What we’ve learned about sex – we talk to three generations
‘We were driven by the fear of pregnancy’
Ina Sommerville, 89, lives in Lanarkshire. She has two sons and a daughter.
When I was growing up, no-one ever discussed sex. My mum, Ivy, died of ovarian cancer when I was just six, and my dad, George, got married again when I was 10 to a lovely woman called Jean.
At 15, I met Jim. We were friends first, but by the time I was 17 we were an item.
Although there was plenty of kissing, there was no hanky-panky. We thought about sex, of course, but we were too scared to try it – we were all driven by the fear of pregnancy and being judged. Even when Jim said we should get wed, we didn’t dare let ourselves go.
We saved up for four years and finally married when I was 24, on 27 March 1953. That morning I got a letter from Jim that read, ‘My darling girl, please don’t worry about tonight.’ Our first time was lovely. I was thrilled to discover how much I enjoyed it.
There were times when Jim’s job at a transport firm would take him away for a few days, and when he came home it was like our honeymoon all over again. That never changed, and our sex life was very good until the end.
When Jim passed away in October 2015, I wanted to go in the ground with him. We’d been married for 62 years and together for 70, and I wouldn’t want to be with anyone else. It was my birthday the day after he died, and I found the card he’d already written. It said, ‘I never dreamed I could ever be so happy.’ They were his last words to me.
I wish I’d spoken to my daughter Marion about sex and love when she was young, but I never did as I was just too embarrassed.
When I hear about hardcore porn and one-night stands, I do feel sex has been devalued to an extent, and it all seems a lot tougher for women these days.
‘OUR FIRST TIME WAS LOVELY’
Jim and Ina abstained from sex until their wedding night