Interview with Danielle, 18-19, Caribbean, lower middle class, no religion. Women, Risk and AIDS Project, London, 1989. Anonymised version including field notes. (Ref: LSFS32)
Anonymised transcript of an interview with Danielle, who is training to be a social worker. Her parents aren't very supportive of this, but she would like to do something challenging and build her own career. She would like children when she's older, but not until she's financially secure. Danielle has a boyfriend at the moment, but she isn't sure how long it will last - he is in and out of jobs and plans on travelling soon, and she think she's too young to settle down. They had met through friends in the music scene. Danielle had an abortion after an unwanted pregnancy recently, and talks about the impact it had on her relationship at the time and on her exams. She had been especially worried about the financial implications of parenthood and the lack of local and state support. Danielle was using a contraceptive sponge, but is now using the pill. Her first sexual experience was at age ten and she describes it as very exploitative. She feels much more relaxed about sex now that she's older, and has some interesting discussion on gender, casual sex, pleasure, race and oral sex, and different taboos surrounding these. Sex education and AIDS education came from Danielle's mum, who works in the medical profession. Her mum has been very open with her from a young age, and Danielle is very confident in talking about her sexuality and sexual practices.
Reanimating Data Project
CC BY-NC 4.0
Q: ...So, just - you said you were at [NAME OF COLLEGE] A: ... doing my A-levels and a social workers' foundation course, 'cos I wanna work with
emotionally damaged children... teenage, which is very, very, hard... temperament for it
Q: Will you do that - three A-levels?
A: Yeah, three A-levels, that's English, Sociology, Politics, 'cos they're all combined - do
that and the course as well. The course is quite interesting. You know, 'cos next year - I
mean, yeah, next year, we have placements; you go and work in hospitals with the
children that are in there, you know, just centres and things like that.
Q: And that's quite a lot of work, isn't it, doing three A-levels and a foundation course?
A: It is, I suppose it is, I just don't do very much. You're supposed to do lots of work, I
just don't do - enough to get by on and that. But Politics is my favourite one...
interesting. Especially the debates, everyone gets really excited, it's like... they won't
say anything, so I go well why, and the teacher like he puts something on the board, if
he says something, like looks to me as if to say do I approve, 'cos we normally argue
about things, I say no, no, it's alright,... oh my God, right... pupils... So it's difficult 'cos
I'm one of the oldest in the classes really. I think they're all ages, it's not like a school
where everyone's the same age sort of thing, it's all different backgrounds, all over the
place, and that. So when I - the thing when you go to college is that you don't know
anybody, you go oh my God, I've got no one to talk to me, I feel really weird and that,
but it's alright really. I quite enjoy it. 'Cos I haven't been for a few weeks 'cos I've had flu
Q: Oh, God, yes.
A: Couldn't breathe, couldn't talk. I couldn't go in so like up until like December I didn't
go - I went about twice or something. Really bad. But often I enjoy it.
Q: Is that this year you started or A: Oh, yeah, I started this... I've got two years. And after that I have to...
Q: What does that stand for?
A: That's the Certified Qualification for Social Work, I think. 'Cos I'm - I wanted to do it
beforehand but 'cos - your age is - they won't take you unless you're under 21. And if
you're over 21 I think... two A-levels and you can do a two-year course at a university or
a poly or something. But if you're under eighteen - eighteen? - I think you have to do
four years or something, so it's better to go in at 21.
Q: Right. So you'll be 21 by the time A: Yeah, 21, so I'll - I should be okay...A-level results... No, it's something I really
wanted to do, 'cos I wasn't sure for a couple of years, say, oh doing this, do that. But I
don't know - I think there's a lot of good things that they do do that they don't get
reported on, the media always covers everything that's - all the bad things about it. But I
think they're crying out for it, I really want to do it.
Q: 'Cos what did make you decide on emotionally damaged children?
A: I don't know, it's just like - especially reading those stories about those kids who've
been like abused, used to really upset me and I thought oh - used - I just wanted to
understand why people did it, like the lecturer's explained to me "you're gonna have to
get families back together and you'll have to deal with the people who've actually done
it", and I thought "no! I've got no interest in them at all, I've got - I see no time, that they
can do this to somebody and expect me to turn round and help them" - you know,
you've got to have sympathy for them. I was thinking, oh my God, can I actually
sympathise with somebody who's beaten a child, molested - oh, God, you know, what
do you say to them, you just wanna beat them up, say "look, what I think you've done is
despicable", but - I don't know. I supposed you've got to see it from both sides, actually
find out why - there's always a little tiny - there's always a small reason why they've
done it which nobody's ever found out so - just - something really interesting. There's
nothing else I can do. I can't type. The idea of sitting in an office from nine to five just
like doesn't interest me at all. I don't wanna work in a shop 'cos the general public can
be so ignorant - I don't know, they say "oh, you're paid to do this", it's like well, you're
trying to say, well it's not in my contract, I only signed saying this but - you can't say that
and - I just don't wanna do that... something challenging and interesting, something that
will get me around a bit. It was either that or the Civil Service... Civil Service.
Q: What do your parents think?
A: Well, my mother doesn't think I've got the stamina to do it, 'cos like every time I watch
a film and it's got something in it I start crying. She says, well what's the point, you
know, people come to you, give you a hard luck stories and you'll be, oh God, crying
with them or if they say... you know, you'll give them money, "here, take this", and - sort
of thing, but, you know, she said you can't do that, you've got to be strong for them as
well, there's no point you being weak or else you can't help them. So I don't know. She
says, oh, if you wanna do it, then that's fine. My dad just goes "tut - social worker, you a
social worker, that'll be the day". ... couple of years' time after you've done all this you'll
change your mind, you'll wanna be something else but - it's something I want to do, I
really want to do it.
Q: So you think you will?
A: Oh, yeah, I definitely will, just depending on the results and getting the courses
sorted out and everything, but - if that goes okay, then I shall do it. I've got... with it, like
nineteen now, not long to go. I enjoy college. I always say to people who've left school
and started jobs, say "your life's over". I say the thing is you have to get up at nine
o'clock in the morning to five, work Monday to Friday, I said alright. They said well, the
money, I said yeah, okay, one thing's the money, these people earning eight hundred
pounds a month - oh my God, I'm really broke, but I said just think how some of the best
years of your life are at school and college really. I said just think if you go out to a party
or something - you think, oh, college tomorrow, I'll go a little bit late, it doesn't matter.
You'd have to worry about oh, God, work. And there's holidays, long holidays. And you
learn so much, so much to be discovered, and going to work you just - I don't know, it
just stifles everything.
Q: Did many of your friends go?
A: Some of them - some of them did, but the majority of them went out and got jobs.
They're working in banks, or wanting to be clerks or secretaries or sort - no way did I
want... money's, it's alright the money's important, but it's not something I want to do
and I know I'd be bored. That's no good... I don't believe you should work just for the
money, I think you should do it 'cos you enjoy it. The majority of people do it for the
money, 'cos obviously these days, you know, job satisfaction, but - I'm not ready to get
into a permanent job now...
Q: Were most of your friends in Croydon where your family is?
A: Most of them, yeah. I think most of them now - those who did stay on to do their Alevels have taken a year out. One of them's gone to [PRESTIGIOUS UNIVERSITY] to
do History. And the others are like taking a year out, getting jobs in order to get some
money. Or like my best friend is doing a foundation course, he wants to do Art and
apparently you can't do A-level Art and go to university or something, you have to have
something else, so he's got - he has to do a foundation course, a course he wanted to
do. So, most of them are doing that or else they're just at work. Most of them work in
insurance, banks or they're clerks or something. And so, I said to them - why, you know
- these people have got like eight O-levels and they say - they're working as secretaries;
I go, why did you do that! I say there's people would kill for those qualifications, who are
desperate to get them, they're like really working hard and you've got it and you're just
like being a secretary and going brain dead, it's like - I just can't understand it, 'cos
there's no way...want to go out and do something different. I don't wanna be a clerk and
file bits of paper. I want something challenging, something interesting. A psychologist
might be nice.
Q: And what was it like at school? Did you like the school?
A: Well, the only reason why I went to school was to get away from home really, to be
out of the house, and my mum would just moan at me otherwise. She goes - she
believes in education, "you must - you should go to school. What are you gonna do if
you don't go to school? Look at those people who haven't got -" - "Yeah, alright", so I'd
just so. I enjoyed it, had fun, I used to go just for a laugh really. Didn't really take it
seriously. It was just something to do, better than staying at home, watching television
or have your mum moaning all day. ... I hate - I really hated it there 'cos the headmaster
was - he didn't understand young people at all, and I turned round and said - he was a
chauvinist, he was a chauvinist, I told him, I called him a chauvinist, I said, "you're a
chauvinist; you believe that when women have children they should give up work to look
after them". I said oh, I said, why can't the man do that? I said, why can't you have an
equal partnership where you both go out to work and... he didn't - he didn't seem to
understand that so I just thought, that's it. But I wanna be independent. I think you ought
to be independent, you have to get a career behind yourself. So I want nobody telling
me how to spend money. 'Cos I like to spend money like (?)watershot. I go crazy, as
soon as I get money it's like, well it's mine, I'm gonna spend it, I don't care what
anybody else says. Like you buy something - "oh, I shouldn't have bought that, I couldn't
really afford this, oh I don't like it". But I say it's my money, I've bought it, so... I would
hate anyone to dictate to me. That's the reason why I want to do it... my own
satisfaction. You see that so many people sit round saying, oh I wish I'd have done this,
and I don't wanna look back and say God, I wish I'd done that. There's people who have
left school and got kids, you think - you can't just sit there... ANGELA, she was - left
school at sixteen, she had a child and like she's married now. It's like - I said - I said to
her, well how did you do it, when you know everybody else is out there enjoying - even
though they're working, enjoying themselves and you're - I just - I said your life's over
before it's began,... you should have a really good time. She's - being a housewife, it's
like - I just can't understand it. No way... me.
Q: What do you think you'll do?
A: ... it's like... I don't know. It's really hard to say. I change my mind so regular, it's like
oh, I'll do this, no I won't, I'll do that now.
Q: But will you get married...
A: I don't - I don't see why you should get married to have children anyway. Marriage is
a piece of paper. I don't wanna have kids ‘til I'm about thirty-five. When you're mature
you can actually enjoy them a lot better rather than having them young. Once you've
settled down, you've got everything sorted out financially, I suppose you're equipped to
deal with it. I don't know really. I haven't really thought about children as such. I like
them, but it's like everyone goes "oh, you like them when they're not your own, when
they're not your own they're wonderful". When they're yours they can be absolute pains
- see people going, "you're trying my patience" sort of thing, "get away from me" sort of
Q: Have you got any brothers and sisters?
A: I've got one sister. That's enough!
Q: What, younger or older?
A: She's younger, she's seventeen, but she's like... she's at college at the moment
doing a [SKILLED QUALIFICIATION]. She wants to do that so - like, she's the one, she
can drive, she's got a job, and like - she's in the [PROLIFIC SPORTS TEAM], she goes
all round the place with it, meeting with famous stars and that. She goes away training
and everything. So she's the one that everyone likes, she's the one who's the athlete,
you know, I'm just like the dropout basically, "oh this is the one that's mucking around at
Q: What does she do -... [REDACTED]?
A: She does [SPORT] and that. She used to do [SPORT 2] as well but I think she goes
round [SPORT] 'cos she prefers it a lot more. I think she's England's number two now or
something or other. She's enjoying that. I said to her, "as long as you don't turn out
(?)Judy Oaks, you know, it's alright" - you know, really big, muscular.
Q: I was gonna say, you have to be quite big for that, don't you?
A: Well, she's smaller than me actually, in size. Well, in height she's smaller than me but
otherwise she's got the muscles, it's like you don't mess with this - "whatever you say I
agree with you!". I don't know, we do get on - we fight a lot. I fight with everybody. I don't
Q: Do you get on well with your parents?
A: Well, they threw me out in October '88, so - well, I think - we didn't get on, we can't
live under the same roof but now we - I've moved away from that, we sit down and have
a good conversation and everything's really fine. Go back for a couple of days,
everything's alright, but it's just that - I always make jokes, I'll come back and... say
"you're not setting foot in here to live permanently again. Come back and visit, fine, but
not living here" - it's just I'm a Sagittarian, my mother's a Scorpio, we just can't get on.
She goes to me, "by rights you should have been a Scorpio", but - I don't know, we just
clash. She says no to something, I say yes. She's not changing her mind, I'll not change
my mind. My dad's like in the middle going "oh, God, I'll leave you to it", and he goes
out, any sign of a punch-up, "I'll leave you to it" sort of thing. But we get on fine now, we
can actually - I can go and talk but Q: Why did they throw you out?
A: Oh, they didn't like my lifestyle, 'cos I used to like go away for - 'cos I follow bands
around, you see, all around the country, and I used to just go away for a couple of days
and say "oh, I'm in Manchester, see you later" and like I used to come home, get some
money, have something to eat, have a bath, and then go out; and say "well, this is not
some bed and breakfast you just come in and go" they said, "drop your dirty washing
and then take some more, then go"... so - I had to go eventually anyway. I was not
willing to stay at home until I was about twenty-five or something. 'Cos I had to share a
room with my sister as well, and like we both were going our separate ways, it just
wasn't - I mean "that's my bit" - "oh, no, do you have to put your stuff here?" - always
fighting and everything. So - when I went back there, when I went to London - 'cos I
used to live in Croydon before 'cos I went to college in Croydon, I moved back to
London and it was just like - everything that was mine is completely gone, it's like I didn't
recognise the place. My sister's got her own carpet, you know, she had the place
redecorated, it's like - it's like "absolutely nothing here belongs to me"; she says, "no,
that's the way I want it, that's what it's gonna stay". It's like, fine. But we get on - we
fight; I suppose sisters fight anyway, so we get on alright.
