Drawing on qualitative data from a research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), this article investigates boys' own construction of gender identity and the correlation between this and formal Sex and Relationships Education (SRE). It offers a simple but flexible model as a basis for understanding this correlation-or its lack-and for the construction of SRE approaches that the boys might find more relevant to their current priorities. The model takes the form of a triangle whose sides equate with the time and energy that boys are expending on the private, peer and societal aspects of their lives. The shape of the triangle alters according to shifts in this personal expenditure, forcing the individual into different areas within the triangle according to the circumstances they find themselves in at different times. The article also draws some methodological conclusions on the experience of doing qualitative research with young people in sensitive areas.