Interview with Lucy, 18-19, working class, no religion. Women, Risk and AIDS Project, London, 1990. Anonymised version. (Ref: LSFS36)
Anonymised transcript of an interview with Lucy, who is working in accounting after completing her A-Levels. She is still living at home with her mother, but her boyfriend is allowed to sleep over. Lucy describes losing her virginity in a one night stand, which she feels a lot of regret about - she had just wanted to 'get it over and done with'. It had hurt a lot, she didn't enjoy it very much and felt that asking him to use a condom would have been too awkward. She had thought that only men got enjoyment from sex, and was surprised when she had her first orgasm. Lucy thinks that there are generational differences in understandings of sex, disease and risk, especially after conversations with her mother, who is now in her 50s. She thinks that public health campaigns targeted at young people could be much more realistic, especially anti-drug campaigns. Her sex education in an all girls' school was very late and very limited - there was a lot of talk around sex at her school, but masturbation had remained a taboo subject.
Reanimating Data Project
CC BY-NC 4.0
Q: So you actually - you left school six months ago?
A: Yeah. Well, I was at college, went to college to do my A-levels.
Q: What did you do at A-level?
A: Well, I did - it was a course, it was like a package, you know those GCSE
packages, and I did - in the first year I did drama and typing - 'cos it was a ..., it
was a media course, so you did shorthand and typing, and the first year of your
A-levels so I did English Literature and Sociology. In the second year I did
photography and the second year of your A-levels. I did - resat my maths, I failed
Q: Was that GCSE?
A: Yeah. It was harder than the O-level because - 'cos I did, like I was the last the end of the O-levels; I found the GCSE harder than the O-level because couldn't get on, the coursework's so different from what you're used to, it's like that's why I found it harder. I wasn't very impressed with that, but that's probably
- if I'd always done GCSE, I'd have not known any different. 'Cos I'd done the Olevel I was constantly thinking "I wish I was doing the O-level" and Q: So what did you end up with?
A: What, my grades? I got a D for sociology and I got an E for English actually.
Q: And then you've been working A: Yeah, yeah, I got a job straight away after my exams. I didn't wait for my
results 'cos I didn't think I'd passed at all. And went to the career centre... It
wasn't really for someone as old as me, it was just an office junior, 'cos they was
looking for someone about sixteen and they wasn't really looking for someone
like with qualifications really, but they took me on and I - I've moved now, I'm still
in the same place but I've - now on accounts department, you know, 'cos like I
outgrew my job quite quickly, I was getting - getting a bit - I was getting a bit started to get, not - at school you might call it lippy, but I was - getting - like I
couldn't take orders or anything, you know, people were telling me what to do
and I was, you know, I was getting like upset and angry 'cos I didn't like doing
what I was doing, I was like - like... a dogs body or something. And they - 'cos it
was quite a nice place really, they liked me, and they moved me onto accounts
and now I'm a trainee accounts person now so Q: And is that better?
A: Yeah, like someone's doing my job now who's sixteen and probably will carry
on doing that for a couple of years and not get angry or anything, you know, 'cos
it's suited to their abilities but I got, you know, I outgrew it very quickly.
Q: Yeah, I can imagine, you must have felt really fed up.
A: Yeah, I didn't - at first it didn't matter how educated you were if you were just
doing a normal office job and you'd never done it before, it'd all be new so you you'd enjoy it, but after a couple of months you start, you know, doing things with
your eyes closed and finishing your whole day's work in like the morning, and
you've got nothing to do. Plus the fact you're below everyone else and I don't like
Q: No. Whereas now you've got a bit more status.
A: Yeah, I've got my own little - not - it's like, not an own room thing cut off, a
door and everything, but my own like cubicle, you know, like - sort of like people
going "oh, she's got a proper job now". One of the consultants walked past today
and he said, "oh, she's got a proper job now, she's not talking", you know. It's
quite good. I won't say it's... though. Soon outgrow this job as well.
Q: Do you know what you want to do eventually?
A: The only ambition I've got at the moment is to earn some money. Haven't got
- haven't got any ambitions in doing something wonderful for the world, just
wanna do something for myself at the moment. Stay in accounts I think, 'cos
there's a lot of money in it and that's all I'm interested in at the moment.
Q: Really? And you live with your mother and your sister?
A: Mm, yeah.
Q: Is that alright?
A: Well, it's alright in as much as I suppose anyone living with their parents is
alright, you know. I wouldn't - I suppose the only reason I'm living with my mum
is because I'd never be able to afford to live anywhere else. Possibly - I mean I
haven't paid her rent at all. I only paid her really once and that was last month,
and this month I haven't got no money and so I said "mum, I haven't got any
money, do I have to pay rent this month?" and she said "well, pay me when you
can", but I mean you wouldn't be able to say that to a landlord, say Q: No.
A: - or say to the bank, say "I can't pay my mortgage this month, will you let me
off?". So I'm lucky in that respect really but you don't - you still - there's still times
when you think, you know, think "oh, I wanna leave, I wanna go and live
somewhere". And I'd only get a place if I - I wouldn't get a place with my friends,
but I'd get a place with my boyfriend. If we got a place together I'd do that. But
only if I had some money anyway. But I've stayed - stayed with my friends like,
you know, like girlfriends... live with friends.
Q: Does your boyfriend live on his own or does he live A: Well, he lives in [NAME OF TOWN], he comes from [NAME OF TOWN] Q: [NAME OF TOWN]?
A: Yeah. He was working - that's where I met him, at my job, and he was made
redundant at Christmas; but while he was working in London - he was working in
London for about a year - he - he lived in [LONDON BOROUGH] with his aunt,
so he lodged at his aunt's, so he had it quite good as well, you know, like only
paid thirty pound a week rent and food, so he had it quite - he's got it quite good
as well. But since he was made redundant at Christmas he's moved back to
[NAME OF TOWN] until he gets another job in London, so he's in [NAME OF
TOWN] at the moment. So - when he's staying in London he lives with his aunt.
Q: And you can go and visit her?
A: Well, I - I used to stay there and it was getting to the stage where - I don't
think his aunt likes me and she used to get a bit funny when I used to go there.
'Cos he's got a spare room - there's like the aunt in her bedroom, then there's
like him in his bedroom and like the spare bedroom, so I'd have to sleep in the
spare bedroom. He's twenty-three and I'm eighteen. But at my house we're
allowed to stay in the same bedroom, you know, and I can see that some people
might be a bit funny about that, but when we go there you have to sit in the living
room. We're not allowed to - even though we're not sleeping in the same room,
we're not allowed to stay in a room together on our own as well. It's like
something out of Victorian age, do you know what I mean?
Q: What, his aunt has to be there all the time?
A: Yeah, she - we have to - we're not allowed to go upstairs to the bedroom and
say listen to some music, you know? I mean, I might understand it more if he
was eighteen and I was eighteen, but he's twenty-three and I'm eighteen. Like if I
go round there after work we both sit down and have our tea and you sit there
and watch telly until like ten or eleven and then you go to bed and he goes to his
room and I go to my room and you get up in the morning and, you know, like it's
- like I just - I don't - I'm not saying "oh, gosh, I can't sleep with him for one
night", it's just that I feel silly, sort of like, you know, like going Q: Yes.
A: - you know, "goodnight" and going into your room. One night - that's the last
night I stayed there, I said "I'm not staying here again", 'cos she made me feel
like I was some tart or something. She - he like went to bed and before I went to
bed, you know, I was just sitting in his room talking to him. I wasn't in bed, I
wasn't undressed or anything. I was sitting there dressed on the bottom of his
bed, I wasn't even next to him, and she came in and she goes "I'm not having
any of this going on!" she goes, "you're not at TONY's" - which is like his sort of
step-dad in [NAME OF TOWN] who he lives with in [NAME OF TOWN]; she
goes "you're not at TONY's, not at the moment", she goes "I'm not having any of
this carrying on". She goes "go into your own room", and I felt so - she made me
feel like I was so dirty, I said "I'm not staying here again", so - but then he lost his
job. Like not that long after then anyway, so there's been no like - no occasion to
Q: So how old's she?
A: Well, she's only sixty. It's not like she's - her husband died I think - I don't
know, about - it must be a good six years ago I suppose. But I mean she married
- she's like from the East End, lived in LONDON BOROUGH, not like posh, you
know, it's a council flat; the only reason she's got a three-bedroomed flat is 'cos
at one time she had a big family and now like they can't take flats away from
you. I mean, they might not give an old age pensioner a - a three-bedroomed flat
now, but it's 'cos she's always got that, you know, so she's like - it's funny really,
'cos where she lives, in LONDON BOROUGH there's like - she's got a threebedroomed flat, and for other people to qualify for these three-bedroomed flats
they've got to have something like two people in each bedroom or something,
and like four kids in one bedroom, and there's - like, most of the people that live
on her like housing block are all like Indians with large families, and they've all
got about six people in each bedroom and she's got a three-bedroomed flat to
herself, you know, and it's - it seems a bit unjust.
A: But I don't think - I don't know - they can't actually take a house away from
you but they can offer alternative accommodation, can't they Q: Yeah.
A: - 'cos my - my - my nan in KENT, which is... London... Kent, she had a twobedroomed house and they offered her, you know, like a granny flat, a onebedroomed flat, and she didn't want that because it was - not 'cos it was smaller,
but because it was away from all her friends and everything, so they give her
another house, but it was a one-bedroomed house, you know?
A: So, you know, I think Q: So - do you go and visit your boyfriend in [NAME OF TOWN]?
A: Yeah, I do quite a lot.
Q: And is that alright?
A: Yeah, that's fine there, he's Q: You stay there?
A: Yeah, we stay there and - like his dad's like really nice, really, you know like no, there's no problems there, it's just the same as if he was at my house, how
you expect it to be, just - I don't know, you just expect it to be like that in this day
and age, you know. Don't expect no funniness, you know. I mean, I suppose I - I
think it's a bit funny like if my fourteen-year-old sister wanted to sleep with her
boyfriend but I mean not when you're both working and like he's twenty-three
and I'm eighteen, I'm nearly nineteen. No, his dad's alright. Dad doesn't live well, it's his step-dad, very confusing - it's not even his step-dad because his
mum and this TONY, sort of his step-dad, didn't actually ever marry, although
they lived together for about thirteen years they didn't actually ever marry, so it's like he would be a step-dad if they'd married but they didn't.
Q: He's equivalent in terms of feelings and whatever A: Yeah, yeah, so - yeah, so - but he doesn't call him "dad", he calls him
"TONY". And TONY doesn't actually even live in his house really, so whenever
we're there, TONY's never there anyway, it's just TONY (?)belongs to it. TONY's
Q: That must be quite nice then, 'cos it's...A: Well, it's like - like - it's like playing house, isn't it, you know, doing cooking
Q: And how long have you been going out with your boyfriend?
A: I think about - I'm not sure -... January. It's the end of February, isn't it - that's
Q: Since you started work?
A: Well, actually I must have been working in [NAME OF COMPANY] longer than
that. I started in July - so it's July, August, September, October, November,
December, January, February - I've been working there eight months, so I've
been going out with him six months, so yeah. See, it wasn't like boyfriend and
girlfriend from the start; it wasn't like he'd go out with me. We was just friends,
you know, just work friends while it worked out. We both had - we both was
going out with people, you know.
A: Yeah, yeah. So like we was just friends. It was just the way it worked out.
Spent a lot of time together and that.
Q: What happened to your other relationships?
A: Well, mine was quite - quite cut and shut really, you know, I didn't - I didn't
actually say "I'm going out with someone else" because I didn't not like him, do
you know what I mean? It wasn't like, you know, all of a sudden a really bad
relationship and I sort of like went from one bad relationship and I sort of fell into
another, it wasn't like that. It was just boyfriend and girlfriend, that's all it was, but
we was like friends. But then I met NEIL and - well, I didn't actually tell my
boyfriend that I was going out with somebody because I didn't wanna hurt him,
you know, it wasn't very nice. I just sort of - you know, I - you know, "it's not
working" or - no, I didn't...; he just said to me "what's the matter?", I said "I'm just
not happy about us", and he said "don't you want us to go out together no
more?", so I said "no", he said "oh alright then". So that was it. You know, it's not
very Q: ... easy A: Yeah, you know what I mean? - it was - that was easy, you know, that's what and that was on the phone as well, it was very easy. And that was it, I never saw
him again, because he lived in London, you know but - I've never seen him
again. But his girlfriend, that was a different story, and it still is, you know? 'Cos
she still likes him and so like it's a bit awkward in that, you know, she writes
letters and phones and Q: - wants him back.
