of them and the older one, he is the
one I get on with really well, you know. He's my mate and my mum knows him and
everything and she just don't like him, she just hates him, I don't know why, it’s really
Q: And she's never talked about why?
A: No I mean I she knows his dad and she knows his mum and she just hates him. I said
'why?' and she just said ‘no I don't like him’, ‘you must have a reason?’ and she's going, ‘no I
don't like him I'm not going to let you hang around with that sort of company you know’,
‘Why?’ and she just said nothing.
Q: What does he do?
A: He's a mechanic. She goes, 'why don't you find a decent bloke to hang around with?', but
decent to her, what is decent you know, I don't.
Q: But she never makes it clear?
A: All she goes on about is money that's all my mum thinks about is money and she just, you
know, 'find a bloke with money', and this that and the other, 'so you don't have to work', I
think it's more important if you like a person rather than money. I mean as long as I can get
by and I've got a job that earns me enough money to live, that's alright for me. My mum don't
see it that way.
Q: And have you had any boyfriends that have been quite serious?
A: Yes, quite a few, then my mum starts interfering you know. They get quite pissed off.
Q: When did you start bringing boys home?
A: When I was about fourteen, about that.
Q: And did you bring them home?
A: No there was one, it was my brother’s friend, I used to go out with him a lot. He was
probably my first one and like he used to, my mum didn't know about it we wouldn't tell her,
but he used to be round the house and then someone told her and she goes, 'oh yes' and
she allowed me to go out with him because she knew his mum and they were really good
friends and everything. She said 'you should get married to him' and I'm thinking, what, I am
only fourteen, I shouldn't be getting married to no one, she just sort of really liked him and
when she first found out that I was going out with him and if I said I was going out with
ALEX, cause his name was ALEX, I walked straight out the door and she would give me
money and everything. ‘Go on, go out with him’, but then anyone else, you know, it's a
Q: So what happened with him?
A: We just split up because my brother used to take the piss out of him and his mates and
you know, so that was the end of that, but we’re still friends, we still talk to each other.
Q: So what happened after that, did you have other boyfriends?
A: Probably, can't remember. Yes I used to have one that used to live near the Millwall
football ground and my brother got it into my dad’s head that he was a skinhead and a
Millwall supporter and he goes out after every match and knifing people up and my dad
believed him, my brother has never seen him before and my dad believed him and that was
me banned from seeing him, bad influence this, that and the other.
Q: But they never met him?
Q: I presume he wasn't a skinhead.
A: No, I wouldn't go out with a skinhead, but they, but it was in my dad's head that he was a
skinhead and he goes out and he fights and he cuts everyone up, you know, and my dad
Q: Did your parents ever talk to you about boys and sex and things like that?
A: Yes, lately they have about if you start hanging around with the wrong company you're
going to come home pregnant, and don't expect me to stand by you, this that and the other
and 'you’re too young to have a baby,' and all this. They don't know nothing so like I said to
my mum, ‘I want to leave home' and she said, 'the only time you’re going to leave home is
when you’re married,' you know what I mean, and I said, 'I'll leave home for independence
like to cope by myself you know, if I ever do get married and if anything goes wrong I'll be by
myself, so I need to get used to it and everything'. Well she just can't see it that way.
Q: Could she stop you leaving?
A: I don't know could she, but them flats where you're supposed to live, if you go to the
council there is a place Pluto down .......... Road and they only give you flats or help you out
if your parents have chucked you out, if you say you are leaving they put you on a waiting list
for about 3 years, so I mean like I am looking for a place, I can get help can't I cause I'm on
YTS for paying the rents and everything.
Q: I think so.
A: Soon as I find a cheap enough one I am going because like my mate, she's offered me to
live with her, but then living with your friend is alright but then you start feeling guilty you
know, about paying bills.
Q: Has she got a flat?
A: No she lives with her mum but I know her mum and everything and I get on with her, and
her mum says, 'if ever you want, if you have got nowhere to go just come down and stay
with us,' but then you feel like you're taking advantage.
Q: Is that your best friend?
A: The one that works here.
Q: Has she got a boyfriend?
A: No, I don't think so at the moment.
Q: So when did you start going out with boys seriously?
A: When I was about fifteen.
Q: Had you talked about sex at school?
A: Yes we talked about that.
Q: When did you have that?
Q: At school?
Q: What age did they do that?
A: I can't remember, I think we weren’t that mature about it because everyone was laughing
about it when was it, it was in secondary school about second year.
Q: What did they tell you?
A: Just about everything, they just go on and on. We used to have it in the science lessons.
Some of the kid’s mothers wrote up to school saying they didn't want their kids in it, you
Q: What sort of people, was it because of their religion?
A: No they just didn't want the school telling the kids about it, then it stopped and then it
carried on again, but everyone just laughed about it and made jokes.
Q: Did you learn from that?
A: No, nearly everyone in my school knew about everything you know.
Q: Did they ever in your school talk about AIDS?
A: Yes, well they did, I think they did, but everyone was talking about it anyway. Yes, they
Q: How much do you know about AIDS?
A: Well, the facts. Well I mean you know you usually talk about this with your mates and if
anything new happens you tell them this and they tell you that, and usually the news and
posters and all that, but most of it’s from mates.
Q: So who do you think are the people most at risk?
A: Gays, well I mean that's what we have been led to believe, but I mean it can be anyone
Q: How's it actually transmitted?
A: Well it started off with gays didn't they, I think it was gays? I remember everyone going
around saying gays had AIDS. I know everyone can be at risk, not just gays.
Q: Do you ever feel you're at risk?
A: No. You don't really think about these things. AIDS is just a way of life, you know what a
mean, it's just there and it’s like getting pregnant, you know, it’s just a thing.
Q: That it’s in the background?
A: Well it's just a thing, AIDS. I don’t know.
Q: Do you know anyone who has got it or?
A: No. I don’t think I know anyone whose got it.
Q: Do you know anyone who might be at risk?
A: Not really. I know a lot of boys that go out with girls just for sex and everything, but they
always use condoms anyway.
Q: Because of AIDS?
A: Yes. I don’t know anyone really.
Q: And do you do that too?
A: Yes, it’s a bit stupid if you don’t. It’s your life that’s at risk, it just ain’t worth it.
Q: So when you use, because you say here that you use condoms, is that for any particular
reason to do with AIDS or is that just because that’s the easiest to use?
A: Well it’s the safest really. Isn’t it? Yes, I mean I suppose people will say the safest thing is
saying no, but you are not going to go through your life being a virgin. So I think that’s the
safest thing to use if you are going to have sex. But not just that, if you get pregnant, that’s
another big worry on your head. I think it’s the best thing really.
Q: You have actually had three relationships, who was actually negotiating the sexual
relationship, was it you or your boyfriend?
A: Well when I go out with a bloke I make a point of it, we always talk about things and I
usually make sure we talk and if we are going to have sex to make sure we do take
precautions and everything.
Q: So you talk about it?
A: Yes it’s usually a joint decision.
Q: So has it ever been something you have been persuaded into?
A: No because if anybody tried to persuade me I would kick them and leave. I like getting my
own way and if people try to force me to do things I just won’t do it and that’s it.
Q: And were these each people that you were going steady?
A: Yes. Well two of them I had known them for really long and another one was a mate of
one of my mates I had known for ages.
Q: And how long a time is it usually before you decide that you wanted sex?
A: Well I don’t know straight away. It takes time. You have to like the person and there has
to be something going between you. I wouldn’t just jump in bed with anyone just for the sake
of it because it ain’t worth it.
Q: Is it a matter of weeks or months or?
A: It’s months. About three or four months.
Q: When it was the first time was that alright for you?
A: Yes I think I was drunk. I wasn’t drunk drunk, I knew what I was doing and everything.
Q: And were you prepared, did you take precautions?
A: Oh yes.
Q: And is it you that asks the blokes to actually use a condom?
A: Yes I am straightforward with them.
Q: And is that always alright or does anyone object?
A: No, they don’t. Some boys are just stupid, but if they don’t want to wear a condom then
tough, you know go and find someone else. That’s it. But most of them they don’t mind.
Q: Who carries around the condoms?
A: Both do.
Q: So you do as well?
Q: That’s a very good idea rather than relying on someone to have them. You say after a few
months you have a sexual relationship with someone, is it because you want to have it
rather than for the actual pleasure of it, or is it what gets done next in a relationship?
A: Oh no. I don’t get jumbled up. But I think it’s both. It wouldn’t just be because that
happens next, and that’s the way the pattern goes because if you do it like that that’s just
stupid. You can just write a book out and live your life like that.
Q: And do you enjoy it?
A: Yes. Well if I didn’t I wouldn’t do it.
Q: It’s not always the case. Some girls do do it and don’t enjoy it.
A: Yes but they are probably the ones that get forced into it really. It’s stupid really. You see
some girls just go out just for the sake of getting boys, but if they want to risk their life in that
way it’s up to them.
Q: Do you feel they are risking their lives?
A: Well I know a few girls that they used to go out with just one-night stands and they never
used to use anything. That is really risking your life because once you have got AIDS that’s
it, they haven’t found a cure yet. So you don’t know what is going to happen to you.
Q: Which seems to be the most prevalent you might think of in terms of the risks of getting
AIDS or the risks of getting pregnant?