Q: Where did you live, like when you got thrown out?
A: Well, usually - I had to live - I stayed in London for a little while until I could sort
myself out in Croydon, and I moved to West Croydon...
Q: What, with friends?
A: No, it was like a shared house sort of thing. And then I lived there for about six
months. Then I moved to Wood Green for three weeks. Then I moved to Hackney - I've
been there now for about four months. My dad's going... "God you've moved more times
in my lifetime - in like a space of a year than I have in my lifetime! What's going on?",
and I say, "well, I don't like staying anywhere too long, I get itchy feet, it's like - it feels
like... going sort of like... blessing in disguise... somewhere else". I just can't stay
anywhere too long. I wanna go to Sheffield next. 'Cos I - no one's got a bad word to say
about the place, it's just that it's really cheap and it's really nice. Apparently, the only
thing about it is it's really cold. It's not far from London, you know - what, two hours on
the train, an hour and a half?
Q: But what about your course... go and live there?
A: Oh, no, well, finish my two years here, then probably go and do my degree course up
there. It depends if they've got it and if I get in, all the rest of it.
Q: Right, yeah.
A: Or stay in London; I like London quite a bit actually. It's like my friends that I moved
up - most of them have gone to Manchester. I really hate that place, it's like - mind you,
going there for a couple of days is fine but I couldn't live there permanently. It's not a
place I'd wanna live. I like Nottingham as well, Nottingham's quite nice. Leicester's okay.
'Cos Leicester's like in between all of them - Leicester is like - it's like a central route,
you can get to everywhere from Leicester, it doesn't take long, it doesn't cost much.
Q: Yeah, I went to university there.
A: Birmingham's okay. It's alright. I spend so much time there, so I don't think I'd
actually like to live there.
Q: And what's at the moment the most important relationship, do you think, for you?
A: Well, I suppose RICHARD is in a way, 'cos like we're together all the time, so - I
could – I don't know, I depend on him to do so many things, like to do this, like to do the
washing - "will you do this for me?". I depend on him a lot. And then there's my parents
and all the rest of it, we were just... I will always be - we will always fight...
Q: So how long have you known RICHARD?
A: Well, years ago about three months, and then about four and a half, something like
that. We started off as friends and - 'cos when I moved in the house it was like "I'm
gonna be celibate, keep away from me" sort of thing, and like "there'll be none of that".
It was really weird, 'cos - he's twenty-seven. It's really strange. We was actually talking
about this yesterday, sort of going how long's it gonna last? - and I'm saying give it two
days, two days.
Q: What, the relationship?
A: Yeah. Two days and I've had enough of you, sort of thing. I don't know, it's really
weird to imagine life without him sort of thing, I've got so used to having him around.
Like sometimes I moan at him, I say well, God, well, when I wake up you're here, when I
go to bed you're here, when I come in from college you're here, when I go out you're
here! It's like, Oh God! - go away, for goodness' sake! You know, sort of thing. So, I
think it's like a good idea if I move somewhere else and he stays there, then it's like
space. I think we need our own space, otherwise things can get really hectic in the flat
Q: But will he stay around? You said he's sort of a traveler...
A: Well, he was supposed to be going in November. Then he was gonna go in
December, so it's like - it's like, yeah. When he goes I'll believe it, but, like, my friend
goes to me, "look. If he had any intention of going, he'd have gone by now". I said, "oh,
he's going next week". She goes, "look, don't tell me. When he's gone, when he's on the
plane, you tell me then". 'Cos there's no point, I mean people say, "he's going, he's
going soon, he's going soon". I don't know. I don't know how long he's gonna stay
around for, it's really hard to tell. I've got so used to him - like if he does go, it's not
gonna be a shock, I won't be sort of like "oh, my God", devasted, 'cos I've always known
from the start that he's gonna go. It's better that way.
Q: So you haven't thought of him as someone you'd stay with for a long, long time?
A: Not really, because he's like a traveler, he's, like, all over the place. He's in and out of
jobs all the time, he just, like, he'll work for a little while, get some money, then he'll go
away again. So, it's like - I don't know. I don't know if it could ever be permanent sort of
thing. He goes, "oh, you could come with me"; I say, "I'm not going anywhere with you"
sort of thing. I don't know. I suppose I just don't wanna think like that because I want
some like really permanent thing, and then have to like fall to pieces after he's gone and
think "oh my God, I've fooled myself all along", so I wanna keep my eyes wide open. So,
I say, "right, I know you're going, that's fine. I'm prepared for this", rather than like, you
know, feel like it's a great shock or something... I don't know, I like to be realistic about
things like, when we're talking about it, say "well, the world's never gonna change"; I
said, like, we can believe that women are gonna be equal to men, I said, but it's gonna
take a long time, and I said it - I said I even think, after about fifty years, even a
revolution - I don't think things will ever - we'll ever be equal to men, it's like living in like
a male-dominant society, and things - I don't think things will ever change. It would be
nice to think they will, and that we'll live under a communist system, but I just don't think
so. People's too greedy, everyone wants everything for themselves and they're not
worried about who else gets trampled on, as long as "I'm alright", you know, forget
about them. I think there might be room for change. I don't know. Well, it seems like all
the history books have written it down like that, but... think people will stick to that,
always keeping the status quo so to speak, so Q: Have you had a lot of other boyfriends before?
A: Nothing really, like - this is the most serious I've ever had, I think. Nothing really sort
of, like, heavy, sort of like. I always thought, well, I'm not in for commitment and I'm
really unreliable and I'm undependable, so I thought right, I'm not in for commitment. So
that, you know, as it goes on, see how things go and that. But I think I'm too young to,
like, settle down, and like these people who've been... years. I just think I'm too young to
get into that sort of thing. It's not - once you get into that sort of thing, it's really hard to
get out of. I don't know - I don't know if you lose your identity or anything like that; I don't
know, you just feel that - you feel left out. 'Cos you see people get together and it's like
they don't see anybody anymore, then when all of a sudden it breaks up, they wanna
come round. Say, "well where were you a couple of years ago, you didn't wanna know
us now", and it's like, you know, I mean 'cos my friends are really important to me, I
always say "boyfriends are ten a penny, but good friends are hard to find", and that. So,
my friends are really important to me.
Q: Have you got a special girlfriend? I noticed there was something you put in the
questionnaire that there was somebody.
A: Well, yeah, TINA I suppose. She's from YORKSHIRE but she's like in university in
London, she's at (?)[NAME OF UNIVERSITY] doing [DEGREE]. We're really close,
really get on well. So she lives - I can get the train to hers like, it's only about nine stops.
And then JACKIE lives in NORTHWEST LONDON DISTRICT. She moved down from
WEST MIDLANDS to London. So, we all get on really well like - sort of like - I don't
know, I suppose we like confide in each other really. We all get on really well, so it's
really good, you know. I think you need somebody around like so Q: So how much do you see other people apart from RICHARD? - you were just saying
A: Quite a bit actually, 'cos I follow bands round, so when like a band's on tour, we all
get together. It's like really good - like let your hair down and really have a good time
without - 'cos like he came... in Birmingham, and he came up - he came up for one night
to see the band. It's like really weird, 'cos I wasn't used to him being there, so I kept
getting at him; sort of "go away!", 'cos - like - he didn't know anybody, so I had to keep
on running round thinking, "oh, God, are you alright?", you know: "this is so and so, like
sit and talk to him for a little while". But I see him quite regularly, I sort of like - I don't
know really. TINA lives in London so it's not far, JACKIE comes over, she lives - she
works in [INNER LONDON], so she comes and stays over at my house for like a couple
of nights a week, so I see her quite regular. I see them all, like, every six weeks sort of
thing. 'Cos they all live like in Manchester or Leighton Buzzard, everyone lives all over
Q: Yes, it's not like round the corner.
A: No, it's not like round the corner. It's not in London so you get a bus there, it's like they all live in Manchester, Birmingham, so it's, like, really difficult, so we all get together
when the bands are on tour, have a really good time.
Q: How did you meet them?
A: Well, one - I lived in Croydon, and one of the girls who I used to know lived in
Croydon. She married the bass player out of a band. And it was, like - just... go and see
him. And I went out - went out with the, like, [MUSICIAN], so we like - everyone got
together really, we started carrying on following the band, and so it was like we made
really good friends. And like if any - any band plays in London, they come and stay at
my house, if there's someone else plays, you know, we go and stay with each other...
quite well actually.
Q: Which bands do you follow?
A: ... (laughter). It's like everybody says - everybody goes "who? - never heard of them
before". "Are they in the charts?" Well, no - once they were in the charts a couple of
times, a couple of singles. ... were... the Angel. You'll take my word for it! Oh, dear. No,
'cos I follow them around. It's - it's got - I don't know, you don't actually go for the music
anymore. Like JACK was saying to us, like he was in a band, he was going, "well, why
do you not come? Why do you..." We don't actually come for the music, 'cos I think we
all think it's shit, you know, we just come - it's free to get in, we just have a really good
time and it's - there's so many people that you wouldn't see otherwise.
Q: Where do they play?
A: They play like Town and Country, Astoria, the Marquee, Birmingham Humming Bird,
all round - sometimes they play Liverpool university. I suppose they're really like
university bands, and that. So, I just go and see them. 'Cos like so many people like
ROBBIE - he's from... He's really - he's really - he's really close and that, and like he
only follows... and the only time I ever get to see him is..., I always make an effort of
going to see him 'cos like - there's some people who only follow one band, you don't see
them otherwise, so it's really nice to go out and see them. But otherwise everyone gets
on really well. It's something to do rather than stay in London all the time. It gets you out
of the house, you go round seeing different places and that.
Q: Yeah, it's a great way of actually getting round the country, like having a reason to go
A: And like mainly we all hitch round together, like we all pair up or something, hitch
round. It's cheaper that way. Nobody actually works, they all get income support, so it's
like, really difficult, and train fares are so expensive.
A: And everyone says, well, think of - instead of train fares, think of drink money, so it's
like, right, we'll hitch round. It's really nice hitching round in, like, July - last year, July
'88, such good weather, it's like, "this is the life", sort of thing. I enjoy it, it's really good.
You meet so many different people.
Q: Does RICHARD go round with...
A: No, he doesn't. He doesn't. It's like - he goes, "oh, I'm too old for that sort of thing".
He has his mates in London. Most of his friends live in London anyway. A couple live in
Palmers Green, one lives in Cheltenham, and the other one - MALCOLM lives in
Euston, I think, so they're all round London. 'Cos they all know each other 'cos they
lived in a kibbutz for a couple of years together, so they all came back to London and
sort of like - so he stays with them mainly. And I don't really want him coming round with
me sort of thing, cramping my style.
A: "You stay here, I'm going"! sort of thing, so -
Q: And he doesn't mind you going...
A: Oh, too bad if he does, it's like I'm going, it's what I've always done, and if you don't
like it, tough.... fine, he says, "I'm not gonna stop you", I say no, don't even try. It's not
like - it's not that sort of relationship where it's like - you know, some people, you have
to ask them if you can go somewhere, and I said no, I'm not putting up with that, I've got
a mind of my own. If I wanna go somewhere I'll go, I say, "if you wanna go somewhere,
you don't have to ask me", I say, "you can go". I'm not gonna - it's nothing to do with me.
Go and have a good time. I mean, I'm not against that, you know, go and enjoy yourself.
I said I'm not gonna think twice about it, if I wanna go somewhere without asking you,
I'm just gonna go - probably leave you a note or something, come in, "I will have gone
here, see you later" sort of thing. So, it's not like that. And it's - he doesn't depend on
me to do anything for him, which is a really odd thing, 'cos I depend - 'cos I can't cook. If
I do try, if I make an effort to try, it's always "I can't eat this", he moans. So, I say
"alright", I say, "you do it". So, he cooks, and he does the cleaning... Well, I don't mind
doing it - it's like - 'cos he just like drops his stuff all over the place, it's like "oh, do you
have to do that?", to be like in its place and that. So, he'll like do the cleaning. He
refuses to go out shopping with me anymore, 'cos I start moaning and start screaming
and shouting, 'cos I - you walk along, he keeps putting things in the trolley, it's like - "for
goodness' sake, I haven't got a lot of money, just watch it..."; "oh, just this, it doesn't
cost this - just that", and it's like really aggravating. Apart from that - it's like a really
good friend as well. We can actually - we can talk to each other as well, which is really
good and that.
Q: Yeah, it must be. And how long had you known him before you started having a
A: About two months. It was like we were really good friends, and something just
happened, it was like "ah!" sort of thing. I don't know, when you feel really close with
somebody, you're really worried - "my God, should this really happen? - oh God, this
might be a mistake, will it happen again? It's like, oh God, supposing we break up, will
we still be good friends?". It's really difficult that way, it's like so many people say,
"we've been really good friends, we've got together, and it's all gone wrong". It's like
really uneasy, you walk into a room it's like "oh, God, which one do you speak to?". Do
you go and speak to him, do you speak to her - what will he say? And it's like - it's sort
of like, you know, I always try and keep out of it, say "look, right, I like you both, it's a
mutual thing here" - you know what I mean? - "leave me out of it". 'Cos I stay with my
mate's boyfriend, he lives in Stourbridge, the middle of nowhere. We get on really good
friends and that. First of all, it was like really difficult, but we got on really, really well.