A: Yeah, wants him back, and tells people, you know, and you hear from through
the grapevine, you know like "she's gonna get him back after Christmas", you
know, like or "she's gonna get him back this weekend", you know, like, sort of
like constant - it's like I've sort of like won the trophy, you know, but... hang on,
you know, sort of like - it sometimes causes arguments, you know.
Q: What, between you and him?
A: Yeah. Not sort of like throwing saucepans arguments but, you know, bad
tension, bad feeling; there's nothing I can do about it really. She's there Q: Has he - how does he feel about it?
A: Well, he doesn't not like her. Do you know what I mean, he doesn't hate her he doesn't say he loves her but he doesn't not hate her, so he can't say "oh look,
you silly cow, go away, leave me alone", you know, like call her names and
things, so it doesn't work like that but - I don't know, it's so - ... No, he doesn't
say like, you know - I mean, I can't hate her but - I don't - I don't know what the
answer is anyway, if he - you know, I don't know what he can do really. I mean,
all I can think of is if he wanted to go out with her really he could, you know. He
wouldn't sort of like, you know, really want to be going out with her and be going
out with me. If he wanted to go out with her then he would.
Q: And did he have a sexual relationship with her?
A: Yeah. Well, she was sixteen, you see.
Q: Oh, she was quite young.
A: Yeah, so she was quite young. I mean I'm - well, I'm nearly nineteen, but she
was like sixteen, nearly seventeen now; and so like I mean - I know - I mean I've
been sixteen myself. I know what sixteen-year-olds are if they're going out with
boys twenty-three, idolise them, you know.
A: And so like, you know, she - I mean, she wrote him all these letters, and he let
me read the letters, and they were like so - you know, things like, they were
saying things like "oh, we were -", you know, "we were made for each other, we
were married even though we wasn't legally", you know, things like that, really
sort of like really sort of really - like if she was a couple of years older and she
read them she'd probably think "oh God, did I really say that?", do you know
what I mean? It's just one of those things...
Q: You put in your questionnaire that you'd had other sexual relationships before
NEIL A: Yeah.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about those?
A: Well, shall I start from the beginning?
Q: Yeah. (laugh)
A: Right, well, I lost my virginity when I was sixteen - nearly seventeen, I wasn't
like just... I was sixteen and eight months or something, you know, I'd left school
and everything. And I started college, been at college for a couple of months.
And it wasn't like a boyfriend or anything, I wasn't - just a one-night stand and I
never wanted to see him again; and I didn't - wasn't pressurised into it - I'd like to
think I was 'cos it was so horrible I'd like to sort of like sort of sit back here, nice
and comfortable, and think, you know, "oh he forced me to do it, I didn't wanna
do it"; but it weren't like that. I just - I was really - really scared - like if I was with
someone I liked, I was really scared to do it and I was like all prim - "no, no, can't
do it, no, mustn't". And I met this boy from CB - you know citizen band radio? Q: Yeah.
A: - well, they had - they called it an eyeball meeting Q: An eyeball?
A: Yeah, they call it an eyeball (laugh). They had a meeting and we went for a
drink - and I didn't drink alcohol so I wasn't drunk, you know, I just had an orange
juice or something, so I wasn't drunk either; and we just went for a walk, and it
was just like kissing - he was a really horrible kisser and he wasn't nice at all, he
was really really ugly. He was just gross. And - and I did it with him. I just wanted
- do you know what I mean? I just wanted to get it over and done with, it was
like, you know, I've done it now, I can go and do it with someone I like or
something, you know. But then in actual fact I didn't actually do it again for ages,
I can't - you know, I didn't... about Christmas. And that was about the end of
summer, just when I started Christmas - started college. But it wasn't - you know,
I don't - I don't regret it really, 'cos I don't know if I would have enjoyed it the next
time. I don't know, I was really scared, you know.
Q: Did you know - when was the point when you knew you were going to do it?
Did you decide?
A: Well, we was kids and everything, and normally when - you just know a boy's
gonna try it on or something, you know, like - and, you know, that's when you
say "no" or something, but I didn't. I wanted - I did want to do it, it wasn't like I
was - like I say, I wasn't forced or anything. I knew what was gonna happen and,
you know, I wasn't worried. And I didn't use any contraception, I wasn't like on
the pill or anything, and I wasn't - didn't say "oh, let's use a condom" or anything
like, you know, what they say, so - but I think - I'm sure then at that time - I know
it was only a couple, like three years ago, but I'm sure there wasn't no AIDS - I'm
sure it wasn't when the AIDS adverts were around then. It was just when I left
school. I can't remember Q: It wasn't something you thought of at the time?
A: No, 'cos I'm sure that, maybe if it was - I can't remember it being like round
then - sort of seems as if it - maybe it was like six months later that it became all
like, you know, like the AIDS adverts on the telly and "wear a condom", you
know, like things like that. "Best life insurance" or anything like that. But just, you
know, I - I - one, it didn't occur to me and two, I wouldn't have had the guts to
ask anyway I don't think.
Q: You wouldn't?
Q: Why not?
A: I - I know it sounds really silly, but because I was frightened 'cos - frightened
to ask I think, because of - I think you know, they haven't got one anyway. I
mean, you know if they've got one in their pocket or something, you know like,
they don't offer to use one and you don't ask them to use one, you know? But
you sort of kind of know they probably haven't got one anyway. And plus the fact
I wanted to do it, I wouldn't - I wasn't in the frame of mind that I would have said
"oh, 'cos you haven't got one, I don't want to". Do you know what I mean? There
wasn't that - I just wanted to do it. I wish I - if I could go back then and change
my mind I would, not because I lost my virginity but because he was so horrible
(laugh). But I can't. And it wasn't very nice really either, it wasn't like nice, it was Q: You didn't enjoy it.
A: Oh. Well, not like - you know like you were saying do I like my job, but 'cos
I've got nothing to compare it against, then you don't know. Well, the first time
you have sex you haven't got anything to compare it against, so you don't know.
You sort of like, you know, I think - you might - in one sense I think you might
enjoy it because, you know, like you're having sex and, you know, you don't
really know what to enjoy it's like, so, 'cos you're doing it... But when I got home,
it was like really really...
A: ... wasn't like, sometimes you read on the problem pages on the back of girls'
magazines and they say, "I'm worried about bleeding", and they say "you'll just
have a little bit of blood", but I had blood everywhere. I had blood all over my
hands - 'cos it was dark, it happened outside, it didn't happen indoors; outside on
Q: And was it very comfortable?
A: Oh, he put his coat down on the floor.
Q: A bit chivalrous.
A: Well, it was the summer, it weren't cold. And - and I got home, and I had
blood all over my hands, I had blood all over my clothes, I had it all down my
legs, I had blood everywhere. You know, like... walk for a couple of days (laugh),
Q: Was it painful?
A: Yeah, it was, it was painful. I stopped - I think I - so hard to move but it's not,
you ... age you really try and think. I remember saying stop, 'cos it hurt - you
know, that wasn't straight away, after a little while I said "stop, it hurts" Q: Did he stop?
A: Mm, mm. Oh, he loved me, he did, he was in love with me and everything,
you know like Q: But that was the only time A: Yeah, well, you see, he kept ringing me and he wrote me a couple of letters in
that week, you know, he said oh he wants to marry me and everything, you
know, I'm only sixteen, you know like Q: How old was he?
A: He was about twenty. He must have been about twenty-two, twenty-three, he
was quite old. And I suppose he must have been on a right high, you know, just,
you know, broke someone's virginity, a sixteen year old girl. But Q: Did he know before, that you were a virgin?
A: Mm, yeah, yeah. I can - you know, like I can see it all now; you know like I
was saying about that girl, in a couple of years' time, if she - if she could read
those letters Q: Yeah.
A: - maybe she'd feel such an idiot. You know, like, but you can't help feeling like
that when you're sixteen, it's just - that's what sixteen year olds are like.
Q: Growing up...
A: But I suppose in a couple of years’ time I might think the same about being
eighteen now. But - you know, like, and then he rang the next week and... 'cos
he was coming up - because he didn't have a car, he was gonna ride his bicycle;
it was about ten miles. And I said "oh, I don't wanna go out with you anymore"
Q: Had you only had the one date or A: Yeah, that was it.
Q: That was it.
A: Yeah. I didn't wanna see him again. I suppose part - one of the part of the fact
I was so willing as well, was 'cos I knew I'd never see him again because he
lived right over - he lived in [NAME OF COUNTY] and it was miles away. I'd
never seen him before. And, you know, like - 'cos that's another thing, you don't
like doing it with boys round where you live because it all gets out and you've
known them all your time - all your life anyway, and you know - you just don't.
That's probably one of the reasons most of the time that you say no, 'cos you you don't... But I - so that's probably why you'd save it for someone you liked,
because it's gotta be someone round where you know that... opportunity... I don't
know. Might be able to explain it easier if it was just after the time 'cos it'd be all
fresh in my mind but, you know, I did want...
Q: Did you feel anything at all - I mean, apart from it being painful? Did you feel
that it could be enjoyable or did it just feel A: No. No, I thought - I don't know, I just - I just thought, you know like - I think but in actual fact, for ages after that and running up until recently, you thought
the only person who got any enjoyment out of sex was the bloke, you know like
you didn't get nothing, you know; only as much as sometimes, you know, just just doing anything sexual was exciting, but, you know, it just seemed like they
always seemed to get more... you know, like Q: What, they got an orgasm?
A: Yeah, that's right (laugh). Yes.
Q: ... get.
A: But - yeah, I - I - always reading those ... magazines like about, you know,
women and orgasms and that, and I had one and I would have thought that I'd
still be sitting here saying that I hadn't had one with a boyfriend, but I - last
weekend, Monday, I did, my boyfriend and Q: For the first time?
A: Yeah, and - you know like when you - you know - you read magazines about
pretending, women pretending that they had one...
A: ... please like - well, I used to do that as well. And I read in that article in one
of the free magazines they hand out, only a couple of weeks ago, and it said you
shouldn't do that, you know, you're having a relationship on a false basis if you
do, you know. But everyone I know does that, you know, you - you know, sort of
like, there they are, you know, and if you... sort of like, they go "you didn't come,
did you?" and if you say no, they go "oh" (sigh), and they sort of feel like they're
so - not a man, you know. You know, you might enjoy sex but just 'cos you didn't
have an orgasm it's not the end of the world, but to them it is, you know, and
they - I mean I suppose they equate it to them, you know, if they didn't Q: Yeah.
A: - if every time they had sex, you know like, for five years, and they never ever
come, you know, they'd sort of like be out killing themselves, wouldn't they? But,
you know, women do it for years and years, you know, it doesn't bother us, you
know - well, as much as it might bother them, and - you know, like so when I
did... I couldn't say to him "oh, that's the first time I've had an orgasm" (laugh),
you know, so - but I was a bit surprised. I thought "oh, my God".
Q: Yeah. But was that with actual intercourse or was that with other things?
A: No, that was - but it was - it was 'cos I was on - I was on top, you know, so I
suppose I got more stimulated that way, you know. But it's surprising actually,
how much they don't - that's why they're so - why maybe they might not be able
to please a woman, it's because they don't know nothing about our bodies. Like I
don't know if it's 'cos they don't read or they didn't take any notice of the biology
lessons, but I mean it's like quite easy to learn about what makes - you know,
what a bloke's private parts, you know, do and everything. But honest to God, he
thought that urine came out of our vagina, you know, where your periods and
their penis goes and everything, you know like, and he thought, you know, like
that's where your wee came from, so he thought it was dirty 'cos, you know, like
your wee came out there. You know. I couldn't believe that. That was only about
a month ago that, you know, that I told him that. I can't remember how it, you
know, came about, but that's where he thought - so if they think that, you know, it
shows how much, you know, ... they are.
