Interview with Laura and Rachel. Laura is 16-17, White British, working class, Roman Catholic and Rachel is 16-17, White British, upper working class, no religion. Women, Risk and AIDS Project, London, 1989. Anonymised version including field notes. (Ref: LSFS1213)
Anonymised transcript of interview with Laura and Rachel, who went to an all girls' school together and are both training to become painters and decorators. They were both happy with the level of sex education they'd received at school, though Rachel already knew quite a lot through conversations with her mother. Laura is engaged, and Rachel has been with her current partner for a couple of weeks, but they are already very close. Rachel has been proposed to several times, but has found her previous partners to be too possessive. Neither are having sexual relationships at the moment - they would like to wait until they feel ready, and are struggling to find somewhere private enough to go. Both have unfortunately experienced sexual assault, but both seem to have found relationships with kind, understanding partners and have supported each other throughout. Laura and Rachel would both like marriage and children in the future, but would like careers first. They liken AIDS to cancer, but do acknowledge that cancer is not contagious or contracted through sexual activity.
Reanimating Data Project
CC BY-NC 4.0
Laura and Rachel
Q. I notice from the questionnaires that you both filled in that you seem to have had
a lot of sex education at school, and I know from what you have just said that you
both went to the same school. Did they put in special lessons and things like that?
A1. It was all different groups because there were 70 of us.
A2. Yes, we had, like, different lessons. Like, one had a sex education group in the
afternoon and one in the morning, or before we went home or something like that.
A1. There was so many of us there were seven groups.
Q. How big were the groups?
A1. There was about seven in each, I think.
A2. No, there was more in one than the other. We had about seven in ours, but you
must have had more than that in your group?
A1. Yes, but they didn’t turn up.
A2. Most of them bunked off.
Q. Why did they bunk off?
A2. Because they didn’t want to know anything about it. There were one or two who
watched the video about some lady having a baby, one of them walked out and
puked up everywhere, and the other one goes "I am having no kids, I can’t stand
that, I won’t be able to do that", and we were going "will you shut up please", and all
that, I was really getting into it.
Q. Did you two go along to them then, you didn’t bunk off?
Q. Were they useful?
A2. They were useful, they were quite funny as it goes.
Q. And was it an all girl’s school?
Q. So there weren’t any boys to?
A2. There were boys there, but they were sixth formers. We didn’t really have many
boys in there.
Q. And they didn’t come to your sex education classes?
A2. No. I don’t think they would. But it was alright, it was quite a laugh.
Q. And was it specifically sex education or did they include it in biology or health
education or something like that?
A1. They included it in health and first aid, child development-
A2. And what to do with a heart attack and that sort of stuff.
Q. And could you ask questions if you wanted to, was it that sort of atmosphere?
Q. And had you known about most of it before or was it new to you at school?
A1. Most of it we knew.
A2. I knew most of it from at home because my mum used to tell me about it. And I
used to sit and ask her questions, she would sit there and say to me, "do you want
me to be straightforward to you" and I goes "yes" and she was sat there telling me
all about it, about the birds and bees, and it was alright. And when we got to school
the teachers would ask questions and they all used to sit there going, and my hand
would go up and say it’s this and that, and she said '"well, you know a lot about it".
Q. Did you want to give the lessons?
A2. Yes, and she would be looking at me and going like that and she asked about
contraception and what kind of contraceptives do you have, and I stuck my hand up
going we've got this and that, and the teacher just looked at me and just going, how
does she know all this. I did know it all, but it was alright.
Q. How old were you then?
A2. It was in the third year.
A1. The third year, yes.
A2. I suppose we were about thirteen, fourteen.
A1. Fourteen, then we had it for an exam as well.
Q. What, in the health and first aid?
A2. Yes, we used to have it in the health and first aid and child development.
Q. What do they include in that? Do you mean contraception or other things?
A1. It was all of it.
A2. Like transmitted diseases and contraception and boys and parts of the male
body and parts of the female body, and all this.
A1. We learned that in the fifth year, with more like heart attacks and what would
you do if this happened, about fits as well. In the third year we did contraception, but
when it got to fifth year we were doing things like heart attacks, etc.
A2. We saved a little girls life, didn’t we. My next door neighbour's daughter. She
had a fit and I didn’t know what I was doing, I was shaking because I had never
done anything like that before and she was put on her side and took her head back
and stuck her tongue out of her mouth and things like that. Because she was going
purple wasn’t she, she couldn’t breathe or nothing.
Q. It must have been frightening.
A2. And she woke up and she started crying, and I go, “are you going to hit NAME
OF NEIGHBOUR now”, and she was going “yes”. But she is alright now. Because
she had the flu and ....she had a fit .....
Q. That was lucky you had seen it.
A2. Yes, the next door neighbour was banging on the door ......and I was crying and
I went to LAURA, "what am I doing, what am I doing", you know, I was running up
the stairs, my dog was going berserk, I was running round the house like a stupid
idiot, getting cold flannels and everything.
Q. And did they teach you about AIDS in those sort of lessons?
A2. Yes, they did.
Q. What a lot, what sort of things?
A2. How it was transmitted and what you use to protect yourself.
A1. And she showed us videos, etc. What was it called? It was a programme about
Q. That was on the television?
A1. Yes, and they were talking about it and she put that on and we listened to it.
A1. And we asked questions after.
Q. And did everyone have that or was that just if you were taking your health and
A1. They showed everyone it because there were all different teachers in different
A2. The girls in our school started quite young, didn’t they. There was a fourteenyear old girl pregnant, and one of the pupils in our school was going out with one of
the teachers up there.
