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

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 →

Sex Made Easy is Officially Out Today!


My newest book, Sex Made Easy: Your Awkward Questions Answered – for Better, Smarter, Amazing Sex is officially out today and I couldn’t be happier. The small group of people I gave advance copies to have loved it which gives me hope that it will be as helpful to women and men as I’ve wanted it to be. Sex Made Easy was born out of the experience I’ve had for the past 13 years as a sex researcher/educator, with hundreds of people saying to me “You must have the most amazing sex life!” (given my work) and me thinking…. well, sometimes – but it’s definitely not a given. Continue Reading →

Condom Users: Participate in Sex Research!

Another opportunity to participate in one of our Indiana University sex research studies from the Center for Sexual Health Promotion! There are gift card incentives involved (I think around $100 or more?) – check out the website mentioned below. Debby




Our research team at Indiana University is recruiting heterosexual, monogamous couples between the ages of 18 and 40 to participate in a study related to the daily sexual experiences of couples who use condoms.

Most research to date has focused on sexual behaviors and perceptions on rates of condom use within the US. However, less is known about people’s perceptions about various condoms and the ways in which people integrate condom use into their sexual lives. In order to better understand these questions, this study will investigate the use of condom use by couples. Continue Reading →

New Study: Sexuality Issues During Pregnancy

Our research team is recruiting for another study – please see below! Debby


The Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University is currently recruiting couples who are 8 to 12 weeks pregnant with their first child and currently living together. Participants will be asked to complete four surveys independently over 12 weeks. Receive up to $50 in Amazon gift cards plus store coupons for completing the study! In order to learn more about the study, please email Sofia Jawed-Wessel at IUpregnancyproject@gmail.com

Thank you! Continue Reading →

“I’m Single”: Tagging Your Relationship Status for the World to See

Although I generally identify as a sex researcher, I think a great deal about relationships and love, and I receive many questions about these topics. No wonder: although sex, love and relationships don’t always go together, sex frequently occurs within the context of a relationship (e.g., friends with benefits, dating/romantic relationship, partnership or marriage). This morning I was combing through the scientific literature looking for information about romantic breakups when I came upon several studies demonstrating that female friends of people in relationships tend to have unique insights into the fate of those relationships – whether the couple will stay together or split up. I imagine there are several reasons for these fairly consistent findings. It may be that women are well cued into the emotional tones of others, including their friends and partners. Continue Reading →

Ghosts of Boyfriends Past

This weekend involved some much needed, but mostly typical, spring cleaning. The magnolia tree is in bloom and that involves daily sweeping of the patio and back stoop, which I enjoy. The sound of my sweeping broom amid a quiet morning reminds me of mornings spent in India. Then there was my yard work – mostly composed of buying flowers, digging holes and planting. A little periwinkle cutting and re-planting. Continue Reading →

Our New Research: Women’s Exercise-Induced Orgasms

Our new study about women’s experiences of having exercise-induced orgasms is out and makings its way around the Interwebs. You can read the release below, find more detailed information about exercise-induced orgasms (what some call “coregasms”) in my brand new book Sex Made Easy, and you can also ask  me questions about our research by emailing me at DrDebby@MySexProfessor.com. I’ll be answering questions about our study here and/or on my Psychology Today blog later this week. **

Contact: Tracy James
Indiana University
Study: Exercise can lead to female orgasm, sexual pleasure

 IMAGE: This is researcher Debby Herbenick. Click here for more information. 

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. Continue Reading →