Q: ... parents told them A: Yeah.
Q: - let alone actually knowing A: Well, he Q: - how to touch you...
A: Yeah, yeah.
Q: .. actually turns you on.
A: Well, see - he thought like that you could get pregnant every time you have
sex, so that every time say you have sex, on the first day of my cycle, I could get
pregnant if we didn't use anything. You know, he didn't know that there was like you had like an ovulation, you know, you only had a couple of days in the month
when you could get pregnant. He thought every time you had sex you could get
someone pregnant. You know, so - he's not like come from a sheltered
background, you know, he's sort of talked to the lads and everything so - shows
you, doesn't it.
Q: Yeah. So can you talk about sex with him at all?
A: Yeah, in as much - no, quite much - apart from - apart from the big orgasm,
you know, like apart from that. I think everything else Q: What do you mean by everything else?
A: Well, I think that's the only thing - you know like sometimes - you might not
have something you talk about. Well, that's the only lie, you know, 'cos that was
a lie. I don't think there's anything else.
Q: But can you sort of say to him or talk about what you like, or might like him
doing to you?
A: Yeah, yeah, I have done that, yeah. He was - he was - 'cos like at first like, it
was like, you know, it was like having sex quite a lot and everything, but recently
we haven't done it hardly at all... 'cos he's not working and he's getting really
depressed and everything 'cos he can't get a job. He's been trying, you know,
he's got - he's got another interview lined up for next week but he's like getting he's got twenty pounds, you know, left, that's all he's got, and he's got no job,
and - well, he had twenty pounds left Monday, he's spent ten pounds he told me
today, so he's only got ten pound left in the bank. He's got a loan as well, that's a
hundred pounds, so he's got all these worries and things, and he's just - he's just
lost all interest in sex.
Q: Really? Yeah, it does happen like that with depression.
A: And - and he - he just - just not interested, you know like. So that caused
problems because - 'cos you think that it's me, you know, I think, you know,
something wrong with me. And he'll say "no, it's not you, it's me", you know like,
'cos I - I might go up there - like this weekend I went up there Friday night and I
come home Tuesday, 'cos I had Monday and Tuesday a holiday, you know like,
and all that time we didn't do it till Monday, and even then we wasn't gonna do it,
it was only 'cos like - 'cos we went to bed, you know, 'cos - 'cos I know he was there was some, you know like, sort of before - until that night he talked about it.
Before it was just "I don't wanna do it", you know, so there was me thinking
there's something wrong... and then Monday night we talked about it, you know,
'cos I said, you know - he said that's why he's like that, and like - and we was,
you know, we went to sleep, but then he woke up in the middle of the night, you
know, and he was, you know, he felt like it then, you know, so - I don't know what
happened while he was asleep, you know, but he lost his depression for a little
Q: And if he still - if he thinks it's dirty down there, does that mean that he doesn't
kind of have oral sex...?
A: Well, he - he said - he has, we have, yeah, we have, you know like, but he
said - like once he said that he didn't like doing it. But when he said that, you
know, I thought, well, I'm not gonna ask you to go down there if you think - you
know, you don't like it, you know. 'Cos I suppose if I didn't like doing it to him
then maybe I wouldn't want him saying "I want you to give me a blow job" or
something, if I didn't wanna do it; so I wasn't gonna press it. But he has since
then. And I was thinking, you know, "you said you didn't like it", you know - you
know, I thought maybe, you know, maybe he's doing it 'cos he thinks he has to
or something. But I suppose - saying you talk about things, I suppose you - even
though you might think you talk about things you don't talk about them that much
Q: No, you sometimes skate round -
A: Yeah. I don't think he likes it that much though.
Q: But do you like it?
A: Well - well, I like - quite like doing it to him; but I - I don't not like it because don't not like him doing it to me because, you know, I think it's dirty but - but it
doesn't give me that much satisfaction in as much as he doesn't really know
what he's doing anyway, so it's, you know - it's boring in that respect. I don't not
like it because, you know, like, I think it's dirty. I wouldn't put it high on my list
because it's not that, you know, that good...
Q: What do you put high on the A: I just like having straight sex really, I... just like lots of kissing and like just
being - just - like all of it together. I haven't got one bit. I like it altogether. I
suppose if I just had one bit, you know, just had oral sex every night or just had
straight sex or like - altogether... that's the only way I could say. I haven't got one
... that... Makes it - I think I love him, it makes a difference. You know, I can
enjoy sex with him more than I have with anyone else. Like my - my boyfriend
before, it was - that really was "lay back and think of England", that was; and I
didn't do anything with him, didn't do anything at all, didn't - I didn't even touch
his willie, penis, whatever you call it (laugh). I didn't even touch it. You know, I
think - I - I might have touched it just to help him into me Q: Yeah.
A: - you know, like, but I didn't - wouldn't do like any oral or, you know, like
masturbation or anything, you know like... It was - you know, like actually, it was
like - might be a bit funny this, 'cos he was - he was black, you know... make a
big thing out of black lovers, don't they? You know, like - but that's all we did, just
completely and utterly straight sex with capital letters.
Q: Basically sort of in and out.
A: Yeah. You know. That - that - he'd come and, you know, he'd roll over and go
asleep. You'd roll over and go asleep. That was it, you know.
Q: What did you think of that?
A: I didn't really think nothing of it, 'cos I'd not - you know, like - I didn't think "oh,
wow!", but I didn't think, you know, "oh God", you know, "it's bad". You know, it
wasn't really until I met NEIL that like I had, like, a really like loving sexual
relationship. You know, before that it was just - just sex, you know, like all the
other times before. With him I didn't use any contraception either.
Q: What, with the one before A: No.
Q: Didn't you think of it?
A: Well, I think probably maybe I was a little bit worried but not that much really.
Like didn't use a condom, and I think I just was starting to think of going on the
pill when I - when I started going out with NEIL. And so with NEIL I've been quite
good, but there was even - 'cos like I kept forgetting to take the pill. I - you know,
like take it and then - and then like I'd forget it for three days, you know, and then
I - you know, like, then I'd think "oh, God", you know, "I might get pregnant". And
there was times - one time, when I thought I was. This was when I was going out
with NEIL. We only - we'd only been going out a couple of months and I really
thought I was pregnant because I kept forgetting to take the pill, like during this
course, and I kept forgetting to take it, and I thought I was pregnant because,
you know, you come off it for a week you're supposed to come on, and I didn't
come on. And it was like about the ninth day and I still hadn't come on. So I went
to my doctor's and I said, you know, "I want a pregnancy test". And he said to
me "well, we can't give you one, you've got to have - you've got to have missed
your period for something like a month or something", he said Q: - fourteen days.
A: - fourteen days, is it, oh - he kept saying, you know like "oh, I don't think you
are, no, no"; I'm going "well, I haven't come on", you know. He's going "well,
leave it a couple more days and come back and see me", you know 'cos he was
going... and he was right anyway. But I was really panicking. And - maybe it was
fourteen days, but at five days at a time, if it was only about nine days Q: - oh, God A: - it felt like a long time. You know, I was really panicking 'cos I didn't wanna
baby and I - I always - all I could think of was, you know, having an abortion, and
all I could think of was - you know, all these horror stories. I just wanted to find
out straight away and have an abortion straight away. I know it sounds - it might
sound a bit callous, but that's all I wanted to do. I wanted to find out straight
away and be able to, you know, like get myself down for an abortion straight
away. It sounds really bad but it's what I felt like at the time. I think if I was
pregnant now I'd feel a bit more different because like at the time I'd only been
going out with NEIL for a little while so it wasn't a very strong relationship, you
know; whereas now I'd be going through the dilemmas of oh, you know, like, you
know, it's NEIL's baby, do I wanna do this - whereas really that's stupid because
I'd still be in the same position. You know, I'd still lose - not being able to work,
I'd still be tied down with a baby for like sixteen years, so it's stupid, but I know
I'd feel different now. But - I wasn't pregnant, but like I told NEIL and he's like
really understanding, you know, like "new man", and so we went to the chemist
and we bought a pregnancy test, but you can't do it til the morning - it says "wait
til morning", so like - this is like on a Thursday afternoon we bought it, lunchtime,
and so I was gonna have to wait until Friday morning to do it, and, you know, we
was talking about it, and I said that I didn't wanna baby and everything, and I
said I'd want an abortion if I was pregnant; and, you know, like he didn't say "oh",
you know, "yes, I think that's a good idea", you know; but that's what he wanted
as well, but - that afternoon at work I come on. I'd just spent ten quid on the
pregnancy test and I came on!
Q: Might need it again.
A: Yeah, well, I might need it again, yeah. But hopefully not. But, you know, like
after that, you know, I suppose after that it must have been easier for him to say
it, but he said to me, "If you was pregnant", he goes, he goes "I would have
stood by you if you wanted the baby". You know, he said that, but I mean it was
probably easier - looking back now, it was probably easier to say that Q: Yes.
A: - once I'm not, you know. It sounds really nice and supportive, doesn't it, but
that's after, you know, I wasn't. But Q: Did - did that make you any better, as it were, at taking the pill? - or not
forgetting A: No. No, it didn't. It's so difficult, it's so - it's so easy to say - you hear these
people say, you know, the anti-abortion people say "well, they can take the pill,
they don't have to get pregnant", you know like... I take the pill, but I'm only
human, I can't help forgetting - I forget - I forget my bags, I forget everything; I
come to work and think "oh, God, I've left my sandwiches at home". You know, I
leave work and I get on the train and all of a sudden I haven't got my scarf on
me. You know, I'm just really a forgetful person. So people say carry your pill
round, it's something you carry around like your purse; but I don't have a
handbag that I carry around with me every day. 'Cos I'm disorganised, I don't
have a purse - I keep my money in my coat pocket. And - "get a purse", you
know, but I mean I - I wouldn't - I just like - I took it this month and I remembered
every one apart from the last one, and I took that the morning - 'cos I take it in
the evening - and so I took it in the morning; so I only missed it by like about ten
hours, but that was the last one so I don't think that's gonna be anything difficult.
You know, like, but - I'm not the only one, I know like - you know, a couple of my
friends, they - like they forget them, like I'll say something and they go "oh, God,
you've reminded me, I haven't taken it!", you know? It's easy - it's ‘specially easy
for a bloke to say, you know, you can take - "it's your fault you're pregnant, you
could have taken the pill", but, you know, it's not easy to remember. I don't know,
I suppose - they say it just becomes part of your - like brushing your teeth or
something Q: Yeah.
A: - but sometimes you don't brush your teeth in the morning, do you? (laugh)
Q: Right. Do you use a condom at all?
A: Well, with NEIL I have a couple of times, quite a few times - that's when I've
not been on the pill, I've forgotten to take it. But there has been
A: ...But there has been like a couple of occasions when I've said "look, I'm at my
risky time of the month" and - 'cos I've forgot to take the pill or I wasn't on the pill,
said "we've got to use a condom", and we got to the crunch and we didn't. You
know, like, and I said, you know like, you know, "we didn't use anything"; he went
"yeah, I know". But - I don't like using it because - it doesn't matter how much
they say you can make it part of "oh, she can put it on for you", you know like,
you know - but it don't work like that Q: Yeah.
A: - because you put it on and you put it on wrong or, you know - it's still, even if
she does put it on for him, she's still got to rummage around for it, you know,
even if you put it at hand you've still got to "oh, let's put it on now", you know. But
there is - I mean one thing I do actually like with using a condom is you don't get
no mess on you. Because, you know like, you know, afterwards, you know, you
sort of like stand up, you know, and it all comes down Q: ...runs down A: Yeah, or, you know, like I like keep a, you know, like your knickers... knickers
off and they're on the floor and I'll sort of reach for knickers and I'll wipe myself
with my knickers or something, you know. So - no, I suppose - I suppose if I'd
been living with someone for years I'd have my - my towel by the side of the bed
that I use or something, you know like... 'cos it's horrible that, you know. And that
- they haven't got nothing. But if they have the condom then you've got to get out
the bed and clean yourself up. That's why they probably don't like it, you
always... don't like it... I mean they'd be the - the - the cleaning up afterwards as
well as the fumbling around.