Like RICHARD stayed with us as well, he goes, he felt really uneasy being there. I said
"why?". 'Cos he goes, "it's like - 'cos it's like, all the looks around, it's like everyone's
sitting there going um, right, let's -", you know, sort of like trying to talk. But we get on
really well and that, which is - so I'm really worried sitting there thinking, "oh, God, what
do I say now?", 'cos I knew his brother really well so - his parents were there so - oh,
God, like - so I was there, it's like - well, you know, I says, I said we shouldn't have been
here, 'cos - well, I said, I don't know, I just feel really uneasy with you being here. I don't
know why for some reason, but then he went, and everything was fine. So, everything's
sort of sorted out now, so it's okay.
Q: So how did it happen?
A: What was it - I was asleep and he came in from work drunk or something, which is
not unusual for him, and he just kept... I was sort of going "just leave me alone", it was
like "go away", I said "get out, get out". He says "no, I'm not leaving". And then the next
thing you know it was just like - oh, it was like... sort of thing. I don't know, it's - I don't
know, in a way I suppose it's - I'm - I'm glad it happened, 'cos in August - I had an
abortion in August, which - I sort of like "that's it". I said, "never again, I don't wanna
know anything about it"... and I could actually talk to him about it, and he goes, "well, it's
one of those things", he said, you know, "nobody asked for it to happen but it did". He
said - and like, my mum goes to me, 'cos I can really talk to her about these sort of
things, I was saying, she goes "well, some women find it really difficult to sexually relate
to people after that, they feel really -", she said, "well probably, it's probably a good thing
that you did, and that you're so close to him, 'cos otherwise, you know, you could have
like got really destroyed over it". I mean 'cos... it's not gonna go away, and it's gonna
take a long time to get over obviously, like the mental scars will always be there, but I
suppose you've got to make the best of everything.
Q: Was that with somebody you were very close to?
A: I wasn't - I suppose, he was somebody I used to have a really good time with, and
like - well, maybe because he tried to make me feel guilty.
Q: What, for having an abortion?
A: Yeah, and he said, "you can't do this, you're supposed to ask me". I said, look, no, it's
my body, and I tried to explain it to him. Well, he was really young, he was only
eighteen, so I suppose, what more can you say? He said, "oh, I'll look after it". I said,
"well, no, you can't look after yourself, how are you gonna -"; and he really hit - he said,
"well I'll get a job". I said well - I just tried to explain to him no, it's not gonna work. And
he - he just couldn't understand that. I haven't seen him since that. He said, "oh, if
you're in need of things"; I said, no, I don't want anything, sort of thing. He kept on
ringing up, and that's why I moved out of Wood Green, 'cos of my phone number - I
don't wanna see him anymore, 'cos... come round, see there's a note, "I don't wanna
see you". So, I moved out. He doesn't know where I've gone to now. Apparently, he
works in Croydon. He works at [REDACTED] my sister's at, and she said every time she
sees him, like every day, he's like this sort of (sniff)... anyway sort of thing. So, I don't
Q: How long had you been with him?
A: From about January till about June, and it's like - when I found out, it's like - I just, it
was like "stay away", and he just couldn't understand. I don't know, I felt, I just felt really
weird, 'cos I kept saying it wouldn't happen to me, it could happen to anybody else but
not me, and it's like - such a shock, it was like "oh, my God!", so - it was really... I think it
was about nine weeks or something, because I just sort of said no, no... my mum kept
saying "are you sure?". I said no, no, I said... she goes "I don't think so", she says to
me, "look, go and have a pregnancy test", I said "no" Q: Had you stopped a period?
A: Yeah, I had, and I just thought - 'cos at the moment I'm really irregular, I've got a
hormone imbalance, and... come here, I have two one month and I don't have any for
another month. I just got used to it, being up and down. And she goes to me, "I think
you should go to the..."... "she looks like it to me", and I was still going "no, no". And
then she made me - I had a chest infection, I think, yeah, and I went to the doctor's and
he gave me a pregnancy test. I was supposed to go back next week and I didn't go back
'cos I knew it was going to be negative, and I went away for a week. My mum goes, "I'll
ring up and find out". I said "no". She goes, "ah, but if you don't go, I'll ring up.". And so,
I thought, oh God, I'd better go, rather than her ring up. And he just said it was positive,
it was like - I don't know, it was just like everything just stood still, it was like - just
couldn't believe it, it was like oh my God! It was really strange, 'cos I was at college at
the time, it was like we'd all been making jokes about people sitting their exams being
pregnant, not realising I was at the time. It was like - it was just - I don't know Q: Had you finished your exams at the time?
A: No, I was in the middle of doing them when I found out. It was like, oh God! - it was
like - 'cos I kept on - I had my Politics exam and I kept on being sick. It was like, the next
morning I rung up and said, "look, I'm really ill", and he goes to me, "look, if you don't
come in, you won't...". I thought, I don't know, get a taxi, sort of like stumbled in, sort of
sitting in there. I just, like, really couldn't concentrate at all. I don't know, it just seemed
to take me over completely. My mum was really sort of like a tower of strength, she was
- like she's a [CARING PROFESSION], and she was really good about it. My dad, I
don't know, he was - he wouldn't - he won't actually talk about it now, he won't call it by
its... that's it. I don't know, he's - he was – apparently, he really cried about it, he was
like really upset, saying, you know, "what's going on?" sort of thing. My sister was like my sister was alright, she was - she just kept saying "you deny me the right to be an
auntie, I'll never forgive you for that", that sort of thing (laugh). But apart from that, she
was alright about it. I felt really guilty for a long time, I just thought that was it.
Q: Was there any question of not having an abortion or were you adamant from the
A: No, I was in two minds, it was like - when I into hospital, I went to shock. And I said,
"look, I can't go through this, I can't do it", and I sort of started getting hysterical, and
then - I thought about it, I thought, well - you're eighteen. I mean - what am I gonna - I'd
have to live off the state, and I don't - I don't wanna bring any child into poverty, it's not
fair. It's a poverty trap. Once you start off in it, you get used to it and you just go round in
circles. And I just think it wasn't fair to do that to another human being, it wasn't - I just it wasn't fair on the child, it wasn't fair on myself, I don't know. But that's probably
selfish, I don't - it probably sounds selfish, I don't know.
Q: I don't think it's selfish.
A: I don't - 'cos I mean Q: It would make - in a sense, it would make both of you have a real struggle.
A: 'Cos I'd be going to... that year as well, so it was just like - everything was like - '89
was like the worst year of my life, it was like - it was like everything's gone wrong, this is
it now. I thought - I was thinking, yeah, maybe things might be... I wonder what would
have happened if I'd had it, 'cos I would have - you know, it was due around about
January now anyway, sort of - think, well, if I'd had it would this happen, maybe this. It
was like, well, my mum goes to me, "well, there's no point in you sitting living your life
on ifs and buts, you've just got to go out and do it. You've done it for the best and that",
she said, "well, how were you gonna cope, how were you gonna support it?" She said,
"well, I can't support you and -" - you know what I mean? She said, "where would you
have lived? - probably got yourself a one-bedroomed flat somewhere, probably cold, no
heating, no light". She says, "that's no life really and -"
Q: ... trying to exist on sort of forty pounds a week A: It's less, thirty-three. It's like twenty-seven pound forty's enough. Imagine thirty-three
pound for two people, it's just like, it's really ridiculous. She says to me, you know, she
says "what about getting a job and all the rest? How can you get a job with a child? You
have to pay child-minders", she said, "not a lot of like free nurseries around anymore.
There are very few" - you know, few and far between. She said, "it's not fair to lumber
that on a child, is it, really?". If I think - if I think about it honestly, I think I've done it for
the best, but it still hurts a little bit. It came as a shock, 'cos I always thought, "oh, not
me", you know, it was all the silly people down there.
Q: Were you using contraception?
A: I used to use - 'cos I'm - I get out - I get - if I take the pill I get fat and depressed, so
it's like all the hassle, so I used those contraceptive sponges. And apparently, they're for
matured women or something, not - young people aren't supposed to use them. She
goes to me "well, you're too a bit too young for these;... found out it doesn't work as - "; I
said, yes, I think I've found that out, yes, it doesn't work.
Q: What, so you were using them on their own?
A: Yeah. 'Cos they've got a special spermicide thing on them. You just... water and...
Q: Yes. But you weren't using condoms and things A: No. It was like... said, it's like picking your nose with rubber gloves, he goes... picking
your nose with rubber gloves. It's not the same. It may feel the same, but it just isn't the
same. It's not the same, so now they give me - they've... like a new pill apparently, this
combined one, where the dosage goes down, and it doesn't make you retain fluids, so I seem to be alright with that one.
Q: How long have you been on it?
A: Three months now, yeah. 'Cos I didn't wanna take it first of all and that, but - 'cos I
was gonna get a coil fitted. But it's having to go round, get it all sorted out... take the pill,
it's really dangerous in its side effects and - I don't know, it's just so much hassle really.
Q: Oh, I know.
A: I say, oh you men - say, you lot got it easy, we're the ones that've got to sit here
and... "can't use this, oh, no", running around sort of thing, it's like - it's convenient. At
least if you take it you know you're alright; it's not... condoms, oh, God, running round,
"oh, Jesus, where are they?" sort of thing. I don't know, it's just - it's convenient, I
suppose, but it's just - it regulates everything, but I still feel... if I didn't take it...
Q: It's not the sort you've got, like the mini-pill, that you've got to take at a specific time
A: You're supposed to, but I always - I never remember, so it's like, "oh, my God!... oh,
no, supposed to take it, where are they?" sort of thing. There's different colours so
there's a dosage - I think it's to do - 'cos like your hormones, as - as the days go by the
dosage gets lower or it gets higher. Apparently, they're quite safe, it's just like
remembering to take them and that. That counts as like... really worried... dying of
cervical cancer. So, it's like when you... oh, God! - cervical - oh, no, this - panic. I think
it's best to give up sex altogether, you don't have to worry about anything at all.
Q: That's right.
A: Give it up!
Q: But is it important to you, sex?
A: No, I - I can survive without it, which - trying to explain that to RICHARD is really
difficult 'cos he doesn't... understand. I don't know, it's - you say love is - love isn't
conditional on sex. I don't think - sex isn't that great. Well, it - it's not that brilliant as
everyone makes it out to be, but - it is a risk... oh God... There's nothing that like special
about it. But...
Q: What, you'd be quite happy without it in a relationship?
A: I... relationship, a strong relationship, where no sex has been involved, and it's alright, you're not as close as - as... somebody, but it's fine, but it doesn't suit
everybody. I suppose you ought to learn to enjoy your body... then I suppose you're
Q: 'Cos what was your first sexual experience like?
A: I don't know, it wasn't like - I had all these like things in my head and that, and you
think "it's gonna be like this", and when it actually... is that it? It's like, "oh, God! That's it,
is it?". It's just like - I don't know - people - you always build up this like this dream in
your head, "oh, it's gonna be like this, gonna be really... gonna sweep me off my feet".
And when it actually happens you think "oh. It's all over.". And it's just like - I don't know,
it's just this great big - people make such a big deal out of it; when you think about it,
there's nothing that important, there's nothing so - it's just like, "oh, well, got it over and
done with. Might as well watch television now or something."(laugh).
Q: How old were you then?
A: This is the embarrassing part. It was - I don't know, this is really weird admitting this
to people. I was only ten at the time, and he was fourteen. Like I was completely misled.
It wasn't till afterwards, a long time after I'd actually realised what was going on. Oh,
God. I was probably - I don't know, I suppose I was too young to really enjoy or
understand what was going on, so I suppose I - it was a little bit misleading. I don't
know. I was misled completely. No one would listen - I was misled completely, I didn't
know what was going on.
Q: What, by him?
A: Yeah, it was - it is little thing, like this was all planned and afterwards I realised, oh
my goodness, you were exploited there. But it's just one of those things. It would have
been nice to wait till somebody - I don't know - I suppose it's one of those things.
There's nothing I can do about it now, I can't bring him back so Q: But did that sort of mean that you had sex after that or was there then a long gap
before you actually A: Well, there was a long gap, and then about fourteen. I just went out with this absolute
dickhead, he was - when I look round I think oh, fool, he was such a fool, but it was
nothing sort of like - I just... people say, just like, you know, a couple of boyfriends and
that was probably about it. It was nothing major. Like people oh, you're really lucky, and
I say no, not really, it's nothing, there's no big deal about it. I don't know how some
people make such a thing out of it. I've never - I could never understand that, so... It
depends on if you're - I don't think age has got - I think if you're maturely ready for it, if
you can cope with it emotionally, then it's okay. Some people do, some don't.
Q: So when you next were having a sexual relationship, at fourteen, were you ready for
A: Well, I knew a lot more was going on, 'cos I used to talk to my mum about these sort
of things, and I knew a lot more was going on... it was alright then. I just thought this
man was God anyway, so - look back and...
Q: How old was he?