A2. Yes, he said I will never go out with a pupil in this school and the next thing "Oh
do you know Mr. so and so is going out with so and so", and you think bloody hell,
he didn’t waste any time.
Q. Both of you seem to be going steady or engaged is that right?
A1. I am engaged.
Q. You are engaged?
A2. I'm going steady.
Q. You are going steady, so how long have you been with your…?
A2. I have been with my boyfriend for two weeks so far, and we have been chatting
and thinking about moving in together at the end of the year. Because we get on
really well, we have a lot in common you see, so that’s alright.
Q. Yes, because going steady after two weeks is quite soon, isn’t it?
A2. Yes, he goes to me "I have never been like this before", ...no, but usually I wait
for a couple of years, but it feels as though I have known you for years and years
and years", he says "so I can get more involved with you". I said “you’re joking”, he
goes “I know we have been going out for only two weeks but to me it seems like
years because we get on well”, you know people .........No, it’s more than that. It
seems likeQ. So how much over the two weeks have you actually been out together? Do you
see each other all the time?
A2. Well, every day nearly. I have not seen him this Friday, but I might be seeing
him today, it depends, he's got the flu at the moment. So have I, so's she. So I might
not be seeing him today, ....I go down there or he meets me, one or the other.
Q. So how did you meet him?
A2. I met him in the pub. I met him through his brother.
Q. With your brother?
A2. No, his brother. I know his brother you see so he introduced us, and we sat and
talked for an hour and a half without realising. He looked at his watch, and he says,
"do you know it’s half past eleven, we started talking about half nine, ten o'clock”.
And I went “have we been talking for an hour and a half”. And we didn’t even realise
until we met each other the next day. He goes “do you know we talked for ages that
night”, and I said “yes”, and we found out we had a lot in common. And he is a
MUSICIAN, by the way.
Q. He is a MUSICIAN in a band?
A2. Well there is only two of them, but he's getting a band together and he writes
songs and all that, and he sings to me sometimes.
Q. That must be nice?
A2. It is, it’s very romantic. He sings in my ear. He deafens me. No, he is really nice,
Q. And had you had many boyfriends before him?
A1. She has lost count.
A2. I have, as it happens. I've been going out with boys since I was six years old.
Q. Six years old?
A2. I was engaged three times. But like one of them wanted me to move in with him
after Christmas, after Christmas ..and get married to him when I was eighteen and I
thought I was too young, I said “no, I am too young”, and everything and he was
getting on my nerves and I set him alight.
Q. You said what?
A2. I set him alight. He was doing me in, and I kept mucking about with matches
and he was sitting next to me and I set his trousers alight. And my sister was with
her boyfriend and she said, “how come you are setting him alight” and everything. It
was so funny then, I was in stitches.
Q. Yes, there is turning someone on but setting them alight is a bitA2. No, he was doing me in and he said to me “I will marry you when you are
eighteen and live with me after Christmas and we will get engaged tomorrow” and it
was too soon, you know. I mean, I grew up with him, but I just didn’t want to know. I
thought I was going out with him as a friend until he started kissing me and I thought
what’s going on, you know. And every time a boy came up to me and talked to me
he would say to them “get your hands off my girl, we're getting married”, and I
turned round and said, “since when have I been engaged to you”, and he used to
say that to every boy who touched me. And he used to beat them up.
Q. How did you feel about that?
A2. I went to him “what are you doing”, he is going “I don’t want anybody touching
you”, and I said “I don’t like people fighting over me”, I said “I will fight my own
battles, don’t do that again”. He was doing my head in, so I gave him the boot.
Q. Quite right.
A2. He was so possessive over me.
Q. Yes, it sounds like he wanted to own you?
A2. Yes, he wanted to see me every night. If I wanted to go out with my mates he
wouldn't let me go out with my mates, he used to get jealous.
A1. It was ridiculous.
A2. I got a bit sick of that and so I ....
Q. And what about the others you got engaged to?
A2. The other one I got engaged to, I found out how old he really was, so I didn’t
want to know, he was too old for me.
Q. How old was that?
A2. I was only sixteen and he was thirty.
Q. Thirty, hadn’t he told you he was thirty?
A2. Not until the end of the week.
Q. How long had you been going out with him?
A2. About a month.
Q. And he wanted to get engaged?
A2. Yes. He used to call me NICKNAME. I goes “what do you want to call me
NICKNAME for?” and he goes, “I am going to ask you to marry me”, and I thought,
oh no. And the other one I packed him in after a year and a half because I was
going out with him for about a year and we got engaged and one day I went home
too late and my mum went berserk, and he kept having a go at my mum and I said
to him, “you don’t act your age”, and he was nineteen, he didn’t act his age because
he was jealous of his mate, because his mate fancied me and he didn’t like it, so I
gave him the boot as well.
A1. Because they were too possessive.
Q. So you have given all of them the boot rather than them giving you the boot?
A2. Yes, that’s what I'm like. I always give them the boot before they give me the
boot. But this one is different though.
Q. This is serious?
A2. Yes. This is true romance, this one.
Q. And how about yours, how long have you known your fiancé?
A1. Just over three months now.
Q. And how did you meet him?
A1. At the old college, he is a LOGISTICS SECTOR, and he lives in the same....
that’s my engagement ring.
Q. Oh that’s nice.
A1. I .........we have been going out since then. And it’s been alright.
Q. And have you had other serious boyfriends before?
A1. Yes, about three.