A: I lost my virginity, then at Christmas I had - like for a couple of times I slept
with my [REDACTED], who's just a year older than me. So we're both sort of the
same age. And when you've got family parties and everything, you know, we
always used to get together. But like I nearly did it with him when I was about
fifteen - I wasn't sixteen at all, I was fifteen; but we couldn't, you know, 'cos I was
a virgin and he was only about - like he was only like - he's not even a year older
than me, he's only about six months older than me, and so he didn't really know
what he was doing either, 'cos he was a virgin and he couldn't get up, I mean he
- you know, it was like - 'cos there's - 'cos there's like - there's that - the hymen
there, you know like they try and push it up you and you're tight as well and you
think that it's not gonna go, you know. We tried but we couldn't. But like - when I
was like - at Christmas, after I'd lost my virginity, we did do it, and we did it a
couple of times after then, but I can't really remember. But any time that I've
done it with him I haven't used a condom ever. 'Cos even then, I'd lost my
virginity, and I was still frightened to ask to use a condom because well - I can't I can't really think now. Just was. I was, I was Q: Was it frightened or embarrassed or A: Well, embarrassed, yeah. And - and he wanted to do it anyway. He did say(Tape break)
A: - where was I?
Q: - about being afraid or embarrassed to ask to use condoms.
A: Yeah. Yeah. Couldn't use a condom. And then I went - I went on a Spanish
Q: How old were you then?
A: I was seventeen and I was, you know, like still in my first year. I just - like it
was like the summer. I - I'd - my holiday was like the last two weeks of college
term and, you know, like all - all I'd done was lost my virginity with the ugly
boyfriend and... [REDACTED]. So that's all I'd done. And I went to Spain, and I
don't think I'd slept with [REDACTED] since Christmas, you know, like since...
seven months... you know, I hadn't done anything. And I went to Spain and on
the second night I slept with a ... German or something, and - well, I can't speak
any German, but he could speak a bit of English. I was really really drunk but I
wasn't - I wasn't forced into it. I wanted to do it, I really did. And - and that was on
the beach, that was, and he... lucky... he didn't - wasn't going to do anything, you
know, he was really honourable, you know, he just wanted to kiss and that was
it, you know, it was me that, you know, like, did all the initiating, so that - you
know, like that was me. And didn't use a condom, you know, like I didn't want to I just really wanted to do it then, so I did, and that was it.
Q: And what was it like?
A: Ah, I really, I did enjoy it, yeah, it was good, you know. I suppose it was good
'cos I hadn't done it for seven months, you know. I just wanted to really do it.
Q: Did you feel in control of it 'cos you'd initiated it?
A: Yeah, I did, yeah. I was drunk but he wasn't like - he didn't like tell me, you
know, it was me telling him. And it's amazing really, even though you might not
be able to spend a day with someone, you can't speak their language, when it
comes to having sex with someone, there isn't a language. The only language is
body language, you don't need to be able to speak the same language as
someone. You know, like, there weren't no problems there, you know. Every
country does it the same way, there isn't any communication problems when it
comes to having sex with foreigners, you know. So (laugh) - so then that was
that, and then I met this - that night in that club there was this like - there was
this group of Danish boys and like I was talking to them that night, and I - I was
talking to them like - no, I wasn't, no I wasn't talking; what I'd done - like in this
nightclub there was this like really good-looking Danish boy by the bar and I
pinched his bum and then turned around, you know, like, you know, I saw him
but he didn't know it was me; and then the next night I'd - 'cos I'd gone there with
- there was four of us, there was two boys and two girls, but we weren't boyfriend
and girlfriend, we were just all friends. And it turned out that - that the girl I was
with and one of the boys, they got off with each other on the holiday and they
sort of like had sex with each other, although we was all friends originally, and
then as soon as we got back to England she still liked him but to him it was just,
you know, like holiday, you know like had a bit of sex and that was it, you know,
he didn't wanna know her in England. And whereas - like she was younger than
me, she was sixteen at the time, and she wanted like to go out with him and
everything whereas he just pretended it didn't happen, you know, I think he was
really embarrassed about it as soon as he got back into England, you know, he
didn't wanna know her that way. And, like I said, him and the other boy, they
were both twenty-four, twenty-five, that age, but we was all friends, we wasn't
like boyfriend or girlfriend or nothing. And - oh, and - but - that - the - this boy,
the first boy, the others didn't know about him, I would have felt too embarrassed
if they had have known about it. I did it all very discretely, I wouldn't have done no one knows about it, I do it all very discretely - people you never see again
(laugh). And - whereas like I mean that girl, it was really bad for her, 'cos when
she got back to England everyone found out about it and it was all like talked
about whereas like I'd had a perfectly respectable holiday. And then - there's this
Danish boy. Me and one of the boys that I'd gone on holiday with, BILLY, we'd like the other two had gone back to the hotel - we - we went to like find some
more nightclubs to go to and we sat down on the steps and these two Danish
boys came by and we started talking to them, you know, and he didn't know that
I was the one that had pinched him on the bum the night before. But like we all
arranged to meet to go out the next night, like me, BILLY and these Danish
people, and we did; and I ended up getting off with the boy that I'd pinched his
bum, and Q: Did you ever tell him?
A: No, no, I didn't. Oh, I might have done, I don't know, I can't remember. But like
- I was - I'm quite - I was quite glad about that actually, 'cos all up until then I'd
never used a condom and, even if it had passed through my mind I'd never
dared ask to use it, even if - maybe even if I'd known they'd got one, I'd just there was just a barrier, just like - one, I was frightened to use it 'cos I didn't
know how to use it, it was like even if you'd done it without one it seemed like so,
you know, hard and, you know, like if you said "oh, can we use one?", you know,
like didn't know how to - I honestly didn't know how to put a condom on then, just
did not know, even if you - I don't know, I suppose you - it's the boy who should
know how to put it on, but one of the barriers was, you know, like I didn't know
how it went on, I didn't know how you used it really. I know it seems silly but it's -
you just don't know, you know - 'cos you haven't done it before you just don't
know, even if you read the instructions on the packet you still don't really know.
A: And - but this Danish boy, before we, you know, did it, I was all - all, you
know, prepared to do it without one, and he said, you know, "one minute", you
know, probably - that's probably the country he comes from Q: Yes, 'cos they A: - you know, 'cos they - that to them, you know, it's like, you know, they - it's
just like second nature I suppose. And he goes "one minute, you -" - this is like
on the beach, you know, we was in the sea and like we was like playing,
mucking about and that, and, you know, we trot - off he trotted, you know, and
got his condom, and come back, you know, and we used a condom and, you
know, we had sex and everything and it was just the same as if you wasn't, d'you
know what I mean? And I felt really glad about that because, you know, like - it
was like a barrier had come down; you know, like it was this - you know, like I'd
sort of like - you know, I felt okay about it after then, you know, especially as he
said, you know, "I've got to go and", you know, "go and get me condom", you
know. "Me rubber", I think he called it "me rubber", "get me rubber" (laugh). And
- and then -... I went and next - the one - 'cos I was on a two week holiday, I met
this English boy, this nightclub and like - he was like walking me back to my hotel
and we walked along the beach and we was gonna, you know, like do it on the
beach; and I said to him, you know, "I'm not gonna do it unless we use a
condom"; and all - all before that - it was 'cos I was frightened to ask, you know,
frightened asking, or a combination of something. I just couldn't, couldn't ask and
I just couldn't, and it wasn't until that Danish boy offered to use one, and he did,
and I knew what it was like to use one, I knew how it was used and I used one
that I felt okay about it. And I said to him "I'm not gonna use one" - "I'm not
gonna do it unless we use one", you know, I felt okay about it and I thought, you
know, if he says "I haven't got one" I'm just gonna say "alright, we won't do it
then". And he had one on him (laugh) and he used it and - there was still like a
bit - a week and a bit left of my holiday, and we stayed together for the rest of
the week. It was like holiday romance, you know, like Q: Yeah.
A: - sort of like - get up in the morning, go down to the beach, go out to a
nightclub, and sort of like spent the whole week like constantly together. And like
wrote to each other as well when you got back, but then - you know, like you just
stop writing to each other. 'Cos you say when you're on holiday "oh, we'll meet
up", but you know you're not really gonna go to [NAME OF CITY] or he's not
gonna come down, things like that. You know, like, we just said "oh, we'll just
leave it shall we?", you know, like - said "alright then". And so that was that and
we come back, but for the rest of the holiday we always used a condom and it
didn't feel funny not to use one. It was - 'cos I wasn't on the pill or anything and,
you know, that was fine. And then like now I think - you hear - now - like at the
time, I was saying earlier on, I didn't feel like I heard anything about AIDS or
about catching anything, you know, and it didn't worry me, but now I think what
an idiot! - I could have caught AIDS, I could have caught any VD or Q: ...
A: - any of the, you know, like the normal things you can catch, you know, even if
I hadn't caught AIDS I could have - or I could have got pregnant, you know, I
could have had a little Danish baby inside me, and I never'd see these - those
people again, you know? And so like, you know, like that - to me now, but at the
time it didn't. Didn't, didn't even think it at all. Just wasn't worried at all about that.
You know. But now I think, you know, oh God, you know, still - still - I still - I feel
okay, but you still, when you're - I must have been years... country thinking, you
know... back of your mind, 'cos you hear about catching AIDS and it stays inside
you, you know, like for years before you know, and you think, "well, I could have
it, but I don't know", you know. You know. Millions of people round the country
must be thinking that, you know, like it's in the back of your mind and you - you
just say to yourself "no, it's nothing, can't happen to me", but you know - I could
of, you know, there's nothing I can do about it now. I mean, my boyfriend, he's he's done the same, he's twenty-three, he's been to Spain, he's had his Spanish
holidays, and that's what happens when you go to Spain, you just - it's just - just
- just twenty-four hour sex, it is, just - Spanish package holidays, that's all it is.
And, you know, like he slept with - well, much more people than I've slept with,
you know, he's had a lot more girlfriends, steady girlfriends than me, and he's
also, you know, been on loads of Spanish package holidays, you know. I've
heard - he's told me a few of the tales that they've got up to, you know, like, so I
mean, you know, he could have picked up, you know, AIDS like over there, so I
might have it, you know, but you just think it won't happen to you.
Q: Yeah. Somebody else but A: ... Even now I'll sit here and I'll say I don't think it's happened to me. I know it
could of, but I don't think it has.
Q: If you were going - like if you weren't with NEIL, and you were going out with
somebody, or you were gonna meet somebody else, I mean would it occur to
you now about A: Yeah, what - yeah, yeah, it would Q: - about AIDS?
A: It would now. If I met someone now, say like I - say I split up with NEIL and I
went to a club and I met someone - like last week we went to a club Friday and I
met someone, and if I hadn't been with NEIL, you know, like it would have been
like that, because you know like he was giving me all the come-on and
everything. And he was really nice, it's just - well, you can't pretend that if you're
not going out with someone other people aren't gonna come onto the scene, it's
just natural isn't it? But - 'cos you are going out with someone you like you just
don't take up those things. But, you know, like if - if like I wasn't going out with
NEIL, if I was in a different situation, and I did see this boy, you know, I - I would
say "I'm not doing anything unless we use a condom". But at the same time you
think to yourself, well, say like I said that to someone and then - how long do you
keep saying you're gonna use a condom? Say you kept seeing them, like for
three months you're seeing them, you know, like, and you decided to go on the
pill, how long are you gonna say that? Because he's still the same person that
he was when you first met him. So you thought - you thought when you first met
him "oh", you know, "he could have AIDS" - well, he could have anything, you
know, he might just have gonorrhea or something, we'd better use a condom;
but he's just as likely to have some infection three months later, you know, like
he still might - just as likely to have AIDS then, and yet you won't use a condom
then, you think "oh, he's a nice person" or, you know, like - so I - you know, it's
okay for one-night stands but for long time relationships, you know like, you
know, mostly people that are gonna have a long term relationship with someone
is gonna have AIDS and they're not gonna know.