A: What do you mean?
Q: If you have a sexual relationship with a boy, and you use a condom, what are you most
Q: Rather than pregnant?
A: Yes it has to be AIDS. A kid, you can have the kid and if you can’t cope there is always
people that will look after it for you but AIDS once you get it that’s it and there is no giving it
to someone else, you have it, you take it for a while. It’s just you've got it and you have got to
cope with it and that’s it.
Q: So you wouldn’t take that sort of risk?
A: No, it’s not worth it.
Q: Having you ever used any other form of contraception?
Q: Would you think of using anything else?
A: Not really.
Q: Because there are other forms.
A: Yes I know. But no, I just think condoms are the safest and the easiest and that’s it.
Q: Would you say that you were the sort of person who takes any risks?
A: Yes I do take some risks but as long as I know, I don’t really do anything stupid.
Q: What are the risks you think you take?
A: Like when I went on a course last week and they made us jump off the front of a 50ft
bridge. That to me is a risk.
A: Yes, well I mean we were abseiling. We had ropes and everything, but I think things like
that are risks.
Q: What about anything to do with health, things like smoking.
A: Yes I smoke but it’s like you can always do something about it. If you think it’s getting the
better of you, you can always stop. It might be hard, but you can always stop, but I don’t
really think that is a major risk.
Q: Do you think you will stop?
A: Probably sometime. Sometime, somewhere I don’t know.
Q: But seemingly the risk from smoking, cancer and all that is not as bad as the risk from sex
and AIDS to you?
A: No. Alright there isn’t a cure for cancer, but if they catch it in the early stages they can
always remove it, but with AIDS they can’t do anything so I take that as being bigger.
Q: What about things like drugs?
A: No, a waste of money. It is, I think it’s stupid. You get told about all these people who are
on it and they spend so much a day on buying this rubbish and they just sit there like a
cabbage. What for? You know going out to a party if you want to enjoy yourself and even
have a few drinks if they want a buzz, but drugs, it isn’t worth it.
Q: What about drink?
A: Yes I do drink.
Q: A lot?
A: No. I do get, not really drunk but just jolly when I'm at parties and places like that. But if
you haven’t had a few drinks at a party you can’t really enjoy yourself. So I don’t usually go
out and get drunk, I might have a few drinks but that’s it.
Q: What do you think, when you were talking about what was going to happen to you in the
next few years, what sort of business would you like to be in?
A: Painting and decorating. Because I can’t stand people telling me what to do.
Q: So you couldn’t envisage yourself working for somebody else?
A: I could for a short time but once I had some money together that would be it. I couldn’t
see myself working for someone all my life, I just couldn’t see myself doing it. I would
probably get thrown out of so many jobs because of my temper and I want everything my
way. I am probably a bit stubborn.
Q: Have you thought about marriage at all?
A: Well I mean some boys I would like to be married and some I wouldn’t. I went to a fortune
teller the other day and she told me I would be married in two years time.
Q: What did you think of that?
A: Oh my god. Because I went to about three of them and they all told me I would be married
by the time I am nineteen.
Q: Which is two years time.
A: Yes, about two years, and I just think. Well I don’t know I might be different in two years
time, I might want to get married in two years time but at the moment I don’t really want to
Q: Have you ever been out with anyone who you thought was someone you might?
A: No not really. I have been out with somebody who asked me to marry them but I just
laughed. It was about a year ago and I was just like a school kid, you know. I think I am more
mature now than what I was before. If anyone talked about marriage, it was a joke, old
people do that, get married.
Q: What about kids?
A: I don’t know, one minute I would like to have kids, and then the next you think are they
worth the hassle. I don’t know, I probably would have kids.
Q: Do you know how you feel now, the ideal age you would like to do all that sort of thing?
A: I would like to be young, I don’t want to be old when I get married. I would like to get
married before I am twenty five. Because once you are twenty five that’s it, I think you are
going. I feel old already now. I wouldn’t like to be too old to start. I think if I am older than
twenty five I don’t think I will get married.
Q: And would you live with someone?
A: Yes it’s the best way really to find out what they are like. Because you hear these people
that get married and they haven’t lived with the person and they can’t stand each other. It
just isn’t worth it. You are better off living with someone to find out what they are like and
how living with that person is before you take a step like that.
Q: And do your parents mind?
Q: What are their views?
A: Oh their views, no sex before marriage, you are married you stay home and you do the
cooking, the cleaning, look after the husband, don’t go out, don’t spend the money, don’t do
this, don’t do that, you must obey the husband, yes, yes, yes.
Q: No sex before marriage, is that because of their own traditions or is that because they are
A: That’s probably because they were married before. I know where my mum comes from if
you go out with a bloke and they expect you to get married to him. That’s how things go over
there. Over here it isn’t like that, it’s totally different. That’s probably because they were
brought up like that.
Q: So do they think you are still a virgin?
A: Probably. I don’t know, I don’t really talk to them nowadays. Just let them live and let me
live and that’s it.
Q: So they didn’t ever sit you down and sort of talk about this is what sex is all about?
A: Oh no, because I already knew it and they already knew that I knew all this. So they didn’t
Q: And did they actually tell you no sex before marriage or is that something that you have
picked up from their general attitudes?
A: Well they have probably mentioned it once or twice but you can tell that’s what they
mean. They say things.
Q: Is that the same for your brother?
A: No. Oh no my brother goes out, he brings girls home, not to sleep or anything but just
brings girls home. And nothing is said. They just want to make a joke of it. 'Oh, one day one
of their father's is going to come round asking if you are so and so and tell you you’ve made
my girl pregnant'. You know, they joke about it with him.
Q: So they don’t say no sex before marriage to him?
Q: It seems a bit of double standards. Do you have a sexual relationship with your current
A: No, this one, no. We just like each other’s company, we go out and just enjoy ourselves.
Q: How often do you see him?
A: Nearly every week, sometimes three or four times a week.
Q: That’s quite a lot.
Q: Is it acknowledged from both of you that it’s not a sexual relationship?
A: Oh yes.
Q: Or would he quite like?
A: I don’t know. I saw him yesterday I think, sometimes he just gets the hump because I
used to go out with his brother. But we really get on with each other and can really talk to
each other. I think if we started anything up other than that would spoil it. I am quite happy
with that arrangement, so it doesn’t matter to me.
Q: Do you think that might stop you meeting other boys that you might want to have a sexual
A: No. He's just a friend, we just see each other like that.
Q: So how long ago was the last person that you had a sexual relationship with?
A: About eight months.
Q: And how long did that last?
A: Well it was like, because I go back to where my mum lives every year for a holiday and
sometimes I go twice. Like this year I went at Christmas and the last time there was a bloke
over there in PORTUGAL and I had seen him before because I went over in June as well.
And when I went over at Christmas he still wanted to carry on seeing me, but I just can't be
Q: Did you start having sexual relationships with people before AIDS?
Q: So AIDS has always been around?
Q: I was going to ask you otherwise whether you thought your behaviour had actually
changed at all since you heard about AIDS.
A: Not really, as long as I take precautions and I'm safe then I don't really worry about it.
Q: Do you know anyone who you think is at risk?
A: Well, I used to have some mates at school, they used to go out on one-night stands but I
don't know whether they used to use condoms or not so I don't know if they would be. Other
than that I don't know anyone else, because most of the boys I know would insist on using
Q: People that you know do accept condoms as a sort of acceptable thing to use and in
terms of things like sexual pleasure as well because when the pill first came out, I don't know
if you know, but condoms took a dive in the sense that girls took the pill, actually it was
slightly safer in terms of pregnancy and often people were a bit snooty about condoms,
having to interrupt things to put them on, whereas generations growing up now in a sense
don't so much have that choice. If you want to be really safe you have to use a condom, do
you ever think that it is some kind of, not exactly an impediment, but that it would be more
pleasurable or nicer without condoms, like people used to enjoy it?
A: Probably, but it's better to be safe.
Q: If you had to describe yourself, what sort of person would you describe yourself as?
A: Well I like going out and enjoying myself and I'm quite easy to get on with really. Usually
when I go out people usually come out with me because I'm fun to go out with. I like joking
Q: Is there a serious side to you as well?
A: Yes, I think everyone's got that in them. I'm only serious when I have to be, I take jokes
otherwise if you don't make life what it is then that’s it.
Q: It sounds to me from what you were saying earlier that you’re someone who gets what
you want, which I presume means that you know what you want?
Q: Who would you say in terms of your relationships has the more power?
A: I don't like to be too big headed because people don't like you for that, trying to tell them
what to do. I think really what I try to do when I go out with someone is have joint decisions
on everything so we both agree to where we're going to go or what we're going to do so that
no one starts taking over and that way we both understand each other and no one starts
saying, "you always tell me what to do", and this that and the other. I do like getting my own
way, not that much, if someone else didn't want to do what I wanted them to do then I
wouldn't force them into it because I wouldn't like to be forced into it.
Q: Have you ever had any boyfriends who have ever objected to that sort of approach?
A: Not really, but if I ever did, if they started to take over then they can go and take over
someone else because with me they wouldn't take over. I think you have to be equal in a
Q: Presumably you wouldn't accept it if it was unequal and suppose you fell headlong in love
with somebody, have you already?
A: Yes I have, stupid me.
Q: When was that?