Q. Anyone you got engaged to?
A1. I didn’t get engaged .......going out for a long time.
Q. What’s a long time?
A1. The first one was about for two months.
A2. You went out with one for nearly a year, didn’t you.
A1. Yes, the other was a bit serious and we stopped, and then I went out with him
again. It was a bit funny that one was. It was an on and off sort of relationship. And
the one I am with now, that’s the best one.
Q. How did you meet them, was it all different places or the same sort of?
A2. She met one at my house.
A1. The first one I met at a bus stop. He chatted me up, so I went out for a bit with
him. He only lives up the road from me.
A2. Which one is this?
A1. That was STUART. But mum didn’t like him.
Q. Why not?
A1. I don’t know, it was really weird. I ended up packing him in.
Q. Because she didn’t like him?
A1. A couple of my mates didn’t like him as well. I don’t know what was wrong with
him. I think my mum didn’t like him because he had his own flat.
Q. She thought he would take advantage?
A1. Yes, but he didn’t, but that was what she thought. She was being a bit
protective. And the other one I met, I was still at school and he used to ..........for my
school, I knew him before then and we got serious ......and the other one I met him
last summer, ........he packed me in for some reason or other.
Q. That you didn’t know?
A1. No. .................
A1. ..... I saw him in there and he kept looking at me and my boyfriend and started
smiling at me but I didn’t want to know. I had enough of him.
Q. Where was the last one, the one you are engaged to, where did you meet him?
A1. Oh, that was at college.
Q. When you go out with them do they become the most important things to you, so
that you might neglect or not bother to go out with girlfriends or is it that you sort of
carry on seeing your mates?
A1. I carry on sometimes.
A2. My boyfriend, he goes out with his mates and the days I don’t see him I go out
with my mates. Sometimes when I don’t see mine she is seeing hers, so we don’t
see much of each other, but when we do it’s quite a laugh.
Q. So when are you seeing him then?
A2. Yes, ANDY, we see each other nearly every other day. He is taking me out
Saturday, he's taking me out for a meal.
Q. That’s very nice. Has he got money?
A2. He earns £160 a week, so he earns more than me at the moment.
Q. He earns more than me.
A2. ..........and he pays for my cab fare nearly every night which I don’t like him
doing but he says to me “don’t be silly”, .......but he is really nice though, he's lovely,
he sings and he's got a cold so I might not be seeing him today. He's is weird ...he's
got lovely eyes, I've got to admit that. He has got funny eyes.
Q. And you are both having sexual relationships presumably with the people you are
A2. Not exactly. Well I am, well we have talked about it and everything, but we
haven’t exactly done nothing.
A1. No. Same here.
Q. Is that for any particular reason? I mean is there a time when you will decide for
yourself when it might be right?
A2. Yes, that’s what he says............ shall we wait, and I said yes, and when the time
is right but not at the moment, though.
A1. Me and my boyfriend, we will wait a bit but there is nowhere to go because we
can’t go to my house and we can’t go to his house.
A2. You are going away for a weekend soon, aren’t you?
A1. I don’t know, we are thinking about it.
Q. Yes, it’s tricky because if you live somewhere where there is always people
A1. You can’t really, can you.
A2. My boyfriend always has his dogs around. He has got two dogs, NAMES OF
Q. So do you think if there was somewhere to go that you would, or would you still
think about it?
A1. I don’t know, I think we might think about it first, I'm not too sure.
Q. Or would you wait until you got married?
A1. I don’t think we will wait. That would be a long time yet. We won’t get married
just yet. I'm too young.
Q. Some people still do?
A1. I know. I think to get married until I might be twenty, but we might move in with
each other, he will be eighteen this year, I'll be eighteen next year, so we might
move in next year together, I will see how it goes.
Q. And if you did move in together would you consider having a sexual relationship
A1. Yes, most probably, I am not too sure.
Q. And what about you?
A2. Well we have talked about it. Well, I am not ready and he is not ready but we do
talk about it a lot. He says to me, like, if anything does happen am I going to go on
the pill or is he going to use something, but you see I don’t think it’s right for the girl
to keep going on the pill all the time, so, it’s like he thinks the girl should think about
it. When a girl jumps into a bed with a boy just like that it’s no good, he says you've
got to think about it and all that. So I said to him I would wait a while. So we are
waiting because we should move in with each other at the end of the year. So I will
be eighteen then, so it will be alright.
Q. And what do your parents think of that?
A2. Well my mum hasn’t exactly seen him. She saw him at the pub the first night I
met him, and she thought he was a bit weird. Because we all went to a party, well I
didn’t go to a party, I went to a disco on the Saturday night and we stayed at his
brother's flat, me and my sister and her boyfriend, and me and my boyfriend, sat all
night talking, and .........and then my sister was asleep and she goes “did you do
anything last night?” and I said "no", she goes "you mean he could do anything to
you and he didn’t even touch you", and I said no, and I told my mum and my mum
went “oh that’s great, you know, at least he didn’t touch you or anything”. So now
when I phone up my mum and she says, “are you going with ANDY tonight?” and I
said yes, and she goes, oh god not again, you know. And every time I come home
she goes “what are you doing today”, “oh nothing much, just talking”, we are always
talking, we listen to records and talk. I don’t know it just brings us closer if we can
talk a lot.