Q: Yeah. So does it mean that, you know, you're expected to use a condom for
the rest of your life?
A: Yeah. I know 'cos - especially as, you know, like for people - not so much like say, like my mum is not married now, but she still, you know, she's [IN HER
50’S] but she still has sex, and she's with a bloke at the moment. And he's - he's
only about thirty-six, you know, he's a lot younger than her. And, you know, like risks for her aren't so high, you know? 'Cos she's more likely to have sex with
someone older, although someone older if she's gonna have sex with might
have caught it off someone younger, I know, but it's still possible, but I don't
suppose the risks are quite as high as someone in my age group. But like - to
her, it would never occur to her. I've even said it to her before. She won't even
have a - a smear or anything, even though she's [IN HER 50’S] and had five
children, been married three times, you know like, and had numerous other men,
you know, like she - she hasn't got it, she knows she hasn't. You know, like, and
that to me seems like silly, you know. But she says she hasn't got it. She goes
"I'm not gonna have one of them", she goes, "I haven't got anything, there's
nothing wrong with me", you know?
Q: Best to check up though.
A: Yeah but she wouldn't. She won't have a check-up, she won't have a - she
wouldn't like look for breast cancer and all these other things you hear happen to
women, she - that, to her, for her generation, that type of thing don't happen to
her. Someone else, you know? Whereas to me, that would be something I'd be
worried about, you know. I'd have a check-up and that. I haven't yet, but you
know, it's something that I'd think about.
Q: Yeah. No, it's a good thing to do.
A: Well, she wouldn't use - like VD, right, she - she - she's not, you know, she's
passed her menopause so she couldn't get pregnant, but she wouldn't think of
using a condom to stop getting VD. D'you know what I mean? She would just
think of using a condom as stopping getting pregnant, she wouldn't think of it as,
you know, like, you know as a precaution. So it does - does show that education
does help, you know, 'cos no matter what the adverts or what leaflets she read
now, it wouldn't change her mind at all 'cos she's too old, because it's - I think it's
more to do with how you're brought up and influences around you, not by, you
know, how many leaflets you read. I - I - I feel more - feel more aware of it now,
but - but partly that's to do with maturity, not - you know, it's like I was saying, at
sixteen I didn't - you know, even if the leaflets were around I can't even
remember them being, but Q: Where do you remember hearing about AIDS first?
A: I can't - I thought - I thought I was at college but maybe it was at school, I
can't remember. I remember at school we were getting loads of leaflets for, you
know, like social and personal development lessons, they were - we got loads of
leaflets all about all the different types of VD you could catch. Now I'm sure that
we would have got a leaflet on AIDS but I'm - swear I don't remember getting it.
But maybe I've just got a block over that, maybe I did. I can't remember. Do you
know when it become famous, it was - I was at school, 1987 was my last year at
Q: It was about - it was about two years ago when they had all the television A: Yeah.
Q: - you know, weeks of television and...
A: Yeah. See I can't - it may be - I think maybe it was in the first year at college,
which was September 1987, not like beginning of '87, I don't - I'm sure it wasn't
'cos I swear I don't remember it being at school. It could have been but...
remember it being.
Q: Do you remember what you thought about...?
A: No, not really 'cos it - it didn't seem relevant to me. You know when you hear
all these people say "it's not really effective" or government's advertisements,
things like the advert with the gravestone and they're saying you shouldn't shock
people, you should teach them and all these things. But because you don't feel
like it won't happen to you, you don't think it's aimed at you, and you - you think
it's, you know, it's just something for kids. You think oh maybe it is - oh, I don't
know - 'cos I don't feel like it's aimed at me, 'cos I don't think that I'm gonna get
it, I don't feel like I've got any opinion on it. I don't feel like it's "oh, that's really
non-effective" and I don't feel like "oh that's really effective", you know. Once you
know - know about something it's hard to know whether something's telling you
something. 'Cos I think I know about AIDS now, I know what AIDS is now, I know
how you get AIDS. Everyone - not everyone Q: How do you get AIDS?
A: Well, you get AIDS through - infect - is it infected blood, if you pass blood? So
like if someone breathed on you with AIDS you wouldn't get it, but if their blood
gets into your blood you would get it.
Q: And through semen.
A: Semen, yeah. But Q: Is there any other way?
A: Well - what, methods of getting it or - what, do you mean like injections or
something or Q: Yeah...
A: 'Cos see, I mean I've never inject drugs so, you know, even that, you think I
won't - apply to me as well. But I - I do - I must admit that - 'cos I can't relate to
that very well but it must - it's the same sort of thing, the government's AIDS
campaigns and the government's drugs campaigns - you know, they've got they've got some new adverts, I don't know if you've seen them out, they're
brand new adverts aimed at young people my age, you know like d'you know like
all this Acid House craze, you know, they're trying to stamp out the right to
dance, you know, right to party or whatever it's called; and I'm quite mixed up in
all that. You know, like I go round with like people that go to these parties and
I've been to like the - the field parties and all that, and the drugs and everything,
and when you see these adverts on the telly it makes you laugh because it's just
so stereotyped. And they had something on The Bill the other day, I don't know if
you watched it, where they got these kids from an Acid House party, and the kids
had these bright... really really really loud over-the-top tops on and, you know,
they had long greasy hair, and they had like just all these, like, stereotype rave
gear, you know, like whereas, you know, I - I went to this club I went to last
Friday and people just don't wear that. You know, there's just so stereotyped.
And they've got these people and they've got all these drugs off them and it was
just, you know like, everyone, we was all sitting there and we was just really
really laughing 'cos it just seemed so funny 'cos it's not really like that. It's just
how - if - I suppose someone, people our age, were making that programme,
they'd know what we looked like; so, you know, they think that you look different.
But most of the people that go to these places would be dressed wearing what
you're wearing. They don't wear Q: - all this gear.
A: - all this gear, I mean some people do, but they - they've kind of got this
image, you've got a hall or a field or a club full of people all wearing different
clothes, when you just might have a pair of jeans on, a pair of trainers and a - a
Levi 501 t-shirt. You don't look no different from someone who's down, you
know, like walking down the road to the pub or something. You know, it's just so
stereotyped, and - there was like this thing in the newspaper and it was so
obvious that this reporter had made it up. It was in the Sun and it said - the
newspaper reporter said, "and partygoers said to me there was lots of ecstasy,
acid and pot going round", right? And I didn't actually read this, it was NEIL who
read it - he was reading the paper, 'cos he reads the Sun, and he was reading it
and he really started laughing and he goes "listen to what this paper says, it says
that a partygoer said to this reporter ‘I saw lots of ecstasy, acid and pot going
round’ "; and the reason is, not because there wouldn't be that stuff going round,
'cos there would be, but people our age don't say "oh, can I have an ecstasy
tablet please?" - they call them "E's" or - they don't call them "acid", they call
them "trips" and they don't call - you definitely don't say "oh, have you got some
pot?" (laugh), do you know what I - "pot", you know, "can I have", you know,
"have you got some pot please?", you know like (laugh) - you know, like they call
it, you know like "have you got a draw?" or something, you know like, they say
"roll a number up", you know, as if - say like a newspaper man said, you know,
"they had lots of numbers going round", you know, you know, like an ordinary
person might think "what do they mean - numbers?".
Q: ... bingo (laugh).
A: Yeah, do you know what I mean? But that's what they call it and, you know
like, that was so obvious that that was made up, you know, so it shows you it's
all Q: Yeah.
A: - and they got - they got these adverts going round now where this boy is
taking a trip or something, and he's walking along this bridge and he falls over
into the sea, and it's just showing you, you know, if you take drugs you know,
you kill yourself. But I know from like - 'cos I've taken drugs myself and my
friends do, and that's even more worse than taking - using condoms or
something, 'cos you really don't think it's doing you no harm at all. Just - you just
- you know you don't think it's - you don't think it's bad at all, you don't think - you
don't - don't feel like you're one of those druggies sitting round the toilet bowl,
you know, like with all spots and you know like ... It's not like that.
Q: What... take?
A: Well I've taken - I've taken E's - ecstasy - and I've taken trips; I've taken
speed, I've smoked dope. No, that's - that's it.
Q: Do you enjoy it?
A: Yeah, I do, but - the only times you don't enjoy it is when you get ripped off,
which you get ripped off a lot of the time. 'Cos that's - that's like sometimes, if
someone's had a go at me, lectured me - 'cos you do get the occasional people,
not old people, people your own age, they do lecture you, and - I suppose
everyone's got their own right to an opinion but you just think well, just think to
yourself, "well they've not tried it so how do they know?", you know, that's what
you think, that's what - everyone - that's a drug user's argument, "you haven't
taken it so how do you know?", you know, "how can you sit there telling me all
this?", you know. 'Cos they say - they see the adverts on telly where you're
sitting round a toilet bowl, you know, like being sick, or you're sitting in a room
injecting yourself and using tin foil, right? They get this image and they - they
imagine you selling your hi fi and your video, you know, it's like stereotypical
image, whereas most of the people that take drugs my age, they've all got loads
of money. You go to these clubs, or you go to the (?)raves, they aren't old Capris
and old bangered Escorts going round, they're like - ...people driving - they're all
young people, not much older than me, I mean I haven't got much money but
most of them have. Like they're all driving like D-reg Polo G - you know, like Gold
GTRAs and like NEIL's friend - well, NEIL's got a Cavalier, but NEIL's friend, he's
got this - he bought a brand new car for nine grand, just like Monday he bought
it. You know, they - they're not poor, they've all got good jobs in the city; you
know, they've all got plenty of money, and - I forgot what I was saying now
anyway. (laugh). I've completely forgotten what I was talking about.
Q: Well, actually, could we go back to like sex education A: Yeah.
Q: - and like you put in your questionnaire that - that you learnt quite a bit but it
came - sort of came through a process gradually A: Yeah. I don't - I only found - you don't actually learn anything about sex itself,
you don't actually learn about like - 'cos it - you kind of think you know it anyway;
but I do think was quite useful was the things like we learnt about VD and
everything. But they didn't sit down and talk to you, they give you ... leaflets. So I
suppose if you didn't read the leaflets you wouldn't know. And actually, I can't
really - I've got to admit, I don't really remember what everything is. Some - I
know the words "gonorrhea" and "syphilis" now, but if someone said to me, you
know, "what is gonorrhea, what are the effects of gonorrhea?", you know, you
know, I wouldn't know that. I know the word whereas before I didn't know the
word "gonorrhea", I didn't know the word "syphilis", you know, and those things;
but that's actually - that's the only two I can think of.
Q: What did - what year did you have sex education A: This was all in the fifth year. In the fifth year - this is - this is like - we're talking
three months before you leave kind of thing. They don't - the only thing. They
don't - the only thing you get, a bit in biology, and that consists of diagrams of
rabbits, you know, or diagrams of a cow's inside, you know like Q: Yeah.
A: - you know, you don't - or you might get a diagram of a human and a male,
but it's not actually their body, it's like their - a bone pelvis, you know like, and it
says the word "uterus" or something. But I can remember at school if anyone - if
a teacher said a rude word, like in English if you were reading a book and it said
the word "bastard" in it everyone giggled - you know, sort of like, I suppose - it you know, even if they - when they did like - I remember we - they showed us - in
our social lessons they told us about getting pregnant, and they showed us a
video about this woman, she was pregnant - 'cos it was a girls', all-girls' school
that I went to; so they showed you this woman who was pregnant and she had
her baby, and they showed you the woman having a baby, you know, like, say - I
mean, a couple of girls fainted watching this woman having her baby, that's how
bad it was. But there was - there was some things that were useful, like - like I'm
saying, in biology - I don't know if - 'cos it was a all-girls' school so like they did
strongly talk about girls' body and everything, but like I was saying, NEIL didn't
know about how you got pregnant, whereas I learnt that, whereas I never knew
that before. You knew if you got pregnant because of boys, you know, like you
had sex with a boy, but you didn't know how, you didn't know all about periods
and the times and everything. But I can't - I don't really think we had anything
really sex education. I did learn some things.