A: Well, it was someone I was going out with I wasn't that much in love with him whilst I was
going out with him but once I left him that was when I was in love with him, that's when I
realised how much I did love him.
Q: Was it too late then or could you get back together?
A: We could have, I still see him and I reckon he still wants to go out with me but I just don't
want to, I don't know why.
Q: Do you still love him?
A: No, that's gone.
Q: Had you been having a sexual relationship with him?
Q: So why did you leave him?
A: I just got fed up with him and that was it.
Q: Is it usually you who leaves relationships?
A: I can usually sense when someone's going to say to me they want to forget it and leave
so I usually try and get in before they say it.
Q: What, have the last word?
Q: Has it ever happened that someone's beaten you to it?
A: No because I don't let them. If I've been going out with someone for about 2 months, you
know how they feel towards you and if they start acting differently then that’s the time you
know they're going to say something so I usually get in before them but we always remain
friends, we don't usually break up and that's it we usually still see each other.
Q: Going back, briefly, to actually talking about sexuality, do you know what's meant by safe
A: Surprise me!
Q: What to you is safe sex?
A: Condoms. I know people say just say no, that's even safer, but you can't go round saying
no all your life.
Q: But no one's ever, or you hadn't really thought about, say, sexuality that isn't particularly
A: Oh yes, that thing. Yes, I don't know.
Q: It can just be foreplay but not necessarily sex because when you think of a sexual
relationship does that automatically mean sexual intercourse?
A: Not really, when I think about it it's liking the person a lot. There has to be something
going between you, there has to be something there that you want to spend time with this
person etc. You must care for the person and everything.
Q: But would you classify heavy petting as sex, or would it only become sex?
A: Well that is a form of sex really, yes probably.
Q: That's just trying to think whether definitions of people having sexual relationships just
automatically means intercourse or whether it can have loads of other meanings as well
which don't necessarily mean sex. You were saying that you don't sleep around, do you
have any friends that do sleep around a lot?
A: No, I don't associate with them anymore.
Q: For that reason?
A: Well mostly, when you start hanging around with those people you start getting into doing
the same things as they do, I left school and tried not to get in touch with them, I don't want
to mix with people like that.
Q: When you were saying earlier on you thought that people most at risk from AIDS were
gay, do you know any gay people?
A: No. There is one mate that my brother knows and we call him gay because he's never
had a girlfriend but whether he's gay or not I don't know.
Q: What do you think of gay people in general?
A: I don't know, I believe as long as people know what they want and they don't live by
anyone else's rules and what society thinks and this rubbish, I accept them. I don't find
anything wrong with them, they want to be what they want to be and it's up to them, it's their
Q: Do you know anyone who you think might be at risk?
Q: It doesn't seem as though you are at risk at all?
A: Well, like I said, as long as they use a condom I don't see myself being at risk?
END OF TAPE
She is plump with short curly dark hair. She’s wearing dungarees because of doing a
painting and decorating course. She’s very open and easy to talk with about everything,
quite self-assertive. She’s willing to be interviewed next year and possibly do a diary.
LSFS4 Second interview 4.6.1990
Q. And - are you still at the [TRAINING CENTRE]?
A. Yeah, still there. Got a couple of months to go.
Q. Is that all?
Q. Then it'll be two years.
Q. Are you doing the same thing?
A. Painting and decorating, yeah.
Q. Yeah. How does it feel?
A. It's alright. I mean, like now we're getting, you know, to do our exams, City & Guilds.
I'm looking forward to just lazing around.
Q. Are these the first exams you've taken?
Q. So when do they come up?
A. Well, we do - we're starting them now. They come up about every three weeks.
Q. And then do you know what will happen after the summer?
A. Go out and find a job.
Q. Have you got anything in mind?
A. Well, it's probably completely different, but I'm gonna - I've sent off an application for
the [NAME OF BUSINESS].
Q. Mm, what to work A. - yeah, in the [NAME OF BUSINESS] Q. - inside, as opposed to painting and decorating?
A. Yeah. Completely different.
Q. Why is that?
A. Well, like City & Guilds that we do at [TRAINING CENTRE] are not really like, you
know, recognised as qualified painters and decorators.
Q. Are they not?
A. No, I think there's another exam you take at college, a 714 or something like that, but
usually, you know, that's what people look out for rather than City & Guilds. So it could
be hard like finding a job just with the City & Guilds.
Q. But is that what you'd prefer to do?
A. Not really. I mean, I'll give it a go, you know Q. Which, the [NAME OF BUSINESS]?
A. Yeah. I'll always have a knowledge of painting and decorating and I'll have had my I'll have done my exams anyway by the time I come to leave, so that'll be alright.
Q. So do you feel you're giving up something that you enjoy?
A. Yeah. But I mean - it's not as if I'm leaving without taking my exams. You know, I'll
still have my certificates to prove that I've done it, and if I wanted to - you know, if I got
fed up with the [NAME OF BUSINESS], I could still go back to painting and decorating.
Q. 'Cos a lot of people employ painters and decorators without asking to see their
credentials, sort of thing.
Q. And - and what else has happened? 'Cos last time we spoke, I remember talking to
you about home and everything, and you weren't getting on that well with your parents A. No, I've got thrown out of home (laugh). Yeah. Got thrown out since then.
Q. What happened?
A. They just - we just kept on rowing and rowing, and I went away for the weekend with
my boyfriend and they threw me out when I come back.
Q. Because you'd gone away with him?
A. No. Well, they knew I was going away with him, everything, then when I come back
they just threw me out.
Q. Did they say anything about it, like why or A. First of all they said that they didn't agree with me going away Q. What, with him?
A. Yeah. But I said, you know, "I asked you and you said yeah, I can go", I said, "so
why didn't you say, you know, don't go, you know, or we don't want you to go?" 'Cos
they never said anything like that, they said okay, you know. And then when I come
back they just said that they didn't agree with it, and I didn't tell them where I was going,
and all this, that and the other. They just threw me out.
Q. But did they know where you might go?
A. Yeah. No. They knew where I was going.
Q. Where was that?
A. What, when they threw me out - or when...
Q. No, when they threw you out, where did they think that you'd go and live, if they
were gonna throw you out of home?
A. They thought - well, probably knew I was going to live with my friend, SOPHIE.
Q. Yes, you mentioned her.
Q. She was doing the same course.
A. Yeah. 'Cos before like, I've been thrown out a couple of times before as well, you
know Q. What, for the same reasons?
A. Well, yeah, arguments and - and I stayed up there, so they - well, that's where I went
to stay anyway. But then I moved.
Q. So where are you now?
Q. And - on your own or living A. No, I'm living - well, with my boyfriend, kind of ex-boyfriend (laugh), kind of. Well, we
split up over the weekend.
Q. The weekend just gone?
Q. Oh, dear.
A. But I'm still there like, you know. We're still kind of talking, do you know what I
Q. Yeah. And what - was this the boyfriend who - well, when I spoke to you last, you
were going out with somebody, but he was a friend and you said A. Yeah. No, that's not him. That's another one.
Q. So have you had - since then is he the only boyfriend you've had since then or has
there been more?
A. When was since then? Can't remember now.
Q. It must have been about last May A. May.
Q. Something like that.
A. No, there were - I did go out with another boy called SCOTT, but he was just kind of
- like he was a friend of the other one's friend kind of like, but, yeah - it wasn't anything,
you know, steady, it was just, you know Q. And then you met this one.
Q. What's he...
A. He used to work with my mum.
Q. With your mum?
A. Yeah (laugh).
Q. What did he do?
A. He used to just work in [HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY], 'cos he come down from CITY.
Just like while filling in some space, while he went - found out, you know, a proper job
and Q. So how - did you meet him through your mum then?
A. Yeah. 'Cos I used to work in [HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY] part-time. And she - I
mean, she liked him until I said I liked him Q. Ah.
A. - then once I said I liked him, she just completely disliked him. You know. I mean if I
ever said to her - you know, if we were ever talking, you know, and said, "oh, that IAN
seems like a nice bloke", she'd say yeah, you know, and then when she found out that I
wanted to go out with him, then she'd say, oh no, you know, started putting him down.
Q. Would she do that to anybody? Is it that she didn't want you to go out...
A. Yeah, I think - I think it's just - well, anyone I meet up with, she just completely
dislikes. You know, she could know them and, you know, really like them, and as soon
as I like them she dislikes them.
Q. Why do you think that is?
A. I don't know.
Q. I mean, is she worried about sort of - I don't know, she can't be worried about you
losing your virginity, can she?
A. I don't know what she's worried about.
A. I think she's just like that.
Q. So what's IAN like?
A. He's alright (laugh).
A. About three weeks.
Q. That's all?
Q. That's not very long.
A. (laugh) No.
Q. And why are you splitting up?
A. Well. Very - because - well, I mean - alright. We split up 'cos he thinks he's gay. And
he doesn't know. You know, he's confused. So, like - I like, I'm still living there, 'cos he
still says he needs me, like to talk to and - and all that, until he finds out, you know,
straightens himself out.
