Interview with convent school girls: A convent school is run by nuns. It can be either for girlс only or for both sexes; it can be a boarding school or a regular daily one. I attended a girls-only institution during my high school years. Our nuns were strict and so were their rules. We had many dos and don’ts to follow and our nuns made sure we obeyed. It was not enough for the nuns to educate us academically, but they also acted as our guardians during school hours and badly wanted to turn us into a herd of sheep.
The families who choose to send their girls to convent schools want to give their daughters education at a very high level and my family was no different. They wanted me to go to the best private school available and, unlucky for me, it was a school full of nuns.
The morning assembly was probably the most significant part of the day. The nuns would do rounds to check every girl in the assembly line. While they were doing that, the headmistress would address us with a short speech, emphasizing on different topics for every day. No makeup was allowed, no cell phones, no accessories, and no alterations to the school uniform, too.
During my time there, I got pulled out of the assembly line twice for “breaking the rules”. I am telling you now that being a teenager is hard enough without the additional stress of trying to meet the nuns’ demands. To survive and to try to have a somewhat normal teenage life, we had to be very creative.
I learned a lot thanks to the nuns. I learned how to lie to them and act and behave like a good girl and to stay away from trouble. I found solace in a group of four girls. We spent all our time on the school grounds together. We were not allowed to leave the school alone – it was possible to leave the school grounds only with the designated driver, so I would call the headmistress from the secret phone that I used to hide in my bra and pretend that I was my friend’s mother. I would tell her that the driver was sick and he couldn’t take the girls today, so she had to let us leave with another driver. That “other” driver was my best friend’s boyfriend.
We used to change our uniforms in the car and hang out with him without the fear of being recognized in the uniforms. It was all fun and games till the nuns caught us. Our punishment was “humiliation in front of the whole school” during the morning assembly.
We were forced to go to church on our days off till the end of the school year. They wanted to whip the evil out of us by forcing us to learn more about religion. The funny part was that I wasn’t even a Christian! I was the only girl in my class of a different religious persuasions. I can truly say I did learn more about Christianity than the Christian girls in my class. The nuns always bullied me for my religious persuasions. They thought I would have a bad influence on the rest of the girls. In my last year at school, I was called to the headmistress’s office with my best friend. The parents of both of us were there. I still remember hearing my mother’s voice as she was yelling at the headmistress. The reason the nuns had called our parents was to tell them we had to be separated and moved to different classes because they believed we might have had a romantic thing going on! My mom asked enraged: “Did you find them doing anything wrong? What is the reason for this assumption?” They only offered that we were too close.
We were just friends, truly, but they didn’t listen. I was feeling so humiliated. I didn’t know what to say. Before we left, the nuns asked my mom and my friend’s mom to sign a paper which said that the only condition for us to stay in the school was this paper, which was giving them guardianship over us and the right to punish us till our behavior was within the norm. If they didn’t sign the paper, they had the right to expel us. My mum tore the paper and took me home. The next day she took my file from the school and transferred me to a school near our house. I was happy that my mother believed me and stood by me. My friend didn’t have that. Her mother signed the paper and forbade my friend from contacting me anymore!
For the purpose of this article, when I first started writing it, I wanted to ask girls from my former class if their sex life was affected by the years at the nun school. So, I reached out to my friends whom I still have in my friends’ list on Facebook. Even though it’s been years since I’ve talked to these girls, once I told them what my article was about, they were open and ready to share.
One of my friends told me:
“While I was finishing my bachelor’s degree, I met my husband. We immediately clicked. After dating for only three months, we got married. With my religious upbringing, I was against any pre-marital sexual contact, so we decided to do it my way. It’s funny when I think about it. I was in a rush to get married because for me this was the only acceptable way to have sex! I didn’t want to wait any longer. If my boyfriend hadn’t been ready for marriage, I probably would have looked for another man who would be ready to tie the knot.”
I asked her what her sex life was like.
