Interview with Sharon, 18-19, White British, middle class, no religion. Women, Risk and AIDS Project, London, 1989. Anonymised version including field notes. (Ref: LSFS27)
Anonymised transcript of interview with Sharon, who is at a mixed comprehensive sixth form after going to an all girls' private school. Sharon is in a heterosexual relationship at the moment, with someone she met through a left-wing political campaign, though her mother is worried she's not enjoying her adolescence enough. She had her first sex with him, which she thought was painful and uncomfortable - she doesn't really expect to get much pleasure out of penetrative sex. She is on the pill, which she had arranged through her female doctor and had discussed with her partner beforehand. Sex education at school was taught in biology, and she got a lot from reading books and novels. Sharon would like marriage and children in the future, but would like a career first.
1989-06-27 00:00:00
Sue Sharpe
Reanimating Data Project
Temporal Coverage
Spatial Coverage
CC BY-NC 4.0
extracted text
LSFS27 27.6.1989
Q. So just starting out, thinking about relationships as the research is about relationships, what do
you think in your life is your most important relationship at the moment?
A. ... my boyfriend.
Q. Is that someone you've been with a long time?
A. A bit over a year.
Q. That's quite a long time. How did you meet him?
A. We were both sort of involved in CND. It isn't very romantic but...
Q. So you met at a CND meeting?
A. Yeah, originally. And then we met on this march to Aldermaston... and then we met at a party.
Q. Yeah. Is he still at school or college...?
A. No, he left last year, he's working...
Q. So what does he do?
A. He works in a bookshop... bookshop. It makes me really self-conscious...
Q. Oh, sorry. And what are you doing? I know you're doing A-levels but what are you doing Alevels in?
A. I - well, English, History and Maths.
Q. Were they alright?
A. I think so. I hope so.
Q. And is this the last year?
A. Yeah.
Q. So what are you gonna do next year?
A. I'm gonna take a year off... and I'm doing a typing course so I could do temp work... few
Q. Just to travel around?
A. Yeah.
Q. And then where do you think you'll go to university?
A. I don't know. I'd like to go to Manchester... but I don't know...
Q. So have you got any kind of great ideas of what you want to do?
A. No. See what happens. Yeah.
Q. Well often you don't know, things evolve.
A. Yeah.
Q. And what will happen to your boyfriend, I mean will he go to COUNTRY A. I don't know.
Q. - or university, things like that?
A. I don't know... then see what happens. I don't really plan to get married at the moment.
Q. You don't?
A. No.
Q. Had you had many relationships before him?
A. Not so long. I've been out with a couple of people for more than a few months but nothing else
important so Q. When did you first start going out with your boyfriend?
A. I don't know, I was about fourteen, something like that.
Q. Was that a boys' school?
A. I went to a girls' school until I was fifteen.
Q. Oh, that's right, a private school.
A. Yeah.
Q. Why did you go to a private school, was there a special reason?
A. Not really. My mother went there.
Q. Oh really?
A. Yeah.
Q. Which one was it?
A. ...

Q. Do you think it was good for your education?
A. I think it was possibly quite a good education, I don't know if it was very good, you know, like Q. What, you mean like socially?
A. It didn't really make me very happy but, you know, the education was quite good.
Q. What was it about it that didn't make you happy?
A. I don't know, it's quite restrictive. It's quite - it's quite a small school, all girls.. you know...
Q. What,...?
A. Yeah. I don't know, it's just - maybe every school would have been like that, you know, but I
didn't like it at all.
Q. So did you have to stay there until the fifth form?
A. Yeah.
Q. And took, what, GCSEs?
A. O-levels.
Q. O-levels. How many?
A. Ten.
Q. ... And then came here?
A. Yeah.
Q. So how does this compare with your other school?
A. I've enjoyed it here. I've made ... friends and - the teaching's quite different, they have a
different approach to it, I think. I like it.
Q. How do you think it's different?
A. It - it's more - maybe, maybe every sixth form would be more like - somehow it's more informal,
it's less - and it's less pressured, at my other school you know it was everyone had to - had to do
really well... sort of thing... sort of thing...
