No one had ever really explained it to her. She had heard that men and women dayk chamuoy k’neah – lie together – and thought that sleeping beside each other on the same mat would eventually lead to her pregnancy. She laughs as she tells us how she kicked him whenever he tried to touch her for the first two weeks, demonstrating by kicking me as I sit next to her. We all giggled. On day fourteen he complained to his family, who passed his message along to her mother and aunt. “My mother didn’t dare talk to me about it, so finally my aunt told me on the seventeenth day. ‘You aren’t really his wife yet. When he touches you, just let him. Just be silent and it’ll be fast.’ So then I just let him do it and tried not to cry when it hurt. We didn’t do it until day twenty.” It hurt every time for the first two months or so, she says, probably because there was never any foreplay.
“I like sex now though, but only a few times a month.” It’s not much of an issue anymore though, since her husband is in Thailand as a migrant construction worker. She’s not sure when he’ll be back, and she doesn’t really miss him, although she’ll be happy when he comes back. They never loved each other, but her family wanted her to get married.
She’s one of our best volunteer trainers now, maybe even the single best. When she teaches workshops, she’s engaging, relational, and confident. Her favorite lesson to teach is about hygiene before and after sex, mostly because she loves shocking all the women by telling them to “stop being so lazy! If you don’t want it a UTI, get up off your mat and go pee after you’re done!” They throw their heads back, howling with laughter, and she stands at the front, hands on her hips, smiling at what she’s created.