Be exactly who you are.

You may remember that I was recently in San Francisco for the sex:tech conference, which was very interesting. On my last day in the city I had a chance to take a walk in one of my favorite areas of the city. One thing I love about San Fran is that there are so many interesting people… not necessarily out drawing a crowd, but just out doing their own thing. This guy dressed in his wet suit and skeleton mask and gloves is an example and I love the way this picture turned out. I kind of want to frame it.

In your own relationships, try to figure out who you are and be that person as well as you can be. No need to try and copy someone in a movie or a book or to try and emulate someone’s ex. Just be who you are.

What are your unique talents? Can you sing? Write poetry? Do you make a mean Greek salad? How can you use your talents to bring a little joy to your partner?

If you’re sad, it’s okay to be sad. No one can be happy all of the time. We all experience times of sadness, disappointment (in ourselves, in others or in "the world", whatever that means to us when we say it) or desperation. Similarly, if you’re happy, it’s okay to feel that happiness - even if others around you think it isn’t cool to be happy. (I never quite got why some people think you have to brood or be melancholy to be cool or interesting). Perky people are interesting too!

It’s also okay to want to change parts of who you are and to see, sometimes for the first time, that in a friendship or romantic relationship with another person, you can be that person. You can take the risk and become the person you always thought you were inside, that maybe you didn’t feel supported to become in other relationships or in earlier parts of your life.

About 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