Q. Not sort of be your own person.
A. Mm.
Q. And was it very different having boys around after your other school?
A. Not really. I don't think so. No, I mean it didn't bother me at all.
Q. What sort of things do you usually do, as a social life?
A. Oh, God. I don't know, go to the pub and things like that. I don't know, that's quite a good
question actually... I go round to my boyfriend's house and... few other people...
Q. So he lives with other people, not like with his mum and dad?
A. Mm. He's not from London,...
Q. ...
A. Yeah.
Q. So is - how often do you see him in a week?
A. Well during my A-levels it was just once or twice but now... see him... quite often, so... just can't
say. 'Cos my work's gone up and down, so it depends on that...
Q. What, depending what you've had to do?
A. Mm. Depending what my parents say sort of thing.
Q. Are they quite strict?
A. Well, yeah, sort of. I mean they don't mind him staying at weekends but (?) my mother would
come in on weekdays, it's a school day tomorrow.
Q. ...
A. Yeah.
Q. And are they quite good about him and you?
A. In one way they are, yeah, I mean they don't mind him staying over, as I said, I just... I mean
they don't mind ...
Q. What, that's in your room?
A. Yeah... and - but they don't like him being here all the time because they say it's their house...
and my mother doesn't believe that I should be having a long relationship now, that's what she
said to me.
Q. A long relationship?
A. Yeah.
Q. What does she think you should be doing?

A. I don't know, being frivolous.
Q. What, going out with lots of people?
A. Mm.
Q. What do you think about that?
A. I don't know, I think she means that it's not gonna last and it's just gonna - she thinks I shouldn't
be starting, making commitments. I mean, not that I - I don't talk to them much about it so she
doesn't really know what's happening but she's just making judgement on it.
Q. Do you think you are making a commitment?
A. No, not really. I mean I haven't - you know, there's nothing- I haven't tied up my life in any way
but then again I do feel that I'd rather not go there for very long, and if I wasn't going to university
I'd probably be making arrangements to go for eight months or something like that, so I'm not in
that way...
Q. ...
A. No, she doesn't really ask...
Q. What, you don't talk about things like that?
A. Not really.
Q. What about your dad?
A. Oh no.
Q. ...
A. ...
Q. You said in the questionnaire you've got two brothers A. Yeah.
Q. Are they at university?
A. One's just finished.
Q. So does that mean they're not around much?
A. Well they haven't been, the older one's just come back, I'm not sure what he's doing, I think he
might be... another couple of years, ...he's going to law school so...
Q. ...
A. Mm. So they have been, yeah...
Q. And can you talk to them?
A. No not really...
Q. So who do you talk to if you wanted to talk about relationships or A. My girlfriends. Yeah, just my friends, I've got... I can talk to...
Q. So can you talk about things like sex...?
A. I don't actually, I don't really. I mean I have done on a couple of occasions, but you know - I
don't feel like embarrassed about it...
Q. But have you never - you've never actually felt the need to?
A. No. I mean obviously I talk - I talk to my boyfriend about- about sex...
Q. Is that usual, do you think? 'Cos some people find it quite (?) tricky.
A. I don't know, sometimes... every now and then we sit and talk about it...
Q. Was he the first person you had a sexual relationship with?
A. Yeah.
Q. And was that the same for him?
A. No. There were two other girls.
Q. Could he talk to you about that or did you just sort of find out?
A. Oh, he told me that...
Q. And how long was it before you and he had sex?
A. It was a long time, it was about five months I think. It was quite good.
Q. And then how did it happen that you did?
A. Well I went on the pill and just made it easier, you know.
Q. What, for that or for another reason?
A. No, for that.
Q. So you must have thought that you wanted to.
A. Yeah. I - it just, it's just quite - I don't know - I always slept with him sort of thing, but never
actually had sex with him...

Q. What, so he stayed or you stayed there?
A. Yeah.
Q. But was that alright? Didn't he want to actually have sex?
A. No, he was very good. I don't know, some of these modern men..
Q. And ...
A. Yeah, yeah.
Q. And did that kind of frighten your parents at all, I mean did they think that you might be risking
pregnancy and things like that 'cos obviously they wouldn't know that he wasn't A. No, I think they assumed that I was on the pill...