Q. Yes. It’s very nice talking, some people never bother to talk, they justA2. Saturday, we had half an hour's sleep, from half three until seven we were
talking, first thing at half seven I woke up and we started talking again. And my
sister and her boyfriend were still asleep and they woke up at eight o'clock and they
looked really tired and me and ANDY were just sitting there talking away and we
didn’t cuddle up or anything. Just talking got us really closer, he used to tell me
about his ex-girlfriends, and I would tell him about my ex-boyfriends. And I told him
what I done to one of them, setting them alight and he goes "I hope you don’t do
that to me". It’s alright, he's a laugh when he wants to be, but he wasn’t really in a
mood for talking yesterday and I said to him, “what’s the matter?”, he goes
“nothing”, so I just shut up, because I won’t keep asking him otherwise he will get
stroppy, so I just kept quiet and he started singing. I haven’t got a voice to sing with.
Q. Yes, it’s a bit tricky.
A2. Yes, then he starts singing to me after ...........I shouldn’t be saying this, I swore
that I wouldn’t tell anybody that he sings to me every night.
Q. It’s alright, it won’t go anywhere that he will ever see.
A2. Yes, he keeps singing to me and telling me that he loves me and everything.
Q. And do you love him?
A2. Yes. You know I goes to him the other night, “do you still love me”, and he goes
Q. Do boys often actually say that they love you, or girls in general, is it usual or
A2. It’s unusual. It is unusual because if a boy loves a girl, they don’t show it. Do
you know what I mean, but ANDY said that "I respect you" and he loves me a lot but
with some boys they just get on with what they want to do and that’s it.
Q. Have you met them as well?
A2. Yes, I have met boys like that. I mean I have had a couple that have tried to get
hold of me.
Q. What do you do then when they do that?
A2. Beat them up.
A2. Yes, I do, I beat them up. Once someone tried that on me and I said to them I
am not like that, and he said oh yes, yes, and I said to him if you touch us I will kill
you, and he tried it on and so I just kicked him and walked out and he says to me,
"will you meet me tomorrow then" and I goes "alright then" and I turned up and he
didn’t so I knew damn well that he didn’t get what he wanted.
Q. Have you found that as well?
A1. Sometimes, yes.
Q. What do you do when that happens?
A1. I just say like you said, "I'm not like that", so it’s not right.
A2. I think I was watching this programme, QED, right and the first one I watched
was that boys and girls going out with each other and I was watching the TV and I
am sat there having a go at the TV. My mum was going, “what’s the matter” and I
goes "did you hear what this man said on that TV” and she goes "no". And this man
said all girls are good for is cleaning, scrubbing, having sex, giving birth and that is
it. And she goes “you’re joking” and I goes “no I swear on the TV” and everything, I
said, “that man actually thinks like that”. Girls can do better than what boys can do.
And my boyfriend, he doesn’t put it that way, he thinks girls are like boys, but we
have different bodies, girls should be treated like boys, but girls are treated like a
piece of shit.
A1. I know this girl, she goes to our college, and she was walking through the
station one day and these three men tried to get hold of her and they were making a
chain and that, and one man he tried to get her against the wall and you know, and
she kicked him there and she got away, but she had to go to the station the next
day to get back home and they were there and they knifed her and punched her and
so the police couldn’t find them. And a couple of days after she was walking through
these flats and they caught her and sliced her across the arms and across.. Bad
isn’t it, and she knows who it is as well. It’s disgusting.
Q. That’s awful, and it makes you afraid to go out sometimes?
A2. I feel sorry for her.
A1. Because I think they watched her come out of the college and timed it and when
she goes out and when she goes home because they could always get her again
Q. That’s horrible.
A2. My boyfriend always brings me home anyway.
Q. What does he do?
A2. CARPENTRY. He works with dangerous machines, but in a couple of years'
time he is going to be a manager of the place.
A1. Loads of money.
A2. Yes, loads and loads. No, I don’t go out with him for his money, I go out with him
because I like him and he respects me. And last night he was saying, I thought he
was going to whisper sweet things into my ear and I don’t know what to say, and I
says how about you and he says don’t say anything, I will sing to you instead. So,
he was singing to me. He's nice, he's a very nice boy, very gentle. But he said to
me, if anybody touches me he would kill them. And I said I won’t let you touch them
anyway and he goes I've got people who will. I thought, oh no.
Q. Here we go again.
A2. He is small, he's only five foot seven.
A1. Mine is six foot four. It was funny, the first day I took him home to my house I
told my mum before he went and she opened the door and she thought he would be
about my height, and looking at me she went, she was shocked, he was six foot
three when I first met him and now he is six foot four.
Q. He's grown?
A2. Every time I see him, I say god, you are getting taller.
A1. That’s what I said to my mum, so I am dreading what he is going to be like when
he is fully grown.
Q. You will have to grow.
A2. He was six foot when he was fifteen.
A1. It’s amazing.
A2. It is compared to mine. Because mine is only five foot seven but that’s the
perfect height for me, because the tallest boyfriend I ever had was six foot four.
Q. Can we talk a bit about actual, I know you were saying you haven’t had a sexual
relationship with these boys, but have you had sexual relationships with other
boyfriends? You implied in the questionnaire that you both had?
A2. Well mine was a mistake. It is something that happened to me, but I can’t say. It
was horrible, like it was between me and my family if you know what I mean, what
happened to me.
Q. It wasn’t a boyfriend?
A2. I did know him yes, but I don’t really like talking about it, I mean my boyfriend
and me talk about it, so I talk about it, but sometimes he talks about it too much and
I get a bit annoyed.
Q. It doesn’t sound as though it was a willing sexual experience?
A2. No, it wasn’t willing.
Q. No, that’s not at all nice.
A2. He sort of forced himself upon me and I was only sixteen.
