The following are two outlines of focus group
questions (Focus Group Questions for Young Women and
Focus Group Questions for Young Gay/Bisexual Men),
the first for young women who have sex with men, and the second for young men who have sex
with men. They are taken from the following research study conducted at the Center for
AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS), University of California San Francisco: Sexual
Negotiations Among Young Adults in the Era of AIDS. Funded by the Universitywide
AIDS Research Program, R94-SF-050.
NOTE: These questions are presented here in
an effort to show what kinds of questions could be asked in a focus group. These questions
can be used by any agency, but should be adapted and revised to fit the specific needs of
the local community.
Focus Group Questions for Young Women
Explanation of Processtalk,
raise a few questions, talk about men/women, you (the participants) are the experts.
Explanation of taping, mirror,
consent form (permission to interview again).
Self Introduction: Tell us where
youre from, what you like to do in your spare time.
- Experiences in Dating
Tell us your strategy for meeting new
people and describe a specific time when it worked well.
What do you call it when you go out
with a guy?
What was your best date?
Describe your disaster date.
What do you like about dating?
What do you fear about dating?
How has dating changed since you
started dating? How has your attitude about dating changed?
How can you explain these changes?
- Experiences with Going Out with New People
Tell me about the last time you went
out with someone new. What happened?
Did the topic of sex come up? When
did it come up? How did it come up? Who brought it up?
- Definition of Sex
(Write it out) Tell me about what sex
means to you.
What was the most pleasurable sexual
time you had with someone? Could you describe what was so pleasurable about it?
Now I would like you to think about
your sex partners and of the men you know. Tell me what you think was their most
pleasurable experience with sex.
How important is having intercourse
compared to other kinds of sex practices?
- Nature and Patterns of Sexual Negotiation
Did you and your partners ever talk
about sex before you had sex? What did you talk about?
Who decides WHERE you
are going to have sex?
Who decides WHAT you are going to do
How have you let your partner know
what you wanted to do sexually?
Was this easy or hard for you to do?
What made it easy? What made it hard?
Did your partner usually do what you
How did your partner let you know
what he wanted to do sexually? Did
you usually do what he wanted?
What made you do that?
Did you ever do things sexually that
you did not like doing?
Tell me about the time you did that.
What made you do these things?
- Sex in Coercive Situations
Have you ever had sex with someone
when you didnt want to?
Tell me about it. Tell me about the
Have others ever pressured you to
have sex with them?
Give me some examples.
Have you ever pressured someone into
having sex with you?
Give me some examples. Were you
- Use of Protection
When you hear the term
protection, what does it mean to you?
Do you use protection?
What kinds of protection do you use?
When do you use them?
What other kinds of protection do you
What has been the response of men
when you ask them to use a condom? Have you ever had to insist?
How have you responded when a man
asked you to use a condom? Have you responded differently with different men?
Has there ever been a time when you
wanted to use a condom but didnt?
Who usually supplies the condoms?
Is this something that is discussed
What happens if you dont have a
How do you feel about using condoms?
Have you had an ongoing relationship
where you started off using condoms and then stopped? Whose idea was it to stop?
- Worries When Having Sex with a New Person
(Write out) What has been your worry
when you started a sexual relationship with a new person?
Have the worries changed for you over
What did you do about these worries?
What kinds of worries have you had in
long term relationships?
Have you ever felt judged during sex?
Have you ever found yourself trying
to protect a guys feelings when youre having sex? Tell me about it. When did
What did you do or say?
Do you think guys try to do this for
women? Did anyone ever try to do this for you?
- Denied Having Sex
Have there been times you felt turned
off or uninterested in sex?
Can you explain what was going on?
Are there times when you kept
yourself from having sex even though you wanted to have it?
What was going on when that happened?
- Knowledge of Risky Behaviors
Have you ever heard the phrase
know your partner? What does this mean to you?
Do you think it is possible to
know your partner?
Have you tried to find out about any
diseases your partner has that he could give to you through sex? Have any partners tried
to find out about you?
Have you tried to find out about how
many sex partners hes had? About whether he injects drugs? Are you always truthful?
Do you trust his answers?
How do you know that he is being
Do you think that any of YOUR
sexual practices in the past possibly put you at some risk for HIV/AIDS or
any other diseases from sex?
Have you ever had sex with someone
whom you thought might be at risk for AIDS? What made you think this person
might be at risk for AIDS? Did you behave differently with this person than
you would have otherwise? How?
- Knowledge of Safer Sex
What do you know about safer
sex? Are you familiar with the term? Where have you heard about it?
How did you learn to use a condom? Do
you wish you would have learned it a better way?
- Final Question
If you could change one thing about
your relationships with men, what would it be?