A: He was about - he was eighteen, I think... fool. I was like... said, "what did you see in
this man? Why did you go out with him? He was such a jerk - oh God!". I don't know,
you sit round - like when you've got these records - I was under mental stress when I
bought that - I honestly don't play it any more, I only played it once sort of thing, it was
like one of those. But I don't know - I'm not one for like permanent relationships lasting
too long anyway, 'cos I don't - I don't know, I just get really bored. It sounds really
horrible, but I just get... bored... So I'll have to see how it goes with RICHARD really, I
Q: Can you actually tell me a bit more, 'cos we're interested in how kind of - how girls
negotiate like sexual relationships in the sense of, you know, whether it's boys that do
the kind of come-on and persuade girls, or whether it's kind of mutual or - can you
A: I think when you're younger it's always - 'cos you always think you're really shy, you
don't... just 'cos you get thrown off, you think, oh my God, she's really easy... thinks so...
sitting there. But I think as you get older you feel more comfortable, you think, well, I can
make the first move. And some men enjoy it that way, I think it all depends. Like
RICHARD will always say, well, you know, "don't sit there" sort of thing... you know, he
said, "look", he said, "it shouldn't be me all the time", he said, "'cos I never know if you
want to" he says, you know. So, I suppose it's like - it goes both ways. As you get older
you feel more relaxed. It depends who the person is. You feel more relaxed about, you
know, like making the first move or that. I suppose so, yeah. I think it depends on
individuals, like some women feel like coy about, "God, I can't do that, it's always the
men who should make the move", but I disagree with that, I think if you both wanna do
it, well then -... everyone sitting there going - watch the television pretending I have no
interest in this programme whatsoever.
Q: But was that what it was like when you were fourteen? Or did you... then?
A: Oh, no, no, it was - I did it so - used to just sort of like sit there, and he used to say...
things like, I was like - I was really sort of like - I wasn't really bothered. If it happened it
happened, if it didn't, oh well, no big deal. You know, when you're fourteen you don't
think of - I don't know, some women do, it depends on the individual, but to me, I just
didn't think of it. But as you get older you think - you feel more relaxed. It depends depends - like some men feel really intimidated if you do. I don't know - I don't know
Q: And have you found that?
A: Oh, yeah, some men feel really intimidated, they think oh God, you know, what's
wrong with her? sort of thing. You're sex-mad or something. No, it's - it's just like it's...
makes a change. I said, well, why should it always be the man that wants to do it? You
know, it should be an equal thing, it's between two people, you don't make love to
yourself. So - I don't know, some men can be really funny about it. So, it depends. But
RICHARD, he's not bothered sort of thing, he's okay about it. I don't know, it's the first
time I feel really relaxed in front of him. I can say anything and he - he doesn't bother,
you know, he doesn't get upset or anything like. He's really, sort of like, get up and go
sort of thing, which is good.
Q: So with RICHARD can you kind of suggest things or A: Oh, yeah, he's open to all suggestions, you see. Fire away, fire away at me, sort of
thing. I've never used, like, those sexual aids, it's like, you know, you'd (?) die to or
something - oh, I don't know. Like there's, you know, these vibrators, you see them, you
think "oh, God, what a joke they are!". Sort of "Oh, God, I'd never use that". I don't
know, women - most of my friends are men anyway, 'cos I feel you can relax in front of
men a lot more 'cos women sort of - you don't talk about that sort of thing, I don't know.
Things you can say to a man you can't - you just can't - even as how close you are to a
female, you can't say it to them, I don't know why, they just - some of them you can, like
I could say anything to JACKIE or I could say anything to TINA, but some people you
think you can't... you think, "what's wrong with her?". There's one of my best friends like, he's a man and that, but we get on really well, really close and that. I mean I just
feel I can talk to him a lot more than you can women, I don't know why. I think women
are so bitchy, sort of "oh, did you hear? She told me this, oh did you hear that? Oh
God!" sort of thing. ... with men like they won't say anything... "oh, God, I'm not gonna
say that". The things they'll come out with, you'll just be sitting in the room, it's like
completely flabbergasted... That's why I also prefer male doctors and that, 'cos I mean,
when I've been to women doctors, things - they can be so - really sharp and really
abrupt about things, whereas men'll - go round the gentle way and - I don't know, like
especially when you have something like a smear test done, they try and tell you women are always like - they sort of try and tell you - "look, it really hurts", and they say
"oh no it doesn't, you're just being stupid", whereas men say "Oh God, I'm really sorry",
and - I don't know. I always feel more relaxed around men, I don't know why.
Q: Do you have a male A: I have a male doctor, yeah. I don't know - things that - I don't know - 'cos a woman, if
you go to a woman doctor and say "I've got bad period pains", 'cos I suffer from
dysmenorrhea really badly and I have to get all these tablets for it, and they'll say, "oh,
no, you just - we all get them, you know, you making a big thing out of it", whereas
men'll say "try this new tablet, try that". And that, I don't know. "We all get them, you
know, what's so special about you?" sort of thing. I don't know - it's probably just me,
but I just find women really bitchy. I suppose it's Q: Some of them are alright, it's A: Some of them Q: - a bit of both, I mean you can get very nice women doctors as well as men.
A: Some men just can be really nasty and... "well, it's your own fault", you know, "what
do you want me to do about it?". I think it goes both ways really.
Q: Were you using contraception in the days when you were fourteen?
A: Well, I suffer from dysmenorrhea, and apparently my doctor put me on the pill when I
was about fourteen because he said it regulates your periods and it doesn't - it stops the
cramp and that, and my mum said it would be the best thing to go on it. And I came off
that when I was sixteen 'cos it made me really fat and depressed and I got really
bloated. So, I suppose - but that was a good excuse really... "it's alright to do it now,
'cos I'm covered, I'm safe, it's alright". And then I went back on it again when I was
Q: So how long were you off it?
A: I was off it for about two years 'cos I - (tape change)
Q: So have you actually had sex when you haven't been covered by anything at all?
A: Say, like, when you go somewhere and you - I mean - I don't know. Say like,
especially when you get drinking and everything, and you're all out having a good time
and it's something that's happened, you think oh, you think oh my God; but I try not to, I
think it's only happened like once or twice. I try not to, 'cos I just worry about these
things and, obviously after what's happened, you think, you think my God,... sort of
thing, you know. And that. So - I don't know.
Q: Were you conscious of actually taking a risk when A: I honestly - I don't know, I don't honestly don't think - you don't really think about that,
you just think you're having a good time and you worry about that later on, whereas
some people think about it beforehand - "oh, my God, no, it's not worth the risk". I
suppose if you think about it realistically, it isn't really, especially if you're not ready for it
and that, but - ... some people who... you try and explain to them, "look, I think for your
own peace of mind and for your - not..." - I think, you know, if you're being mature about
it, you should use some sort of form of contraception. Some people don't believe in that,
so - that's their business, they don't ... I can't really lecture them on it, a grown person,
say. My friend LIZZIE, she doesn't - it doesn't - it doesn't occur to her; I said, well you
should - I said it - I said at least if you've got it in the back of your mind, at least you
know that you're okay and you don't have to worry about anything later on and
everything, but trying to explain it to her - she doesn't understand, so I just thought, why
bother? Why waste your breath sort of thing? She's not gonna bother so why should I
worry about it? So, I don't know. I think contraception - I don't know - since AIDS come
out, contraception's come a really big thing. Everyone's like getting really worried. And I
just - especially when you're young I just don't Q: What do you think of the AIDS campaign?
A: I don't know. When - obviously we're all - everyone's really conscious of it, but I think
they've put it out of proportion slightly. Everyone's - then there was all this hype about it,
everyone was getting really worried, and then people just say, look, they've made so
much of it, I just can't be bothered any more. Which is the really tragic thing. But I don't
know, I think it was - they wanted a scapegoat and the gays were a scapegoat,
basically. ..."they're gay" - the way they're persecuted is all wrong, but it's like - I think
it's the male ego really. "Oh, God, gay, oh dear!" I've got quite a few gay friends. I don't
know why but you feel really relaxed with them, you feel safe, you know that they're not
gonna try and jump on you or molest you, you're gonna feel okay. Nothing wrong with
them. I don't know, lesbians seem to be accepted as women, that's alright, but men, I
don't know why. It shouldn't be any different for them as it is for women.
Q: Do you have many gay friends?
A: Just a couple - KEVIN, ah, he's - like when you're really down, you really... 'cos: "ah, I
slept with..." - "KEVIN, shut up, these people..." sort of thing. I don't know. I remember
we went out one night, we were in Manchester, and... he was like slagging off all these
gay men, and KEVIN suddenly, "oh, yes, really". So, he goes "I..." - "I don't care, get
away", it's like - he said all these things, he's going, oh yeah, they should be shot, and
he just went... It was - everyone was going, "oh my God!"... "look, I don't care, keep your
hands to yourself, don't touch me", so I think - I think gay men - I think some of them
can be a bit funny, but I think if they know somebody's not gay, they're not gonna really
try and jump on them 'cos they don't wanna get beaten up, obviously. So, I think it's
alright. I don't think there's anything wrong with it. Some people act like it's the antiChrist, it's unnatural, but it's not something they go out to do, I said it's something that's
inbred, I mean they can't help it, it's not their fault. I'm not saying - there's nothing wrong
with it, I mean if they're having a good time... I don't know.
Q: Who do you think is at risk from AIDS?
A: I think heterosexuals mainly, 'cos I think some people just really don't care. You can
see all the time, people just go round sleeping with anybody. And they just - they don't
worry about it... Obviously you don't ask someone before you go to bed, "excuse me,...
AIDS test before you..."; but some people just really don't care, I mean you just think well, if they're prepared to gamble it, why should you worry? You should worry, but - if
they're not worried about it, then you can't worry for them, otherwise you'd be worrying
for absolutely everybody.
Q: I mean, is it something that worries you?
A: I've never really thought about it - that's probably, it's another thing that's not gonna
happen to you sort of, again... I'm conscious of it, but it's just not something that I've
ever really thought, oh my God, I should do this about it. I suppose I really should for my
own safety and for everybody else, but it's never something - I don't think you should go
round sleeping with a load of people just so - I don't really - I'm not one of these people
who goes through from one night stands sort of - sometimes you do. It really depends
on where you are, what's going on, and what's happening. But otherwise I really don't
go for sort of - they don't do anything for me anyway. You always think, oh you're never
gonna see him again, it's like - I don't know. Or if you do, there's like, "oh, I'll ring you".
It's like, you're sitting there, you build yourself up, and then - so I - I don't - I'm not sure, I
suppose if you're gonna get it, you're gonna get it really. I don't think there's anything
anyone else can do about it. You could always - people say you can't give blood 'cos
you'll get it from this, and you'll get it from that. People say you get it from toilet seats,
you know, or saliva, or drinking from the same cup as somebody... I'd like to do AIDS
counselling actually, 'cos - part of my work experience. Apparently, you have to be a
certain age. I'm not sure - I think - I think I'm too young. I said well, I'd like to do that 'cos
I - I'd just really like to talk to them like, it's not like patronising them but I just - it's
something I'm really interested in, something that's really - I don't know. I think I'd find it
really challenging, so I'd like to do some AIDS counselling if I can, but I'm not sure I'm
old enough. I don't know, probably that and social work.
Q: How did you first hear about AIDS?
A: I think - the campaign on the television, and then my mum was like saying - she
works in a [MEDICAL PROFESSION], so she was... like AIDS patients, the nurses
didn't wanna go near them and that. But she was - she was just saying, well obviously
you have to wear the protective mask, you can't catch it from talking to them, so - I think
she... she's not really bothered about it. 'Cos most of my sex education came from her
anyway, 'cos I started my periods when I was ten, and I was like - "oh, God, what's
going on, I'm gonna die" - she said, "right, sit down", and she explained it all to me. And
my dad's like really open to talk about these sort of things as well, so - it's like... like
most people you go to, oh, sex isn't mentioned -... "oh, my God, you don't say things like
that!", it's like - I don't know, it's really weird. I always find it really strange to understand
why - like people say "oh God" when you mention it, like... everything drops, everyone
goes silent and looks round... But it wasn't like that in our house, it was like - it's your
body, you know, if you feel comfortable about your body, sort of thing, go ahead. You
know, there are some people that walk around... all covered up like this. It wasn't like
that in our house; if you walk around like that, that's your business sort of thing... I was
quite lucky. I feel comfortable about talking about it, so that's alright.
Q: So what do you - what is the AIDS virus, do you know?
A: It's acquired immune deficiency syndrome or something, it's like - I don't know, I can't
remember actually. Is it when - is it when the antibodies just completely break down and
you can't fight anything, and you - your body just really goes to waste? There's no cure
for it, I mean, it would be nice if there could be a cure, but I'm not sure... It's like cancer,
once you've got it, I don't know if you can actually cure it. Alright, people say look, I'm
over it, but if you have a relapse it comes back apparently, so Q: Do you know how you get it?
A: It's probably - I think people having anal sex... isn't it blood or something, gets
through the blood, I don't know. ...I used to read up on it a lot, it's like - I've just forgotten
all about it, I suppose it'll come back to me. I've got all these leaflets at home, like
college give you all these things. I should start reading up on it. Especially if I wanna
counsel these people, I've got to know what they're talking about obviously, it's like
going in, "oh, God, what - you know, what you saying? I don't -"
Q: Yes. 'Cos do you know the difference between AIDS and HIV?
A: I think anyone can get HIV. HIV's when you actually - you carry it, but you don't
actually have it yourself; you can pass it on to somebody else, but you don't actually
suffer from it. I think you - I think it takes a long - you could be HIV-positive and live for a
long time. And - I think that's... But you can't tell whether somebody's HIV-positive,
because they show all these adverts - "she's HIV-positive; do you know that?". I could
be HIV-positive, I don't know.
Q: So it's not anything that's ever bothered you with, say, RICHARD or something like
A: No, I - I think if he had it, I think he'd tell me... I don't know.
Q: But would he know?
A: I don't know if he'd know. I think he's quite careful about these things, he really
worries about those sort of things. He's like really conscious of it, so he's - he tries to be
careful if he can, sort of thing. Which is another really good point... sort of thing, so - I
trust him. I suppose you should really, there should be trust in a relationship. It's
Q: You put in the questionnaire, if I remember rightly, that you were using the pill and
Q: Is that with RICHARD?