“When we first got married, I was like a hungry orphan! I just wanted to stay home most nights and have sex with him. I had waited long enough to start my sexual experience. My husband was as excited as I was, so during the first few months of our marriage we were highly sexually active.” Here she giggled and went on: “My husband used to joke that had he known I had been that horny, he would have asked for my hand much earlier! I was never shy with him even at the beginning. I felt like it was my earned right – I had done everything the way my family had wanted me to, I had gone through all the steps they had required of me, so this was the right way for me to have a sex life which my family and society would approve of. I condone anything in the bedroom, as long as it is within the marital boundaries and with my husband. After five years of marriage and two children, we still have a good sexual life. I can’t speak on his behalf, but I believe he is just as satisfied as I am.”
After finishing the interview with her, I felt happy that she had a good life, but I wondered if the other girls had gone down the same happy road. The second girl I called was a bit shy to talk about her sex life, but eventually, she opened up to me.
“I have a great husband. He was very understanding of me. It took me some time before I was able to express myself. The problem was that before him I was afraid to have any experience. I was studying most of the time. Medical school was not an easy choice. With all the studying I did and am still doing, sometimes I just had no time for experience with men. I had to satisfy myself only by masturbating. I have studied human anatomy, so I know how important it is not to neglect my body needs. However, it took some time till I knew how to enjoy sex with a partner and how to take control of my sex life and learn how to share it with him. It was a learning curve, but I believe we are on the right path now. I am not sure who to blame for my late sexual bloom – the nuns, the medical school, or my parents, but I would definitely educate my children about sex, so that they don’t miss opportunities for enjoying themselves.”
For sure, attending a convent school was a great experience. It pushed us more in the direction of academic growth. It gave us more opportunities for a better education. Whether it affected our sex lives or not, it was still a great experience to have. Seeing a girl wearing a school uniform that yells “convent school” makes great memories resurface. I will always respect the nuns who taught us, even those who were rude and harsh to us. As an adult, I know now that they were preparing us for life and were trying to shield us in the best way they knew.
The last girl I contacted was the same girl who I was separated from because the nuns thought we were a lesbian couple. She was sitting next to me through most of our school years. I called her and she was happy to talk to me about her sex life. She also laughed a lot when I told her about my article. After graduating from the convent school, she spent a few years transforming her views on sex and what it meant to her.
“The nuns fucked my brain up! I was terrified of letting any man do anything with me! For me sex was a sin. In the school, they whipped all the sexual feelings out of me. It took a few boyfriends and many sexual encounters for me to be at peace with my sex drive.”
I still remember her from our school years. She had been shy and conservative, and now I was listening to how open she was about her intimate life.
“I’ve met many guys in my life. I haven’t found the one to settle down and start a family with, but I am still young, I have loads of time for that. Not finding the right man did not stop me from having great partners with whom I shared a physical and mental bond. I wish we had known earlier how amazing sex could be. From a very young age all we learned was that sex is a sin unless it is with our husbands. That is not right. Sex is essential for every person. Sharing the body with a partner will lead us to self-discovery, we learn more about ourselves. I didn’t want to marry someone I didn’t know well enough. What if he was a bad performer in bed? And I sure wasn’t going get stuck in a marriage that would bring me no joy. I don’t want to be a sexually frustrated woman with all her fantasies locked in her head. So eventually, I might not have all my life figured out, but at least I have lost the feeling of guilt that was haunting me for most of my younger years.”
She asked me if I was a lesbian. I started laughing and told her I wasn’t. Why did she ever think I was?
“The nuns used to tell me: ‘Now your lesbian friend is not here anymore, so you’d better not think of doing that again! Till I got to college, I was terrified not just of boys but also of girls.”
She told me she was happy to hear from me, and I was pleased that she was doing well.
The nuns were nasty to me and for a long time made me think that I could be a lesbian. They made it difficult for me to discover my sexual orientation because I was always afraid. They planted fear in me which stayed for a long time. Maybe I was a weak girl, to begin with, but nuns/teachers should nurture their students, not torment them emotionally. When all has been said and done, I forgive them and am happy I attended the convent school. Not many can talk about such an experience. My friends and I, we attended one and we survived.
-Text by Masa Lauper