Q. Really?
A. Yeah, because I went up to stay with him where he used to live in SOUTH EAST ENGLAND
and ... do you know about contraception, she asked me, that's the first time she asked me if I
slept with my - my previous boyfriend so ... what I do.
Q. And did you feel - you know, after five months, kind of, it happened that that was like your
decision as well?
A. Oh yes, there wasn't any pressure at all. It was just natural.
Q. And did you go to the doctor for that, for the pill, or to the family planning.
A. ... to the doctor.
Q. And he was alright, or she was alright?
A. Yeah. A she.
Q. And then was it alright the first time? Quite a lot of girls say it was a real letdown and they didn't
know what all the fuss was about.
A. I don't know about letdown, it was quite painful, but I wasn't expecting the earth to move, sort of
Q. What, and the orchestra to reach a crescendo.
A. Yeah. I don't know.
Q. And then has it changed since?
A. Has it changed our relationship?
Q. No, no, just - I mean is it, obviously it's not gonna be painful forever.
A. Oh, no. It's alright.
Q. And what did you actually expect out of sex?
A. How do you mean?
Q. Well, in the sense that before you've ever had sexual intercourse there's a kind of whole ...
history of watching kind of films on the telly and reading books and things like that, without
actually having the actual experience, and I was just wondering if you'd got certain expectations
of what it would feel like, not just as if you were in pain but actually emotionally and things like
that, and whether A. I don't think so 'cos I'd been - I mean I felt like I wasn't a virgin anyway 'cos I'd been sleeping
with him and, you know - I don't think I expected anything particular really.
Q. 'Cos had you been doing other sort of things without actually getting to the A. Yeah, I suppose so, nothing that much, but Q. What did you do?
A. I don't know, just sort of Q. What, like touching and A. Yeah, yeah.
Q. So I mean did you kind of arouse one another as far as kind of orgasm A. Yeah.
Q. So you - and you as well?
A. Yeah.
Q. 'Cos one of the girls said to me... was eighteen, she said I've never had an orgasm and I don't
know any one of girls of my age who has.
A. Oh, I have.
Q. ... probably totally accurate, but it obviously was her experience.
A. Yeah.

Q. So do you think that was almost like a good introduction in the sense that you and he knew
each other quite well before you actually had sexual intercourse?
A. Mm. It was good. I mean I think I... the pill ...before... I don't really know. It's...
Q. Had you discussed it, (?) was it something you'd talked about?
A. ... yeah, we had.
Q. And did you ever talk about sort of using condoms or anything like that?
A. Yeah. I don't know. It just seemed too difficult... go on the pill... want me to...
Q. And does it feel alright?
A. Yeah, absolutely. Unless I get cancer.
Q. Hope not. And what about things like, say, using condoms to protect against AIDS and things
like that?
A. Well obviously that hasn't been an issue in my life, but I think I'd ask another bloke to, if I was...
Q. Do you feel aware of - of that, is it...
A. I think I am, I mean it hasn't been very relevant to me... it's difficult... could have done that in the
last two years but you know, still... big scare...
Q. What, did you get quite scared about it or A. ...
Q. Did you feel you were gonna miss out on something?
A. Yeah, I did then, I don't... I mean I don't know what I feel at the moment...
Q. So do you think like when you go to COUNTRY you would kind of prepare yourself then in case
something happens?
A. I don't think I'd be thinking about sleeping with anyone else.
Q. What, 'cos of the A. Yeah Q. ...
A. Yeah. But if I was thinking of, yeah, I would...
Q. Did they teach you much about sex education at school? ... like you got a bit from what you put
on the questionnaire A. Yeah.
Q. - periods and contraception.
A. Yeah... I don't know if they need to... details...
Q. Because how would you know your information?
A. At school.
Q. About kind of - well about sex and all the other things, apart from getting - simply getting
pregnant and kind of periods, which is a bit... but anything else about kind of intercourse,
masturbation and AIDS and A. ...I don't know. I really don't know, I just sort of ... books and novels...
Q. Although there are some people who've got really kind of fragmentary knowledge about what to
expect or A. Mm....
Q. 'Cos in your girls' school, where did they actually place it in terms kind of education, was that in
biology or A. Contraception we did in biology, periods - our form teacher...