A: Yeah. Sometimes I - 'cos I've - for two or three months I've come off it now. I just take
a break from it now - you're not supposed to, but I take a break, and then he goes, right,
I'm using a condom now, so we use both of them. I was - I just really worry, and like
he's really conscious of it, he goes "I don't wanna be a father yet, I'm too young", so -
'cos like he like really panics about it. I think he panics about it more than I do. He does
actually, yeah... "oh, my God", and he worries, he goes, "I don't want you to go through
all that again", so he's really good like that, which is really good.
Q: So do you use a condom all the time?
A: No, not all the time. If I take the pill, then it doesn't matter. Obviously, it's better
without... pick your nose with rubber gloves...
Q: ... difficult.
A: He said "you women don't understand, but for us it's like picking your nose with a
rubber glove, or going to bed with your wellingtons on, it's like", you know, it's like - you
know, it's that - but apart - I don't know - alright, it doesn't feel the same, but some
people don't - I don't know - you don't ... get that much enjoyment out of it, 'cos you've
got to worry about putting the next one on, it's like all the hassle of all running around,
"oh, my God!", it's like, "oh, my God, where's the box?".
A: Going like this sort of thing. But apart from that it's alright. But he worries about these
sort of things a lot and he's really careful, so it's okay. So, I can really - I mean, I feel
really safe, you can... "oh my God" - he's... I suppose, being twenty-seven you expect
him to be responsible. Well, I expect him to be responsible.
Q: Has he had a lot of relationships?
A: No. Well, he said this is the most like - this is - like to him, he said, this is like being
married; this is like probably the nearest to marriage I shall ever get sort of thing, but he's just - I don't know why, he just said he doesn't - his... don't last very long. 'Cos he's
- he can be really demanding sometimes, which is really annoying, 'cos... he likes sex
all the time, it's like "for goodness' sake, you don't really - " - just trying to explain to him,
you know, that I just don't see the necessity for it, but we come to a compromise, so - I
think he's had a few, but nothing really sort of that spectacular, sort of thing.
Q: So do you get cross if he wants sex all the time?
A: Well in the beginning he used to really get on my nerves, but I think he knows now
when and where to draw the line, when to, like, stop, and I give him that look, sort of he just goes, right, stay away. I don't know, it's just sometimes I just really don't feel in
the mood for it, so - but other - there's nothing he can do that's gonna generate me,
because if I don't feel like it, just leave me alone sort of thing. And he's like really
understanding, he goes "okay, fine". Or if I've - if something's really worrying me I - he'll
sit there and like - I don't know, if he does something and I'll say I didn't like it, he'll just
say, "well, explain to me" sort of thing. So, we can really talk about things, which is
really good. It's like some people just won't talk, but it's really good... It makes it a lot
Q: Can you actually talk about sex itself and what you kind of - you enjoy or he enjoys
or don't enjoy or A: Yeah, we can actually. I don't know, like sometimes we'll be sitting down, watch
something, and he'll just come out with it, it's like...
Q: What would he say?
A: He'll say - he just - "do you fancy having anal sex?" like, you know... and that, but 'cos he really wants to. I said, well, I tried it once and it really hurt, and I said never
again that. "'Cos, but, why?". I said, look, right, I just can't. I don't know - I don't know, it
was something like - it's like, it's really dangerous. You want it - makes it more
intriguing, the more dangerous it becomes, the more sort of thing - oh, God - illegal it is,
the more you wanna do it, and it's just like - I said, well it's alright - I said it's alright for
you, but you're not gonna have to walk around with the actual pain and, I said, you
know, I mean - I said, never again. Once was enough. I think - I don't know if - I mean
he still - he still hasn't gone off the idea ... do it ... but not me sort of thing. So that's
Q: What other sorts of things ...?
A: Well, I'll sit on him or something. Or ... doggy-style... anything really, it depends on
what mood we're in. Or I'll put my legs over his shoulders. It really depends. 'Cos I hate
doing it missionary-style, just - I don't know, it's just really sort of like - just going - I don't
know, just really going through the motions. I don't know, I just - I just don't - some
people do, but I just don't like it, I just think... (laugh). Carry on. If you don't think this is
right, leave it sort of thing. I don't know, I just find it really boring. I suppose when you're
really young you don't really - I don't know, if you're really young - I don't think you
experiment that much ‘til you get older. It depends - it depends on the male as well
actually. Some - some men just... "oh, God... pervert", really strange. But RICHARD RICHARD will try anything, he's... try anything you want, he said I'll try - I suppose it's...,
I'll try anything once. If you don't like it, forget it.
Q: And do you have things that you find much more stimulating than other things?
A: Well, I suppose so, yeah, it's like - I had my nipples pierced, you see. Well, it's
supposed to increase sensitivity, but it doesn't do anything with me, I just like - I don't
know why. 'Cos it's like - there's no point in trying to be... 'cos you're wasting your time,
just don't bother. I suppose if someone whispers in my ears I have a weird sensation,
it's like "oh my God, don't", no one's able to whisper in my ear, because I really cannot
handle it. Some people, you know, some people like being tickled behind their ears.
Some people have got some really weird fetishes, I don't know.
Q: What about things like oral sex?
A: Well, I enjoy it. Sometimes I... prefer oral sex to actual sexual intercourse. I don't
know, just - it's not - you can go on for a lot longer, it's much more enjoyable. I don't
know, some people really hate it. 'Cos I was talking to my cousin, and she's gone "oh,
God, no". 'Cos her husband's black, you see, so - I don't know - it depends - it depends
on your colour sometimes. Like she says, oh no, you know, black people don't do that
sort of thing. I thought - I thought - I thought - I thought it was something that everybody
else - I thought it was something, everybody done it.
Q: I thought everyone did it.
A: Yeah, I thought - oh, sorry: it was like really weird... I thought somebody - it was
something everybody did. "Sorry, I won't say any more then". I don't know, it just made
me feel really weird, I thought "oh, God" Q: Well, that's - that's not true, is it?
A: Well, that's what she said. I thought... no, everybody does it, obviously, but - I think
it's alright for women to do it to the man, but I don't think a lot of women enjoy it being
done to themselves. It's like a - it's like a taboo thing, that women say, "I don't want
anyone going that close to me", but I think when you actually sleep with them, you know
Q: Quite close, isn't it.
A: Well, I mean, what difference does it make? You know you're both clean. I mean
RICHARD and I have a bath together, so I mean - there's no difference for me.
Q: As you say, it can be very A: I don't know, I find it a lot more stimulating actually than sex itself. I suppose it - some
people who you go to bed with, they just wanna get on top of you and do it and it's like I just find that really boring, well you know - I like to be stimulated first and then get into
the mood of it, then I just enjoy it a lot better. But some people just get "wham, bam,
thankyou ma'am" and get on with it, it's like... me. It depends really, everyone's different.
Q: Do you find it easy to have orgasms or is that A: No, it isn't easy, no. RICHARD was saying about it, 'cos he's - he's really worried
about it. I say, well, some women, some women, see - I think it's a lot easier for the men
to have orgasms, obviously - but it's - it takes a long time, it takes a lot, and I have to be
really in the mood for it. If you're not in the mood for it, it doesn't matter what anyone
does to you, you're just not gonna - but I don't know. Not very easy ... have an orgasm
easily, I don't know why... I worry about things, think "oh my God"... oh my God,
A: 'Cos I mean some people - some people, you know, don't have one for years. It's - it
depends on the individual. Oh, God... oh, God. Every time he stops... with me, you
know Q: Yes, and it's not - I mean it doesn't happen in about ten seconds or something like it
appears on the films sometimes. It doesn't happen like that.
A: Yeah, oh it was - I've got something to tell you, just... oh, God, how unreal, but
questions like - 'cos we were in a van one night and this guy bought a like German
porno movie back, which is like - we're sitting there like with these men like squirting it
up, sort of... I said well, nobody goes that way! I mean it was obviously all squirting
bottles going like that underneath it, it's just like - like... Some people get turned on
watching porno movies. But I - I just think they're really unreal, so I just - they don't do
anything for me at all. Watching, reading magazines or something - I don't know. I think
you just have to be in the mood for it, I don't know.
Q: And when you say how - like when you're younger, you don't experiment so much,
do you find like with your first boyfriends you had a sexual relationship but that it was
quite - kind of less imaginative, or interesting because of that?
A: Yes and no. I don't know. I suppose you talk about things, but nobody'd actually do it.
It's like, oh God. Like if they'd heard it from somebody else or they'd seen somewhere "oh, let's try this", you think, oh well. I don't know, I suppose if you're both virgins, I think
you're more experimenting than if you're not, 'cos if you've slept with somebody else
you expect them to do that, and if you - if you haven't it's like, you know, you'll just get
on and do anything just for the sake of it. Well, not for the sake of it, you know - try
something else new. I - I suppose so. I think it depends on you, mentally, if you can
handle it. Some - some people just really can't handle it, and to them it's like, "oh, God,
no, I don't wanna do that". "That sounds painful, that's disgusting that's... not natural". I
don't mind. Whatever you feel comfortable with, really.
Q: Were they the ones you mentioned on the questionnaire? There was - I think there
were a couple of short relationships A: Yeah, they were short.
Q: - and one one-night stand.
A: Yeah, there was a one-night stand which - and I had one relationship where - a really
good relationship with no sex involved in it, which - I don't know, I think which was really
good actually. It was really good in a sense, I don't know. I wondered, "oh, God, is there
something wrong with me?", I felt inadequate, thought there was something going
wrong; but we got on really fine. We just broke off in the end, we'd just had a massive
argument sort of like, right, that's it, I can't handle any more of you, but we get on really
fine now. Like, when I tried to explain to RICHARD that I had a relationship with
someone without sex, he couldn't understand it. He goes, "well, how can you have a
relationship-?". I said, well - he was going, "what's wrong with you?" or something;
"nothing", I said, "nothing". But I said you can have really good relationship with
someone - I said you can have oral sex with somebody but not actually have sex with
them and get on really fine. And he just couldn't - he just couldn't understand it. And you
try and explain it to him, he just doesn't understand it. Now he goes, "look. Don't try and
explain 'cos I can't understand how somebody can have a relationship with someone
and not have sex with them", so - I said - I said "alright, say you were going out with
somebody and you really liked them and they wouldn't sleep with you, what would you
do?". And he just goes - and he went really quiet, 'cos "oh, I don't know what I'd do,
actually". He goes - I say - I say to him, well, say you try everything to stimulate her and
she just would not budge. And he says, "oh, I don't know". I suppose he thought that
was a really weird question. I said, you know, you never know, you might meet
somebody like that. He just - he just goes, "I hope not"... praying "please, no"!
Q: But would you - I mean does he or you classify sex as - as sex with penetration, or
could you have a relationship that had oral sex, for instance A: I could. But I don't think he could. Well, he enjoys oral sex a lot but - but I don't think
he'd be really content with that. I think he'd be content but not actually satisfied.
Whereas - I don't know, it would be alright for me to have -... shed a tear about - I don't
know, it depends. Sometimes you obviously... "oh, my God, yeah", and - this is not for
me. I don't think sex is that important in a relationship, but if you're close enough, I... it
depends on who you're with as well, if you - some men really bring out the animal in
you, you just think "right", and then some people it just doesn't matter, it just like - if you
do it you do it, if you don't then you're not gonna argue about it. Sex can sometimes
cause arguments - one expects something, the other one says no, and it's like "why
don't you feel in the mood for it?", and trying to explain to them - oh, God! It can be like
Q: Have you ever found men who...?
A: Oh, yeah, it's like if you try - if you give them the come-on and they say look, I'm not
in the mood, just - God, that slaps you in the face. I don't know, you just feel really sort
of Q: Has that happened to you?
A: Yeah, a couple of times, and just... making the first move, unless you know
somebody, it's really difficult. But... oh, God... Some people, to them, if a man says no,
it's no, but I don't know. I try not to - I don't think about it, just think "oh, my God, I did
something wrong. What should I have said? - oh, dear!"... oh my God, because of that,
but - I suppose it's the same feeling that they get when they're trying, with you to say
you don't wanna know. I suppose it goes both ways really. But it depends who it is - if
it's someone who can really - if you look at them, you think "that man is sex", then you...
last time, 'cos there's this guy..., I would have killed for this man, but he's not the sort of
person you see because it's like you've got this fantasy of him. It's like every - if he does
- if you sleep with somebody you really want to sleep with, it's sort of like not the same
anymore, sort of like - like the dream's completely shattered Q: Yeah. You've done it.
A: Yeah, you think oh well - he's no different from anybody else. Why did you have that
mental picture of him being so wonderful than - I don't know - being so different - and
you think, I don't know. This is it, and it's like the delusion's completely gone and it's just
like everything's all over, it's like Q: So do you feel when you sort of negotiate whether or not to have sex with
somebody, say for the first time, has it been sort of more one-sided than the other or –
A: I suppose it has to be. Say like you really want to do it and you think, ah well, alright
then, and it's like when it does happen you think, oh dear!, I wonder if that's such a good
idea. But I think you've just got to get - say like some people go into a relationship
straight with sex, I just think it's like - it sounds really boring, 'cos there's nothing to look
forward to, there's nothing - there's nothing, 'cos it's like you don't expect anything
anymore, it's like well, we've done it all. I don't know, I think those sort of relationships
burn out a lot quicker. 'Cos I've tried a couple of those, and just really burn out, 'cos it's
like just sex here, it's like, you know, can't carry on like this, you know, you need
something more. It depends, some people are different. But I don't like - I just like leave a little space first of all to get to know each other better and then - and anything
seems like - I don't think you should plan it, I think it should be something that just
happens. If it's gonna happen it's gonna happen, it's no point saying, "let's do it now",
you know, let's talk about it, that's just how it is. It's something that'll happen naturally. If
it's gonna happen, it will.
