Interview with Bridget, 16-17, Caribbean, working class, Roman Catholic. Women, Risk and AIDS Project, London, 1989. Anonymised version including field notes. (Ref: LJH11)
Anonymised transcript of interview with Bridget, who would like a career in law or insurance. She is more worried about her exams at the moment, but would like marriage and children when she is older. Her sex education has mainly come from her school and her older sister, which she has found useful as her parents have neglected to offer any - they have assumed that she would get is elsewhere. Although Bridget is a practising Catholic, she does not agree with certain aspects of her religion in relation to sexuality and contraception use. Bridget thinks the AIDS public health campaign adverts are useful and effective, which is interesting when compared to young people her age who are, or have been, in sexual relationships and haven't found them realistic at all.
Reanimating Data Project
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Q. What we're interested in in the piece of research that I'm doing is young women's
thoughts and feelings about relationships and I was wondering, what's the most important
relationship for you, that you have, do you think?
A. At the moment I'm not in a relationship.
Q. I was thinking of a relationship of any type, not necessarily...
A. I suppose the relationship with my parents at the moment, that's the closest I've got.
Q. Have you got any brothers and sisters?
A. Yes, I've got one brother and sister.
Q. Are they older or younger?
Q. How do you get on with them?
A. I get on with my brother alright and my sister, yeah. We're not that close but we get on
Q. Yeah, how old are they?
A. My brother is fourteen and my little sister is five.
Q. So she's quite young really, it's more like a babysitting relationship.
Q. You say you're not in a relationship at the moment with a boy would it be, or a man?
Would you ... have you had relationships in the past?
Q. What do you think about having a relationship?
A. I think it's OK to have a relationship once ... like me, for instance who doesn't have a
relationship, I think it's best, like, to get ... I'm in exams at the moment ... is best to get
these past and then you can think, alright, and then you're clear, go for it when you see
someone you like and, you know.
Q. Do you think you will do that?
A. Yeah, I will.
Q. Have you ... do you find it difficult to concentrate on the work and not think about
relationships and things like that?
A. No I don't.
Q. It's quite easy?
Q. What sort of relationship do you think you might like to have in the future?
A. Get married, you know, just like a single relationship, not children like at the age of
twenty or something like that, it'll be later on. Just a one-to-one relationship with someone.
Q. Mm. You think you might have children later on but not ...
A. Not, like, before twenty-five, something like that. I wouldn't like to have children before
Q. So it's sounds as if you're sort of sorting out your life first before you kind of get involved
in that kind of thing. So what are you thinking of doing?
A. What? When I leave school?
A. Um, I'm going do a B-Tec course at college, and that's B-Tec first and then go up to BTec national, and after that I wouldn't mind doing, like, legal work - anything to do with law
or insurance company, something like that.
Q. Oh right. What gave you the idea of doing that sort of work?
A. Um, well, I went to [POLICE FORCE] for work experience and I thought I'd like to join
the police or do something in the police but then I changed my mind, so I thought, if not join
the police, do something in law then. I went to an insurance company not long ago, about a
month ago, to have a mock interview with them and they showed me around the company
and talked about the company and I really liked it and I thought, 'This is interesting'. So it
gave me the idea to ...
Q. Yeah. What changed your mind about the police? You thought you might ...?
A. I don't know. I also went to [YOUTH CLUB[ where they train the cadets and I really liked
it at first, like, all the training they did and what they did there was really good but slowly
like, come home and think about it and just thought, 'It's not for me' and I thought ...
Q. It didn't appeal?
Q. Yeah. Also, it's a very specialised sort of work isn't it?
Q. So that's your sort of longish-term plans for work etc. Do you get a lot of help at school
about making those sort of decisions or have you thought about it yourself?
A. I've thought about most things myself, but you do get a lot of help from the teachers, like
careers teachers who help you with what you wanna do. It does help.
Q. Thinking about schools as well, I was interested in looking at what you put on the
questionnaire about the sex education you had at school. This seemed as if you felt that
you'd covered quite a lot of topics.