Q: Did they teach you about contraception?
A: Yeah, that was all in biology as well. What did they teach you, they - no, I
think their - their... contraception was if - like you might do a paragraph and it
said "and to stop getting pregnant you use contraception", you know, but it didn't
actually say what contraception was. But in the fifth year when we had that social
and personal development lesson - it was only in the fifth year, this lesson, it was
a new lesson designed for the fifth year; and it lasted an hour, and it wasn't till
near the end that you got onto the juicy bits which was the sex education. And
that did include contraception and - oh, that's it, I remember it now, they brought
in - they - they brought in this nurse and this nurse brought some things in to
show us. Didn't show us a condom but they showed us what a - I remember
them showing us what a - it's not a cap - a diaphragm looks like, I think; is it a
A: That long thing, was it - was it - no, what is it, it's long and it's sort of like got
sort of wires at the end.
Q: Well, there's - the IUD A: IUD, that's Q: - which is like sometimes in the shape of a seven and sometimes in other
A: It might have been an IUD. They showed us one of those.
Q: You have a, yes, a sort of string at the end that you A: - yes, they showed us one of those, that's what I can remember. So they did
like, you know, like told us all about things - but all this was near the end, you
know? I mean you already knew about - I think the only usefulness was about you already knew all these things sort of mostly, you just sort of like reaffirmed
what you knew, you know? But it wasn't really very good really. It wasn't - wasn't
very good. Could have been better.
Q: You said something about masturbation...
A: No, no, just something that's not talked about, not even with your friends. But I
don't really know, 'cos I can talk about, you know, 'cos I do, and like my sister
does. Me and my sister are quite close, we both admit it to each other that we
do, but all my girlfriends, no one's ever talked about it Q: Really?
A: - and you talk - I went to an all-girls' school and practically what you talked
about all day was sex, you know? Your boyfriends and what you did do and
everyone would make up stories, I mean even I made up stories, you know like,
and like specially in the first and second and third year, you know, you'd make
up little tiny stories that you never actually really did, and it weren't 'til like the fifth
- the fourth and fifth year, that was your closest mates, you'd sit and laugh, you
know, admit that you never really did that, you know, wonderful story that you
told, and there'd be some girls that'd make up like - I remember this one girl
made up a story about this boyfriend and she had sex with him and everything,
which was in the third year, and then everyone wanted to meet this boy so he
died all of a sudden in a motor bike accident.
Q: (laugh) Oh, God.
A: You know, but I mean I don't know if it's because I went to an all-girls' school
or whether it's because, you know, even at mixed girls' schools with girls it'd be
like that, but we was all preoccupied with that, you know, it was a big thing. So it
is quite amazing that out of all that no one ever ever said about masturbation Q: Yes.
A: - and it'd be dead embarrassing - if I sat - I know, if I was in a room of girls
and all sat there and I said "oh, I masturbate, do any of you?", but yeah, every
one of'em'd be really embarrassed and say "no" probably, d'you know what I
mean? D'you know what I mean, it's Q: - not admit it.
A: No, I mean it's silly really 'cos it's not - I know it's still embarrassing, it is
embarrassing, but there's no reason why it should be.
Q: No. And it's - I would have thought it was fairly sort of recognised and
A: But I don't think it - it's not, I know it's not, I know it's not - even - like I - you
know like you said do I talk about things with my boyfriend, right? Well, like I
talked about this with him 'cos I said, you know, like do boys talk about it? And
he said "well, sort of, but everyone sort of like-" - I mean with girls, everyone - if
you do, you just guess that your friends think you don't and, you know, like - and
you don't talk about it anyway, whereas he said with the boys you all know you
do and you don't sit there saying "did you masturbate last night?", but it's not
ashamed about, 'cos they all know each other does and has and will, and they
don't feel embarrassed about it, and it's not - you know, like if someone said, you
know, "you masturbate", they wouldn't say... 'cos it's not embarrassing for them,
whereas it would be for a girl, you know, and... say that's why it's different. They
don't actually talk about it but not because it's not embarrassing, but because,
you know, probably it just doesn't come up.
A: Yeah, but - yeah, I did put that 'cos I thought it was quite - quite noticeable, I
think it's Q: - like a taboo with girls.
A: I mean, even with my sister it was embarrassing, you know like - you don't you know, like I'd never tell my mum. God, that would be embarrassing.
Q: How old's your sister?
A: My sister, she's fourteen... But like we talk - you know, like talk about
everything, you know, although she hasn't done anything, you know like we sort
of like still talk about things and everything but - you know, she said "oh, I can't-",
you know, she says, says things like "oh, I really want to do it", you know; I think
Q: But when you masturbate do you - I mean you were saying you got an
orgasm last week A: Yeah, I do.
Q: ...but can you...
A: Yeah, I can. That's why I thought - I dunno, even some people might
masturbate might never have an orgasm, but - so then you might not - you might
think you'd ever have one; but I thought it was worse for me 'cos I could have
one if I masturbated myself, but couldn't have one if I had sex with my boyfriend.
So I thought - I thought that I was gonna go for the rest of my life, not because it
was NEIL, but because I thought it'd be any boy, I thought no boy would be able
to give me an orgasm. I thought I could only have an orgasm by myself, but I
could never have one with my boyfriend, and I thought that was just - just how it
was gonna be, you know? You know, I thought I had - you know, I might all of a
sudden have one when I was about fifty or something, but I just could never before I had one I just thought I'd never have one with a boyfriend, I just didn't
think it was possible. I just thought I'd... myself. But I - I - like I did when I was
about - I don't know, I was quite young, I was only about thirteen Q: What, when you started A: Yeah. Well, when I Q: - had an orgasm.
A: - had an orgasm, yeah. I think - 'cos I did, I think that's probably what made
me, you know, do it. I don't think, you know, I did it that much before, you know, I
don't really remember. But I did - like once I did - it was like quite frightening
actually, 'cos when I first did I stopped, you know, 'cos I sort of got this funny
feeling and I stopped because I didn't know what it was, you know; I sort of
knew, you read about it in magazines, you know, books and that, but I - so I
guessed that's what it was, but it frightened me 'cos I didn't know what it was
gonna do to me, you know, you sort of like - sort of like, dunno, you just have this
image, when you haven't experienced something you got to maybe have an
image of something. So I was frightened so I stopped, and it wasn't till I - I did it
again, I don't know when I did it again, but I did do it again, and I - I got the same
feeling, that I let myself have that feeling. But I remember the first time I stopped,
you know, like... That's exactly what I thought when I - it was like the first time I'd
had an orgasm when I had it with my boyfriend 'cos - I know it sounds really
corny, but I said to him, I said under my breath, I went "oh, my God", 'cos I just
wasn't expecting it, you know, like - you know like, I didn't, you know, say "oh,
no, I'm not going to have this orgasm" but I couldn't believe it, you know.
Q: So next time you'll be...
A: I'll want it. Yeah, yeah.
Q: So do you feel you're a person who takes risks?
A: Yeah, I - I - I don't - at the moment I feel, 'cos I'm in a, you know, like in a fairly
stable relationship that I won't take risks but if I did - well, I can't say if I did...
inevitably, you know, like I probably won't stay with him till I'm eighty-six, you
know, but - I probably will take risks again in the future, yeah. I know I will.
Q: 'Cos did you feel for instance, when you were having sex and not using
anything at all - did you feel you were taking a risk?
A: Yeah, I must of in a way, but it didn't worry me. Didn't worry me. But I feel
now, you know, I do feel now that I'd be more careful, 'cos it was like - you know,
at first with using a condom it was like there was a barrier there, but now I feel
that I'm more confident, I would say, you know, to use one. But then again I
know that if I was in a - you know, I was in a risky mood, that I might - if there
wasn't I wouldn't say no. Yeah, I am quite risky 'cos I don't - you know, like I
Q: So in a way kind of either being pregnant or getting AIDS isn't - isn't enough
to stop you from kind of going with it if you felt A: No.
Q: - that you fancied having sex with someone?
A: Sit here and say, right, practically, in reality, no, it wouldn't be at the time.
Sitting here and - 'cos I'm, you know, not doing anything risky at the moment, I
could sit here and safely say "oh, yes, it would stop me", but I know in real life it
wouldn't. I'd like to think that it would, but I know it wouldn't. If you don't - you
don't what actions you take now and what's gonna happen in future, you know, I
take, you know, you base them on, you know, what's happening at the time. Well
I do anyway.
Q: And have you taken risks in other areas - I mean, in a way, drugs I suppose...
A: Well, see, I'm biased, you see. You see, if I'd not taken drugs before then I'd
say, you know, they're really bad, but I don't think that they are 'cos I've taken
them before. I've not had a bad situation - 'cos - 'cos I always thought before I
took drugs, 'cos when I first took what I took, the first thing I ever took - well, I
smoked a little bit of blow but the first - I went out with my friend and we was
gonna go to this rave, and it was a typical situation, maybe like stereotype
situation: "oh, go on, go on", and I'm standing there, you know, really sort of like
"no, no"; and one reason was financially 'cos I wouldn't afford it, it was fifteen
pounds. And I was going "no, no, no, I don't want one now", but I was - mainly it
was 'cos I couldn't afford it, but secondly I was frightened because... scared what
it was gonna do it to you, 'cos you see these images on telly and everything;
they do affect you, the media and these - these advertisements, they do in a way
are effective, 'cos they do make you think that's what's gonna happen to you. So
I - I was going "no", I said "no" for about half an hour, it was a typical situation of
just saying "no", so I kept saying "no, no, no" and in the end, you know like my
best friend, who they say on the television isn't really your best friend because
she just persuaded you to take drugs - you know, like, so - my not very good
friend, 'cos I think it's my friend, persuaded me in there, and I said "alright then".
But 'cos I didn't have the money my "good friend" lent me the money to buy it,
you know. And we went to this rave. In the end we didn't even take it because
we got there and it wasn't very good, it was one inside this building, and it wasn't
very good; and about three o'clock in the morning and we still thought "well it's
not worth taking it now", so we didn't, we went home. And the next weekend was
my brother's party, you know, like he's married and everything, and everyone
else there was totally straight, you know, like he's got kids and everything, so
much older than me; and I took it then. And at first I was - I only took half, 'cos I
had a kind of image that I was gonna take it and all of a sudden something was
gonna happen to me. So I took half and nothing happened; so I took the other
half, and nothing happened. I thought "oh, I don't believe it, I've spent fifteen
pounds" - that's all that bothered me, that was all that I was concerned about,
was I spent fifteen pound and I didn't get nothing. And I still didn't - I did get
something but it's not what I imagined; I imagined Tape change.
A: - like disorientating but it - it's sort of like - I can't really describe it, it sort of - it
- it affects your brain, so it must be doing your brain - brain in really, 'cos you can
really really feel the influence on your brain, it sort of like makes you feel - it
makes you - 'cos your brain, like if I hit myself my brain, you know, it sends
things to your brain, doesn't it? Well, it affects your brain, you feel completely
different in, you know like, like if you dance or something you can't feel - like say
if I ran down the road now, I'd get to the end of the road and I'd be puffed, you
know, I'd be going (gasp), my legs might hurt or something, I could feel all my
bags, but when you're like on an E you can't feel the - your heavy bags, and you
can't - so you could run like - that's - that's why it's associated with the dancing,
'cos you could dance all night and not feel it until the next morning when your
muscles are killing you and - it - it is - it is bad the next day. You know, like I
know it does you harm, but once you've done it you can't - like... something
about my friends, when they lecture you they say - they imagine that you wake
up in the morning and you wanna have another one, you know, 'cos you feel so
bad. But you don't; you feel so bad that you think "I don't ever have - want
another one again" Q: Right.