Q: And would you be prepared - I mean when it happened in the past for the first time,
had you got - were you on the pill then...? Would you insist they used a condom or
anything like that?
A: It's really weird, people say to you ...do you have that...look, put these on. I don't
know, it's something really weird. I don't know, condoms are sort of, oh dear! It's like you
can see their faces, "God, do I have to use this? Oh no, I hate these things". Like
RICHARD - "I really hate these things"... I said, look, right... "oh, God!", it's like you can
see like - like stress on his face. I think he's got used to it now. I think Q: Did he - would he have done it anyway...?
A: I don't - he really hates using them, so I used to say to him, look, right, look, I have no
intention of getting pregnant again, and you have no intention to become a father, so
you put one of these on. And he starts whingeing, he goes "oh, no, but do I have to?". I
say, look, RICHARD, do it, or, you know - he's alright, he knows how to do it now, 'cos
like when I'd... it was like "thank God for that!" sort of thing, so yeah, anyway he starts
cheering, but, you know - some men, I don't know, you can get some men which refuse
to use them, which makes it really difficult. You think "oh, God!", say you really like them
a lot, and it just - you sort of like Q: Have you had that?
A: I have, it's like really weird, 'cos I don't wanna go on the pill at all. It's like, oh God,
what do I do now? So, I used the sponges and it went horribly wrong. And then after I
got pregnant, RICHARD said "I bought some condoms". "Well, I think you're a little bit
late, aren't you?, I think -"
Q: ... stable door...
A: It's like... it's already done now, there's no point, sort of thing. I - I suppose I'm really
unfair to him in a way, I just completely shut him out completely. I think it came as a
shock. And it's made me - it's made me a lot wiser now, a lot more careful, my eyes
wide open. Because before I slept with RICHARD I slept with somebody else, and like
first I said "condom", - "get it out" sort of thing, it's like - it's the first - I don't know, it's
never really occurred to me, I don't know why, it just suddenly fell out, like "use that,
otherwise-"- I don't know, it just felt really strange to come out and say it, and I thought,
well you've got to say it, for your own peace of mind. I don't wanna - I have no intention
of having children, neither do you, so - and he was okay about it, so... that's fine
Q: So what - do you think you're a person who takes risks?
A: I think - I think we all take risks really. Hitching around, you never know if you're
gonna get... if he's gonna take you to where he's going. I think we all take risks. I think
you live on risks. I enjoy risks, I think it's something exciting, so I think once - I think, like
I say, once you've been burned, then it's like you never take that risk again sort of thing.
I'll try anything once, I mean - if you don't risk anything in your life, you haven't lived
really, so - but some - but in actual reality, some risks are not worth taking. It's not worth
taking Q: But risks like contraception and AIDS and things like that, would you take?
A: I don't think it's worth the risk really, 'cos I think - it's like you have the last laugh, you
have to pay for it in the end. I don't know, 'cos I remember I kept... I kept joking about it,
and then actually joked about it and then found out it was true, and it was like "this is not
a joke anymore". So, you know, you're sort of mucking - "hey, I'm pregnant" sort of "oh, yeah", it's like - I didn't realise I was at the time, it was like "oh, my God!", it was like
the joke was all over. It just wasn't funny anymore, it was like you have to come to terms
with this, it was like - I don't know, it was really, really hard to come to terms with really.
So I was - I worry about contraception a lot. When I go into a new relationship, I think - I
don't know, I discuss it first and say, well look - well, such and such happened, so, you
know, what shall we do about it?
Q: And what about things like drinking and smoking? Do you think they're a risk?
A: I think drinking is probably like a nasty habit that you've got to really get yourself out
of. But I don't - I don't drink as such. If I go - if I go out to the pub, RICHARD likes to
have a drink, but I'll probably have an orange juice or a diet coke or something. Alright,
sometimes you go to a party and you start drinking and that, but otherwise I'm not really
an excessive drinker. I don't know, there's not a lot of things I like to drink. The only
things I like is vodka; I like Becks beer. What else? - oh, cider and black, that's about it.
I'm not a one for whisky or gin or anything like that.
Q: Do you smoke a lot?
A: Oh, God - I'd say only about - about twenty a day really. It's - it depends. Sometimes
you're not in the mood for one or that; but only about twenty a day, so it's nothing really
so bad, it's not puffing away. Some - some people like sixty a day, you think, oh my
God, how do they get through sixty cigarettes a day? But - about twenty, probably less
than that. RICHARD does - well, RICHARD will have a cigarette occasionally, but he
doesn't actually smoke, but - I don't know... he'd rather drink than smoke. Whereas I
would rather smoke than drink, so - it's both ways really.
Q: What about any other sorts of drugs?
A: Well, I mean, people moan about hash but I mean it's a lot safer than drink - and
smoking and alcohol; I don't do that excessive, it's not like you have to have it all the
time. Just like if someone's got some you have a bit, like no big deal.
A: Hash or something. I've tried acid a couple of times, it's just - it's okay, but after it's all
gone it's like, oh well. I've got some friends of mine who live in Croydon and they have they're on ecstasy all the time, they keep having - it's like she's in debt up to her
eyeballs, she just keeps buying it; she doesn't pay rent, phone. And there's no talking to
her, you can't tell her. And she goes - she knows what she's doing to herself but - I'm
not sure she's actually addicted to it, but they have it about three times a week. And it's
like without fail, the weekends, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday without fail they have to
drop a couple of tabs of ecstasy. And you think it's really tragic. I used to know AMY
when, you know, I mean - but I wouldn't... all of a sudden this really wild person that she
is; what's going on here? But apart from that, nothing really heavy like heroin or coke,
nothing like really heavy like crack... I'd try it once - ...I don't know if I'd try it once, just
for the sake of saying hey, I've tried it. But if I think about it it's not really worth it. It's an
expensive habit and it's dangerous. I don't think it's worth it. I suppose if you've got
really bad problems, nothing else seems that, that - ... seems important to you. I think it
depends on your willpower. Some people are strong enough to say "no" and stick to
"no". Or some people do it because everyone else is taking it - "I feel really inadequate,
I think I'll have some". But it doesn't - it doesn't bother me. I don't do things 'cos
everybody else is doing it. I don't know, you get some people and I'll just say well. Say
like people say, "I wanna go here", I'll say well "look, I'm going here; if you're not coming
then I'll go here" sort of thing. But it's not, sort of "oh, I think I better do that 'cos
everybody else is doing it".
Q: When you said a little while ago that you - like you've had anal intercourse once and
never again, was that with one of your boyfriends before?
A: That was with - it was really weird 'cos I was really - had a lot to drink, 'cos we went
to [TOWN], it was [ROCK MUSIC FESTIVAL], we'd been there for the weekend, and
we'd been up nine o'clock in the morning drinking for about - going down Gateways,
getting all these bottles, and it's like two o'clock in the morning. By this time I'd had
about... lot to drink, it was like I was actually comatose, and so it was - I don't know if - I
don't know if I'd have actually done it if I was sober. But RICHARD goes, "would you?", I
said "I don't actually think so". And I - I don't know - it was just like - I didn't expect it, it
was something that happened, it was like "oh my God!", it was like "never again", it was
like really painful.
Q: But you - you sort of - you weren't forced into it?
A: I wasn't forced into it. I thought... "yeah, yeah, go for it, yeah, go for it" - sounds
really, really, really "get up and go", everyone was really like "get up and go". And then
afterwards it was like I couldn't - I remember walking round the next morning, and
everyone says, "what's the matter?" - I couldn't sit down, so - no way, says like - we
didn't - only - I was really drunk, I didn't feel anything at the time; afterwards - "oh, my
God!", it was absolute agony but... I don't - I don't think I'd actually consent to it sober.
Q: But that was with your boyfriend?
A: Oh, no, it was - just with - just somebody. I think I know him, 'cos he plays with a
band, and I'd just been seeing him a couple of times, and we just got chatting away, and
it was just like - by this time I was drunk, really out of my (?)phase, and I was not saying
anything, and it was like something that just happened. I suppose in a way I could see it
coming, but it just didn't register ‘til afterwards, like "oh my God!, you should have seen
this coming", you know. I was just... I'm not - I don't feel guilty about what happened, it's
just that I just think it's one of those things where - it's like the fascination anyway, you
try it, you think you did not like it and you're not gonna try it again.
Q: Yeah, so you won't do it again.
A: ... RICHARD... "look, you can do it if you want to, but not with me 'cos it's too painful".
I said, "it's alright for you, I mean we're the ones that have to suffer for it. It's damn
painful.". But apart from that - I think it's the only thing I wouldn't do again actually. I just
pray when you get drunk, it's like "no", remember to say "no". Apart from that Q: And has anyone actually tried to force you to have any sort of sex of any kind?
A: No, I've been - I suppose lucky... lucky... - I've been really okay, like no one's ever
like forced me down into doing anything. It's always been - I suppose - 'cos I don't - I
don't know. No, I've never been forced into doing it. I don't know, I don't know why. I
don't suppose I should really wish it on myself, but - I never have been. I suppose it ...
really lucky; someone would really have a hard time like that. I've been okay.
Q: Although it sounds a bit like you're the sort of person who wouldn't - like you know
what you want and what you don't want... do you think, or A: I suppose so, I mean if I - if there's something I don't wanna do, if I've said no, then
nothing's gonna change my mind. I'm not gonna say "okay, I give in", I'll say, look, no.
But, you know, I think there's no point in saying no, then saying - then doing - then
saying yes, 'cos then you're indecisive and people just take advantage. So, I say, look if
I'm not doing it, then no, and that's it; if I've made up my mind, no. And that's no.
Sometimes you think "oh well, I wonder" - and you think, well, no, that's it, no.
Q: I noticed, going back to the bit in the questionnaire which talks about sex education,
that you didn't seem to have learnt an awful lot about sex education at school. You
seem to have learnt most of it before or A: Yeah, well, beforehand with friends, 'cos a lot of friends I had were a lot older than I
was, so they used to talk about it. Or my mum, like if I'd ask her something, she'd just
come out and say, "well, it's that", and she was like really open about it and she made it
a lot easier and that. It made it a lot easier to understand. 'Cos it's really weird, 'cos like
some parents just will not say anything. You're like in the dark, 'cos like people say
something, you say "oh, what's that?" and - obviously... - 'cos I used to say, "oh, my
mum just told me this", everyone'd sort of look at me and go "no". I don't know if it's
because she's a nurse or not, so she's like had to come - she's up to date with this sort
of thing, or she deals with it all the time, it's nothing sort of like "oh, God" really strange.
I don't know. But it was like - everything... after I used to go home with all these
questions, like "Mum, what's this?" and get her to explain; says "oh, so and so asked
me to ask you this" and like she'd like say it. It's like - she said, well, it's a natural thing,
everybody does it, there's no point in pretending it's swept under the carpet, you know,
stick it in a dishwasher and hope it's gonna go away. It something that - you know, she
said you have to reproduce that way, so what's the point?
Q: So did she make it so you could understand?
A: Oh, yeah, she did... 'cos like she has all - she has all like the medical terms for it or
something. "What?" - it was like, "oh, anyway, it means - oh, I suppose I'll have to
explain to you like this". So that was fine about it. I could ask her anything now and
she'd be okay about it. She's really good. My dad, he's not bothered, he'll talk about it
as well. I suppose - in a way I suppose it's easier to talk to him than it was to her. I don't
know. He'll - he'll - I used to ask her questions, or - and then my dad like - we were just
sitting down chatting away and he'll just like say about it, he'll say "well, have you got
anything to tell me?", or, you know, "do you want to talk about it?", and I said okay, fine,
and we'd just sit and chat away...
Q: No, 'cos that's - I mean I've talked to quite a few girls who've actually said specifically
that they thought that black parents were worse than a lot of white parents in saying
don't get pregnant, for instance, but not actually ever saying a word about how you don't
A: I think - I agree with that, I think so. I don't know. The thing is... my cousin and that, it
was like - I was just chatting away, talking away about this, and I was saying "well
obviously your mum's explained", and she said "no, she didn't, 'cos she got pregnant
when she was fifteen". She said no, these sort of things weren't explained to her. I said,
well, about periods and that - obviously your mother's explained to you; I said, 'cos
when you first come on it's really frightening, I remember I was scared - "oh, my God,
what's going on?" - I said "I'm gonna die, I'm bleeding - ... - oh, God, no!". She sat and
explained it all to me, like the - the egg and all this, and how it releases itself, and that.
And she said no, they had to learn these things at school, they had to read up on it.
Nobody ever discussed it with them. I thought - I just found that really strange 'cos - I
suppose black parents are like that, they're more sort of like - I don't know if it's
protective or just - just the sort of thing that nobody wants to talk about, it's like "oh,
dear". I suppose so, yeah. I suppose in that sense white people can be more... "oh,
well, what the heck, we might as well go and tell them. I'd rather they found out from me
than somebody else". I think they look at it like that. I'm not sure.
Q: Yeah. No, I couldn't really understand why it should be so if it were true.
