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

Q&A: How Can I Find a Sex Therapist in the Washington DC Area?

Question:
How can I find a sex therapist in the DC area who would be willing to help a gay couple work out their sexual issues together? Start by checking out the SSTAR directory:  http://www.sstarnet.org/therapist-directory.php

And the AASECT directory (www.aasect.org). (search by DC area or check out Virginia, Maryland if those make sense)

Honestly, the best thing to do is usually to peruse their sites, see to what extent they seem to fit with one’s own style, maybe even call or have an initial consult, etc. I think therapist-client fit is one of
the most important things. The sex therapists I know tend to be skilled at helping couples of all orientations but you can get a better sense for whether you think they’re the right fit for you as a couple if you go and meet them. Continue Reading →

Please Join Me in Supporting Tornado Victims in Indiana & Beyond

In 1992, my family and I suffered significant losses to our home, and significant shifts to our lives, following Hurricane Andrew. We experienced more damage to our home than some people we knew and significantly less damage than many people we saw on the news (particularly those living in the Homestead area of South Florida). Even so, it was months before we were able to return to our home – and years before I could gather the ability to drive south down US1 toward Homestead. Perhaps for this reason, I feel particular empathy for people whose lives have been shifted by natural disasters, such as the recent tornados that swept through several states including Indiana, where I live. [Bloomington, the town I've called home for a number of years now, was somehow - and quite thankfully - spared from this mess.] Following the news closely, I’ve been particularly touched by the stories of:

- A 20 month old toddler who was found in critical condition in a field about 10 miles from her home in Salem, Indiana. Continue Reading →

Required Reading on Women’s Health

You need to read this op-ed, “When States Abuse Women” by Nicholas Kristof, in the NY Times. It covers current issues like mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds occurring prior to abortion (which Virginia finally removed from their legislation but Texas still has) as well as issues related to contraception. Included in the article are points such as this:

“If Texas legislators wanted to reduce abortions, the obvious approach would be to reduce unwanted pregnancies. The small proportion of women and girls who aren’t using contraceptives account for half of all abortions in America, according to Guttmacher. Yet Texas has some of the weakest sex-education programs in the nation, and last year it cut spending for family planning by 66 percent.” 

and this:

“The best formulation on this topic was Bill Clinton’s, that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” Continue Reading →

Rachel Maddow Explains Human Biology, Birth Control, Sex

Rachel Maddow shows 3 days worth of clips during which Rush Limbaugh calls Sandra Fluke a slut and prostitute and asks her to post images of her having sex online. She also teaches people how birth control and sex actually work (move forward to around 13:00 for her very valuable lesson). I like when she gets flustered about how ignorant Limbaugh is about how  birth control works. I also like when she says “You being a dummy is a way bigger problem than you being a jerk.” In the bigger picture, Mr. Limbaugh was reacting to Fluke’s commentary in support of contraception coverage (by the way: birth control is free or highly affordable in many, many developed and developing countries). Continue Reading →

On Being Vulnerable in Life & Love

Life can certainly be serendipitous. Without trying or looking, I happened upon this TEDx Houston video about vulnerability. There’s a moment early on when Brene Brown pokes fun at the “life is messy, learn to love it” people – ironic given my recent “life is messy (and that’s okay)” post. Not surprisingly, Dr. Brown finds that life is indeed messy and that it’s in the messiness – and specifically in being vulnerable to life, and being courageous enough to be open to the mess – that people find their whole hearts and their most beautiful, authentic experiences of living. She talks about being willing to try relationships that may or may not work out. Continue Reading →

Q&A: Can birth control affect vaginal lubrication or wetness?

Question:
Can birth control affect vaginal lubrication (amount/decrease)? Answer:

Most likely, yes, but there aren’t any very good studies on it. The latest generations of oral contraceptives (birth control pills) have very low estrogen and as estrogen is linked to vaginal lubrication, it makes sense that they’d be
linked. And certainly a number of young women/college students talk about having less wetness after going on the pill. I hear this often from my students. Also, medical doctors I know in the field of sexual medicine and gynecology believe they’re linked…. Continue Reading →

Dan Savage’s Savage U Has a Release Date!

The other day while taping an upcoming episode of a Savage Love podcast with Dan, he mentioned that his new show – Savage U – will air on MTV beginning April 3 (the same day that my next book, Sex Made Easy (pre-order from Powell’s, Amazon or B&N), is officially out (and about which I am ridiculously excited). Watch the Savage U trailer, tell all your friends, and make sure to tune in on April 3. He’s great. Plus, you’re sure to laugh, learn and probably blush. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor and follow Dan Savage at @fakedansavage   Continue Reading →

Following Up on the Messiness of Life

This morning when, before work, I dashed off a quick post about life and love being messy I had no idea what a response it would generate. In the few hours since, I’ve received many emails in reply from men and women about their own messy beginnings (as well as the appearances they put on for others) as well as tons of stories about the “meddling others”. These are all important parts of the picture. Let’s return for a moment to the “keeping up appearances” aspect (btw, that is a great British comedy series if you ever get a chance to watch it). People work very diligently to present a certain image to the world. Continue Reading →