Interview with Kay, 18, White British, working class, no religion. Women, Risk & AIDS Project, London, 1989. Anonymised version including field notes. (Ref: LSFS3)
Anonymised transcript of interview with Kay, who has been living with her fiance for a year and a half. This is her first serious relationship, and her first sexual one. They had planned to get married soon, but her partner was too scared - they agreed that they were perhaps both too young. Kay has tried different contraceptive methods, but has had to settle on using condoms. She thinks that girls nowadays are expected to have sexual relationships, especially with older men - she thinks that younger girls do it to seem more mature.
1989-03-30 00:00:00
Sue Sharpe
Reanimating Data Project
Temporal Coverage
Spatial Coverage
CC BY-NC 4.0
extracted text
LSFS3 30.3.89
Q. So just as a general kind of beginning question, can you tell me just a bit about your
relationships in general and what are the most important relationships would you say in
your life?
A. My first boyfriend is the one I live with now. I have been with him for a year and a
half, and my parents.
Q. Are they still around, do they live around here in London?
A. Yes. They're not together, they're separated but they live round, near each other.
Q. But they are separate?
A. Yes.
Q. Did that happen a long time ago?
A. Yes, I think I was about seven, yes.
Q. Yes because you are what?
A. Eighteen.
Q. Eighteen now.
A. A long time.
Q. And have you got brothers and sisters?
A. Yes, I have got three brothers and two sisters.
Q. Three brothers and two sisters. Older or younger?
A. Two younger, and the rest older.
Q. Are your sisters older?
A. One of my sisters is older and two of my brothers are older. I've got a younger one,
brother and a younger sister. She's four and he's sixteen.
Q. How do you get on with them?
A. I don’t really see them much. Just sometimes, if I'm up Barking way.
Q. Do you live round, locally here.
A. ..... End?
Q. Oh that’s quite close. And can you tell me a bit about your, like your living with your
current boyfriend for?
A. A year and a half.
Q. And did you have other boyfriends before that?
A. Only silly little ones. School kids really, I suppose. Not really the relationship now with
my boyfriend.
Q. What do you see as the difference between the relationships you had before and the
one you're having now?
A. The ones before were silly things we used to go, we just used to meet and the guy I
live with now, we go out together, do everything together. It’s like we are married.
Q. How did you meet him?
A. In a nightclub.
Q. Nightclub. What did he ask you to dance?
A. No. He asked me if I wanted to go to Southend.
Q. Southend?
A. Yes.
Q. Had you met him before, or did he just ask you out in a group?

A. Well I knew his friends, like he was with them and we went to Southend.
Q. And you went that night?
A. Yes. .......like from now.
Q. So did you kind of fall in love, was it love at first sight?
A. No. About six months later. Then we got engaged after about five months, about five
Q. So how old is he?
A. Twenty.
Q. Twenty. And what does he do?
A. He works for the council. REDACTED?
Q. What does he do for the council?
Q. Did your parents, what did they think? Were you living at home then?
A. They didn’t mind. My mum liked him, it was alright.
Q. So when did you start living with him?
A. I think it was a year after I met him and then, because I have been living with him for
a year, about a year and half now but we went out for a year first and then moved in
together after a year.
Q. What, before that you were both living in separate family homes or whatever?
A. Yes.
Q. So was it hard finding somewhere to live?
A. We had to ...... for getting a council place in London.
Q. And when are you going to get married? Do you have that planned?
A. Well we did have it planned but we cancelled it.
Q. Why?
A. He got scared.
Q. He got scared?
A. Yes.
Q. What did you think to that?
A. I was glad in a way. Too young.
Q. So is there a date in the future or is it just open?
A. It’s just open. Whenever.
Q. What do you usually do together. What sort of things?
A. Go out. Go and see friends, go to my Mums, go to his Nan's or whatever.
Q. Do you go kind of out places like cinemas, clubs or anything like that?
A. Yes. We go to the cinema, discos, parties or whatever. Whatever is happening. I
don’t know, he keeps surprising me.
Q. He keeps surprising you, what does he do?
A. He makes up these little things and takes me somewhere, ...
Q. That’s nice.
A. He’s taking me out this weekend wherever, I'll have to wait and see.
Q. Do you still see other people as well?
A. I see my friends, some of them,............ I stay over sometimes.
Q. What, staying overnight?
A. My friend has a flat and I stay there sometimes.
Q. And does your boyfriend mind?