A: I suppose it might be easier to explain it to a boy, a male, than it is to a female. It's
like when you were - like when you go out late and my dad goes, "oh, well". I used to,
like, just go out late with my - you know... worry about getting home... "Look, I'm going
out" - "when will you be back?" - "I don't know where I'm gonna get to". And he used to
say, "well", you know he said, "there's a lot more dangers to you". I said well, what? Tell
me why. I said, if I was a boy would you bother? He said, "well men can't get raped, can
they, you can't get pregnant by somebody, you can't be attacked. It's a lot easier, you
know.". He said, "there's so many things that women can't do that men can do". He said
"it's not fair, but that's life" sort of thing. So, it was like that. My cousin was just like...
when I was saying to her like, "do you have oral sex with your husband?", she said, "oh,
no, black men don't do that sort of thing". I just thought that was really weird. I said,
"what do you mean?", I said - she said, "no. I don't know", she said - she said, "I think
black men see that as - as unclean". I thought, oh God...
Q: But does she mean oral sex both ways or just - or oral sex with the man going down
on the woman?
A: I think - no, RICHARD - ... he said "well, what do you mean? She won't do it to him,
or he won't -". I said, well, I think it's alright to do it to him, but it's not alright for them to
do it to her. He goes, "oh, that's really weird". He said, "well, obviously, if you're doing it
to him then it's only fair that -". And I said, well I don't know. Maybe it's just her opinion.
I'm not sure if it's everybody, but I just think it's really strange. I... God, I thought
everyone did this. There must be something wrong with me then - I'm living in the dark
ages or something. Oh dear!
Q: Where did your family come from originally?
A: Well, my mum comes from [COUNTRY IN THE CARIBBEAN] and my dad comes
from [CARIBBEAN ISLAND]. And he actually grew up with his - he didn't really know his
parents, he grew up with his nan or something, great aunt or something like that, so he
just grew up with lots of like - most of his like uncles and aunts around him. 'Cos my
mum was an only child. It shows, 'cos she's a spoilt brat, and she got on really well with
her dad apparently, so they were like that. But she said that her mother never talked to
her about it either, 'cos she went - she went to a convent school, she said, where sex
wasn't encouraged at all. Like boys were like - "keep away from them".
A: You didn't talk about boys at all sort of thing. She said it was only until she came over
to England that she said, where people were so liberated that they'd just come up and
talk about it, that she thought, oh, there's something wrong with it. And so, she - when
she went to like medical... to be a [CARING PROFESSION] and that... she said you
have to do about the reproductive system anyway. So just you naturally, you know, deal
with it all the time, so she said there's nothing sort of like unusual about it. She said, but
some people still won't talk about it now. Like she'll just come up, talk about it; people
like - like all my cousins and that, all my aunts, all sort of like "oh dear". And she'll say,
"oh, well, you know what I mean, it happens. You've got kids, for goodness' sake, you
know how they got here, so what's the point of being like keeping it under the carpet
sort of thing?". But most people won't talk about it. It's really strange.
Q: I was quite intrigued that you put, I think, as well, that you learnt about masturbation
at school. 'Cos often schools don't usually talk about things like masturbation at all.
A: Some schoolfriends of mine Q: Ah. What, rather than say in the A: All the teacher will show you, videos of - they'll just tell you that - how men become
erect, put it into the vagina, the sperm's released and you get pregnant. That was
basically about it and I just thought, oh well - so my mum said to me - I said, "right,
masturbation", and she goes, "well, it's a way of self-stimulation really". It's like women
won't talk about masturbation, it's really weird. It's like "oh, oh, I don't do that". I said,
"well it's natural, everybody does". "Oh, no, oh, no". It's like it's really weird. Men'll just
say, yeah, in the toilet Q: ...
A: - oh, sure, anything, you know, it depends, he said if you're in a really like horny
mood, masturbate. Women just won't - it's like funny... women won't talk about it. "Oh,
no, I don't do that. Oh, God, no. There's something wrong with you." I said, well it's
natural, everybody does it, but - just won't talk about it, it's really strange. That's why - if
you go out with men, things'll come out; you'll be sitting there going...
Q: ... want to know.
A: It's like "I don't really want to hear this!".... Sure, you know, it's a natural thing, and I JOEL was saying to me, he said "why won't women talk about it?", he said, "I don't
know why". He said, "you mention it and everyone just goes completely silent", he said
"that would be a conversation where everyone goes completely silent, it's like looking
round sort of like - ". It's really weird, I don't know.
Q: I don't know why it's so taboo for women to talk about it. It's like some other girls who
I've talked about, have said, oh, you know, they talk about - with their mates, about
boyfriends and sex and that A: Yeah.
Q: But masturbation's...
A: I can talk about - I can talk about masturbation with RICHARD, he's alright about it. I
don't know, women just - if you're all having a girlie get-together and a girlie chat, they'll
discuss their boyfriends, what they do but they won't say: "oh, don't mas-", "oh, no, oh I
don't do that sort of thing", and it's like - there's nothing wrong with it, you're not
abnormal, you're not gonna get put in prison. It's "oh, no", it's like... I've never really
Q: So was it your mum or your schoolfriends who talked about it?
A: Well, with schoolfriends we were all about the same age. Everyone didn't know that
much about it. So I just asked her, and she said "well, it's mainly men who do it.
Women", she said, "women do - women do it, it doesn't matter what anyone tells you,
they will do it, but they just won't talk about it", she said, "but it's mainly like a male thing
really. It's obviously easier for them to stimulate themselves than it is women, so -", you
know, she said "it's a natural thing, everyone -" - you know, and she gave me books on
it and said, well, read up about it, you know, find out more about it. She was really good
Q: So had you tried it then or was that something you then went on to do?
A: No, you tried it, but you didn't understand the reason why you'd done it; she says well
no, you're not subnormal, it's something natural, everybody does it. She said you have
to discover, you have to find out about your own body, and what Q: ...
A: ... what better way to find out than from yourself? So that was alright. So, I just
learned to talk about it and people just weren't talking about it - "on your way", just
like ... done it, it was like oh, God, it was really strange.
Q: ... as though it's either something that's not quite done or dirty or something, or else
that you shouldn't need to do it or something, you should be satisfied with your A: I think it - I think it - masturbation's like a dirty word, it's like - it's like - it's like AIDS,
like AIDS - "oh, God, no, oh, no, you don't do that sort of thing", it's like - I think people
think it's subnormal. ... it's like... do it yourself, "oh, dear!". I said, well - I've never
understood that. Men'll just come up and say it and you'll be sitting there, they'll be
telling you different techniques, you go "look, please, I don't wanna hear this" (laugh) ah, well... But luckily you see I can't go red, so I just, you know - (tape change)
Q: ... batteries...
A: ... flicking on and off so it's going a bit low. I don't know, I find sex really easy to talk
A: It's always - RICHARD... 'cos he just talks about it all the time, he... come up, "oh, for
goodness' sake, man, I'm sure... keep on about it". I'd say well, for goodness' sakes,...
what's your problem? - "Nothing". But he's really relaxed about it, so it's good, it makes
it a lot easier.
Q: Oh, yeah. Yeah. 'Cos then you haven't got that hurdle to get over when people sort
of put up this...
A: ... "she's strange, be careful of her..."... I don't know. It makes it a lot easier. There's
so many things I've discovered since I've been with him that you think about, you read
about, you think "oh, well", and it's just like he goes "oh", you know, he says "you're only
young once", you know, what the heck, sort of, you know, and that.
Q: Do you think that's partly because of him being twenty-seven and that? I mean, if you
were sort of twenty or twenty-one A: I don't know. I sometimes think, oh probably it's your age that you find him easier to
deal with than someone who's like... 'cos I always said, go out with people the same
age and you really sort of like - it's like a giggle really, whereas the thing is really
serious, he takes sex really seriously... It's like a laugh, it's like something to do when
you got - so - like say you're - you're round somebody's house and there's nobody else
in, you... the opportunity to do it then.
A: He said if you really enjoy it, then it's not a problem. He'll talk about it - he'll talk about
it any time. Like he said - he always comes in, he'll be babbling away, you'll be sitting
there, "oh, no, shut up".
Q: Does he talk about it with other people...?
A: Oh, God, yeah. Friends'll come round, because like - and that. More than likely we'll
be having a game of strip poker. And... says, and she goes "I'm really baffled" - I say,
"well, what's the matter? ...I've seen a naked body before, you know" - said I'm not
bothered about it. And she - and he couldn't understand - "oh, no", and she went to bed.
Oh, God, no, she goes, "oh, God, he's really strange". I said no, it's... basically. And he's
okay, he'll strip naked in the street and walk down, it won't bother him...
Q: Strip poker can be a bit chilly.
A: It was like - well, like, they all had (?)whisky around, so it was like everyone was...
Apart from that it doesn't really bother him. But he was just saying that he was talking to
his mother, 'cos he comes from Ireland, and that he one day mentioned to her the
clitoris, and she said "oh, what do you use that for?" - she thought it was a cooking... I
said, "oh, God, no!", and he said she didn't understand what it was, and like he said she was chatting away to her, he said to her or something "oh, what's your first time?";
she goes, "oh", she said, "the first time it hurt and after that it was just like -". And to her,
like, sex was just something - she said, "oh, the first time it hurt with your father and
after that it was alright". But he said, he said he thought that was really, like, really sad,
that she, you know, didn't understand what was going on, she said to her it was like...
thing. She said it was like a male thing, you know, you just do it for the sake of it. And
he said that's all wrong, you shouldn't do it for the sake, you should do it 'cos you want
to do it and you enjoy it. There's no point in doing it to satisfy anybody, he said - if you
don't think that somebody's enjoying it, then you enjoy it a lot more than somebody
who's just going through the motions, who's say lying there going "ten, nine" sort of
Q: Yeah. So it's really important to him that you enjoy it.
A: Yeah, he said - he said there's no - he said there's nothing - no point sleeping with
somebody, he said you might as well be sleeping with a rubber doll, 'cos you'll get the
same response, even - he said "I want you to enjoy it", you know, "it's important to me",
he said, "'cos then I feel satisfied". He said, "if I am and you're not, then there's no
point". So, I suppose - I suppose in a way I learnt to enjoy it, because beforehand it was
like (tut) "okay". I mean he used to - and he kept showing, he said "there's no point in
doing it for me 'cos", he said, "I'm not benefitting from it. We've both got to enjoy it
together". So, I suppose - it does help really, it's like - really weird; ... really imagine
really sleeping with anybody else now, 'cos it's like - I've just got so used to him, and...
somebody else. Will they be different?, you know - what - what would - what would they
want you to do to them say - oh, God, but whereas he's open and liberal, ...which
makes it a lot easier.
Q: And when you were at school, did they - was it, kind of pre the AIDS thing, I mean
sex education and that A: It was like when we were at senior school, yeah, which is... It's like in the fifth year,
then we had like these classes and they were showing like women giving birth to
babies, and this girl passed out - I'm thinking, "God! she just -" - she completely keeled
over, and I'm sort of looking round thinking, you know; and she just really couldn't
handle it. I find that really strange, that this girl - she passed out and she was like really
hysterical 'cos someone was giving birth. I thought, well, you've got to go through that at
some stage, you know. Sex education at school was like really basic. I think they've
changed it now.
Q: Who did it - what lesson?
A: I think we just done like - like a year class, and they sectioned everyone, like class
5.1 to 5.4 had it then, and they all sitting us in the hall and like - was it - the head of year
explained it to us, or one of the biology teachers used to come in. 'Cos it was like - my
sister was saying that - she was about two years younger than me - she was saying oh,
you know, when they did it, it was like a class thing and they all discussed it. So, it's
A: But they showed you videos. She said, "we didn't have the cruddy videos that you
had, we had some decent ones. They actually showed you something". The other ones
were just like really sort of like - you don't actually see anybody making love, they just
tell you about it, she said "we actually saw people doing it", she said, you know,
beforehand, it was like - then she showed you like a manual of cartoons, and they just
show you how the penis gets erect and - that was basically about it. Sex is like - I don't
know, I suppose in a more liberal society things have changed, people can talk about it
a lot more openly than before, 'cos like - like 'cos we watched that film, what was it last
night, (?)"Peggy Sue Got Married". It was like - ... wasn't it awful growing up in them
times, like sex like that wasn't talked about at all. Like the mother goes to her "you're not
having problems with (?)Charles", she says "no, what do you mean?", she goes "well,
you know what the penis is?", she says "yes", she says "keep away from it", and that's
all she said... oh, come on sort of thing, you've got a penis, keep away from it. It's like,
you know, sex such... thing. I think it's got better, I think things've got better so people
understand what's going on so there's not so much - people who actually think, "oh, my
God, what's happening to me?".
Q: Although they don't talk much about actual relationships, do they? - I mean they
might do, maybe in your sister's... but they didn't used to, they used to just tell you the
sort of mechanics of doing it but not actually kind of how you're gonna feel emotionally
A: - or if they did tell you emotionally it was like married couples. It was like married
couples - it was like if you weren't married, you weren't supposed to do this sort of thing.
So - I just think like it'd be a disappointment to wait till you're married, like be a virgin on
your wedding night, and then say things go wrong - say it doesn't work out and it's a
case of "oh, my God", you know, "what's going on?".
Q: Yeah. It happens now.
A: I just think it would be really weird to wait ‘til your wedding night, it's like all the years,
all the things build up, and then it completely goes horribly wrong and you're left
thinking... Like many people that say they've broken up 'cos they've waited and then
things just - just couldn't get it together and just like it was quite strange. If he's a virgin I
suppose that makes it a lot easier, 'cos then you both feel - you won't feel sort of "oh,
God, I don't know what the hell I'm doing; what am I supposed to do? Oh, God!" and
that. But I suppose, you know - I think sex is more important to men than it is to women.
I'm not sure. I suppose... fair to generalise and say it's more - I think men generally feel
it's more important to them than it is to women.
Q: Why do you think that is?