A1. Same here.
Q. It happened to you as well?
A1. Yes. I was sixteen, we just went for a drive.
A2. That was the one you were telling me about.
A1. He locked the door and wouldn’t let me out. But he used something though. But
it wasn’t willing.
Q. So you didn’t want to do it?
A1. No, he was forcing me.
Q. But he used a condom?
A1. Yes. I thought that was weird, as it goes.
A2. Mine didn’t.
A1. I bet he was afraid that if he got me pregnant, you know, because I knew where
he works and so he was scared I would go down.
Q. And was he your boyfriend at the time?
A1. Not really, no.
A2. Was he married, was that the one you told me was married?
Q. And was that the first time?
Q. So it was actually he kind of took your virginity, as it were?
Q. Because it’s not a very nice way for it to happen?
A1. No, it’s not.
Q. So has it ever happened since, I mean, not that you have been forced?
Q. So you haven’t actually done it with anyone else.
A2. No, since then I have been very protective of myself, so if a boy touches me on
the arm or the leg I just turn round and say .....it’s a bit dodgy. You know when it
happened, I didn’t go out, LAURA always came round to me, didn’t you?
A2. And when I did go out I used to come back at nine o'clock every night to make
sure I got home alright and my dad just touched me and I says you go away, a bit
dodgy, I didn’t go out with boys or nothing, and that happened last year.
Q. So it was a year ago?
A2. Yes, so I have got a bit dodgy and my boyfriend now, and I am shaking and
says are you alright, and he won’t touch me, not unless I say it’s alright. But my
boyfriend is very understanding, though.
Q. It must affect you a lot?
A2. Yes, it does, yes. Me and LAURA sit down and talk a lot, to overcome the
problems and everything.
Q. So you both have had relatively similar experiences, so does it help to talk about
A2. It does, doesn’t it?
A1. Yes, let it all out.
A2. I am going to say something, and it just blurts out, you know.
A1. Well we say, she met her boyfriend, away from them we talk about the things
they say to us. We tell each other what they say.
A2. And what they do. And we will both sit there and laugh our heads off, and she
says, well, he said so and so, and there's mine singing to me every night and it’s so
A1. But it’s funny though, because her and her boyfriend have so much in common
and so do me and my boyfriend, it’s weird.
Q. And do you find that that having happened to you, like that has affected your
relationships with boys since?
A2. It has with me a bit, it got a bit dodgy, when I first went out with ANDY I was
dodgy, I didn’t like him putting his arm round me or nothing. And we were talking
and that and I said “you are not a user are you?” and he goes “what’s the matter
with you” and I said “there's nothing the matter, I just want to know are you a user",
and he was giving me funny looks. You know, after we started meeting each other
he got a bit more closer to me, you know. So, it was alright after.
Q. By a user do you mean someone who uses…?
A2. Yes, uses girls to get what they want and that’s it.
A1. A one-night stand.
A2. Yes, and he goes “I'm not like that”, he goes “when I go out with a girl I want a
steady relationship and everything”, so I started going out with him and we went out
and he took me home to his mum, the first time with his mum, and I got on really
well with her and I went up to him a couple of days ago and he had this cousin and I
got jealous, because his cousin is only five and I started calling him STUART,
because .....getting really jealous and me and him were sitting there. And now
is ....and his mum was sitting there and looking at us and smiling away and I
thought, I bet she is hoping, you know, because she keeps saying to me you get on
well, and even my sister reckons ......
Q. That’s good, and how about you, has it affected your relationships?
A1. Not really, I got over it. It’s not too bad.
Q. Good, so, but then neither of you have had a full sexual intercourse experience
with anybody else or anything that could be called something that you wanted to do
and enjoyed in that?
A2. I mean, if it happened again, I would like to be with someone special .......... but I
just said to him, I'm not ready yet. He wants to take me away for the weekend so we
could be on our own. You know, because he said I would like to be on my own with
you without everybody around and we can have more serious talks and not to get
up to anything.
A1. That’s what STEVE says to me.
Q. What does he say?
A1. The same thing. He just wants to be alone.
Q. And do you find, like, some people have suggested that there is a point at which
kind of sex, as it were, becomes something that is kind of expected, you get to a
certain point in your relationship and then maybe the boy expects it and the girl
thinks oh, well he's expecting it, maybe I should because we are at the point. Does
that happen, do you think?
A2. It depends doesn’t it. I mean if the boy and the girl do it together ..........if the girl
expects it and the boy doesn’t want to or the boy expects it and the girl doesn’t then
there is something seriously wrong. But he says to me, well when you are ready
then maybe, but I am just not ready yet at the moment. So we just sit down and talk
and cuddle and kiss.
Q. And what are your expectations from it in general?
A2. I don’t know.
Q. Do you think it will be pleasurable, do you think the earth will move?
A2. I wish it would.
Q. Do you know what I mean, you get all this stuff on the telly and the films?
A2. Yes, and all birds flying around your head and bells ringing and everything. I
don’t know really, it depends. If that person is special to you and you get on well and
you really love each other then it is obvious, but you don’t do you because it’s going
to be a flop, isn’t it. In time it’s not going to work out because you won’t feel
comfortable, he may feel comfortable, it’s obvious he will but you won’t, you'll get a
bit dodgy about it all, you know. But some boys do expect too much of girls I reckon.
A1. That’s true.
A2. They expect a girl to do this and that and it’s unbelievable.