Q. Yeah, that must be quite confusing for him A. Yeah.
Q. - I mean, and for you.
A. Oh, yeah (laugh).
Q. How do you feel about that?
A. At first like I wanted to turn round and say like, "you can't be gay", you know, it can't
be possible, you're stupid, you know, all this, that and the other. But I mean I know like
it's gonna be hard for him, you know, like telling his parents, if he has to - if he wants to,
you know; I don't know, I mean - I wanna help him more than - I'm not really worried
about myself like, I'm sort of worried about him, 'cos he's like really upset, and - I don't
know, I'm just Q. How long has he thought that he was gay? It must have been...
A. He's had - he said he's not really known, but he's had like feelings for about a couple
of years. But, you know, nothing, you know, just - I don't know.
Q. Has he had relationships with men?
A. No. He's kissed men, but that's as far as it went. And he said afterwards he felt like
really disgusted with himself. We're just trying...
Q. So what's he going to do? Is he going to actually look for a relationship with a man?
As a kind of test...
A. Yeah, I think so. I mean, I said - I said to him, it might just be, you know, curiosity
that's bringing all this on, you know; but I've got like a phone number anyway where he
can phone up and talk to someone. I mean, it's like - I mean, we try and talk, but I mean
I'm not, like, you know, experienced, I don't know what to say to him and what to do.
And he doesn't either so we're just like sitting around talking a whole load of rubbish
that doesn't make sense, you know.
Q. But can you be quite supportive even though A. Yeah. I mean I'm willing to help him. I know like he's really upset, that he doesn't
really know what to do. So I'm willing to stick by him and help him out.
Q. Was it a shock to you?
A. Yeah. Yeah, it was. A big shock. It's not every day your boyfriend turns round to you
and says he's gay (laugh).
Q. Did it make you think it was sort of something to do with you or A. First of all I was like blaming myself, and then he said like it wasn't - well, it wasn't
my fault at all, he just, you know, couldn't help his feelings. And he'd rather like tell me
than let it drag on.
Q. Yeah, 'cos it must be getting quite conflicting for him.
A. Mm, yeah.
Q. And you never sensed anything was wrong until then?
Q. 'Cos had you and he been having a sexual relationship?
Q. And that - how was that?
A. That was alright, yeah... So - I mean he's all confused, he doesn't know, you know,
what to do either.
Q. Well, some people can be bisexual.
A. Yeah. I think that's probably what it is.
Q. So what are you going to do about living there? Are you going to still carry on for a
A. I don't know. I mean it depends. I don't - I mean I could cope like with living there if I mean, I don't really wanna live by myself 'cos - he doesn't know what he's doing at the
moment, do you know what I mean? He's just all confused. So I mean maybe like if I'm
still there, in case he wants to talk to someone, you know, rather than leave him by
Q. Yeah. And has that affected your sexual life with him...?
A. Sort of and sort of not (laugh). I mean, when he first told me I was just like
completely confused, didn't know what to do, you know. It was just really confusing. A
really big shock as well.
Q. So - have you told anyone else?
A. No. I'm not really gonna, like, tell anyone. I said to him it's up to him if he wants to tell
anyone, you know, he can tell. I won't tell anyone. He keeps thinking I'm gonna go
round and phone his workplace up and, you know, tell everyone at work and, you know,
just Q. You're hardly likely to do that A. No. (laugh)
Q. - or are you?
Q. So how did you get on in like the period up to that?
A. Oh, it was, you know, fine. Yeah. I mean 'cos like we're really good friends as well,
you know, so we can always talk to each other anyway.
Q. And did you think that he was something serious?
Q. I mean would you have thought of marrying him?
A. Yeah, probably (laugh). That's probably why it's such a big shock. Yeah.
Q. I remember last year you actually saying that the fortune-teller had told you you'd be
married by the time you were nineteen.
A. Yeah. (laugh)
Q. ... thinking...
A. ... year and a month to go (laugh). ...looking. Put an ad out.
Q. And was he quite serious about you?
Q. So it must be quite a shock for him as well.
A. Yeah, it was.
Q. ... plans... everything.
A. I mean, 'cos he doesn't wanna be gay. He keeps saying to me - he keeps saying to
me he doesn't wanna be gay. And like - I don't know, I mean the more we talk, the
more confused we get. Because, you know, he says something and - and I don't - I
mean I don't know what to turn round and say, you know. I can't answer what - you
know, his questions and so I mean I said it, like if we go talk to someone it'll be better,
someone who knows what they're talking about. If we don't.
Q. So have you got somewhere...?
A. Yeah. Yeah. ... help us out.
Q. And did you have any kind of views of your own - I mean, you talked a bit last year
about gay people and things A. Yeah.
Q. - and I asked you if you knew any and you didn't know any.
A. No. (laugh). Well I - I mean, before this, I completely hated gays, right? I mean I now - I mean I don't know whether it's because he's a boyfriend and I've got to know
him and - I don't know, it's - but - I like - I don't know, I just - I think my views have
changed, you know.
Q. What, since...
A. Yeah. Since him telling me.
Q. - coming out. Yeah. I suppose that's actually when you start knowing people who are
whatever it is you're talking about, whether they're sort of gay people or people of
certain racial groups or bisexuals... they become real when you actually know them.
A. Yeah. You have to know them first before you can pass comment. Yeah. Not like me
before. Judge everyone. Yeah.
Q. Going back to your other boyfriend before, what was he like?
A. Which one, SCOTT?
A. He was alright. We used to get on more like, you know, friends. You know, 'cos I'd
known him as a friend anyway, he was a friend before, and we just like carried on as
Q. So was that a sexual relationship as well?
A. No. We were just friends like. Just - I got fed up of him in the end. You know, 'cos I
mean when we were friends it was just, when he saw me it was "oh, hello", you know,
talking in - but then once we started going out with each other, every five minutes he
was coming over to me, you know: "oh, you can't talk to so and so, you can't talk to so you can't go here", you know, and I thought, well, when we were friends you never said
that and now - I thought, so Q. Tried to own you, sort of thing.
A. Yeah. So we just had to split up.
Q. And did he not kind of want a sexual relationship?
A. Yeah, but I didn't.
Q. So what makes you decide whether you want one or not?
A. I don't know. I think it's just the way I feel about someone, you know. ...just 'cos like
he was a friend and - I don't know, it was just different.
Q. So with IAN did you know straight away that he might be somebody...
A. I mean, like, IAN's like a completely different bloke, like he's really caring and, you
know, really respects you. You don't even have to earn his respect, you know, he just
respects you, you know. He's like really not... and - I don't know, I just sort of like fell in
love with him.
Q. What, straight away?
A. Yeah (laugh). Like 'cos it was me that asked him out.
A. Yeah. 'Cos I saw him and - at the [HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY]. But I knew he had a
girlfriend, you know, but apparently he split up with her at the weekend, you know, after
- no, he split up with her at the weekend and then I asked him out during the week. I
didn't know he'd split up with her, I still thought "I'm asking him out anyway" (laugh).
And then like, you know.
Q. And was that easy to ask him out or did it A. Yeah.
Q. - you didn't feel...
A. No. I mean, I thought, well I like him, and if I'm gonna wait for him to ask me out, he
might not ask me out, you know. I thought, just go ask him out yourself, and if he says
no, at least I've found out, you know, whether he wants to go out with me or not. Rather
than keep me dangling there thinking, you know Q. And you did.
Q. So where did you go the first time?
A. Just went back to his house and just sat - and then we went to the cinema. ...you
know, talked and got to know each other.
Q. And then did you think then that you really wanted something more then, or did it
take a while to A. Took a while. You know, 'cos I was - I wasn't like really into a, you know, like really
steady relationships. It was just like, you know, really, you know, you could really talk to
him and, you know, we really got on well.
Q. And how long was it before you decided to have a sexual A. A month, I think. I know that isn't very long (laugh).
Q. It's longer than some people.
A. Yeah. A month.
Q. And did you talk about that beforehand A. Yeah.
Q. - or did it just happen?
A. No. We were like really open with each other anyway, you know, really talked.
Q. And so what was it like the first time?
A. I don't know, I just - I was embarrassed at first, I don't know why. I don't know. I was,
Q. And did that spoil it?
A. No. I was just - I mean, first of all I was embarrassed, and I didn't know, you know - I
was just - I think 'cos it's - like this relationship with him was really different from all my
other relationships with blokes.
Q. How was it different?
A. Because I've never like really - I've never like really, you know, kind of like trusted or
respected anyone, you know. I've always been kind of mad. You know, kind of thing like
"well, if I call you I call you and if - you know, if you don't see me, that's tough", you
know, all that kind of thing.
Q. What, you were sort of calling the tune?
A. Yeah. Not really bothering, you know. But it was kind of different... I don't know, it
Q. So do you think you cared more what he thought or A. Probably, yeah. Yeah.
Q. And was he embarrassed?
A. He said he was, you know, like nervous, embarrassed, as well. I think that was about
Q. And did you enjoy it?
Q. And has that been alright since this A. Yeah.
Q. When we talked before you were kind of into using condoms and really not - I mean,
no other particular form of contraception A. Yeah.
Q. Is that still the same?
A. Yeah. Uh huh. I think they're safer. Yeah.
Q. And was that alright with him?
Q. And so how did you negotiate that? Did you both decide or did you decide or A. Oh, well, I said, you know, I'd prefer to use a condom. And he said yeah, that's okay.
You know, so - just like that.