Q. ...
A. ... biology.
Q. Well presumably they haven't had anything here 'cos being in the sixth form you - they think
you know about it.
A. No...
Q. And so how did you hear about all the AIDS stuff?
A. ...
Q. What, (?)reading?
A. Yeah ... school, I think it was in R.E. or something...
Q. Well I don't know. Sort of wrath of God.
A. I don't know. I know we did something in school... but... programmes and Q. ... weeks of it -

A. And newspapers...
Q. So how much do you actually know about it?
A. Not very much. Only what they all say, that you never know... pick it up... I don't know anything
biologically about it, I don't think.
Q. But do you know how it's actually passed on or how you could personally get it?
A. Oh, yes... it's a mixture of body fluids, isn't it, and... sex... if you've got a cut in your mouth...
Q. And do you - who do you feel are the people most at risk?
A. I don't know... mixes body fluids.
Q. There's a lot of...
A. Yeah, well, that's what I mean... share... needles... lots of sex without condoms I should think.
Q. Do you know anyone who you think is at risk at all?
A. At risk?
Q. Yes. Like I mean a person you know.
A. I suppose any of my friends that sleep around a bit are. I don't know if...
Q. And do you know if they use any protection against AIDS, as opposed to being on the pill for
A. I don't - no, I don't really ever talk to them... but... condoms...
Q. So do you feel it's something that you're kind of aware of much or is it something that A. What, you mean is it something that touches me? Yeah, I think it's part of...
Q. And do you think you will sort of marry and have kids in the future?
A. I'd like to have kids...
Q. Are you going to get kind of an education first?
A. Oh yes, I'd like to get a job and a career before... But I should think I'd like to get married, I'd
like to settle down in that way at some time... living together sort of thing.
Q. ... cottage with roses round the door.
A. Yes. My grandchildren... But yeah, I'd like to have a child...
Q. So do you think you might do that with the boyfriend you're with?
A. No. I mean no, I can't - I'm not sure ... but I don't think I will. I mean it's like...
Q. What, you actually say that to one another?
A. Yeah, not quite like that. But I mean we're not planning our future together.
Q. So he knows that you might go off to university or something.
A. Yeah.
Q. …and be somewhere else.
A. I mean we wouldn't... together...
Q. I mean do you feel that that matters, or do you feel fairly...?
A. If we split up?
Q. Yeah.
A. ... I can't imagine it.
Q. So it could break your heart.
A. Yeah. But I don't - I don't think it would be right for us to live together always.
Q. Why not?
A. I don't think - we're not in love. I can't imagine leaving him or anything but...
Q. ...
A. I don't know. It's not - I don't really know, it's quite sort of difficult, it's subtle things, do you know
what I mean? But I shouldn't...
Q. ... in a relationship.
A. Well at the moment he's happy but I shouldn't - I can't imagine him wanting to settle down or
have children.
Q. What, he's not that type?
A. No.... get married.
Q. What does he think... job?
A. Yeah, he works in this bookshop.
Q. That's right, yeah. So he could go off and do something else.
A. Yeah... mature student or something.

Q. And - you - you actually put that you were on the pill, that -that you ticked kind of... on the pill...
A. Oh yeah.
Q. Was that intentional?
A. Yeah. Well, yeah, I suppose - 'cos I sort of - sort of had sex with him before without a condom,
before I was on the pill. It was all a bit odd.
Q. What do you mean by sort of had sex with him?
A. I don't know, I mean - sort of, I don't know what I can say, sort of.
Q. What, like without penetration?
A. Sort of.
Q. Sort of.
A. Yeah.
Q. What, withdrawing?
A. Yeah. But I mean it's so uncomfortable with me that, you know, sort of never got in there.
Q. What, 'cos you couldn't actually do it?
A. Mm. I just felt really uncomfortable. I don't know, it's really strange...
Q. What, you mean emotionally uncomfortable or actually A. No, physically Q. Physically painful.
A. Yeah.
Q. But were you in any danger of actually getting pregnant from that?
A. Well I suppose so.
Q. What, so like he was actually coming?
A. Yeah.
Q. But it wasn't inside.
A. Not quite, no. Yeah...
Q. Was that sort of unsatisfying for you?
A. Oh, yes, it was awful. I think I probably felt more relaxed once I'd gone on the pill.
Q. So were you kind of scared of being pregnant as well, of getting pregnant or were you just
uncomfortable A. I suppose so. I mean I was - I was a little bit, it wasn't like a big scare or something but...