A: I don't know, I just think - I mean to see it as a man, it's like he's got the penis, it's his
job, it's his thing, you know. I don't know, perhaps it's not fair to say that. I think - I think
times are changing and women are feeling it's important to them as well, for their own
satisfaction and enjoyment, but - I don't know, it's like before you used to think that love
was conditional on sex. If you loved somebody you slept with them, if you didn't, you
know, you don't do it. But I think there's a change now. People do it 'cos they want to...
I'm not one of these people who have to be madly in love with someone to have sex
with them; it's like, if you like them, you feel as if it's going okay and, you know,... Like
one night stands sometimes, you think "oh my God". But - you know, my friend LIZZIE
again, like she thinks love's conditional on sex, and I tried to explain to her, she said
well - I remember one time I'm talking and her mum was there, and I said something;
she goes "oh God, no, you don't say that". I said "what d'you mean?", she said "sex isn't
discussed in the house". It's like - oh, where do you talk about it?, and she... Like I said
to her about periods, and all she had to find out about it from school. I don't think - her
mother knew that she'd had a period now, but beforehand she didn't explain anything to
her, and I think she kept it from her - kept it from her for a long time, and then - I think
how her mother - she - her mother found out, I don't know. How her mother found out, I
think she had a Saturday job(?) - "oh, gosh," you know, "how long's this been going
on?". I thought that was really strange, 'cos my mum was the first person - "oh, my God,
I'm gonna die", and like she used to say, "right, well, you have it every twenty-eight she said it depends, you know, everyone's different, but it should be every twenty-eight
to thirty days". Like she used to buy sanitary towels and everything, it was fine. Like she
hates tampons anyway, so I - I preferred those to sanitary towels; it's like walking round
with a nappy on, it's just so uncomfortable. So, you know, she said, well do you wanna
try tampons? Like, she'd get Lillets or she'd get the ones... insert these, she said oh,
these ones you have to use your finger which might be difficult, 'cos you've got
fingernails and that, so it was like okay.
Q: Yeah, it sounds like you've been really lucky with your mother.
A: Well, she was saying - I said, what do you use for contra - she said "oh I had a coil",
she said, "after I had TAMMY I had a coil put in". I said "oh". She said - I said ... - she
said "it's like an internal thing that -" - I just really - sort of really weird shape, like a hook
and it's like a piece of string, it's like... I can't remember how she said it worked, but...
don't have to worry about putting it in, taking it out, she said, you have to go and have it
checked every six months. Is it every year? - you have to have it checked every so
often, but apart from that you don't have to worry about anything else.
Q: That's right.
A: 'Cos she can't take the pill 'cos I think she suffers from - is it thrombosis or
A: ... discuss all the different contraceptives and all the rest of it, 'cos I suffer from
dysmenorrhea; if you suffer from dysmenorrhea, even the coil can - 'cos it apparently
presses - it presses on the cervix or something so it could make it quite painful. But they
don't normally give the coil to people unless they've had children or something, it's
apparently (?)less risky.
Q: No, that's - that's... Well, they do actually.
A: 'Cos there was somebody who's had one, but she said... they might do it nowadays,
before they wouldn't give it to you unless you'd actually had children.
Q: No, they do do now.
A: I think you have to have the (?)copper one or something, it's a smaller one than the
actual other one.
A: I said, what about the one they - they inject... only in desperate cases where people
can't use anything else, they inject it. But it's got apparently side effects, it affects the
child or something.
Q: I don't know about that, I think it... 'cos it's stronger, 'cos A: Yeah, you have it about every three months or something. She said, you know, she
said it's not that - it's safe but it's not that good really, 'cos it affects you other ways...
Like just - like with the pill, there's a different combination mini-pill, this one, she was
explaining the different combination ones where they're all different colours and different
dosage, whereas mini-pills like the ordinary one which everybody takes, which is like
the same dosage all the time Q: So how do you think life will carry on ...
A: I don't know. I don't know really, I don't know, I may change, I don't know. Well I hope
next year's a lot better than the one - this year, I really do; it's like this year, everything
that possibly could go wrong's gone wrong,...
Q: Do you think RICHARD would say that?
A: Well he's not on about - he's on about - 'cos he's getting a job now 'cos he got
sacked from his last one. So he might get the job and sorting himself out - but I don't
know if he's gonna stay around or not, I don't - but I don't know if I'll stay around long
enough. It's like sometimes... he goes to me... "well, look, right, I'm gonna be really ratty
with you, so I think like we need to have a break from each other, so I'll go away for a
couple of days if you'll go away". He said, "well, we need our own space and we're
round each other too much of the time"... So I don't know. I don't know if it'll last any
longer, it... the same now.
Q: 'Cos how would you normally meet...?
A: It's mainly people that - if you've got a party, someone introduces you to somebody
or if you go to a gig, you see somebody you like, you think "oh, yeah", and that's how it that's how it - that's how it starts, and normally it's just like really weird. Although when
you're at school, obviously, you know, somebody in your class and year above you - it's
like really hip to go for someone like two years above you - "hey, he's a fifth year" sort of
thing. But apart from that, I don't know.
Q: If you had to describe yourself, what sort of person would you say you were?
A: God! - arrogant, argumentative, bossy. I don't know what to say. I suppose I can be
really like dominant sometimes, like - I suppose everyone can be selfish, everyone's got
a selfish streak in them. I don't know. Talkative - I don't stop talking; like, RICHARD just
says, "for goodness' sake, can you shut up for five minutes". What else? - outgoing,
extrovert, very extrovert. Forthcoming, I suppose, I'll say anything, it's like... bad points,
being bossy I suppose is one. I like to take over and I like to organise everything. I like
things to go my own way, it's like... go my own way... the reason why me and my mother
couldn't get on - like she wanted her own way, I wanted my own way, so it was like - it
was like no compromise, no breakdown like "look, you do your thing, I'll do my thing".
And it depends on - if I don't like somebody, it doesn't matter - it's like some people can
be really two-faced and if they don't like someone they'd be slamming off behind their
back and then they go round "oh, yeah", they'll start talking to them. It's like if I don't like
somebody - "I'm not gonna talk to you". There's no point talking to somebody you can't
stand. It doesn't benefit anybody, I just - I just don't see the point of it. I'd rather
someone didn't speak to me rather than pretend to speak. I don't know. That's what
(?)NICK was saying to me. I said to him, it's not fair for me to pretend to like you 'cos it
doesn't - it doesn't do you any good, does it, 'cos I'm not a real friend. But he doesn't he couldn't understand that. I said, do you think you could honestly live together? He
said yes; I said no, I can't live with you, NICK. I said I just - I said, look, I can't pretend to
like somebody, I'm sorry, I'm not one of these people who go "oh, hi, how are you?".
That really infuriates me. I can't do it, so I just... Some people find it really hard to relate
to other people, I don't know. Like some - some women just find it really hard to relate to
men, talk to them, they don't feel comfortable; and I say, well, I feel more comfortable
talking to a man - I said I talk - basically I'll talk to anybody, I don't care, if it's not (?)nails
on the floor... or plants, you know.
Q: ...just a thought, going back to when - like when you were ten, and lost your virginity,
did it - did that make an impact on you when you were ten?
A: No, it was - I was misled, I really didn't know what was going on. It never occurred to
me ‘til afterwards, you know, what was really going on, it's like - it was like a joke really,
it was like "oh, I've done it, you haven't", it was like a really big thing, and then
afterwards when I got older I actually realised about it, sort of - you know what I mean? I
think it was sad 'cos I was at the age where I couldn't really understand or enjoy what
was going on.
Q: But you knew - had you already been explained -
A: Oh, yeah, I - I had started my periods. I basic - really basically I did, what was going
on, but not a lot about it, it was afterwards - as you go along, obviously you learn. It
would have been nice if it was at a later age but ...there's nothing I can do about it now,
Q: So you could have got pregnant then really.
A: I could have done, yeah, but it - I suppose it was - should I say it was luck? ... luck.
Oh, no, that was really - that would be really hard to imagine then. That would have
been just - I think that would be soul-destroying. That would have been, "oh, my God!".
Q: Did you tell anyone then?
A: Yeah, 'cos like - yeah, it was like a big thing, it was like "oh, yeah", it was like a big
thing, and then - not a lot of people but I think everyone just found out about it anyway,
'cos like JAMIE was going round - "hey, look" sort of like... like... 'cos he was seeing it
as something really great, and it's just like - it's something really weird. I don't know, I
don't know if it happened for the best really.
Q: What, to get it over with?
A: I suppose... you know, next hurdle, you cross that hurdle, you can keep on going. I
don't know. I mean you've got these people who are like in their twenties and still virgins
and you just think to yourself, "Christ! I wonder what it must be like for them, do they
Q: You haven't found boyfriends who were concerned about wanting you to be a virgin?
A: Oh, no, no. No, I haven't actually. I suppose you (? can) always pretend you are.
Q: ... you pretend...?
A: I think once or twice you pretend, it's like they think really great, yeah, and you're sort
of thinking to yourself, "fool, fool! How blind you are!".
Q: How do you pretend - I mean, by telling them? - that you are, or just by A: No, you say you are, then also you have to - at the right moment, say "ah!", you
know, it really, really hurts, then it's like... faking the orgasm, and they say... keep on
going, sort of -you've come this far, you might as well keep going on. Like RICHARD
goes, don't ever fake it, he said, because - he said, well, I'll never know, but he said I'd
hate to think you did. I said, right, fine, I won't.
Q: But did you fake them with the others?
A: Sometimes if people kept on and on, I just - to make... just keep on going. And if - I
suppose you have to - you have to learn to really do it well, and some - I think men...
men always said they don't know if somebody really is, they have to take your word for
it. So it's really easy really. They just took your word for it, so - you could be thinking
about going on your holidays to Marbella, thinking oh well, I'm having a really great time,
you know I mean think about anything else. Some women - for some women to climax
it's - it's not that important for them. I don't know, I think it depends on the individual. I
think it is important, obviously, but - I just think it's something, oh well, if you do - if you
don't then - some people have been faking it for years. ... well, can you tell the
difference between a real one and what you fake? - say "well, not really". 'Cos when you
see like these marriage guidance things, say "oh, yeah, I've been faking it for years",
like he looks round and says well, you know, how did you - says, well it's very easy; if
you wanna believe that somebody is, then they will. Men say it's really hard 'cos they
just don't know. Whereas men, they know and you know, but to us Q: ...
A: Yeah, they really don't know, so they have to take your word for it, which is really 'cos - yes, the ball's in our court, I do believe. So that's unfair in a way.
Q: Yes. Except I suppose if you do enjoy an orgasm, then a faked orgasm isn't quite as
good as A: You think, oh well, he's got a smile on his face. I suppose that's one consolation
Q: Well, I think I've just about finished-
LSFS32 INTERVIEWED 30.12.89
Aged 19. Collected from house in [LONDON BOROUGH] and interviewed in Dalmeny Road.
Lives in rather run-down community housing in [LONDON BOROUGH]. Part of [HOUSING
ASSOCIATION], who own house next door and several others. Two other people in house,
both men. One is NICK, who is having a nervous breakdown, for which reason SFS32 thinks
she may soon get an emergency transfer to another house. The other is RICHARD her
boyfriend. She is black, parents from Caribbean. RICHARD is white Irish, aged 27. She
refers to him as a 'traveller' meaning that he's spent time living all over the place, in this
country and abroad, and she doesn't expect him to stick around for long.
She is quite forthright and very talkative, no-nonsense attitude. She takes some risks in the
sense of wanting to have fun and try things etc. Her parents kicked her out about 18 months
ago because she follows bands around the country and she was using the place like a hotel.
So she went to live with friends and other places before coming here, where has been for
about 4 months. Started a course at [NAME OF COLLEGE] in Sept, doing 3 A-levels, plus a
foundation course for youth and community work. Hopes to eventually work with emotionally
Although parents chucked her out, seems to have good relationship with them now, and has
always been able to talk very easily about sex and contraception etc, with both parents. Had
first intercourse when she was 10, with a 14 year old senior boy from school. Didn’t think
much of it, regrets it a bit as too early. Didn’t do it again until she was about 14. Had some
casual relationships. Says RICHARD is her first more serious relationship, even though she
doesn’t expect it to last. They’ve been together for about 3 months although she's known
him for about 4 months. Has had unprotected sex a few times previously, but got pregnant in
early summer, through using the sponge. She'd thought it was more reliable than it is. Had
abortion and didn't want to see that boyfriend anymore. Definitely doesn’t want to get
pregnant again. On pill now, although, doesn't like pill because gets fat and moody. On new
combined pill which is better. Sometimes comes off it and uses condoms which RICHARD
hates. Has period problems (Dysmenorrhea). RICHARD wants to have sex all the time but
she doesn't and they've reached a compromise, She's had a relationship without sex, which
she liked, thinks you can do without it, although quite enjoys it, it's not that important. Talks
about sex to RICHARD, and talks about it very easily in general. Discussed oral sex, anal
sex, masturbation etc.
Meets her friends through following several specific bands around, so is often going off to
places to see gigs, RICHARD doesn't go. Once at [ROCK MUSIC FESTIVAL] she got totally
plastered and allowed one of band to have anal sex with her. Didn't feel much at time but
extremely painful later, couldn't sit down and would never do it again. Anything else, she tells
RICHARD, but not that. Has very low consciousness about AIDS. Knows a bit about it, and
says would like to some AIDS counselling through her course, but doesn’t feel at risk herself.
Protects herself against pregnancy, not AIDS. Only uses condoms for contraception, not
against AIDS. Feels that heterosexuals are at risk, that gays have been used as a
Willing to be reinterviewed, although may have moved, but we can contact through her
college tutors. Took away Diary to return around end of Feb.