Q. And what are your opinions on actual using condoms, in terms of what, you know,
what it feels like or whatever? 'Cos some people, well, men, women, have different
views of either liking them or disliking them intensely or something.
A. Yeah. I mean I think you have to, like, really think, you know, I mean - like AIDS
going around and, you know, all these diseases. It's a lot safer, you know, rather than
dying of AIDS, you know. Yeah.
Q. Is that what you think about kind of a lot in terms of using A. Yeah. I mean 'cos if you go on the pill, it stops you getting pregnant, but it doesn't
stop you from catching anything.
Q. That's right.
A. You know, so I think it's a lot wiser to use condoms.
Q. And is that - would that have been alright for IAN as well or would he have, I mean,
got fed up with using them? What did he think?
A. No, he's never said anything, you know, that he's got fed up or he doesn't wanna use
them. Never said anything.
Q. And - 'cos some couples too, kind of use it as an initial form of contraception and
protection, and then think, well maybe we should move onto something else.
Q. Whereas, you know, other people think that "well, it just protects you anyway", so
they use it all the time. Which would you choose?
A. Probably use it all the time. Yeah.
Q. And what are you thinking about in terms of marriage and things like that?
A. Well, now I don't really wanna get married. I don't know. I think it just seems - well, it
is like a lifelong commitment, yeah, and I don't think I'm ready like to settle down.
Q. Would you have done, though, if things had worked out with IAN?
A. I probably would - I mean we probably would have had to been together like for two
or three years, before we even decided on marriage, you know. I wouldn't just jump in,
you know, and say right, we're getting married. So no, I think I'd have to be with
someone a couple - you know, three or four years, before we decided to get married.
Q. Mm. What, and living together as well?
A. Yeah. I'd have to live with someone before I got married. Otherwise, a complete
disaster, you know.
Q. And do you think if, say, IAN went through what he's going through, and came out
deciding that he wasn't gay... I mean, would that have affected you so that you wouldn't
want to carry on with him or do you think if that happens you'd still be there?
A. Yeah, if he still - I mean, if he still wanted, you know, to go back out with me
afterwards, you know, if he still - I'd probably say yeah because I mean, like, you know,
I love him and care for him and so - I mean, my feelings towards him haven't changed.
You know, I don't hate him, which I thought - I mean he said, "you'll probably hate me",
but - I don't know, I haven't. I mean, I did expect - you know, I thought "I'm gonna start
hating you soon" and - but no.
Q. And has it affected your opinion of gay people in general?
A. Yes. (laugh). Well, I used to hate gays Q. Yes...
A. I used to think gays were absolutely pathetic and - I don't know, maybe it's just
because it's IAN and, you know - I don't know. I mean, and he knew my views on gays,
so it must have been really hard for him to tell me.
Q. Oh, yes.
A. 'Cos he knew I hated them and - so it must have been really, like, hard for him to
turn round and tell me.
Q. Yes, he must have been quite scared of your reaction.
A. Yeah. Yeah, he actually said like he didn't know how I was gonna react. He said he
was glad he told me.
Q. Were you glad he told you?
A. Yeah. At least then I can - like, well, we can help each other now, rather than him,
you know, bottling it all up and, you know, just living with it and not saying anything.
Q. And do you know any other gay people?
A. No. No.
Q. But do you think, say, if you met some now, you would actually look at them with
different A. Yeah.
Q. - with different eyes from a month ago or something like that?
A. Yeah. Well, I mean like I've even told IAN that if he wants to go to any clubs, you
know, like gay clubs, I'd go with him. You know, if he didn't - if he wouldn't have anyone
to go with; I don't think he's told anyone, so I said, you know, I'll come with you and like I'm willing to go.
Q. That could be interesting.
A. (laugh) Yeah. Could be.
Q. And do you think it's affected you kind of sexually at all, or how you feel about sex
and A. Not really. No.
Q. And have you stopped having a sexual relationship with him?
A. Yeah. 'Cos he said he'll only get more confused. Well, that's like the reason he told
me like, you know, that he's getting confused, and like more confused, so, you know,
getting - I said, once he gets his feelings sorted out and knows where he's going, you
know, we'll be better off.
Q. So when did he actually tell you?
A. He told me on Monday.
Q. Last week A. - last week, Monday, that he thinks - he's had these feelings. He said he's - and like
that he said he, you know - I don't know, he just said that he wasn't gay, he just said he
had these feelings and that was it. And Saturday morning, yeah, this Saturday, he said,
you know, he really thinks he's gay. So, you know.
Q. So did that mean that he didn't then want to have a sexual relationship with you,
from when he told you?
A. I don't know. I just - I mean, we just sat down and talked, you know. A lot of
nonsense. Didn't really... just more confusing (laugh). Yeah. I don't know, I mean we're
still talking and trying to figure things out. We still haven't come to any conclusions.
Q. Are you still sleeping together?
Q. And does that feel alright or do you feel...
A. No, I mean, I think I realise, you know, that if we still sleep together it's only gonna
confuse him more. You know, 'cos he doesn't know what he's feeling at the moment
anyway, so it's only gonna get us both confused. So, you know, it's better to stop.
Q. And was sex important to both of you before that?
A. Well, yeah and no, you know. 'Cos like we were really good friends with each other
and, you know, we really were open with each other so - yeah, I suppose it was, but,
you know, it wasn't the only thing.
Q. Part of the research is looking at like young women's experience of sex and
pleasure and looking at different sorts of sexualities and sexual activities, and - like for
instance, often when we just talk about sex, people think automatically of intercourse,
penetration, whatever A. Yeah.
Q. - and is that what you normally think of, or do you think of other things as well?
A. No, I mean just, you know, I think, like, when you have sex with someone it really,
like, brings you close to them, you know. Yeah, I just think, you know, you're really
close to each other and Q. But were there things that - like the sexual things that - that you did or enjoyed or
whatever, are they basically intercourse or were there lots of other things that you
A. Yeah, there were other things as well.
Q. What sort of things?
A. Just - I don't know (laugh). You're getting me embarrassed now.
A. I don't know, just like pleasing each other and, you know.
Q. What, touching?
A. Yeah. Mm.
Q. What about things like oral sex?
A. No. (laugh)
Q. What, not either way round?
A. No. I don't know. No, well, no, we didn't do any but - I don't know.
Q. Was that because one or other of you didn't want to?
A. I just don't think - well, we haven't really talked about it. I don't know.
Q. So you wouldn't know whether you enjoyed it or not.
Q. So which did you enjoy most, the kind of touching and those sort of things, or actual
A. Just - well, it was all, you know, enjoyable. Yeah.
Q. And did you get orgasms from... A. Mm. Yeah.
Q. And from intercourse as well?
A. Yeah. Mm.
Q. 'Cos sometimes it's not that easy.
Q. And was IAN quite concerned about your pleasure?
A. Yeah. He said that to me. He said like, you know - 'cos when he was at school, you
know, all the boys used to get together and talk and, you know - and he said like - he
was different from the others 'cos they were just interested in themselves... interested in
like satisfying the girl as well. You know, whereas all the other boys were just saying,
you know, as long as I get my fun, that's it. You know.
Q. And do you think that's a general attitude of boys?
A. Yeah, probably (laugh). Yeah, I think so.
Q. And did you and IAN ever talk about things like AIDS?
Q. What sort of things did you talk about?
A. "You haven't got AIDS, have you?" (laugh). No, it was just - you know, we did talk
about AIDS, you know, just, you know, what you'd do if you got it and, you know, just
Q. And was he worried about it at all?
A. No. 'Cos he's always used - he said he's always used a condom anyway, so he
Q. What, always?
A. Yeah. He said the risk of getting a girl pregnant is just, you know Q. - too much.
Q. So does he feel you might be at risk if he becomes gay?
A. Mm. Mm.
Q. And would that - how would you feel about that?
Q. Kind of the risk of AIDS... being gay and A. Oh. I said to him like, you know, be careful, you know. 'Cos you don't - you don't
really wanna get AIDS, do you, I mean it's not a wonderful thing to have, is it? You
know. So I said to him, you know, like "just be careful", you know, "you don't wanna end
up dying of AIDS". So, you know.
Q. Do you think he'll take notice?
A. Yeah, I think so. Yeah.
Q. And have you been aware of any kind of campaigns or posters or anything, about
AIDS recently, in the last six months or A. No. I've seen the AIDS Helpline or something. That's about it.
Q. 'Cos I think they've had some posters around.
A. Have they? Oh. I haven't seen them.
Q. 'Cos in terms of actually - like knowledge about exactly how AIDS is passed on, I
mean do you know exactly how it's A. Like from blood, yeah.
A. You know, drug abusers and, you know Q. What, through blood?
A. Well, yeah. Needles and drugs, yeah. That kind of thing.
Q. And what about kind of people having sex?
A. Yeah. Through that as well. Yeah.
Q. So that's through semen as well.
A. Yeah, yeah. Uh huh.
Q. And do you - like with your women friends, like SOPHIE, do you talk about things like
A. Yeah. But always like, usually as a joking matter. A few jokes about it, yeah. That's
about it - we don't really sit down and have serious conversations, we just, like, joke all
Q. Right. But then it does become a sort of term of reference presumably.
Q. Because it makes people aware of A. Yeah. Uh huh.
Q. And are they protecting themselves?
A. Yeah. Well (laugh) Q. Not that you'd necessarily know, but you sometimes A. Well, yeah, I mean I think they would. Yeah. I don't think they're stupid, you know.