Q. And was he doing anything to kind of give you pleasure?
A. He was trying to, yeah... He wanted to make me enjoy it as well.
Q. And you A. ...
Q. And what about things like oral sex, did that...?
A. No, not really...
Q. And do you actually expect to get a lot of pleasure from sex or...?
A. I don't know. I suppose I do sometimes.
Q. What, some time in the future or sometime A. No, sometimes. I mean I don't always... enjoy it every time.
Q. Do you sometimes feel that you are doing it -?
A. Yeah.
Q. Does he realise that?
A. Oh, no... I don't know...
Q. And things like - one of the things that we put down which sometimes got misunderstood was,
in terms of things like masturbation, learning about it at school, or talking about it... quite a few
people we spoke to thought we just meant boys' masturbation whereas in fact we meant sort of
both boys and girls, and you know some girls... never talk about it... But does that ever come up
with you?
A. What, with my friends?
Q. Yes, or sort of exploring it yourself.
A. I went to, I was about thirteen I think, I went to a girls' night at... together type thing...
Q. But did that - did that make an impression on you, I mean was that... did it make any difference
to you?

A. ...
Q. I mean before that had you thought that it wasn't fun?
A. Well it's a sort of dirty subject, isn't it.
Q. Well it seems to be a sort of taboo subject.
A. Well, no, I mean, you know, it's just - I don't know. It came up through... I can't remember...
before that.
Q. And do you think it could be important to girls' sexuality?
A. Yeah. I suppose so, yeah...
Q. But actually doing it to yourself.
A. I suppose so.
Q. And do you think you're a person who kind of takes risks in your life?
A. In what way?
Q. Well I suppose the obvious one might be contraception, say if you weren't on the pill.
A. Well it's difficult to say. I mean again when I was younger, pregnancy... my age because an
abortion's horrible... to take risks...
Q. 'Cos with your other relationships that you had before, you said there was no one who really
cared about that, did any of them actually want you to make a sexual relationship?
A. Yeah, one of them did. I mean I don't know about the other...
Q. And what was your reaction to that?
A. I just didn't want to sleep with him...
Q. Was that the end of the relationship or did it carry on?
A. No not as much...
Q. ...
A. ... but that could just be my luck.
Q. Well sometimes it's happened the other way round, that the girl's been so relatively shocked by
the - put under a certain amount of pressure to have sex that they've more had the logic of well,
if that's what he wants me to do I don't want anything to do with him.
A. Mm, certainly I should imagine that. But then I think if you were into some bloke... do you see
what I mean? And if a bloke pressured me, this bloke who pressured me more...so I didn't want
to anyway.
Q. Yes, so it's no kind of problem for you, it's just... Was it important to you like that the person you
first had a sexual relationship was, you know, a certain sort of person or someone that you A. I don't know. I don't know about that. I don't think I wanted to sleep with anyone, like I didn't
want to sleep with this bloke at all... I mean obviously it was very good that he was - he was like
he is 'cos it made me feel... but...
Q. ...
A. Mm.
Q. So it wasn't that you were kind of saving yourself for the man of your life sort of thing.
A. No, I didn't - no not at all. I think I was saving myself for someone that I...
Q. Were you much younger?
A. No, I think... seventeen.
Q. Do you find that you go around more with your boyfriend than your girlfriends?
A. I suppose - I mean since he works and he lives quite a way away,... I only see him... friend of
mine who lives in Hampstead... so it's sort of difficult so it just seems, I don't know about actual
Q. The friend round the corner A. - yeah Q. - like a good friend, is he someone that you can kind of...?
A. Yeah. I don't think I'd talk to him about sex though. But I do talk to him about our relationship.
Q. ...
A. Yeah...
Q. How old's he?
A. He's my age, ...
Q. So does he tell you about his girlfriends and stuff or A. Yeah.