A. Yeah, quite a bit.
Q. What did you think about the sex education at school?
A. I think it helps a lot because children might go home, like at my age, and the parents
don't explain enough about it to them, so at least when they come to school at least they
can get a basic knowledge of what it's like. Like me, my parents don't like telling me about
sex education, anything to do with sex ... they just tell me ... beat around the bush, you
know and expect me to know, so really I suppose it's good to have sex education lessons.
Q. Mm. And you found out, I mean, you also said you found out about various things in
quite a lot of different places as well.
Q. So it's not mainly from your parents, it's from ...
A. No. I've got my older sister. She's quite close with me. She's twenty and we talk quite
close. And she's in a relationship at the moment and she talks quite close with me. I get a
bit of knowledge from her.
Q. Yeah. So you find that helpful?
Q. I was interested actually in talking to a couple of young women on Tuesday, I think it
was I was in here, who said that you actually had in the sex education lessons, you'd
learned about masturbation which had quite surprised me because other young people I
had talked to about this had completely left it out. And I think you had it on your list of
things that you found out about as well?
A. Masturbation? Well ...
Q. Did you? I mean, did they talk about it to you?
A. Not in depth. Not a lot. Just here and there. Bits here and there. I don't know a lot
about ... I know about it but not a lot.
Q. Yeah, yeah. A lot of people when they think of masturbation, they think of, sort of, male
masturbation really, don't they?
A. Yeah, they do.
Q. And don't think that it's possible for women as well.
A. It is.
Q. Yeah. What about you, since you don't have a sexual relationship?
A. Do I masturbate? Um, it's not happened to me yet. I wouldn't do it, no. I don't feel
quite ... I mean, probably sometime when you feel a bit ... about, probably ... but not, sort
of, masturbation to myself, no.
Q. Yeah. You also said you knew a little bit about oral sex but not very much.
A. That's right.
Q. What sort of thing did you want to know about that?
A. Really anything.
Q. I suppose it would be a good idea to look in ... I suppose I'd go and look in a book rather
than tell you myself. I mean, I could tell you, but I'm more interested in asking you about
what's going on in your thinking at the moment. I mean, talking about oral sex brings us a
little bit around, or could bring us around, to the question of AIDS and that's one of the
things that we're interested in in this work as well, in finding out what young people know
about AIDS. What do you know about AIDS?
A. Well, I know it can be sexually transmitted to a woman. Um, and it's dangerous to share
needles and all that. I mean, I know how, if I got into a relationship, I'd know how to protect
Q. You would?
A. From getting AIDS. Yeah, definitely.
Q. What would you do to protect yourself from getting AIDS?
A. Well, if I met a partner like, say, a year from now, I would like both of us to go check-up
at the doctors and use proper condoms or something like that. Just really keep safe and
say, like, keep one-to-one, like if, you know, it's an open relationship I wouldn't agree cos I
don't think that's safe at all.
Q. Yeah. Do you think it would be likely that he would want an open relationship?
A. Um, I'm not sure ...
Q. That would depend on the individual. But do you have a feeling that maybe men would
be more interested in that kind of relationship than you would be?
A. I suppose so. There are a few men who wouldn't mind having open relationships, but I
wouldn't like to find a man like that.
Q. Yeah. So you think you would be monogamous if you were in a relationship?
Q. That sounds a bit like safe sex, what they've been describing as safe sex. Is that what
you understand safe sex to be?
Q. Have you thought of anything else that might be? I suppose that was why I was thinking
of the oral sex.
A. Probably oral sex would be safe as well.
Q. And I was wondering about other sorts of things that ... I mean, when you think about
sex, do you think in terms of sexual intercourse?
A. Yeah, most of the time when I think about sex it is actually sexual intercourse.
Q. Yeah. And other sorts of things might not be, wouldn't be included, like we've been
talking about masturbation and oral sex. I mean, do you think of those as being sex?
A. It comes in as part of sex, yes, but when I think about sex those things don't come to my
Q. And you haven't had a relationship at all, so you haven't ...?
Q. I was thinking as well that some people think, well, sexual intercourse that's really it, but
that you might do other things before you reach the point where you do that. Do you think
that when you got into a relationship you might do that?
