Probably the oldest one here

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    My name is Illiana. I’m 55, so probably the oldest person here on the forum. The other stories people have posted here encouraged me to write down my own, hoping it can provide some support to some of you (sorry for the many mistakes, English is not my native language but I’m trying to do my best).

    I grew up in a very, very catholic village. Sex was something we never spoke about. When I had my period, I didn’t even know what it was. My mum just basically gave me a pad and told me to use that, without explaining what it was. I’m not sure it is still the case now, but this was normal for many people in my community almost 40 years ago.

    Once in a while I could hear my parents having sex, and by the way it sounded that was a painful experience to my mum. Thanks to my two older sisters I knew what they were doing. Most info I got around sex came from them and not from my parents.

    One of the few things my parents told me about sex was I had to wait until I was married before I could do it, but I can tell you I wasn’t looking forward to sex at all. When my sisters got married, it got even worse cause all I heard from them was that sex was painful and they had no choice to “allow” their husband to do it once a week. When they talked about the issues they had with our mum, she answered she felt sorry for them, that she was in the same boat and that they had to make sure their men were satisfied.

    So when it was finally my turn to get married, I was to tensed up and so dry, my husband had to forcefully penetrate me, causing even more pain. Due to the lack of sex education – and that counts for men as well – no one had a clue on what foreplay was, so penetration was bound to be painful every single time. And I’m convinced this caused vaginismus – not only for me, but also for my sisters, my mum and many, many more women. Until the moment my husband died, I had painful sex every week and I ended up with multiple vaginal infections because I was so dry. And instead of telling me how sex SHOULD be like, my sisters gave me creams and pills against these infections cause they had them as well. They THOUGHT they helped me, but instead they kept the wrong ideas alive.

    After my parents died I moved to another town and I got to know someone they certainly wouldn’t have appreciated, since he wasn’t catholic. But for the first time in my life, I fell in love. He took things slow, he was careful and he knew how things were supposed to go in bed! When I was in the right mood, I discovered could get “wet” – can you imagine I even didn’t know what that was and how that felt? At the age of 53 I re-learned from him how to have a satisfying and pain free sex life. I’ve always assumed I had vaginismus (although this was never confirmed) and his patience helped me to get rid of it.

    I’m sure the combination of not having enough sex ed due to religion influences, can be a spark that triggers vaginismus. I once read that over 50 percent of women think that it’s normal for sex to hurt. I know that shouldn’t be the case.


    What a nice, emotional story! Thank you for sharing this!

    Like you, I also find it shocking to hear so often that many women think pain and sex come together. Entire generations grew up with this idea, and I once overheard my mother saying something about how painful sex was to her sister and she simply acknowledged what she said! Remember that sex ed has come a long way. My biology teacher even never explained what being wet was! It was my therapist who explained to me how the glands worked and why we have them and how you can make them produce slime…



    Thanks so much for sharing your story, illiana! I’m so glad it had a happy ending, and I completely agree with rabbit – it’s absurd that women can go most of their adult lives without learning that sex shouldn’t be painful and how not to make it so, but so many of us aren’t taught. I hope that each generation has more openness around these topics and that girls and their families can discuss things in non-stigmatized ways. I’m thrilled for you that you’ve gotten a second chance at great sex later in life and hope your story inspires other women not to give up!


    Hi illiana!
    Your story is incredible. And you are stronger than you know. Thank you for sharing your story on this forum! I am so happy that you are experiencing the sex life you DESERVE!! And that story of yours can really really help a lot of women. I hope for one day, a better future surrounding sex and women with more openess, education and understanding.

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