Q. You've met them who do that?
A2. Yes. I went out with one before and he expected me to do all these things to him
and I went, well, I'm not like that and he goes alright, alright, so he was talking to me
and he goes 'meet me tomorrow' and I said 'yes', and I waited and waited and
waited and he didn’t turn up and I felt more relieved because he didn’t turn up, so I
thoughtA1. If they don’t get what they want, they will just leave you.
A2. They say, 'oh I won’t leave you' and if you don’t give them what they wantA1. You turn up the next day and they are not there.
A2. Do you know who your real boyfriend is. Do you know what I mean, I said to
ANDY “don’t expect nothing off me”, and I thought he wouldn’t turn up the next day
and he came up Sunday, two days after we met, and I said don’t expect nothing off
me or something like that and he says fair enough, and he says, I will meet you at
so and so and I waited and I turned round and he was there. And I thought bloody
hell, he turned up and I said, “I didn’t think you were going to turn up” and he goes
“why?”. I said, because when I said I wouldn’t give anything to you I thought you
wouldn’t want to know, and he goes 'I'm not like that”, he goes “I like you too much
anyway”, so he is alright, he's safe.
Q. So what did the guy actually want you to do to him?
A2. Oh, I can’t repeat it.
Q. Was it touching him?
A2. I mean, I maybe seventeen but I don’t know, he wanted me to do all these weird
things to him.
A1. Which one was this?
A2. ROBERT, the one I was going out with last year.
A1. In the car?
A2. In the car yes.
Q. Is that what he wanted you to do, to actually…?
A2. Do things like that. I said no, I'm not like that, and he said fair enough, I will
meet you tomorrow at half seven and I goes alright, and I waited and he didn’t turn
up and I thought at least you know who that person is, don’t you. And then I met
ANDY and I thought, well I've been going out two days so far, he's breaking all the
Q. So how near do you get to kind of any sexual activities?
A1. Well me and my boyfriend, we don’t go that far because we are in my house or
something with my mother and brother. The nearest we get is just kissing and
cuddling and that’s about it really.
Q. You don’t actually sort of feel one another up?
A1. Not really no. Not in our house.
Q. Do you?
A2. Well he has got his own room, so we stay in his room and his mum is OK, but
we have the dogs, by the way. Just in case you think anything. He thinks I've got a
nice figure, a lovely figure and he likes stroking my legs but the furthest we get is
kissing and cuddling, and that is it, I suppose. But I said to him, what happens if
something does happen and I get pregnant, and he said I will stand by you,
whatever you want to do, if you want to get rid of it, get rid of it, but if you don’t, keep
it and I will support you. And I goes “would you mind a screaming brat every five
minutes”, and he goes “no” and I goes “well you would get yourself to work, wouldn’t
you” and he said “yes”, so he's alright, he’s an understanding person.
Q. Good. And do you feel that you are in control, that you have a say in what
Q. And in terms of, say, if you did decide it was the time, how would you go about
contraception and things like that. Is that something that you both talked about?
A1. Not a lot.
A2. I do with ANDY. We do talk about it a lot. He says he doesn’t think it’s fair for
always the girls to go on the pill and girls use contraception and everything, and the
boy should take care of it as well as the girl.
A1. Yes, that's what STEVE says. If me and STEVE ever did, he would use a
condom, but I wouldn’t go on the pill, I don’t trust it.
Q. You wouldn’t go on the pill?
A1. No. My mum said if you do get that serious I would rather you go on the pill, but
I don’t trust it. I don’t think it’s right.
Q. And STEVE, he wouldn’t mind using a condom?
A1. No, he wouldn’t, I don’t think he would anyway.
Q. And have you ever talked about things like AIDS and things like that with him?
A1. We have a little bit, but not a lot.
Q. You have with ANDY?
A2. We do, we talk about diseases and AIDS and things and being careful. .............
you don’t sleep around and I said how can I believe that. But he said to me he has
never lied to me because................ and he said if we ever did get that far he would
use something anyway.
Q. Do you feel aware of AIDS as something you should worry about?
A2. AIDS is like any other virus, you could die of cancer or anything, because I had
a RELATIVE who died from cancer. Yes, DETAILS REDACTED, and it’s just like a
cancer except it’s a virus. I mean you can die of anything, you die when you get
Q. Except I suppose cancer you don’t catch from somebody else, whereas it is
possible to catch AIDS from somebody?
A2. When I was younger, I had the same as her RELATIVE, .............you can catch
Q. But do you feel that by, say, having a sexual relationship with somebody that you
are risking that sort of thing?
A2. YesA1. Yes, you could say that, yes.
A2. You see other boys they sleep around. It’s one thing I don’t like, if there is a girl
that sleeps around and if there is a boy that sleeps around, they call the girls slags
and everything and when it comes to the boy it’s oh, good on you mate, you know,
you got her last night, and all this, but it comes to the girl oh, you slag, what do you
think you are doing sleeping around like that. I mean girls are just the same as boys
except that we have got different bodies compared to boys. And I think it’s wrong. I
know someone who slept around and she is called every name under the sun and
when it comes to the boy, oh good on you, and I thought bloody hell, what a
cheek. .....Because I think it’s wrong. It’s up to the girl what she wants to do, if she
wants to sleep around then let her sleep around, so she is risking her life, well she is
risking other people, but it’s up to that person. You can’t tell them what to do and
what not to do.
Q. If you are with somebody, not necessarily the people you are with at the moment,
but say if you had been with someone do you actually meet somebody and think to
yourself whether they might be someone you would have a sexual relationship with,
does that occur to you, or is it just whether they are a nice person and could you
see yourself going out with them?