Q. It's very hard to say when you haven't done it at all. Um, I notice that you are Roman
Catholic as well. Is that ... does religion mean a lot to you? I mean, are you still practicing
A. Well, I'm not strong in Roman Catholic, I just go to a Roman Catholic church, so it
doesn't really have anything to do with what I do, especially whatever ...
Q. So it wouldn't really, I mean, it wouldn't influence ...?
A. No, anything to do with sex or personal matters, no.
Q. Because they, the Roman Catholic Church, quite frequently suggest that you should not
use any form of contraception at all.
A. No, I wouldn't use that advice at all.
Q. I've been talking about AIDS, but other things which are obviously a concern when
you're sleeping with people, having sex with people, is pregnancy. Would that be ... that
would be a concern of yours, I take it, since you don't plan to have children?
A. Yes, it would.
Q. Do you think ...? Let me ask you another question about AIDS now. When did you first
hear about it?
A. Um, I saw it for the first time on TV actually and, um, that was about a year ago or when
it first came out on TV. I saw an advertisement there. Then we had leaflets on it, and I
came to school and talked about it with my friends as well, teachers in health education
and sex education.
Q. So you found out about it from quite a lot of different sources?
Q. Were you worried about it? Did it upset you when you heard about it or worry you?
A. It worried me when people were saying, 'Everybody's normal. Use safe sex. You can't
be sure of who you're going into a relationship with', but then again, since I wasn't in a
relationship it didn't worry me as much, you see, so ...
Q. Just in principle, it seems like a shame.
Q. What about your friends? How were they feeling?
A. Well, some are in relationships, so I suppose they feel a bit more wary about it than me.
Some of them were saying they don't really feel they can trust their partners anymore so
they're not too close as they would be with their partners as before.
Q. So it's sort of affected the way they're feeling and think about their relationships?
Q. Do you think it's changed their behaviour? Do you think they've changed the way that
they have sex with their partners as a result?
A. I suppose so, yeah. They didn't tell me that but ... from the way they speak, it has
changed a bit, you know, their sexual life ...
Q. Yeah. You said on the questionnaire that you would be willing to get a partner to use a
condom. Do you think that would be, well, it's hard to speculate again, but do you think that
would be something that you could actually do when you got into that situation?
A. Yeah, he'd have to.
Q. You'd insist.
A. Yes, very much so.
Q. That's the other thing that I'm interested in - how young women feel that they can ... that
they have any control over what's going on when they're having a sexual relationship.
A. If I was with someone who didn't want to do it, I probably wouldn't have sex because, I
mean, men probably, well from what I see, men have a lot more sex than women ... well,
not sure if that's right but ... and, to me, if they get aroused they have to have it, so if I have
a man and say to him, 'Well, I would prefer it if you wore a condom' and he objected and I
said, 'Well, there's no way we're going to have sex', he'd probably have to do it in the end
Q. Oh, right, yes. So you sort of use his own drive to, yeah ... he'd have to give in. Some of
them might still refuse or insist or something like that. And then there's the problems of
your sort of feelings. So many people say that because they care for the person then they
sort of give in to what they want so that's a bit problematic. But you think you'd probably be
able to use ...?
Q. Use the situation. I'm going to ask you another question about AIDS. What do you
understand AIDS itself to be?
A. A disease.
Q. And have you heard about HIV and how do you think that relates ...?
A. That is the same thing isn't it, but just ...? I don't know ... it's the same thing isn't it, but
you were saying how does that relate with AIDS?
A. Same thing.
Q. Right, I think the distinction is that the HIV is a virus which you can catch which is
transmitted in all these ways that you were talking about before, and you have the virus
which you can have for quite a long time and it doesn't develop into AIDS until a later point.
And then AIDS isn't really one disease, it's a whole load of things that you can catch when
your system's weakened by having this virus. Have you seen those advertisements? They
have an advertisement with a very beautiful young woman saying, you know, this is how
you look if you've got HIV and she could look like this five years later and she looks
A. Yeah. They do it with men as well.
Q. Yes. Yeah, I haven't seen the one with the men. What did you think?
A. I mean, I turned over the page and I said, 'Cor, he looks nice', and then you read about
everything and it just puts you off.