A: - but it's not like that. What makes - what makes you have another one is you
go to another club and everyone else is having a good time and you wanna have
a good time like they're having a good time; and the music makes you want one
as well, because the music's really fast and when you take a - an E, it speeds
your heart up, and the music's - goes something like a hundred and eighty beats
a minute, and if you take an E that's how fast your heart goes. So that's why you
really enjoy the music, so that's - like they say the music's got nothing to do with
the drugs, but it has; the drugs and the music, the rave music, like even some of
it's in the charts, makes your heart wanna go - you know, your heart goes at the
same speed as the music so that's why you really really enjoy it. But - you get
ripped off a lot of the time. I've been ripped off a couple of times. What they do is
they sell you just as aspirin or something. You know, like, unless you're not - I
haven't actually done it myself, it's where you've give the money to someone,
one of your friends, and they've gone off and they've gone and bought
something, and what they give you - have you ever - Pro-plus?
A: - those things you take. Well, they're little round yellow tablets and if you've
not bought one before, then people think they are and so you just - you think
how much money people selling drugs are making, but you think how much
money people that are selling just Q: Yeah, just...
A: I know - I know it is bad. But then like I say you know - even though I know the
risks about things it don't stop me from doing them. But I know I'm not just the
same, I know I'm not just the same as I'm the only person who feels like this, you
know, it's - you know, like people I'm with like that as well. So it's Q: What about - do you take risks anywhere else, like drink or A: No, I don't really like drink really. 'Cos like take drinking... just makes me feel
bad really, you know, getting drunk, I don't like getting drunk. Risks - well... yeah,
I do I suppose. Taking risks is I suppose - I don't know if you can take risks and it
be good; you know, you say "can you take risks?". I'm just thinking - 'cos I have
done - I've stole things as well, I've got in trouble with the police and I was
shoplifting Q: Got caught?
A: Yeah, got caught. But I'm trying to think of saying "I've done that", but I'm
trying to think if you can take risks in your life and it be good, do you know what I
mean? I've done like drugs, bad - bad sex and crime, that's all risks. Can you
take a risk for good?
Q: Well, I suppose you can take risks and sort of chance things to do with - like
maybe risky decisions about - about people or something; like "the chances are
this person is not that great, but I've got faith in them so I'm gonna go with it" A: Yeah.
Q: - or taking a job or A: Yeah.
Q: - you know, I don't know; doing something risky, say taking a job abroad that
you don't know anything about or A: Yeah, I think probably that I wouldn't Q: - that could turn out good or it could be a disaster, who knows?
A: ... someone said to me "oh come to America with me", you know like, "I know
you haven't got no money, I'll get the air fare, we'll just go over there and we'll
get a job somewhere, you know, working in a cafe or something", I'd say "no",
'cos - d'you know what I mean, that's too risky to me.
A: Yeah. Or like if - I couldn't just leave my job, you know, 'cos I, you know, I
need the money, and that's all I'm worried - thinking about at the moment, is the
money, you know like I wouldn't just - you know like I was saying I was getting
really - I was getting really down because I didn't like what I was doing 'cos it
was too menial for me? - well, I think that - I was thinking of leaving but I didn't
have the guts to. I kept thinking - I really hated myself 'cos I wanted to just get up
and walk out, and I thought to myself, God, when I was at college, if you didn't
wanna do something, you didn't, you know? If teacher said to you - well, teacher
wouldn't anyway, it was different, but at school like - I was very rebellious at
school; if a teacher said do something and I didn't wanna do it, I wouldn't. You
know, I was - I was very rebellious; whereas at college it was a bit more freer,
but still at the same time if a teacher'd said something or you didn't fancy going
back to your lesson, you know, you was all down the pub, you know. You didn't
wanna go back, you didn't go back. Then all of a sudden I'm at work and I have
to do things and I do, and I sometimes think "oh, God, I'm only eighteen, why am
I - why am I working here if I, you know, I wanna go and leave?". But I can't, you
know, I -
Q: On the other hand, you've kind of risked getting pregnant and that may have A: - affect my whole Q: - messed up your finances at work, 'cos you couldn't keep your job and that A: I know. I don't know why those things are different, I don't know.
Q: 'Cos what sort of - if you had to describe yourself, what sort of person would
you say you were?
A: Oh, that's what - my sister was asking me yesterday; she had to fill in
something for school and it said "describe what kind of personality you've got";
my mum was going "oh, you're boisterous, PAM", and I was going... you know,
she was going "well, what am I?" and I couldn't describe it, and I can't describe
myself either... It's not easy. If you was given loads of things you could tick them,
you could tick them, but even then you're still not being truthful... I'm honest, I
think. No, I don't know, I say I'm honest, but other times I'm not, other times I lie;
I do lie, do lie sometimes.
Q: You're shy, confident - ?
A: Yeah, sometimes I'm confident, I think I'm quite confident at the moment, you
know, I'm not being that shy; but other times I can be really shy. I don't know if
I'm any one thing.
Q: No, 'cos, like you were saying, in a way you didn't have the confidence to ask
somebody to use a condom before, but presumably that might have changed.
But can you think of a situation where you wouldn't ask somebody A: Oh, God, there must be something. I can't think of anything. No, I can't think
of anything... Didn't ask for a rise, I meant to ask for a rise and I didn't. They
said, "we'll give you a review in July" and I said "oh, alright then". Before I went
in there I was gonna go "I want this" (laugh) and I didn't. Sat there and went
A: I went, "alright, I'll wait til July".
Q: What happened to your dad?
A: Well, it's... My real dad died before I was born [REDACTED].
Q: So you had a dad who was a step-dad?
A: I had a dad - yeah –
A: And my mum and dad divorced and we used to go and see him at weekends
and everything and my sister - she was too young at the time, she was sort of
like eight, nine, ten the first time they split up, and she sort of like wasn't - it didn't
really bother her, she'd stay at home with mum and I'd go and see my dad, you
know, 'cos I was like thirteen, twelve, thirteen, I was like that kind of age, you
know, and I really missed him. And - and then when I was fifteen, my mum got
this boyfriend, she'd been going out with him about a year, and she got, like,
really eccentric and everything; and she wanted us to go and live with our dad.
So we went to live with our dad, and I was... at school taking exams and they
had an argument and I - I - no, they didn't have an argument; I went to live with
my mum, right, 'cos I missed her. We hadn't lived with her for six months and I
really really missed her by this time; and we hadn't seen her much at all in those
six months, you know, 'cos there's been like bad arguments when we'd left there.
And then like me and my mum made up and I really really missed my mum. So I
- I asked to go and live - no, not to live, I didn't wanna leave, although probably
deep down I did, but I was scared to ask my dad; I - I went to stay with my mum
for the weekend. My dad said if I went to stay with my mum for the weekend not live there, I wasn't gonna live there - he said I was never to come back again.
So I did, you know, I packed my bags and I went and I haven't seen him since.
Q: That's sad.
A: So - I mean he - he wasn't, it wasn't very - you know, it wasn't as simple as
that; like when my mum was fighting for maintenance for me, eventually like
about three months before the end of my two year course at college, you know,
like it started when I left school, and it was about three months before I left
college, finally he got something and - my mum got something and it was five
pounds a week. And it wasn't even back-paid. It was five pound a week and that
lasted for about three months and then I left college and I got a job.
A: No, so - I got five pound a week. And he - he - like in all the court cases and
everything he wasn't nasty about me, he didn't wanna pay me any money you
see, but he couldn't say "she's not my daughter", you know like, 'cos legally I am.
So he couldn't say that. But you know, he'd say things like I was thick and that this wasn't like he was sort of talking, this was all written down in the things; he
said that I had no intention of going to college. The only reason I was at college
was to scrounge money off him. Which at the end of the two years we got five
pound off him, so I can't see why that was the only reason I was at college.
A: But I went to - I went to a grammar school and I got my O-levels and
everything, but he said - his like testimony, whatever it is, he said that I'd never
shown - in all - all my years of childhood I'd never shown any signs of
intelligence so there was no reason for me to be at college, you know.
A: All these things, you know. Like what - there was - like - 'cos my mum's like 'cos like she's [IN HER 50’S] and she's always had like kids and it's not easy for
her to get a job. And she like really tries and she's always moving from one job
to another, she's done [MENIAL JOBS]. I mean, she's not uneducated - she's
got like a degree and [REDACTED]. And like she went to see him one day to ask
him, you know, like for some money for me; 'cos he's not - he's not like a
millionaire, but he's fairly well off Q: What does he do?
A: He's a [SKILLED ROLE], so, you know, he gets quite a bit of money. And he he said, you know, like before she even asked him he said "if it's anything to do
with LUCY", he said, "I don't wanna know". So all those things - there's lots more
things, but they did screw me up a bit, you know. I went through a really bad
time. And really hated my sister for a long time because he likes her and I hated
her, 'cos he liked her and I thought "what's she got that I ain't got?". You know,
so - you know, I still get - I think that - that - that all the things that happened
about that affect me, my whole, all, everything I do. Do you know what I mean?
That's only one part of my life, just my relationship with my dad, but it affects Q: - everything A: - everything, because I sometimes get really upset and - I dunno, maybe I am
just blaming it on it, but I do - just sometimes, like sometimes like I, you know,
like... Saturday night me and NEIL went to a wedding reception; and - 'cos I just
can't - I really get upset at any gatherings of family, 'cos I just - just - just - just is,
just some gathering of family, you know, I just get really upset, and I got really
upset. And I just went out and sat in the car crying. And he come out and he got
angry with me 'cos he didn't understand why I was crying. But I just can't handle
gatherings of family. I mean, if it was a gathering of college people or a gathering
of - of vicars or anything, but a gathering of all family - not my family, it wasn't my
family, it was his friend's family, it was his friend who was getting married. But
just - you know, just can't, you know, take families. I know they're not my family
Q: Could you ever talk to your mother or father about personal things? - sex and
boyfriends A: Well, definitely not my dad. Even when he was, you know, like at home and
that. But my mum - not really, no. she - she - she like - she's very liberal in that in
the end she leaves decisions up to you; but like she - I never told her about
losing my virginity. She found out by accident. She heard me and my sister
talking one time when we was having our conversation, all - 'cos she was going
out, she said she was going out, and we thought she'd gone out but she hadn't
and she was in the kitchen, and she heard everything I said. And all of a sudden
I heard something in the kitchen and I said, "hasn't mum gone yet?" and PAM
said "I thought she had"; I said, "oh, go and see if mum's gone out". So PAM
went to the kitchen and she come back, she goes, "no, she's in the kitchen"; I
went "oh, no! She must have just -" - 'cos I'd just been talking about losing my
virginity. And like - this is only like just before Christmas, but - before I went to
[NAME OF COMPANY], but definitely last year sometime, you know, like while I
was still at college. So it wasn't that long ago, you know.
Q: Did she say anything?
A: She just - she - she - we went in there, we said "did you hear what we just
said, mum?", and she said - she just laughed and said "yeah"; and, you know, I
just said, "oh, I didn't wanna tell you 'cos, you know, I was embarrassed" - 'cos
like she didn't lose her virginity til she was about twenty-one, to her husband who
she married, you know like - you know like, so I didn't wanna tell her 'cos maybe
she'd think that I was bad or something. She's - she's liberal in some ways but in
other ways she's not, you know? So, like, one ways - some ways like she's
liberal but in other ways she's not. Like she didn't want me to go on the pill, not
because - she wanted me to do the method way, you know, taking the
temperature Q: - that's terribly A: - and she said that it works, you know, like even though she got pregnant on
her honeymoon to her first husband, she said oh, well, the excitement of getting
married must have upset her cycle. But she didn't want me to go on the pill
because of the health reasons, you know, catching cancer and all those terrible
things. I mean, they still - they do have side effects but I don't think the pill's as
bad as what it was when it first started. Like she tried the pill and it was like in
the sixties or something, and she said that she had really bad bleeding and
everything, you know, so I don't think they're quite - they are different Q: It's a much lower dose now. They've got it much more...
A: Yeah, yeah. Like I was reading this article about the pill and it said that they you know they've got all these evidence and surveys and research done into the
pill and the cancers and that; and they said a lot of it related to women that had
taken the high dosage pill. There isn't really much information on - on women
who've taken, for a period of time, this - like the new - the new pill. 'Cos it - you
don't really get the cancers until you're in your thirties, you know. So you've got
to wait, you know; it must be sort of like around now but you know... Well, no, I
don't really talk about sex with her but I think - I don't know Q: Did she tell you about things like periods?
