Interview with Simone, 18, White British, working class, Roman Catholic. Women, Risk and AIDS Project, Manchester, 1989. Original version including fieldnotes (Ref: NMC12)

2020-03-04T11:02:29Z (GMT) by Rachel Thomson
This interview is part of the Women, Risk and Aids Project (1989-90) archive which was created as part of the Reanimating Data Project (2018-20).

Original transcript of an interview with Simone, 18, who is at college and works a part-time job. She is an only child, and doesn't get on with her mum as she feels she is too old-fashioned. Her mum has very conservative, traditional views on what she would like Simone's life trajectory to look like, after falling pregnant young and before marriage herself, but Simone would like a career in journalism. Simone would like to move away, either to South Manchester or out of England altogether. She had never been too interested in romantic or sexual relationships at school, and experienced some bullying because of this - there was a lot of pressure to lose virginity at her school, but there was also a risk of being labelled as a 'slag'. There seems to be an association between sexual activity and social class in her school. As she went to a Catholic school, she didn't receive much formal sex education. What she did receive was very basic, and only covered conception. Her Biology lessons provided some information on contraception, but it was read from a book and there was no opportunity for discussion. AIDS was also covered at school, but due to the Catholic nature of the institution did not suggest protection through condoms. She learnt more from TV adverts, but found them ineffective as they were too 'romantic' and homophobic. There wasn't much talk around sexuality between her friends at school, as talking about it would suggest you were doing it. Simone had her first sex at 17 with her boyfriend at the time. She learnt about female sexual pleasure through books, but didn't feel very confident talking to her partner about it. She feels there are gendered double standards around sexual pleasure. They had been using condoms, but she feels they limited pleasure - she is using the pill anyway, for her period pains, but did not consider herself as at risk of pregnancy. With regards to AIDS, Simone believes everyone is at risk regardless of their sexual orientation, and would ensure she uses condoms in future casual hetero-sexual relationships. She doesn't think the risk posed by AIDS is taken seriously enough by her peers with regard to their sexual behaviours. Oral sex carries a lot of taboo and is not recognised as a form of safe-sex.