Q. Can you ever think of a situation where you might not protect yourself, like you might
spontaneously rush in A. If you're drunk or something (laugh). You know, or you just don't know what you're
doing anyway. Yeah, probably then, you know.
Q. But have you ever done that?
A. Not that I can remember, no (laugh).
Q. So do you feel that you've been at risk ever from A. Yeah, 'cos I have had intercourse without a condom. But that was - I think I was kind
of naive, a couple of years ago or whenever. You know. Didn't have my head screwed
on properly. You know, you just - like, you know, before - I mean, even a couple of
years ago you just used to laugh and joke about it and say, you know, gays have got
AIDS and that was it, you know. No one was really aware of how you could catch it.
And, you know, all this thing was going around, if you drink out the same cup as
someone, you know, you can get AIDS. You know, all that. So you didn't really think
about it then, you know. So, mm.
Q. So when you did that, had you used a condom before? I mean it wasn't that - that
you sort of hadn't had any experience using a condom, or was it that you just didn't
know what to do?
A. I just - I don't know, I mean, just - I mean I was really like stupid, I was, yeah. I was
just kind of like really carefree and didn't have a worry in the world. Kind of like, you
know Q. But it wasn't the first time you'd had sex?
A. No. I don't know, it was just Q. How old were you the first time?
A. Fifteen... (laugh). Yeah.
Q. And did you use something then?
A. No. (laugh)
Q. And what was it like, the first time?
A. I don't know. I didn't really know what to expect. I don't know, it was just - I was really
embarrassed, the first time, really really embarrassed, didn't know what to do at all.
Q. How old was the boyfriend?
A. The boy. Eighteen.
Q. Did he know what to do?
A. Yeah. Yeah.
Q. And was he more experienced?
Q. Had you been going out with him for a while?
A. Yeah. But - I don't know, just - I think it was - it was more - I mean, when it come to
it, it was just down to thinking, "oh, yeah, I can lose my virginity now". That kind of thing
rather than wanting to go to bed with him. I think it was more that than anything else.
Q. What, that it was time for you to lose your virginity?
A. Not that. Just, you know, everyone at school was going round: "oh, I lost it", you
know, "a couple of months", you know, just the way, you know - boost your ego or
something. Yeah, that kind of thing.
Q. So did you know that you were going to do it A. No.
Q. - or did you sort of decide that day or whatever?
A. No. It just happened.
Q. And was it easy to find somewhere to do it? 'Cos a lot of...
A. No, no. He had his own place anyway.
A. And then I split up with him the next day.
Q. Really? Did that have anything to do with it?
A. I think I was just really embarrassed over it and - I don't know, I mean the fun had
gone then. I hadn't - I mean, like, I'd done it, so what? Okay, finished, goodbye. That
Q. Was he bothered about that?
A. Yeah, he wanted to know why I split up, you know. He kept on saying, "did I push
you?", you know, "was it my fault" and all this, that and the other, and I just felt like
turning round and saying to him, "no. Goodbye. I've used you. Goodbye." You know
what I mean? That's how I felt, you know. I felt like I'd used him Q. What, just to use - lose your virginity on?
A. Yeah. Something to talk about at school. Yeah.
Q. And did you enjoy it the first time?
A. Yes and no. Well, I mean compared to - like I've had, you know, other sexual
relationships since then, obviously. Wasn't the best, so, you know, but at the time I
didn't know what to think, you know.
Q. 'Cos often it's quite painful.
A. Mm, yeah. It was a bit painful but I think it was just like kind of fun as well. You know,
so you don't really - I don't know (laugh).
Q. And did you think you could get pregnant?
A. Yeah. Oh, God... "oh, my God, I'm pregnant!". Yeah, every five minutes I kept on
thinking, "oh, my God, I'm pregnant". Yeah. Really crazy.
Q. And then did you do it again?
A. Yeah. Not with him, with someone else. But I thought, well I've done it once, why not
do it again? That kind of thing. Yeah.
Q. And was that the same situation, kind of spontaneous, just happened sort of A. Yeah. Yeah.
Q. But then did you split up with him after that ...?
A. No. No, I went out with him for another four months. Yeah.
Q. What, and carried on having a sexual relationship?
Q. Did he have his own place?
A. Yeah. Well, he was kind of like separated from his wife. He had a kid. And - I didn't
really like him, I only went out with him because - I must be terrible - just like, I mean I
met him on the Sunday night and went to school on the Monday, and you know,
everyone says "how was your weekend?", you know, "where did you go?", and I said
like, you know, "oh, I met this married man", you know, "with a kid, and he's asked me
out", you know. And I didn't really wanna go out with him, I said like I'm not gonna go,
you know. And all my friends - I mean, I was fifteen and he was twenty-five. "Christ", I
said, "I'm ten years younger than him and he's got a kid", you know, all this, that and
the other, and they were saying "go on, go on, it'll be fun", you know, all this. So in the
end, you know, I went out with him. And I was only supposed to, like, really go out with
him for a couple of weeks but then we just sort of like carried on, you know.
Q. You must have liked him to A. I liked him a bit, yeah. It was just like the idea of going out with a separated man with
a kid (laugh). More gossip. Yeah. And most of the things I done when I was at school
was just gossip. You know, it was just to go in the next day and have a good gossip
with your friends.
A. How boring school is.
Q. So weren't you worried with him, the married man, that you might get pregnant if you
weren't using anything?
A. Yeah, I was.
Q. Didn't he suggest that you A. I don't think he was really worried about it. Because - I don't know, he was kind of
crazy anyway. And I think like the only reason he went out with me like was just to
boast to his friends, you know, "I'm going out with a fifteen-year-old". It was just, you
know Q. So he was doing it the other way round.
A. Yeah. Egos (laugh). There they go again. Yeah.
Q. And you never ever thought, you know, "God, if I sleep with him again, I really ought
to do something".
A. I mean I didn't sleep with him that much, even though - I mean we went out with
each other for, I think, four and a half months, I think. Yeah. And I think we only done it
about four times anyway. It wasn't - I mean, yeah, after we'd done it, I was thinking "ah,
my God, I'm gonna get pregnant, what are my parents gonna say?". You know, all this,
A. I know, I know. Yeah. I don't know, I think I was like really immature when I was
fifteen, you know. Just didn't care.
Q. Was it that you didn't care, or did it seem unreal?
A. I think - I just - you know, you think to yourself, it's not gonna happen to me, I'm not
gonna get pregnant, you know. It's only those unlucky ones that get pregnant, you
A. All that thing, you know. Yeah, I mean now I feel, you know, really stupid, that I mean
like I could have got pregnant and, you know Q. Quite a few do.
A. I've come to my senses now. I'm not at school, you see (laugh).
Q. Would you have known where to go and how to get kind of condoms or
contraception or A. Oh, yeah. We used to buy them.
Q. You did?
A. Oh, yeah, when I was at school. You know, just bring them in: "oh, look what I've got
here, a packet of condoms", you know. Yeah, I used to buy them. It was just - I don't
Q. Just not using them.
A. Yeah. I mean, at first I think I was just too embarrassed to say to a bloke "will you
use a condom?", you know. Yeah, I was just too embarrassed. You know, I used to buy
- used to buy them with your friends, you know,... get a packet of condoms, come back
to school: "we've bought a packet of condoms", you know. And everyone used to say
"weren't you embarrassed?", you know, all this, that, you know, it was just Q. So when did you start using condoms? ... those two relationships...
A. No. The relationship - the second relationship after that one I did. It was kind of both of us suggested it, you know. Like, I mean I probably wouldn't have said anything
if he didn't, but, you know, he said he didn't really wanna have a kid at this, you know you know - so, you know, we just started, you know.
Q. So it came from him really.
Q. So you might have carried on A. Oh, yeah, probably. Knowing me and my sense. Yeah.
Q. But then at one point you must have been kind of converted to the idea of A. Yeah.
Q. - of what, you know...
A. I mean it was - like every - you know, when I was with like that married guy, JIM, you
know - well - you know, after we'd done it, I kept on thinking - it was like really worrying.
I mean it was sometimes, you know, I'd - I think I'd worry, like, you know, the next day,
thinking "oh, my God, I'm pregnant". You know, it was every like - you know, every day
afterwards I'd think "oh, I'm pregnant"; and then I used to think, "oh, so what if I'm
pregnant? I'm having a baby. So what?". You know, it was like that. But afterwards I
thought, oh, God, I don't wanna baby. You know what I mean, I don't wanna get
pregnant. So you know, that's what brought me to my senses. Yeah.
Q. Well, you're lucky really.
A. Yeah. I am. I mean, when I look back I think I was really stupid. Really stupid.
Q. Did they give you much sex education at school?
A. Basics. You know.
Q. Did they tell you about contraception and condoms and all the rest of it?
A. Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah. All that. Yeah.
Q. Did they ever talk about AIDS?
A. No. 'Cos I think we done sex education when I was in third year or something, so I
don't think it was around - I mean, that's, what, about four years ago, five years ago. It
wasn't really that big a problem. I mean, we knew about - I think it was, what, about
four, five years ago, AIDS like started hitting the scenes, didn't it? And it was just, like,
gays. You know, everyone used to go round saying "oh, you got AIDS, you're gay", you
know. You know, it was like a big joke, saying someone had AIDS and they were gay.