Q. Yes, it does.
A. It does put you off. You think, gosh, you could see a nice fella out there and you
wouldn't know if he had AIDS or not or if he had HIV, you wouldn't know. This really makes
you scared. When men come and talk to you and if they're nice and you think, 'Cor, he's
nice' and then you say, 'Can I get into a relationship with this man or, you know, can I be
friendly with him?', you just don't know what to do. You can't just say right out of hand,
'Have you got AIDS or HIV or whatever?', you know, you can't, it's hard.
Q. It's very difficult. I think it's put people in a very difficult situation now. But you think that's
been very effective, I can see. It's really made you think, that particular campaign. What
about the others? What about the earlier ones? Do you remember any of those?
Q. When they had ... well, they had some about condoms with couples - a little, kind of, tiny
mini-drama with err ... Have you seen any of them on the tele?
Q. You haven't, no. There were some where they have the couple talking, having an
exchange, you know, 'It's getting late. Why don't you stay?'
A. Oh yeah!
Q. And then underneath they have what they're really thinking.
A. Yeah, yeah. I have seen that.
Q. What did you think of that one?
A. Well, I liked the advert because it makes you see, I mean ... that is how people think.
They say things out but in their mind it's a different thing. I mean, they don't know what to
do. They have a friend and they know that they want this friend to stay for the night but
they're not sure, you know, about it and ... it's a good advert. I liked it.
Q. Yeah. You think it rings very true?
A. Yeah, it does cos a lot of people think that way.
Q. Mm. So in fact you think that quite a lot of the campaign has been pretty effective really
and you think it's affected ...?
A. It has.
Q. Would you think your friends had been affected by it as well? I mean, have you
discussed that sort of thing?
Q. And that it would change behaviour as well?
A. Yeah, definitely.
Q. Yeah. Um, when we were talking about sex, we've been talking about the possibility of
getting AIDS, the possibility of getting pregnant - it's sort of a bit risky, sort of thing. Do you
think that there are any areas ... any other areas in your life in which you might engage in
A. Um ...
Q. I mean, some people think that smoking, drinking ...
A. Oh, yeah. Those are risky really because ... smoking and drinking can affect your health
seriously. I mean, a lot of people say that if you smoke ... you don't catch cancer just by
smoking, which is true, most people don't but just being around people who smoke, you
can catch cancer which is another thing you've gotta worry about really.
Q. Do you worry about it? Do you smoke yourself?
A. I don't smoke, no.
Q. So that's not really a problem. Except with other people smoking around you, then it
A. Yeah, my parents don't smoke so it doesn't affect me that far really. I don't hardly drink only on special occasions. Um, so those things ...
Q. What about other things? What about drugs? Have you had any contact with drugs at
Q. What about your friends? Have any of your friends?
A. No, not to my knowledge anyway.
Q. What sort of things do you do with your friends?
A. We talk about sex a lot, I suppose. That's one of the things that comes up quite a lot and
relationships and all that. Um, I suppose that's all basically that we do in our wreck, like at
school, and when we see each other off school or other things to do with our lives. You get
quite close feelings though cos you think, 'Oh, I can relate to this person', especially if she's
a really close friend, say, and tell her things that you wouldn't normally, things you certainly
wouldn't tell your parents you'd tell your friends, cos you think they can relate to you as you
relate to them.
Q. Yeah. Do you find that you have got a group of close friends here from school?
A. Not a group I wouldn't say. Probably one, maybe two, that's it.
Q. Mm. And you spend most of your time with them?
Q. Yeah. You said you'd got a special girlfriend who was older.
A. That was my older sister.
Q. Oh yeah. So you feel close with her?
Q. That's quite interesting isn't it? It's quite good to have a good relationship within the
Q. She's quite close in age as well?
Q. Um, I've sorted out what you're going to do in the future fairly thoroughly, haven't I? Do
you think there's anything else that needs to be done about AIDS? I mean, you seem to
feel that a lot of the campaigns and the advertising and so forth has been effective, but do
you think there's anything else that can be done to make it relevant for young people?