A1. It’s mainly for their personality.
A2. Yes, that’s what I'm like.
A1. I don’t always go for looks, looks comes second I would say but if they have a
nice personality then it’s alright. Say if they were jack the lad then I wouldn’t bother
A2. There is one thing if a boy thinks he is good looking, then he will start posing.
A1. Yes, too flash and go out with other girls.
A2. Yes, if he is going out with a girl and next week he's down the road with another
girl you think, bloody hell. But with ANDY, I've got to admit he is quite good looking
A1. He's like STEVE, but he's not like Tom Cruise or something.
A2. No, but in his own way he's got looks. And at the disco on Saturday there were
all the girls staring at me, no not at me, at him, well they were looking at me
because I was going out with him right, and I goes “why you ...and so aren’t you
going to do something like go and chat them up or something”, because some boys
do do that, and he goes to me “look there is only one girl I'm going out with, and the
only girl I'm going out with is you”, and he goes and “you’re not moving and I'm not
moving”. So I said “alright then”, and he goes “what are you looking at” and they are
all looking at me and giving me dirty looks and I'm giving them a smile and he goes,
“the only girl I want to go out with is you and no one else”, and he is quite good
looking. He used to be an ex-SPORTS PLAYER as well, so he is well built. And I
thought, why does he want to go out with a girl like me when he has got all these
nice skinny things and he goes to me ............they are dead good looking, but they
can be bitchy. Some of the girls that were staring at him were going out with boys,
you know. I mean her STEVE looks like Rick Astley.
A1. Not a lot. Around his eyes. He is much taller than Rick Astley.
Q. Do you see things like pregnancy and AIDS and things like that as potential
A2. AIDS, yes.
A1. And pregnancy.
A2. I mean if you don’t want it then you use one, but if you plan to have one then it
A1. I think you have got to have a man to support you to bring it up.
A2. If he earns enough money.
A1. If you got pregnant and he walks away with no money or nothing, then you are
left to suffer.
Q. So do you think that when either of you do decide to have a sexual relationship,
will you protect yourselves?
A1. Yes, I would.
A2. Not unless we plan to have a kid, then fair enough. He thinks he's too young
and I think I'm too young, well he is twenty-three you know.
A1. Just wait until you are older.
A2. We both think we are too young, and we are waiting. He goes “we will wait a
while before we have a kid” and I said “well, I'm planning to do that”. But if I was
pregnant by him by mistake and if I wanted to get rid of it, he says get rid of it, he
goes, but if I wanted to keep it then he would stick by me. I said, your mum would be
happy to be a nanny again, wouldn’t she? He has SIBLINGS and they have all got
kids except for him.
Q. So when do you think you might get married and have children, if you do, maybe
A2. Well he wants to get married when he is twenty-five, twenty-six. That’s another
two years’ time, he's twenty-five next year and by the time he is twenty-six I'll be
twenty-one, twenty, and we are planning to have kids when I'm a bit older, about
Q. And what do you think you will do in terms of work or education and things like
A2. Well at the moment I want a career, because I going to be a painter and
decorator so I want to be able to get that worked out and get a bit of money, and
then I can start to plan to have kids. I don’t know yet, it will take me a long while to
think about that one. Say if I did get pregnant now, I would keep it because I'm
Catholic so we don’t believe in abortions or things like that, so I would have to keep
Q. But do you believe in contraception, because some Catholics don’t?
A2. Yes. Well my mum does. Catholics are not supposed to use contraception, it’s
supposed to be the boy that’s using it, and I'm a Catholic so, I can’t go on the pill
anyway because I've got bronchitis and asthma, so it could affect me that way. But I
wouldn’t go on the pill I don’t think, I think I would let the boy do it, it’s better anyway.
If it was a bad risk, say there is anything wrong, then I might as well be on the pill,
but at the moment I don’t think I would because I'm too young.
Q. And what about you?
A1. About the pill?
Q. Say in the future you were saying you wouldn’t have kids, whatever, for a long
time, whats’ a long time?
A1. I would say in my twenties at least, but not yet though.
Q. What do you want to do in the meantime?
A1. Jobwise, or?
Q. Yes, or courses or education?
A1. I want to stay in painting and decorating and see how that goes. And see what
happens from there.
Q. And if you had to describe yourself to someone, what sort of person would you
describe yourself as?
A1. I would say I had a nice personality, kind, bubbly and cheerful.
Q. How would you describe her?
A2. LAURA, she is very bubbly, she is always laughing. She is very creative, well
not actually making everything, but she likes to have a good career, she thinks
about her career more. She has a good personality, she is nice to talk to, like an
agony aunt at the moment.
A1. Me, you, you mean.
A2. I'm an agony aunt at the moment because everybody tells me their problems.
You can tell her anything, she is nice to talk to, ...
A1. The same with her.
Q. So you can trust each other?
A1. We have known each other for a very long time.
Q. And how would you describe RACHEL?
A1. Mostly the things she said about me really, she has a nice personality, she is
easy to talk to, she is a laugh.
Q. So you are quite similar?
Q. Going back to risks, because this is also about whether girls take risks in terms of
I'm in love, I don’t mind if he uses a condom or not because I don’t care if I get
pregnant or get AIDS or whatever, but you wouldn’t see yourselves like that at all?
A1. No way.
A2. If I was in love, I would still tell him to use something.
A1. So would I.
