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My name is Mariana, I’m a doctor – pain management specialist, a writer, an entrepreneur and a former sexual pain sufferer.

Ironic? Maybe.

Real? Absolutely.

I grew up in a country where social conditions where extremely tied with religious ones, like it happens in many countries worldwide. It was the normal. I grew up in a loving family who provided everything for me, from love to education to clothing, food and so much more. That’s how I was able to grow up through good schools, good university and with good values.

All good indeed.

Except that in my private life I had a situation I didn’t know how to handle, because talking about sex or similar was something too banned in my mind. It was something dirty and a sin as I’d always pick from adult conversation, becoming even uncomfortable with love scenes in TV. Deep down, whether a mixture of my own fears and insecurities along with social conceptions, I understood that talking about certain private topics was something you just didn’t do. So I didn’t. Not with family, not with friends, not in my teenage years or later.

I grew up into adult life, being in relationships and experiencing pain as the routine of being a girlfriend. It was never pleasant and it made me sad, frustrated, angry, and more. But I never asked more and enough. Fear of judgment was too present.

And so was the pain. 

A decade of pain made my frustration grow into exponential levels. At some point it made me surpass the fear barrier, challenging all that I believed in, into asking around among a few close friends if this pain was normal. To my surprise, it wasn’t.  After almost a decade of unresolved sex pain, I opened up with a physiotherapist friend who specialised in pelvic issues. I felt like it was an opportunity life was giving me to ask. And so I did. Then it began: a journey through two more years of physiotherapy, psychotherapy, and endless friend’s support. All these confirmed my frustrations: the pain I felt every time I tried to have sex was definitely not normal.

After a few routine medical checkups, I learned that my vagina was too narrow…abnormally narrow. I was 30 years old when the possibility of going through a corrective surgery came up, making me burst into tears, fear, relief, and anxiety. My doctor explained how this is quite common, reason why he performs the surgery at least 8 times per month.

I was so far from being alone.

And so I did. January 22nd, 2013 was the date I stopped being the doctor and became the patient laying down scared on the cold surgery table while being put into a blurry dream.

And my life has never been the same since.

After 3 months, the surgery proved successful despite all my fears. It took me months of post-surgery physiotherapy, emotional inner work and more to get into the skin of my new painless life.

It seems easy and obvious to be able to switch into the awesome new after we’ve been through a lifetime of a specific thing. However, we all know it’s not how it works. It takes endless support to go through any process of change.

But most of all? It takes self-love.

It takes a personal and inner understanding of your own issue in the first place in order to realise there’s something you need to deal with. Simply because it’s draining you from the inside out.

Sometimes it take years and decades, like it happened to me, because we fear to talk. Because we fear to be judged, misunderstood, pointed to. We fear that if we talk we will be discriminated in some way, left aside. We fear we will loose love, friendships, relationships.

And guess what? It could happen, but for the better.

I would’ve never been able to understand and move forward if I hadn’t started talking back then. Whether out of frustration or curiosity, we all need to start talking about our inner issues. The ones we fear the most, because that’s where our solutions and answers are.

Health, as I know from being a doctor and from being a human being on Earth, is something more than just the body.

Health is the mind as well, health is a whole that flows in many directions between our emotions, feelings, thoughts, movements and more.

I am convinced, after my own personal and professional experiences of three things:

  1. Pain is the one thing why people go to the doctor in the first place. Every single time.
  2. Pain could always be a symptom of something else, something deeper. In more cases than we think.
  3. Talking is the only way out. Healing our own pains is needed to move forward.

Hadn’t I gone through that surgery and my life would be in a completely different place.

I discovered my own sexuality at age 32 and life has never been the same again. This experience made me change completely, like shedding layers of skin. It allowed me to rethink all that I believed in, able to reassess what I wanted to believe in. Not what society dictated but what I felt it was right for me in every sense. 

The process wasn’t easy as so many things changed through it, specially relationships. Relationships with the people around me but most of all, the relationship with myself.

Asking, talking, digging and healing my own pain allowed me to grow into a place of courage, self-esteem, strength and self-love that I didn’t even know I was missing.

It was only through healing my own pain that I was able to move forward. And because of this, I feel the need to share my story as loud and far as possible. To give light and help other suffering their own pains.

Do you have some kind of pain? Are you afraid, confused or doubtful? Do yourself a favour and start talking it through.

Heal your pain points and you’ll be surprised how far you can go and how good you can have it. For good.

I promise.


Mariana Calleja

The author Mariana Calleja

Mariana Calleja is a doctor , writer, and entrepreneur, advocate of healthy habits that stick, helping people live a better and healthier life. Also a Pain Management specialist, and absolute advocate of talking about unspoken fears, taboos and more, all for better living, healing pains and moving forward. Health is a whole and it begins in the mind. Mindset and awareness are the key to a good, calm, healthy life. More at

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