Q. ...
A. Yeah, up to a point. I think I probably tell him more than he tells me.
Q. But he's not someone you've ever wanted to actually have a relationship with.
A. No.
Q. It's quite nice to have friends like that.
A. Mm.
Q. And do you - I noticed you did some work, is it market research?
A. Yeah, I do.
Q. What does that involve?
A. (?) REDACTED...
A. ... You have to just ring people up at random.
Q. What, just sort of stick a pin in or something?
A. It's awful.
Q. And what's the service?
A. Oh, things like advertising and you know Q. But do you have to do it over the phone?
A. Yeah.
Q. So actually ask them questions.
A. Yeah...
Q. ...
A. I see what you mean.
Q. Well it hasn't been (?) recent. So does that pay alright?
A. Yeah, yeah, pretty well...
Q. So it's all day Saturday?
A. Mm. It's quite flexible, you don't have to work when you don't want to...
Q. So how much do you make for a Saturday?
A. (?) Twenty-six pounds.
Q. ... And do you have to buy all your own clothes?
A. Yeah.
Q. You do.
A. My parents used to give me forty pounds a month to... was at school...
Q. 'Cos what do your parents do... computing?
A. Yeah, a EDUCATIONAL ROLE... part time.
Q. What, at school?
A. REDACTED. And my father's a (?) civil servant.
Q. But they don't give you pocket money?
A. Yeah, they give me forty pounds....
(tape change)
A. ... to fifty...
Q. ... it's a bit better...
So how do you think your life will change in the next few years, do you think you'll change?
A. I'm not sure... I don't know...
Q. So noisy.
A. No, I don't know at all what I want to do.
Q. And if you had to describe yourself as kind of - what sort of person you are, could you kind of
give a potted description of whether you're kind of helpful or shy or A. I'm quite shy, trying to overcome it. I think I'm getting more confident.
Q. What, through growing older or through doing different things?
A. Growing older I think... meet a lot of people...go out in this big wide world.
Q. Do you meet a lot of people?
A. I don't know... friends really... that sort of thing. I'm gonna have to meet more people I suppose,
the more I do, the more different sort of things I do.
Q. And has doing that job made you any more confident, sort of having to ring people up and talk
to them?

A. It's made me better on the telephone, I used to be terrified of it, you know ringing people up and
asking - demanding things from them. I don't know if it's really changed me, I don't think it's
made me... 'cos people... a bit more wary and 'cos it's just that I don't really agree with the - I
mean if someone says... you know you sort of think, what am I doing? You don't think
Q. So what do you do?
A. I just... Not a lot you can do.
Q. Well no it's not worth getting into a large-scale argument.
A. No, especially since I don't think - I don't think it's particularly defensible. No, I don't think - I
haven't done it for that long, I've done it (?) since the autumn.
Q. Oh that's quite a long time. Does it make you feel you could sort of make demands on people,
or - say in relationships, could you ask somebody out or -?
A. Oh, God. I think I would ask someone out.
Q. You would?
A. ... I think I'd have to be fairly sure of myself and stuff. I did once ask someone out, it was the
most embarrassing experience... bit wary.
Q. Did they say yes?
A. No.
Q. They said no?
A. Yes.
Q. Oh...
A. Yeah. I think I'd have to be pretty sure. I don't mind just chatting someone up, you know, some
stranger at a party,... but asking someone out...
Q. And would you ask someone sort of to use a condom or something like that?
A. I would, yeah... pick up... whatever. I think I wouldn't mind doing that.
Q. And what about things like sort of smoking and drinking, do you do those?
A. ... I don't know...
Q. What made you cut down?
A. It was my father had a bet with me. My father, my boyfriend and me were all going to give up at
New Year and I was the only one who managed it.
Q. What, did you give up completely?
A. Yeah, for a few months. My father bribes me...
Q. ...
A. ... not smoking any more. I drink just occasionally.
Q. And do you take drugs at all, smoke dope?
A. Yeah.
Q. Which?
A. Dope... and...
Q. What's that?
A. ...
Q. Really?
A. ....
Q. Three and a half...
A. ...
Q. How did you start?
A. It was again it was the CND connection. Some bloke I knew a bit was a bit of a dealer I think, I
don't know him anymore, but he gave me this joint to smoke... throw up... to corrupt me I think.