A. Not.........
Q. And does he stay round friends of his as well?
A. No, not really. He doesn’t really see much of his friends. They have all moved.
Q. And with your other boyfriends that you had when you were at school, did you have a
sexual relationship with them or?
A. No.
Q. So was the first sexual relationship you had with your boyfriend?
A. Yes.
Q. And whose decision was that?
A. Both of us, I think. I can’t remember. It was a long time ago.
Q. And was it like, was it a significant occasion, you know, your first time, what was it
A. I didn’t like it. It was early in the morning though because we had been out. ..............
Q. Had you talked about it?
A. Sometimes. But he didn’t get nowhere with it. We'd been upstairs.
Q. Was he, presumably he wasn’t worried about it?
A. Not really. He was a bit, I think he was more worried about me than ......
Q. Why was he worried about you?
A. Well because he doesn’t like me to be in pain.
Q. So did it get better?
A. Sometimes. Yes, it did.
Q. And had you taken precautions.
A. Yes.
Q. What did you do?
A. First of all we used condoms and then I went on the pill, and then I wasn’t allowed to
take that so I had the coil which didn’t work either, so I had to use, go back to condoms.
Q. Are you happy with that?
A. Not really. But there’s not much you can do.
Q. No, no it’s unfortunate that. There aren’t enough decent ways to.
A. When I was on the pill I put on too much weight.
Q. What even the little mini pill?
A. Yes. I tried them.
Q. So when you first kind of decided to have a sexual relationship was it like something
you wanted to do, or was it more because it just seemed to follow on from the stage you
A. No, it was because I wanted.
Q. And did you think at all about other sorts of precautions like, you know, with all the
AIDS scare and things like that?
A. No, not really. We didn’t talk about that.
Q. Have you ever thought about anything like that?
A. Not really, because he's the only one I have ever slept with and we were already
engaged when we first did anyway, so I didn’t really think about it.
Q. Were you the first one he had ever slept with?
A. No, the second one. The second one, I think.
Q. When you were at school did you and your friends talk about boyfriends and sex and
things like that?

A. No, not really.
Q. No?
A. It didn’t really interest me.
Q. So what did you used to talk about?
A. I can’t remember, it was a long time.
Q. When did you leave school?
A. When I was about fifteen and a half because I didn’t have to take any exams.
Q. What did you do straight after school then?
A. I got a job in a FACTORY. And I was there for a little while and there wasn’t much
work, so they had to get rid of some people and they laid quite a few of us off, and I just
got a job in a HEALTH SERVICE.
A. I stayed there for a while then I came here. I have only been here since November.
Q. And how long does it last here?
A. Two years.
Q. Two years?
A. It depends really on your age, one or two.
Q. And then what do you think you will do?
A. Go to college to do my .....
Q. To go into nursery nursing?
A. And nannying.
Q. Can you think, like part of the things we are interested in are kind of things about
how young women see sexual relationships and things like, I suppose like I was asking
about AIDS and things like that, does that ever come into you and your boyfriend's
thinking about anything?
A. Not really. We don’t really think about things like that.
Q. Not even when they had that great thing about it on the media.
A. We have talked about it but not as if it was us or anything like that. It didn’t really
bother us, it wasn’t me and him.
Q. What sort of kind of future do you see for yourself? Do you think you will get
A. Most probably. In a little while longer.
Q. And what about kids?
A. I'm not too sure yet. I have not really decided yet on whether I want them.
Q. What sort of like if you had to describe yourself what sort of person would you
describe yourself as?
A. Selfish.
Q. Why?
A. I like doing things that I want to do.
Q. What sort of things?
A. If I want to go somewhere, we go there. I don’t know really, I have never been asked
that question. I'm alright sometimes. If I like you, I get on with you, if I don’t like you I'll
tell you.
Q. So you are quite sort of open and honest and upfront.
A. Yes.

Q. Well, just to go back to aspects of like girls and sexual behaviour. Was there, like,
not just when you were at school, but since you left school and now, is there a way in
which kind of girls get to meet boys, like you met your boyfriend in the club?
A. I think most of them meet them in nightclubs and things. I don’t know, it depends.
You can meet them through friends, pubs, and whatever, discos, singles, anywhere. It
depends who your friends are and what you're like. You could meet someone walking
up the road.
Q. And are most of your friends, like girlfriends with boyfriends or do you have any gay
friends as well?
A. No, they are all straight forward friends.
Q. And does like the prospect of having a sexual relationship, is it kind of generally
always in the air or is there some kind of preliminary?
A. Not really. What do you mean with me and my boyfriend, or?
Q. Well you, how you've been and how you are and what your friends would be like, that
kind of, you know, if you think of twenty years ago or something it was much more usual
for girls in their teens, for instance, to not have had as many experiences with sex as
they do now, so in thinking about how things might have changed and how things are
now, it’s just sort of looking at when you were at school, was it just assumed that girls
going out with their boyfriends and just end up sleeping with them?
A. Well, most of them do. Most of them do I think nowadays. They don’t really care do
they, they do what they want.
Q. Do you think they do it because they want to do it or because it’s…?
A. I think they do it because it’s kind of expected from them to do it. I mean a lot of girls,
you know, the younger girls go out with older boys, the older boys expect it and always
get it.
Q. Whether the younger girls want to do it or not?
A. I would imagine they want to, to make them look big I suppose and make them look
older. When I was younger, I remember I wanted to be older than what I was. And you
see these girls of fourteen or fifteen going out and everything to be older than what they
Q. Did you ever get pressured by older boys?
A. A few times I think, I can’t remember. I have got a memory like a sieve.
Q. But did any of them ever succeed or nearly succeed?
A. No. No, if I didn’t like them I told them to get lost.
Q. Is that what you told them?
A. Yes. I probably lost most of my boyfriends that way. I don’t care.
Q. Are you glad you did that now?
A. Yes, definitely.

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