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 Gay/Bisexual Men
Explanation of process: talk, raise a
few questions, talk about your relationships with men, youre the experts; not here
to judge anyone. Rules: respect and honesty. This is one of many groups.
Explanation of taping, mirror,
Self Introduction: Tell us where
youre from, what you like to do.
- Meeting New Men
Tell us how you meet new men. Where,
what kinds of places?
Are there different places for
What are your strategies?
What kinds of things do you look for
in men? What characteristics are important to you?
What are some of the things that come
up when you meet someone and decide to have sex?
Tell me about the last time you met a
new guy you had sex with.
How did you meet? What happened?
How did sex get started, happen? Who
What did you talk about?
Lets talk a little about
relationships. What kinds of relationships with men have you had?
Are there differences in the way you
meet men for casual sex versus for longer relationships?
How does meeting men for longer
How long-term are these
What are some of the problems in
maintaining and breaking off long-term relationships?
What kinds of commitments are
expected in these kinds of relationships?
Have you had experiences where one
person is more in control than the other? (Where there are inequalities between partners?)
- Sexual Experiences
I want you to tell me about different
sexual experiences youve had.
First, what are you looking for in
sex? What does sex mean to you?
Whats the best sex youve
had? Describe the situation.
Whats the worst sex youve
had? Describe the situation.
Are there some sexual activities more
important to you than others? (anal/oral; top/bottom)
Where is sex in your life? How much
of your life revolves around sex?
- Nature and Patterns of Sexual Negotiation (communication, how work things out,
Think about the last time you had sex
with a man, did you and he talk about sex before having sex?
What kinds of things did you talk
about? What were some of the things you thought about but didnt talk about?
In what ways do you let someone you
are having sex with know what you want to do sexually? Do you get your way?
In what ways does someone you are
having sex with let you know what he wants to do sexually? Did you want to do what he
wanted you to do? Did you usually do what he wanted?
Were there times when you kept
yourself from having sex even though you wanted to have it?
What was going on when that happened?
- Coercive Situations (pressured to have sex)
Have you ever had sex with someone
when you didnt want to? Tell me about it. Tell me about the
Has someone pressured you to have sex
with him? How did you decide what to do? Give me an example. Was he successful?
Youre having sex with someone
and you did things sexually that you did not like doing or didnt want to do. Tell me
about the last time you did that. What was going on?
What about times when you put
pressure on someone to have sex with you or do something sexually with you they
didnt want to do?
Give me some examples. Were you
- Condom Use
How do you feel about using condoms?
In what situations do you feel you
need to use them?
What are some of the things you
consider before having unprotected anal sex? Tell me about one of those situations.
How have you responded when a partner
asked you to use a condom? Do you respond differently with different men?
Think about a time you wanted to use
a condom but didnt. Tell me about that time.
Have you had an ongoing relationship
in which you started off using condoms and then stopped? Whose idea was it to stop? What
were some of the things that may have made you (or your partner) uncomfortable about
Tell me about the last time you had
sex and didnt use a condom.
Tell me about the last time you were
successful in convincing someone who didnt want to use a condom to use one.
- Safer Sex
How do you think about safe
What are some of the most difficult
parts of practicing safer sex?
How easy is it to be safe?
What are the different problems you
have with maintaining safe sex with different men?
Have you had experiences where drugs
or alcohol were an issue in trying to have safe sex?
- Gay Community/Identity Networks, Friendship Network
How do you feel about the gay
community? What about differences between San Francisco and the East Bay?
What are the messages that come out
of the gay community related to sex?
Are there pressures in the community
to have sex?
How does age work in the gay
How would you define yourself
(gay/bisexual/queer)? Are most of your friends gay/bisexual/straight/women/men?
How out are you? How involved are you
in the gay community?
How out are you to friends, family,
people at work?
- Final Question
If you could change one thing about
your relationships with men, what would it be?