Q. And did it make you throw up?
A. ...
Q. But did it make you sort of want to smoke more?
A. Not really. I don't - I don't do it very much at all... I don't think I smoked during the exams...
Q. Do you smoke with your boyfriend?
A. Yeah.
Q. Do you find that quite relaxing?
A. Yeah.

Q. ... to relax.
A. Well it makes you...
Q. ...
A. Well... into doing...
Q. ... makes you feel...
A. Yeah... I mean it's not like... you know.
Q. And what about any other sorts of drugs, have you ever been offered those?
A. Well I've never...
Q. Do you think you would if you were?
A. ...
Q. Can you think of anything else about sort of negotiating relationships that you've found in your
experience that...? Or anything else you want to talk about?
A. It's difficult to know what the other person wants.
Q. What, from you or A. Yeah, how you should react... It's difficult to tell when...
Q. ...
A. ...
Q. You can't actually ask A. Yeah. But it's difficult to know how to react to...
Q. What, sort of, sex relationship?
A. Well...
Q. ...
A. ...
Q. 'Cos does he get, you know A. Not as much as me.
Q. What, you're...?
A. Yeah.
Q. So what do you... Not sort of speak...?
A. ...
Q. And what does he do?
A. He gets really pissed off. I mean it depends, like, if it's something serious with me then... Fair
Q. But he doesn't do anything drastic like say well...
A. No, no he doesn't really.
Q. Do you feel you could go to him if anything was wrong?
A. Yeah, yeah. It would have to be something - he doesn't - you know, it would have to be
something... such and such has happened to me... do you know what I mean?
Q. Mm.
A. ...
Q. So if it's just that you're feeling depressed about things you're feeling or whatever, he doesn't
A. Not always,... I'm too often depressed.
Q. What do you get depressed about?
A. ... anything. I don't have a very good relationship with my parents, I don't think.
Q. Is that what you A. ... They're not - I don't often - they go away quite often.
Q. Together?
A. Yeah... And obviously...
Q. To do well?
A. Yeah. But also, not feeling I could go out and I might sit there and waste my time and I wouldn't
be able to go out, and sort of... and work.
Q. So you couldn't do anything...
A. Couldn't do anything, just sat... wasting my time...
Q. So has it always been like that with your parents?
A. ... I mean I don't, like, have a really appalling relationship with them I don't think...

Q. And do they have a good relationship together?
A. Yeah. I think my mum used to be - take too much Q. What, from your dad?
A. Yeah, but yeah, they have a very... relationship now.
Q. ...
A. Right.
[NAME OF SCHOOL]. Wore jeans and Chanel black t-shirt. Straight dark hair held back with
rolled scarf around head. Came in with Sony Walkman. Rather middle class, but quite shy
and nervous. Didn’t like the tape-recorder at first, sat cross-legged on the chair. Has 2
brothers at university, and she went to a private girls school from age of 11 – 16. Got 10 O
levels, wasn’t v. happy there, it’s better here and she’s made a few v. good friends.
She is going steady, been with her boyfriend for a year now but not necessarily with a view
to marriage or lasting forever. It's her first sexual relationship - he'd had 2 others. She had
slept with him before without having sexual intercourse. It was 5 months before they started
this, after she went on the pill. They had discussed it. He is v. caring about this, no pressure.
He tries to give her pleasure, and sometimes does. Says she does have orgasms. He lives
with some friends and works in a [SHOP]. Sometimes she stays around at his place, or he
can stay at her home.
Doesn’t have a v. good relationship with her parents, not close. She thinks they think that
she’s been having sex with her boyfriend from the start. They don’t discuss it and this
depresses her sometimes.
She has a good friend who is male, who lives around the corner who she sees quite often.
Is aware of AIDS, says she got scared when it came up 3 years ago, knows a bit about it but
not that much. Doesn’t feel that she’s at risk. Says she would ask a partner in the future to
use a condom but is planning on being faithful at the moment.
She is taking a year off before going to university. Doesn’t take risks – has given up
smoking, drinks a little bit, and smokes dope, involved in CND, which is where she met her

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