A. Well, they should have ... probably a programme about it because, like, there again,
here's where parents come in, they would like to tell some of their children ... like eleven
year olds, let's say from eleven year olds upwards or probably earlier, ask them questions
about it now and most of them wouldn't know about it even if they've seen the adverts on
TV, so if there's a programme on AIDS of HIV with children that age or kids that age, it
would make them more aware of the dangers of AIDS. I think that would help a bit. I mean,
there have been programmes in the past which ... some of them were at night and I was
watching them and my mum thought it wasn't for me to watch, but then again I told her, this
is what's happening today, they can't expect me not to watch it I'd learn from it, you know
what I mean? That's one of the things with parents.
Q. Yeah, especially with the younger children. They'd probably start worrying about that.
A. Yeah. Cos I think they think it's going to influence them. I don't know why. I think they
think they're going to end up having sex with people and all that but it's not that way with
most children. They see the dangers, most of them, and say, 'Well, that's not happening to
me. I wouldn't like that to happen to me.'
Q. So you think it would be good for them to have the information really rather than ...?
Q. Cos a lot of them, I suppose ... a lot of parents, one does get the impression, are like
your parents who think, who don't find it easy to talk to their children about sex and so forth
and so it would be ... some children don't get the information.
A. They don't.
Q. Cos they do say that if you tell people about it they want to rush out and experiment. I
mean, they want to experiment if they don't know about it because they want to find out.
Q. Yeah. Another question I'd like to ask you is about your image of yourself. What sort of
image do you have of yourself? How do you think of yourself?
A. That's hard to say really. Just, I'm a person ... I mean, I doubt myself a lot, I do, I don't
think ... I worry about my size and weight and everything like that. I don't know how to
answer that question ...
Q. It's a difficult one. It's throwing it on to you. Let's try another one then. What do you think
other people's image of you is? Say your friends?
A. I suppose they think I'm a person ... a lot of them say, 'Well, BRIDGET, I can talk to you',
you know, 'You're a person that wouldn't run away when I'm in trouble'. They think I'm
really sociable, friendly, some say I'm pretty. I don't know. They have nice things to say, not
a lot of them say, 'Oh, you're a horrible person'. A lot of people think when they see me, 'I
can get on with you', so I suppose I'm not that bad.
Q. No, I was going to say, doesn't other people's impression of you affect your own image?
Doesn't that make you feel better about yourself?
A. It does, it does, it does.
Q. I was wondering about the difference between the two. I find a lot of people are like that.
I mean, very ... when they think about themselves it's hard to say something positive and
when they think what other people think of them, it's pretty positive, really. I suppose
there's a little bit of modesty in it as well but it's quite interesting how people's images differ
from what they ... what they actually appear to be ...
Q. I feel as if I sort of ducked out of the question on oral sex with you. I mean, what would
you like to know about it? Perhaps I should tell you what I know.
A. How it comes about in sex, like, why is it people do it? Do they find it ... what part of sex
does it come into? I mean, I know it comes into sex as a whole but, um, ...
Q. How would it fit in sort of thing?
Q. I suppose all sorts of different things can be part of sex but ... and can ... I mean, you
may feel that penetrative sex is important, but you may not feel it is the only thing. I mean,
there are all kinds of other things that you can do. So during ... I mean, if you're making
love with somebody, it might be quite nice to stroke them or something like that and it could
quite naturally fit in that you might want, for example, to give them a suck or whatever
would be the terms that you would use, and so forth. I mean, I don't know. I use all sorts of
different terms for it myself. Or have them do the same for you. I mean, in fact, it can be
very nice. I think both ways round can be very nice. But it's sort of, it's um, I suppose the
thing is is if you feel comfortable with it. I mean, a lot of people ... I was talking to a young
woman the other day who, she was kind of saying about various types of sex that you can
engage in, and when she said oral sex she said, 'Oral sex, err'. I sort of had the impression
that she didn't like it very much.