A: No, she didn't. I don't know where I found out. She didn't tell us nothing about
- I remember - see my mum's so difficult to describe, you know? Some people's
parents might - you might not talk about sex with them but they might actually
explain a little bit, they might sit down and talk to you about the birds and bees in
a really prim and proper way; whereas my mum didn't do any of that, although
she's quite liberal in some ways, you know, she seems quite open, but really
she's not. I mean I told my sister everything about periods and everything 'cos
she didn't know; but I don't know who told me, I think I just - just found out as a
process of, you know like, from books and television and your friends.
Q: So you knew when you actually got it what it was?
A: No. Now, see, that - it shows you that I didn't; I used to think babies come
through your bum (laugh). I don't know how old I was - it might have been, say,
in the first year at secondary school; but I used to think that, you know, babies
come out and they had all pooh all over them, you know, I thought it was really
horrible (laugh). But - periods, I first had my period a year after I thought I first
started them. And - some of the things I'm saying, it sounds like the sort of thing
your mum might say thirty years ago, but I - when I had my first period, which
wasn't my first period but - I wiped my bum, you know, wiped myself, and there
was a little tiny bit of blood; now, the bit of blood must have been about one
millimeter, so I might have just had a little scratch, you know, on my bum or
something, you know, like and I wiped myself and there was this little tiny bit of
blood and it was so, really small. I thought it was my period. And I went and told
my mum; I said "mum, I've had my period", and she goes, "oh, I've been saving
some" - she'd got these big chunky mattress pads for me, you know Q: Oh, yeah.
A: And she got them out the cupboard, you know, and she give me one, and I
put one in my knickers, you know; and this was at night time and I went to bed,
and in the morning there was nothing on there and I was - for a year I didn't
really start my periods, for a year I pretended I was having periods 'cos I felt
really embarrassed, 'cos I - I'd said that I'd started my period and it wasn't, I just
had a cut on my bottom or something. And so, I know it sounds really silly, but I
pretended that I'd got my periods Q: She never knew?
A: No, no, I thought - I pretended that I did have it; you know like, 'cos when you
first start you're quite irregular anyway, you know, so like every couple of months
I might say "oh, I'm on a period", but I wasn't really. And I remember a couple of
times, me and my friends... she's the same age as me, we both hadn't started
our periods but we both tried to use a tampon, see how they worked; but we
couldn't use it, couldn't get it up there, but we tried, you know like, even though
we wasn't even on our periods. And when I did start my periods I still didn't really
know that much about them. You - you have to think of these things, otherwise
you think you knew all about it then, 'cos you know all about it now and you think
you did then, but it was only little incidents like this that make you realise you
didn't Q: Right.
A: 'Cos I think you're about thirteen when you have a medical at school. And the
nurse asks you about periods, you know, "have you started your period?" and
you say "yes", and then they say "when was the last time you- " - no, "are they
regular?", and I said "yes". She goes "when was the last time you had one?" and
I said "I haven't had one for ages, it must be about four weeks now" (laugh); and
it was so embarrassing because she said well - and then she went, oh, for about
fifteen minutes, just telling me all about periods and that you only have them
every four weeks, you know, like, and I said "oh, I haven't had one for ages,
about three or four weeks I haven't had one!". And so she sat there and
explained to me, you know like, and I felt such an idiot, 'cos I knew that anyway;
I'd - I'd heard that before, I had been told that, it wasn't some new information.
It's just that maybe I - I didn't realise that. I dunno, she was telling me it and
every time - all she was telling me I'd heard before. But you still - I still - you
know, like I'd said what I said and I felt such an idiot. You know, my mum's sitting
there, 'cos your mum's sitting there, you know, so God knows what she was
thinking. But she'd not told me, so it proves that she hadn't told me because I
didn't know those things.
A: It's only little things like that that remind you what you didn't know. I can't think
of anything else though.
Q: And when you started going out with NEIL or anyone, did she ever say
anything like "are you using contraception?" or show any kind of A: No, no, she never said anything. I think she just assumes that I know. Like
when my brother was sixteen - no, before she was - before my brother was
sixteen - this is her favourite son, she's got a favourite son... spoilt rotten, he
knows he was, he don't even pretend he wasn't; he - she - when he was fifteen
and he started going out with girls, she bought him his condoms 'cos she didn't
want him to get another girl pregnant. That's a really responsible thing to do, but
she never did nothing for me. I think she either just assumed that I did know or
maybe she was too embarrassed to tell me, you know, or just think - thought I
didn't do it Q: Yeah.
A: - you know, maybe she just assumed that I didn't do it. 'Cos I remember my
brother, you know, like she used to buy him his condoms for his girlfriends. She
didn't - you know, I mean, she didn't wanna rely on him, she'll say to him, you
know, "you make sure you use a condom". But then even saying that, he still got
his girlfriend pregnant when she was seventeen and they got married. So they're still married at the moment, still married. So like even - even though she she did try and she did but he still got - 'cos he didn't use - at the time, I was
about, he was eighteen, so I was fourteen, thirteen, fourteen, he was - yeah, I
was about that age - and I remember them all saying, 'cos my mum was saying she was really shocked, you know, 'cos I remember being in the living room
when my brother went and told my mum that, you know, ERIN was pregnant and
they were gonna get married. And like my mum was really shocked, and he everyone was sort of, like sort of, there was sort of like, everyone knew that, you
know, condoms, use condoms, you know, so why was - you know, 'cos she was
Catholic, you know; and, you know, like she come from a really strict family and
she wasn't on the pill. And, you know, like - my brother told my mum that he had
used a condom, you know like, and I heard that as well, I heard him saying that,
you know like, you know, "and it burst" or something and that... you know, so like
that made my mum feel better, you know like, that it wasn't through
carelessness, you know, it was just through an accident. You know, and I
remember thinking that for years, and my brother and his wife ERIN told me that
they didn't use them; they hardly ever use, you know, they might have used
them a couple of times at the beginning, so I mean it's not just me, you know,
there's something - and that's how she got pregnant Q: Right.
A: - she was unlucky; or lucky, as the fact is, 'cos she wanted to get married. So,
you know, she - whereas, you know, I didn't - don't wanna get pregnant but I still
take the risks, she took the risks and wanted to get pregnant. Because my
brother was doing his A-levels and he wanted to go to university when he got
his, and she wanted to get engaged, and he said "well, we can't, 'cos I'm going
to university", and so it suited her, you know like, to get pregnant; 'cos she was even if he'd gone - she agreed to him going to university, she wanted to get
engaged before he went. So like, you know, it - that's all she - she was on a
YTS, she didn't have anything to do, it suited her really whereas it wouldn't really
Q: And did he go to university?
A: No. He had to give it up, didn't he. And he didn't even get a good job. He got
three A-levels –[REDACTED], and he - he ended up working on - he was on the
dole for a little while and he ended up working as - in this, you know, work in a –
[SKILLED TRADE]. [REDACTED], and - you know like, he's twenty-three now no, twenty-two now, and he - you know, like I'm like working up in London now
and I've got promoted, and he wishes now that he'd gone into office work, you
know like, 'cos he likes a stable and, you know like, moneyed job, you know like,
and - and, you know like, he sort of like missed the boat really. He says he wish
he - he could have gone straight up to London with his three A-levels, you know,
but he didn't. [REDACTED]Q: No, it's not..
A: - [REDACTED]...
Q: So - does your mother let you and NEIL stay and sleep A: Yeah.
Q: - at home now?
A: Yeah, she does.
Q: But she's not A: But it's not very comfortable 'cos we've only got a single bed, you see, 'cos
mine's just a small room. My sister - sister's got this big room though, but there's
no double bed in there anyway. I've just got a small room, but it's very
uncomfortable, so that's the only reason why I don't really like it anyway, 'cos it's
small, you know. No, she don't mind, don't mind at all.
Q: Can you think of anything else about your kind of relationships that - that
would be important, or you think is important?
A: No, I can't really. Sometimes I mean - you know someone asks a question
you'd be like - need to be stimulated, don't you really, to Q: Yeah, something to - to answer A: ... Yeah. No, I - I imagined to come here, you'd have a questionnaire, you'd be
asking these questions, I'd be going... unstructured... waffle on.
Q: Well, I've got an idea of what I want to ask you but A: Yeah.
Q: - I kind of know it off by heart.
Q: And I do have your questionnaire in my other bag.
A: Mm. I think you put - was one of the questions "what do you do with your
boyfriend in your spare time?" or something, or - and - and you put on there, you
know, "who do you spend most of your spare time with?" and I - I put on my own,
'cos I feel like I do.
A: You know, 'cos you said put with your friends and that, but I don't, I - I'm all
day at work and then when I come home I'm just at home with the family, you
know like, that's - you know like I don't go out much until the weekends. The
weekend, you know, I arrange either to go out with my friends or I go out with
NEIL, but I don't - I don't come from like a social background where I've got a
gang of friends and every weekend and every night after work, guaranteed, your
gang of friends would be there available to go around with; 'cos where I went to
school was like ten miles from my house, so like I'd have to travel every day to
school, then after school you'd go home so you didn't know anyone locally. You
only knew people that went to your school, and all them didn't live local to
school, 'cos it was like - this like girls' grammar school and you all had to travel to
it, so everyone lived miles away from each other and like the only girl that I know
who went to school, she lives like about five miles from me, and we still see each
other but you have to arrange to meet each other. So like we were gonna go out
- she phoned me up to say going out tonight, but I haven't got any money; like and I said I haven't got any money to go out. It wouldn't - this wouldn't have
made no difference 'cos it would have been late tonight, you know; and I said, "I
haven't got any money". But that's what it is, it's not like you go home and you go
round your friend's house, you know like Q: Yeah.
A: - it's sort of like you have to arrange to go out.
A: And 'cos I've got - I've got quite a big family, you know, sort of fairly big, I've
got [BROTHERS AND A SISTER] and that, and - my brother lives a couple of
miles away, one of them; the other one lives just down the road. If I wanted to
just go around there Q: Yeah...
A: But I - I do feel like I spend most of the time on my own. Maybe I don't but I
feel like I do. You know, I can't - can't really count being at work. I just go home
really. Don't feel like there's much time left in the day 'cos I get home at seven -
well, gone seven, get home about quarter past seven, and, you know like, it's
only - about ten o'clock I wanna go asleep, you know. But Q: One thing I did forget to ask you was do you have a - an idea, like an image
of who you think is most likely to catch AIDS, things like that?
A: (pause) No, I don't think I do really. I do know it can happen to anyone. Male, I
think, definitely male; any - any famous people in the media, they've all been
male, I can't think of one female. Has there been any females?
Q: Not that I've heard.
A: It's all actors and people in the media, you know, like the - the arts world and
the, you know like, a famous photographer here, or a pop singer or an actor,
they're all male so - I do kind of imagine it to be male really. And in their thirties,
you know. I suppose I do have an image; I can't imagine - someone said this like someone - if I wasn't me and someone said that I'd got AIDS I'd - I probably
would go like that, you know, whereas if someone said "that bloke there" and he
was like thirty one, and he didn't necessarily look unrespectable, he looked fairly
respectable, and they said he'd got AIDS then I'd believe them. But there's where NEIL lives in [NAME OF TOWN], this boy committed suicide; about two
weeks ago he drove off the [NAME OF TOWN] sea - into the sea, 'cos he'd got
AIDS. So - and he was male. He was twenty - twenty-four, he was; and it's like...
really - it's the closest I've ever come to it, even though that's not close at all, I
don't know this boy but NEIL knows him. But he was like quite, you know - it's
bad really 'cos he was like a local lad, so local girls have slept with him, and so
everyone's sort of like, you know, "who slept with him?", you know, everyone
wants to know and it's - you know, everyone's gonna find out and it's gonna be
well know, you know, who - who - who - who him women were. So, you know, it's
just a process of Q: And then what will happen to them?
A: Yeah. So it's - that's the closest I've ever come to it. I've not come closer before that was the television, newspapers. I suppose that's when it would really
make you realise, when it comes closer than that to you. Not that you wannit to
come any closer.