Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

Recent posts

Sex, Love, and Life Advice for Women

In my role as a sex educator, I am often asked – especially by young women – to give one single “must-know” piece of advice about sex. Something that if they knew, their sex life would be better for it. While I can never boil my advice down to just one thing, here are 7 pieces of advice that I wish more women would take to heart:

1. Your vagina smells just fine. You don’t need to douche, spray, or wipe it with anything scented. Continue Reading →

Genitals in the Wild: The Washington Monument Edition

While eating dinner with a few friends at Scholars Inn, a friend was flipping through the photos on his phone and came across one he’d taken on a recent trip to Washington DC. As he put it, he didn’t mean for this image of the Washington Monument to turn out as phallic as it did, but his finger happened to get in the way thus making the Monument and little more penis-like and his finger a little scrotum-like. Naturally I was thrilled that he was willing to share his photo for our MSP Genitals in the Wild series. (Thanks, B!)

Follow the author of this post ( @DebbyHerbenick ) on Twitter and keep up with MSP posts by following us all @MySexProfessor Continue Reading →

Seven Sex and Vagina Lessons from Sarah Silverman’s Twitter

In a country with very little sex education, I think it’s great that Sarah Silverman (who I follow on Twitter) is around to keep the masses educated. If you follow her @SarahKSilverman, you too can learn the following sorts of things about sex:

1. Vulvas are diverse in their beauty. They are also sometimes called “vaginas” by most people (including Sarah) and that’s probably okay. And while it’s possible that Sarah Silverman – who my Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva co-author and I once gave vulva-themed “muff”ins to * before her show at IU – may mean that her vagina (vaginal canal) has “off-beat good looks,” I think it’s a more likely scenario that she is referring to her vulva (the outside parts) in the following Tweet:


2. Continue Reading →

Zombies and Your Love/Sex Life

When Kate alerted me to the coincidental zombie posts she and Jeana had written for today – and how they’d named it “Impromptu Zombie Theme Day” – I had to join the fun. Though I’m not personally into zombies, I can appreciate the idea of zombies and have enough of an interest to have apparently stored several memories of zombie-related things to share with you. For example:

1. I remembered seeing these Zombie Engagement photos taken by Amanda Rynda. I love that this couple decided to celebrate their engagement in their own way and with humor and style rather than a typical engagement photo session. Continue Reading →

Welcome Kate – Our New Editor!

Dear MSP Readers,

It’s difficult to believe that about 4 1/2 years ago, I started a little blog called MySexProfessor.com as a way to connect with readers of my various sex columns. I wrote about sex topics in the news, answered readers’ sex questions, reviewed various sex toys, and occasionally buried defunct sex toys in the yard and wrote about them in a “Sex Toy Cemetery” series. Recently, however, I’ve become increasingly busy. As many of you know, by day I’m a research scientist at Indiana University’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion and a sexual health educator for The Kinsey Institute. I also write books about sex and love. Continue Reading →

Saying the Hard Things

Saying Hard Things to someone is often tough, but not as tough as you might think. Often the anticipation – the worrying about how someone will respond or what will happen after the words fall out of your mouth (or after you push them out of your mouth, one difficult one at a time) – is worse than actually saying The Really Hard Thing. It might be that the Really Hard Thing is that you are no longer in love or you need to break up or you need to move out or you need them to move out or you want a baby or you don’t want a baby or something else. It might feel big and scary to say it but you can do it. A brief, personal story:

Years ago, a masseuse/spiritual guru of mine told me “The truth will set you free” as she rubbed oil over my  body and rubbed bad things out and good things into it. Continue Reading →

Splinters, Closure and Exes

My right thumb has a hole in it. It’s a small hole from a worse-than-typical splinter that was painful to the touch while it was inside me (and yes, I get that this is well beyond a first world problem). But that’s the thing about splinters: they get inside you, they cause some discomfort or pain, and if you’re lucky, you get them out. Sometimes they leave you with a tiny hole and maybe initially a little rough, tattered skin. But in a week or so, that hole normally closes up. Continue Reading →

Melinda Gates Launches “No Controversy” Site about Contraception


In her TEDx Change talk about the value of contraception for women and families throughout the world (especially in the poorest countries), Melinda Gates made reference to a new site, No Controversy.  In her talk, Mrs. Gates spoke about the value of contraception in her own life and is encouraging women and men to speak about its role in their lives, whether or not they are personal users of contraceptives or have benefitted in other ways (read this article about her talk and views). Indeed, if you look through the No Controversy site you can find a number of stories submitted by men and women throughout the world that speak to this – some are by women who have personally taken hormonal contraceptives (such as the pill) – or other types of contraceptives – and others are by straight or gay men who have a story to tell about what contraception means to them, their partners or their friends. There are stories from people who have benefitted by being able to extend their education, develop a richer life with their partner before having children, or manage a health issue. Submit your story to No Controversy and help change the conversation about contraception around the world. Continue Reading →