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Interview 12

Age at interview: 21
Brief Outline: Says that although attitudes are changing men are still seen as 'studs' and women as 'sluts' for very similar behaviours.
Background: She was brought up in a rural area. Currently at University she has worked for several years as a peer educator for the sex education programme' A Pause.

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Thinks that emergency contraception should not be used as a method of contraception but only as a...

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I don't think it's good. I would rather that accidents that have happened hadn't. First of all I don't think it's a method of  contraception, I think it's an 'if a contraception fails' and you know, people that use it a lot first of all, I don't know how dangerous it is. 

 

You know, basically it's a very strong pill, I think that's not necessarily good for your body and it's not to be relied on. It's not as effective as using contraception in the first place, basically. But it is really useful if you're worried that something might have happened to the method you were using.  

 
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Describes having periods as natural pain.

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I think to start with I was really pleased because I'd started a bit later than my friends and I thought oh no, I'm not ever going to start. But once, you know, once you've actually had to deal with having a period for a month, I'd rather have had another few years not bothering.

 

It's a bit of a pain in the arse, yes. I'd rather, no, I think it's natural and I'm not saying I don't want to have periods but it is a pain, yes.  

 
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Explains that the attitude of receptionists may put off adolescent girls from using existing...

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So there is no question of difficulties or...?

 

With the Family Planning? Yes, I have in the past. I think it's really embarrassing when you know, particularly when I was younger, it's really embarrassing to have to go up to someone who's not medically trained on the reception whilst there is a queue behind you and other people and say 'Hi'. You know, I just want to be told 'off you go' and they ask you what you are in for, effectively, What do you want?  

 

And I don't want to tell them with loads of people behind that I might possibly know. At the time it was really embarrassing and I think when I would have been younger I would have not gone, probably.

 

Yes, I mean and also I was aware, because I've taught sex education at that age, I was aware a lot that I, you know I found it okay and I got on with it and I did it, even though it was embarrassing. But someone that's 13 or 14 that might want to go there, no way, that's so embarrassing to be asked really intrusive questions in a not very nice way, I thought.

 

Do you remember some of the questions?

 

It wasn't lots of questions or anything, it was just 'what do you want to see them for', with 10 people behind you listening. And to say 'I want to go on the pill' or 'I want to use a condom' or 'to talk about contraception', probably if I was 13 and thinking about having sex, I wouldn't bother. That's what worried me, it wasn't for my sake, even, it's because I think that other people wouldn't bother, younger people.

 

In your opinion, how could these difficulties be improved?

 

It could be more private and the receptionists could be a bit nicer! I know that they're not nurses, you know it's not their job to particularly deal with you. But you know, they've got to know that Family Planning as opposed to a doctor is probably, some would think, a less embarrassing option and a more likely option for 13 or 14 year olds. But if it is embarrassing, it's quite possible for a 13 or 14 year old to walk out with nothing and just say 'oh well never mind, I won't get pregnant anyway, it's my first time'. That's the worst option, that's the worst possibility, I think.

 
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Explains that different approaches are needed to reach all young people who need sexual health...

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What would be the best way for teenagers to receive information about contraception and sexual health?

 

The best way would be in a number of ways, you know, let's say that A Pause went in for schools and did their sessions at that age, you know what if someone's ill or what if someone's ditching school? 

 

I don't think, on its own, even that is not necessarily enough, school is the best way to reach most people, you know, if possible countrywide. But you know there's lots of other ways of doing it, not necessarily instead, but as well would be great. 

 

You learn inadvertently from your friends, from magazines anyway but you know, youth centres. The thing is with doing it in schools, you reach more than you can in any one other area but not necessarily everyone, and it might be the ones that aren't there that might need it most so...

 
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Attitudes are changing but men are still seen as 'studs' and women as 'sluts' for very similar...

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I think that whereas I would really like to say it's equal, it's okay, all you have to do is think of the names that people are called when they've had sex, by their friends. You know a guy is a stud, well done, that's great and the girls, quite often it's by other bitchy girls not necessarily by men, the names are like you're a slut, slapper, you know, all behind their backs. 

 

It's quite bitchy but you know, having said that I do think we're going in the right direction of changing attitudes. You know, it's okay for a girl to have said, I think, to a partner that they're not their first.

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