And no one was really, you know, said, you know - it was like only if you're gay you got
AIDS and that was it.
A. You know, everyone that was gay had AIDS. So like - I don't know, we just didn't
really, you know, think about it like that. It was, "oh, well, I'm not gay so I won't get it",
you know. That kind of thing.
Q. Do you think it's changed a lot now, what people think about AIDS?
A. Yeah. I think - well, I mean, anyone can be at risk now, can't they, so - you know,
before it was just, like I said, you know, everyone was saying, you know, gays had it
and that was it. So - yeah, I think everyone's aware now, you know, that everyone can
Q. And do you think that you take less risks or more risks now than...?
A. Oh, less, definitely less. I was crazy then. I was, I was really crazy. I mean, it was
just a thing, like "oh, it doesn't matter, you're going to bed with someone", you know,
big deal. It was that - you know, it was that kind of thing. You know, not really bothered
about it. It was just like, you know, everyone was doing it so, you know, why be the odd
A. You know, that kind of thing. It was a crazy attitude, yeah.
Q. And what about other sorts of risks? Do you think you take other sorts of risks?
A. Like what?
A. Yeah. Yeah (laugh). Yeah, I'm into smoking, I'm into drinking.
Q. A lot or A. Well, Friday night we had a party, and I was - I mean, the party started at 12. We
went round the pub at nine o'clock and I was drunk by ten (laugh). Yeah. Oh, yeah, I
mean I used to actually be an alcoholic when I was at school.
Q. ... alcoholic?
A. I couldn't - I mean, I couldn't go anywhere without a drink.
Q. How could you afford it?
A. Just - I mean, my parents had drink at home. You know, everyone has drink in their,
you know, their cabinet; and I mean I used to have a bottle of gin in my locker at
school. You know, we used to swig from that every lunchtime. I don't know, I just - I was
like kind of - I first started off at a party I went to. Never used to, like, be into drinks, you
know, and it was just like the odd drink here and there, you know. But then I went to this
party, it was my friend's birthday party, and everyone just got absolutely drunk, and it
was just like - I mean, it was like a funny... you know, it was just kind of fun being drunk,
you know, you do stupid things; and the next day everyone said, "oh, God, do you
remember what you done last night?", you know, "you done", you know, started
talking... and you'd think, you know, "I'll get drunk again", you know, act stupid, and it
just went from there and - and then I met up with a couple of mates of mine who were
just into drink and drink and drugs, and like - not hard drugs, you know, just spliffs and
that stuff, and we used to just sit around getting drunk all the time. And then after that I
just couldn't like, you know - kept on drinking and drinking.
Q. So how old were you then?
A. This was when I was fifteen, when I started on drink. And then - I wasn't - I didn't - I
used to get drunk but just kind of like, you know, merry drunk. But if I was at a party - I
mean during - I mean I used to be like drunk every day, you know, like 'cos my parents
used to work late - my dad, like, works from four in the afternoon ‘til twelve o'clock at
night, and my mum works ‘til about, you know, two o'clock, three o'clock in the morning.
Like, no one was at home so I could like get drunk and go to bed and they wouldn't
Q. What, they couldn't smell it on your breath?
A. Yeah. No, I mean I'd be asleep, you know, I'd get up in the morning, you know, with
a big headache. But they didn't know, you know, that I was drinking, you know.
Q. Did they notice the drink had gone?
A. Well, they never said anything. I mean - 'cos we've always got like people coming
round the house and we're always like, you know - there's always drinks going, you
know, every five minutes so they probably just thought - I mean, I used to take, you
know, sip from this bottle, sip from that bottle and - you know. And I was working then
as well so I used to earn money so, you know, I could go out and buy a bottle of
whatever and then stash it away somewhere. Yeah.
Q. And what about the drugs? Did you carry on with those? Like smoking joints.
A. Yeah. I don't find, you know, spliff a really great danger. I don't think - I don't think it's
dangerous. It's not - I mean, it's not like heroin or cocaine or, you know, or acid.
Because, like, spliff just like relaxes you and - you only usually take it and then you fall
asleep anyway, so it doesn't - doesn't really, you know, do anything to your brain or
anything. It's not that - the only - I took some this weekend at a party, but that's
because I was drunk anyway and, you know - it made me more drunk, you know Q. Yeah.
A. - but that's a party, isn't it?
Q. Do you normally have it? I mean, is it something that you have for yourself?
A. Used to, yeah, but - like I'm more worried about getting, you know, caught by police,
you know. I know 'cos if they catch you with it on you, they can do you for possession.
Even if it is spliff they'll do you for possession, you know, even though it's like quite
harmless, they'll still do you, and I don't really wanna get put inside, you know, or sent
to court. 'Cos I mean a couple of my mates were down the West End once and the
police just come up to them and, you know, arrested them. Didn't even know they had it
on them. Only when they took them down to the station they searched them, you know,
and they went to court and all this, and I thought I don't wanna, you know Q. Yeah.
A. Yeah, so Q. So you're more careful about...
A. Yeah. I mean I won't - I mean I know like lots of my friends take acid and that, but I
don't - I'm not into that. I wouldn't take it.
Q. Have you ever taken it?
A. No. No. I wouldn't Q. Or ecstasy or A. No, wouldn't take any of that. No. I mean 'cos this party we had, IAN said – IAN
doesn't smoke, and he hates me smoking. And like, he's never smoked anyway. But a
couple of friends from his work, they said they were bringing some stuff along, and he
said to them like he was gonna try it if they brought some. I said, alright, you know, you
try it, I'm not trying it, you know. I said if they bring some spliff, you know, I'll have
some, but that's about it. I'm not taking no acid or nothing. And like he smoked a spliff
and he was just absolutely gone. He was just - I think - I mean, still sick the next day. It
serves you right, you know, kept on going on about me - you know, he knew I - he
knows I like smoking every now and then. He doesn't really say anything. I know he
doesn't like, you know - doesn't like the idea of me smoking, but he doesn't - you know,
he doesn't say "oh, you're not doing it", you know. No, but - I don't know, it's just - I
think everyone takes spliff.
Q. ... some around...
A. Yeah. I don't - I've never tried any of these, you know, major drugs. I wouldn't
anyway. Couldn't afford to.
A. Says a lot, doesn't it? Means if I could afford to, I would! No, I wouldn't.
Q. So do you think you've changed much in the last A. Yeah.
Q. - year? 'Cos it's really been a year since A. Yeah, I have. A lot. I've changed a lot.
Q. How do you think you've changed?
A. Well, I mean 'cos I'm driving now, I've got a car. So I'm not drinking - I mean, even
before, like even when I stopped, like, you know, depending on drink, I did have a drink
every now and then. But now I mean, the only time I'd have a drink is if I know definitely
I'm not going out with the car or, you know - like this party. Everyone was saying they
wanna lift home, and I said "you're not having a lift home 'cos I'm gonna get drunk. So,
you know, tough."
A. You know, "if you want to, you can stay round the flat, and that's it", you know, "I'm
not taking no one home". So, like, I think like having the car stops me from drinking,
which is good. And like, I'm not really into drugs anymore. I mean I will have, you know
- if it's there I'll have it, yeah. That's about it. Before I used to go out, you know,
purposely and get some. But not anymore.
Q. And has anything else changed...?
A. Yeah, my views on life. I'm not so carefree now.
Q. Why's that?
A. I don't know. I mean, I miss like being carefree, I used to love like, you know, just
doing whatever I felt like doing and that was it. But I know you can't go through life
doing that, you know. It was just - I don't know Q. So why do you think that changed?
A. Well - I don't know, you just - maybe I've grown up (laugh). Maybe. Sounds terrible "I've grown up". I don't know, I just, you know, probably come to realise, you know, you
have to have responsibilities. You can't go living, you know, like a lunatic.
Q. Do you feel you have got responsibilities?
A. Yeah. I think I have, yeah.
Q. What sort of responsibilities.
A. Living (laugh). I mean... I'm like not living at home so I'm like kind of - have to like,
you know, think like money and "I need this for that" and, you know - you know, if I do
something stupid there's no one to bail me out or anything. You know, that kind of thing.
Whatever I do now is my own fault and can't blame anyone for it and - yeah.
Q. No, it is quite a responsibility, being on your own.
A. I mean, I think that's been why I wanted to move out anyway, even though they
chucked me out. I thought, you know Q. So have your views on sex changed?
A. Yeah. I'm not so carefree. It's not like - now, you know, like I don't think "oh, I'll bum
it", you know, "why not do it again?". No, there's like, more to it now.
Q. What, do you expect more from it?
A. No, I mean I wouldn't just jump into bed with anyone now. You know. That makes it
sound terrible (laugh). No, I don't know, I was just really, like, crazy. Really crazy. Yeah.
Q. And do you expect different things from sex now?...
A. Well, I mean I think if you're like in a relationship with someone, you know - I think
now I have to respect someone and love them before I have sex with them, you know.
Before I just didn't really care. Yeah.
Q. And you could use people more before?
A. Yeah. Oh, yeah (laugh). That was me. The biggest user in the world. Yeah. I was
terrible for using people.
