What we’ve learned about sex – we talk to three gen­er­a­tions

‘We were driven by the fear of preg­nancy’

Woman (UK) - - This Isssue -

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.


Jim and Ina ab­stained from sex un­til their wed­ding night

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