A. My friends say that a lot when we come to that part of the talk. I mean they say, 'Err. I'd
never.' This is JOHN, my friend, who's not had sex yet said, 'I'd never have oral sex' and I
said to him, 'But how do you know you wouldn't? I mean, you've never tried it, you don't
know what it's like, you just can't say you wouldn't have oral sex because right now I
wouldn't say I wouldn't have oral sex because I don't know what it's like.' I mean, probably
when you are having sex it just comes and you think ...
Q. Try it, see what it's like.
Q. I mean, if you don't like it, you don't have to do it. There are various other things that
you can do instead of that.
Q. But it ... there's sometimes ... I think young women also feel that, I mean, it's OK, it's a
bit demanding. They don't fancy doing it with a man or doing it to him in fact very much and
so they don't think of having it ... having the man do it to them. Or they feel that if there is
oral sex within a relationship, it's only going to be them doing it to the man and nothing's
going to happen for them or something like that. I think you can make it more reciprocal, I
can just ... if they like it, you can do it to them, if you like it, you can have it done to you. But
I suppose some other young people feel that women especially wouldn't fancy it being
done to them. They sort of think, 'God, they won't like it' or something like that. But I think
it's that some people like it and some people don't, men and women, sort of thing, so it's
just entirely what pleases you in that kind of relationship. Well, I hope ... I mean, I felt bad
about feeling as if I hadn't talked about it to you. Is there anything else that you'd be
interested in? Not necessarily about sex, I mean ... of if it is about sex also?
A. I just wonder ... back to first meeting someone, I suppose I don't know much about ...
when it comes to, like, guys talking to me and if they're not a person I like, I'm usually really
cold to them and as my friends say, 'That's why you haven't got anyone yet' but really it
might boil down to the point where I don't want to have someone yet, that's why I'm being
so cold to most of the guys that are trying to talk to me and all that.
Q. Were you worried about the way ... I mean, do you think, yeah, you feel that you're
acting coldly towards them because somewhere inside you or in general you think you
don't particularly want that person, or you don't particularly want it right now or something.
But then there's a slight worry about it. You think maybe you're putting guys off or
something. I mean, what you were saying before, I mean, you were saying that if you were
in a relationship and you wanted to use condoms, I mean, if they ... if they're interested in
you then that's up to them to show their interest, whatever your reactions, sort of thing is, in
a way, isn't it?
Q. I mean, these things are very personal anyway aren't they? I mean, some guys would
be put off by coldness, other guys would be completely turned on and would pursue you for
fifteen years or something!
A. That's true.
Q. So that I think you have to ... in a way you have to play it ... play it a bit by ear, don't
A. I suppose my parents come into this again cos they think no way should I have
someone at this age or even when I'm eighteen, I should be just about getting to know
someone, not actually in a relationship, which I think is wrong because, alright, I can have
someone, you can have a guy as a good friend, you don't have to have an in-depth
relationship with them. You can just sort of be just friends, you know, because sometimes
you feel closer to guys than you would feel to your women friends. If I just brought a guy
home and told her he was my friend, she would take it the wrong way and say, 'Oh, are
you in a relationship with him?' and I'd say, 'No, this is just a friend', you know. You see, I
think my parents come into that a lot, they ... if I said to my mum, 'Oh, I met a guy at this
place', you know, 'Is it alright if I have him as a friend?' and she'd think, 'No'. So they kind
of put you off for thinking, 'My mum doesn't want to meet him so there's no use me having
a relationship' because it's not nice hiding, like ...
Q. Mm, yeah. So they've been influencing you quite a bit in that?
Q. But do you feel ... you sound a little bit ambivalent about it, you're not too sure whether
it's a good idea or a bad one and I'm not going to influence you, but would you prefer really
to at least be able to have relationships, even if they didn't include sex, sort of thing?
Q. Well, maybe it's worth talking to them about it, about how you feel about it cos I suppose
parents ... they leap to conclusions because they're so worried about you and if you can
convince them that in fact you just want to see what it's like to have a friendship
relationship. Have you had a friendship-type relationship with boys or men?
A. Well, I have guys as friends but not close friends, just to talk to now and then to say, 'Hi!
What are you doing?', like that, but not to have them come home.
Q. But you would like to?
A. I suppose some of them, yeah.
Q. Well maybe that's worth negotiating or trying to negotiate with your parents because at
least if you're at home they can see what you're doing or if you're listening to music or
something like that.