A2. I know some girls who get themselves pregnant to keep their boyfriends. And if I
knew I was going to lose my boyfriend I don’t think that would bother me, I don’t
think I would do anything stupid like getting myself pregnant for nothing. If I was
planning to have a kid, then yes, I would but at the moment no way, but if I did get
pregnant I would just want to keep it anyway.
A1. I used to know this boy COLIN, and he has got at least ten girls pregnant
altogether. No one knows how many kids he's got over there.
A2. Another ten on the way I suppose.
A1. He went to CITY with some girl with the kids as well, and he would do anything.
A2. I know his two brothers, his brothers are the same as well.
A1. You see his brother with a girl, then another and then another.
A2. Every day he's got a different girl with him.
A1. He says, “I'm going to stick with her”, and the next day he's seen with another
Q. And obviously none of them appear to be taking precautions?
A2. No. He has got hundreds of them up the spout.
Q. And do you take risks in any other way, like smoking or drinking, or?
A2. We don’t smoke and we don’t drink and we don’t take drugs. You see, I am not
allowed to smoke because of my bronchitis, I will drink sometimes but only at parties
and weddings and things like that, and when I do go out to a pub, I drink coke. I
mean when I went out on Saturday my boyfriend said why don’t you have a drink, so
I drunk five Pernods’, one dry whiskey, but that was only a tiny bit, and some
Bacardi and I was still walking straight, and my sister only had a couple of martinis
and she was gone. She was a goner.
A1. I remember once we went out with these ladsA2. Oh yes, and they stuck something in my drink or something, didn’t theyA1. Yes, gin or something in her drink. He took a bit of advantage of her. They took
us home and I kept away from them and the one that was driving got hold of
RACHEL and started kissing her and everything and I pushed RACHEL out of the
way and told them to get lost.
A2. I started hitting him.
A1. We went for a drink and that was it, because they asked us.
A2. I hit him, didn’t IA1. I hit him as well. I just got her out of the car andA2. I didn’t even know, she only told me a couple of months ago he put something in
Q. What, you were right out of it?
A2. Well, I wasn’t exactly right out of it.
A1. She was laughing.
A2. I was laughing all the time.
A1. She's not usually like that when she has a drink. They did put something in it.
A2. I bet they put some drugs in it or speed or something in it.
Q. It’s a bit hazardous isn’t it, going out with some boys?
A1. We knew them before, but we didn’t know them very well.
A2. And we went like fools and they said meet us the next day, but we didn’t turn up.
A1. We didn’t go.
A2. But I didn’t even know, she only just told me that they put something in my drink,
I don’t know what it was, I bet it was speed or something, or valium. Because I don’t
get drunk that quickly, so they must have put something in it.
A1. What was it, Pernod?
A2. No, I had a coke. I know I ordered a coke.
Q. It obviously worked, whatever it was.
A2. I bet they mixed it all up, mixed the drinks up, because if you mix your drinks up
you get drunk more quickly. That’s what I done Saturday, mixed my drinks up and I
was still sober. And my sister was gone out of her head.
Q. And is there anything else that you can think of in terms of your sort of
negotiations with your boyfriends that is a problem for you or is difficult to talk
A1. I can’t think of anything.
A2. Me and my boyfriend are straightforward with each other, we are very
straightforward, I mean if he has got a problem, he tells me, and I tell him.
A1. Same here.
A2. We don’t keep secrets from each other.
END OF RECORDING.
These were two YTS trainee painters and decorators. They said they'd be interviewed and
came back at the appointed time to say they'd changed their minds. It was only really after
about 15 minutes of talking and persuasion by me and [NAME OF TEACHER] (who teaches
the childcare course there), that they agreed to doing an interview together. Both wearing
white painters overalls - LSFS12 is taller with shoulder length blonde har tied back, square
face. Wearing sweatshirt and jeans under overalls. Quite confident and talkative. Both
laughed a lot throughout the interview. They are friends from their schooldays, both aged 17.
Went to the same girls school, and had the same sex education classes, which seemed
quite good. They had this in Health and First Aid lessons, and saw videos on AIDS etc.
LSFS12 is smaller and plumper with should length light brown hair. A bit quieter than
LSFS12 although her friend had described her as 'bubbly'. She was a bit more embarrassed
about answering Qs on sexual behaviour. She's 'going steady' with her boyfriend, even
though she's only been with him for 2 weeks. But she says she thinks it's serious because
they get on so well, have so much in common, talk such a lot. Thinks they may live together
by the end of the year by which time she'll be 18. He's 23 and does [CARPENTRY]. She
doesn't have a sexual relationship with him. She's only had one sexual experience, which
was forced sex, when she was 16, something that her family keeps quiet about. She's not
been with anyone else since, and says she's a bit nervous of being touched, not ready for
sex yet. Her boyfriend says this is okay, they can wait until she's ready. She is Catholic and
thinks that she shouldn't use anything for sex anyway, but her boyfriend should.
LSFS13 is engaged - she showed me her ring - to her boyfriend of 17 who she's known for 3
months. Doesn't know when they'll marry. Like LSFS12, she has only had one sexual
experience, and that was forced sex, in a car, with someone who at least used a condom.
Hasn't done it since. Says she's not ready to have it with her fiancé. They do just kissing and
cuddling. Says also that there is nowhere at either his home or hers to 'do it', but says she
wouldn't do it anyway. Says she wouldn't go on the Pill because it's not good to be on it a lot,
would use condoms.
Both said that their boyfriends wanted to go away with them for weekends so that they could
be alone together.
Say they are aware of AIDS but they didn't give the impression of being overly concerned
about it really. More concerned about pregnancy.