Q. But now that's - you think that's changed.
A. Yeah. Mm. I was terrible for that (laugh). Mm.
Q. Has anything else changed, that I haven't asked you about?
A. I don't think so, no. Trying to think. No, I don't think so.
Q. ... Did your parents know that you were having a sexual relationship with your
Q. 'Cos they sounded as though they were quite kind of interfering with - well, not
interfering but asking you questions A. Yeah.
Q. - who you were with, where you were going A. Oh, yeah, they was. They were just like, you know, really - you know, you just - every
time you were going out, I was going out, it was always five hundred questions, you
know: where you going, who you going with, you know. I mean, IAN says that, like, I
talk really badly to my parents, and I said that's only been like in the last year or so.
Because - I don't know, they keep thinking that - well, they used to tell me that I should
respect them because they're my parents; but I don't think you have to respect
someone because of what they are. I think it's like a two-way thing. Alright, I'm, you
know, their daughter, but they still should respect me, you know. I mean I did used to
respect them, but they used to think, you know - if I done anything wrong, it was "oh,
you don't respect us" and this, that and the other, you know; "we're your parents.
Everyone respects their parents.", and I thought, well, why should they just have, you
know, respect there because they're their - you know, they're parents. Surely, you
know, they should earn respect like everyone else. You know. I don't know, just the way
they used to go on.
Q. So did they suspect you then?
A. No, I don't think so.
Q. They thought you were fairly pure and virginal.
A. Yeah (laugh). Yeah.
Q. What, was that right up ‘til recently?
A. Yeah, I think so. Well, they never said anything, so - I don't know.
Q. And did you ever stay out all night?
A. Oh, many times, yeah (laugh).
Q. They might have thought you could obviously get up to something A. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah, many times I used to stay out. Especially if I used to - like,
'cos my friend's down SOUTH WEST LONDON, you know, my drinking friend - nice
way to describe someone - and like we used to just sit there and like, you know, put all
our money together and get a couple of bottles of whatever Q. Right.
A. - and sit in the flats and get drunk. And, you know, fall asleep. And that was it, you
know. We used to wake up the next morning thinking "oh, my God!", you know, "what
time is it? My parents are gonna kill me.". You know, that - and then I used to think, oh,
so what, you know, I've slept out, you know. Didn't think anything of it, you know, so
Q. And did they give you a hard time?
A. Yeah. You know, "oh, where have you been? We've been worried.", you know. But I
mean in the end, you know, I think they just, you know, knew that I was like that
anyway. I'd go out and stay out anyway, so in the end they just didn't bother.
Q. Did they ever talk to you about sex and contraception?
A. Yeah. And, you know, 'cos like I used to talk better with my dad than my mum. And
my dad was, you know, saying, you know, "be careful", you know, "you don't wanna get
pregnant", all this. About as far as it went.
Q. But they never actually - no one ever actually said kind of, "... so are you actually
having a sexual relationship?".
A. No, no. I mean, I did have an argument once with my mum. I can't remember what
she said to me now. But she said something along them lines, and I says, well, have
you ever turned round and asked me if I'm having sex? And she turned round and
says, "well, are you having sex?". I says, "well, there's no point in asking me now,
because I've brought the subject up", you know, and like just - that was it.
Q. So you didn't tell her anyway.
A. No (laugh). No. I can't remember what she was saying but I know she said
something, and I turned round and said, you know, something like, "well, have you ever
asked me?". She says, "well, are you having sex?" and I says, "well, there's no point in
asking me now". No, I wouldn't tell her anyway.
Q. And do you have - and is SOPHIE still your best mate?
A. Yeah. Mm.
Q. So do you see her a lot?
A. Yeah. I haven't seen her - I mean, since Friday, I think. But yeah, I used to see her
every day, yeah. But she didn't come into work today. I don't know. Probably see her
Q. So you didn't, like, have a network of women friends that you go around with as
A. Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Q. What do you think you might be doing in four or five years’ time? Have you got any
A. Have a look. Could become a drug smuggler (laugh). No, I just - I don't know, four,
five years' time - good question. You make me think now. I don't know. Probably settled
down by four, five years' time... I'm eighteen in a couple of months - a couple of weeks.
Five years, I'll be twenty-three - oh, my God, I hope to be settled down by twenty-three.
It just sounds old (laugh). Eighteen sounds old. It does, it really sounds old. Like
SOPHIE's nineteen this year and I keep thinking "oh, nineteen, that's old!". Yeah - no,
it's - I like hope to be in a good job and, you know, just, you know, enjoying myself
really. Yeah. Enjoying myself. Good one.
Q. And can you think of anything else that's become important to you about
relationships and things like that, that we haven't talked about?
A. I think - well, now I know you need like trust and respect, before I didn't really think oh, relationship, that's it, you know. No, trust and respect. Yeah. I think I've learnt that
from IAN like, you know. Mm.
Q. And love?
A. Yeah, oh, yeah, love. Oh, yeah, don't forget that one (laugh). That's a good one.
Yeah. Oh, yeah.
Q. And was IAN the first person you'd fallen in love with? I mean, did you - you talked
about falling in love with him A. Yeah, yeah. I think so. What I sort of like call proper love. You know, respect and
trust as well. All the other loves, it's just, you know, the bloke looks nice. That kind of
A. Yeah. Crush. Lust. Yeah, that kind of love. Yeah, no - I think there's two different
loves, yeah. Love like, you know, where you trust and respect and care for the person,
and love where you're just infatuated by them. Yeah.
Q. And do you think you'd still have both or that you'd just...
A. I don't know. You can have a mixture, you know. Yeah.
Q. And do you think that you'll - you'll continue being kind of safe?
A. Oh, definitely, yeah. Yeah. It's just too - oh, God. Used to drive me crazy, thinking
"oh, my God, I'm pregnant!". It's just - it was just really, you know, really - I mean, I
never used to - I didn't think like every five minutes, you know, thinking, you know, "I'm
pregnant". It was - I mean, 'cos I'm so like, you know, carefree, I used to think - I don't
know, it used to just hit me sometimes. But I think I've come to my senses since then.
Q. And do you think in terms of safe sex, you could have sex, for instance a sexual
relationship, without intercourse?
A. No. No (laugh).
Q. Why not?
A. I don't know. I don't know.
Q. Is that because it doesn't seem like proper sex...
A. Yeah, probably. Mm.
Q. I mean, even if say you were having sex that was giving you orgasms or whatever,
but not penetration, would you still feel it wasn't A. I don't know. I don't know, it just seems funny. You know, like when you say "sex"
people just think, you know, like intercourse, you know. Maybe that's just, you know - I
don't know. Maybe that's just why.
Q. And it's probably certainly what a lot of - most blokes think.
Q. No, it's just in the context of the AIDS campaigns and things like that A. Yeah.
Q. - talking about safe sex A. Uh huh.
Q. - ... include not just using condoms, but the idea that you can actually have sex,
meaning lots of sexuality, which may not have to include intercourse.
Q. Except that people often just don't register that... sex is penetration.
A. Yeah. Probably, yeah.
Q. Well, I think I've just about finished.
LSFS4 2nd Interview
She came a bit early, in an old [CAR]. She’s still doing painting and decorating on the YTS
course, with 2 months to go. Then she’s going to try for a job in [NAME OF BUSINESS].
She’s left home – her parents kicked her out because she went away for the weekend with her
boyfriend. She went to live with her friend SOPHIE but she’s been living with her boyfriend for
the last 3 weeks. However, they’ve just split up because he thinks he might be gay – very
confused and confusing. She’s going to stay living there for a bit, but they don’t sleep together
anymore. She has had to radically alter her views on gays, as she used to hate them…
They used condoms, she would always use them now, and in the future because of AIDS and
She told me that in the past, when she was 15+ and at school, she wasn’t using condoms, and
was having sex for the prestige and gossip in school. She went with a divorced man with a kid
for 4 months because of this. They didn’t use any contraception. Now she thinks that was really
stupid – and that she’s grown up now.
She used to be ‘alcoholic’ at school, also smoked spliffs a lot. She still gets drunk and smokes
cigarettes and a bit of dope if it’s around, but nothing harder.
She had her first sex at 15. She doesn’t do oral sex, some touching, but sex equals intercourse.
She’s changed through leaving home and is less scatty and more grown up and responsible.
(I’m not sure if this is her view or mine)
LSFS4 My notes before the interview:
• She didn’t get on at home and has obviously moved since the last interview
• Parents had stereotyped views about girls’ roles but she obviously doesn’t (e.g. doing a
painting and decorating course) and used to train as a mechanic? They can’t see her point of
view. Her Dad can a bit but her Mum can’t. Her Mum is Portuguese and Dad is Italian and still
have traditional ideas, such as no sex before marriage.
• They always wanted to know exactly where she was going, who with etc. Her Mum didn’t like
her boyfriend (friend rather than boyfriend). Boys got pissed off with her mother interfering.
• Need to ask more about AIDS – not much answered before, talked more about gays getting it
• She negotiates, for a joint decision, talks about precautions. She uses condoms, hasn’t used
any other sort of contraception, hasn’t wanted to. Does this against AIDS and pregnancy. She’s
quite aware of AIDS as a serious risk.
• Ask more about sexual pleasure.
• How did she manage to have sex if her parents were so interfering?