Q. When you go out, I mean, it sounded before when you were talking about what you do
with your friends that you don't go out very much. Do you go out much?
A. Um, not a lot. I go home every like ... if I go on a school day I'll go home, do my
homework, watch TV and that's it - I don't go out. Maybe on the odd weekend I might go
with my older sister and spend the weekend with her, um, but if not, sometimes I hardly go
out. I mean, if we all meet to go swimming after school or something like that with my
friends, I will go but that's it.
Q. Yeah. I suppose now it is ... I mean, it's a particularly intensive time for you when you're
having to do your exams. So it's ... I mean, you'd be in more conflict with your parents if
you were ...
A. That's true.
Q. There's not really ... I mean, it's not sort of open conflict with your parents is it? Is it?
Q. It's more just there are things that you're not too happy with?
A. Yeah, yeah.
Q. But then you've got your aunt to talk to. It seems funny to call her aunt, really. I've got ...
I've just had a nephew, in fact, and I've insisted that I'm not called 'aunty' and his mum
keeps saying, 'Look, everyone calls their aunt 'aunt'.' Not me! ... quite a bit younger probably a bit confused by it all. What we're also doing with this piece of research is some
people who we've interviewed we'd maybe like to come back and interview in a year's time
to see what's been happening to them, how they feel and what's changed. Would you be
interested in doing that if ...? You'll have left here by then, won't you? But you gave me
your address anyway on your questionnaire.
A. Yeah, yeah.
Q. The other thing that we're also interested in doing but we haven't quite sorted out yet is
to try to get people to keep diaries for us over a very short while, maybe for about a couple
of months or something, which just records how they feel, what's happening to them ...
A. Well, I keep a diary at the moment.
Q. You do, so that would be easy?
A. Not about anything personal.
Q. So you would be able to do that for us? That would be entirely confidential. Your name
wouldn't even be on it, sort of thing. So, I may send you one in a few weeks’ time, if that
would be OK?
Q. Thank you very much. I appreciate it very much and I hope to see you again.
A. OK then.
16,8; lives with parents, sister and brother; Ma is a [CARING ROLE], Pa a
[MAINTENANCE INDUSTRY]. She works 9 hours sales asst.; ethnic - Carib/ESW;
religion - RC; taking 7 GCSE, including maths, sociology, physics; heterosexual but not
On qr re contraceptives, knew a number but included 'oral cream' and intra-urine device'.
Orality is obviously some kind of obsession for her (see below).
Dark, wearing very red lipstick, quite good looking but doubts her own looks. She is
influenced by parents in sexual relationships and other things considerably, but claims
not to be by religion, especially re contraception and dictates re sex outside of marriage.
Wants to do something to do with law re further study and work. Did work experience at
[POLICE FORCE] and fancied the police for a while, but changed her mind.
She is worried about AIDS, is influenced by the ads and publicity, made her think, but
she is not very well informed. Just OK on the basics, sex, needle transmission. Thought
HIV/AIDS the same thing. Sex does equal penetration for her, tho we considered
masturbation and oral sex a bit. I felt I ducked out of discussing oral sex when it first
came up, so went back to it at the end, she wanted to know why people did it, what they
did, and how it fitted into sex so to speak. It came up because she had put on the qr that
she knew a bit about oral sex but not enough.
Was a bit worried that she puts boys off by being very cool, cold even, but also very
concerned that she has to concentrate on her education right now. Some of her friends
are sexually active. Has a special relationship with her aunt who is 20, very close. She
goes out with her and discusses relationships (her aunt is in a sexual relationship). Gets
some of her information from aunt.
Feels that she would ask for a man to use a condom, would not want the guy if he did not
accept that. But also feels that men need, want, get sex more than women and if he
wanted sex with her that much he would use a condom to get what he wanted. So plans
to or thinks she can use male desire or sex drive to get her own wishes re protection.
On reading the questionnaire I had asked myself about sexual orientation, but she is
hetero as far as she presents, and the special girlfriend who was a bit older is her aunt.
Interested in reinterview and diary.