The sensitivities – and in some cases moral panic – surrounding youth sexuality, make it an issue that is highly scrutinised by parents, media and researchers. Yet it simultaneously lacks representation of young people's own perceptions and experiences. This book has tried to right that balance by directly exploring Generation Y's experiences of sex, power, consent and its absence. This appendix discusses the background and methods of the research about young people's love/sex relationships upon which this book is based: the Young People & Relationships project, which I conducted in Victoria, Australia.
Influenced heavily by international research with young people, the project began by broadly seeking to include young people's own voices and perspectives, not only on the pressures that might be experienced by young people in their love/sex relationships, but also on what meanings these relationships hold for young people in the first place. First, a series of focus group interviews were held, similar to other sexuality studies, as a naturalistic method of research that draws upon the everyday experience of talking amongst peers. The focus groups were an important starting place for the project, which began with a broad interest in young people's negotiation of love/sex encounters, then invited young people to contribute to the direction that the final research would take.