From the archives

This is me last year. I was in Hyderabad, India to give a talk about women’s sexuality. It happened to fall over my birthday. That evening there was an indescribably wonderful evening celebration associated with the conference that I was speaking at – the celebration included amazing musical and dance entertainment, an outdoor dinner under the stars, and there were friends and colleagues around me so I decided that even though the celebration was for the conference, I would count it as my birthday party too. The event photographer later sent me this picture which I like because, looking at it now, I can remember how peacefully happy I was… not exuberantly, over-excited happy, but a very calm content (my favorite way to experience happiness).

I also like feeling this way when I am in love. 

Sure, the crazy excitement and butterflies in the stomach are fun at first… but technically that’s just our body’s stress response. We cannot live in that state forever, not being able to sleep or eat. Instead, it’s a calmer state of contentment and happiness that carries us through life with a partner. 

What do you think?

 

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 www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

  • JonBoy

    It’s true – I don’t trust the excited butterfly stage. It’s fun, yes…but tiring. And awfully blinding if you’re not careful. It’s the peaceful happy that I much prefer. If you look closer at some people’s relationships, you’ll see that the ones that fail are the ones that not only try to maintain a relationship based on that excited stage, but they also try to extend that stage, expecting it to last throughout the whole relationship.

  • JonBoy

    It’s true – I don’t trust the excited butterfly stage. It’s fun, yes…but tiring. And awfully blinding if you’re not careful. It’s the peaceful happy that I much prefer. If you look closer at some people’s relationships, you’ll see that the ones that fail are the ones that not only try to maintain a relationship based on that excited stage, but they also try to extend that stage, expecting it to last throughout the whole relationship.

  • Debby

    Great points. And sad that in trying to make their relationship what it once was, many people miss out on the beautiful thing that their relationship is actually becoming.

  • Debby

    Great points. And sad that in trying to make their relationship what it once was, many people miss out on the beautiful thing that their relationship is actually becoming.

  • Marcey

    I agree that quiet bliss endures more than NRE (New Relationship Excitement), but it is also important to make sure the spark stays alive. In some circles it is known as LBD (Lesbian Bed Death), but it can happen in any relationship. And that’s where Babeland, Pure Romance and, yes, mysexprofessor.com, come into play. Thanks for all the great ideas, Debby.

  • Marcey

    I agree that quiet bliss endures more than NRE (New Relationship Excitement), but it is also important to make sure the spark stays alive. In some circles it is known as LBD (Lesbian Bed Death), but it can happen in any relationship. And that’s where Babeland, Pure Romance and, yes, mysexprofessor.com, come into play. Thanks for all the great ideas, Debby.

  • Debby

    I really appreciate your thoughts, Marcey. There’s a balance out there that I think many of us strive for… we want the stability and sanity of a long relationship, but enough “newness” and spark to keep both parties interested and passionate.

  • Debby

    I really appreciate your thoughts, Marcey. There’s a balance out there that I think many of us strive for… we want the stability and sanity of a long relationship, but enough “newness” and spark to keep both parties interested and passionate.

  • Samantha

    That brought tears to my eyes, Debby. When my best friend of 3 years and I expressed our true feeling for each other, I couldn’t get enough of those butterflies. Two years later, it’s a whole new feeling but still so wonderful.

  • Samantha

    That brought tears to my eyes, Debby. When my best friend of 3 years and I expressed our true feeling for each other, I couldn’t get enough of those butterflies. Two years later, it’s a whole new feeling but still so wonderful.

  • Debby

    Yeah, it’s really interesting how the feelings change, but if you’re willing to be open to those changes, relationships can take some really good, meaningful (and exciting) turns. Good luck to you both!

  • Debby

    Yeah, it’s really interesting how the feelings change, but if you’re willing to be open to those changes, relationships can take some really good, meaningful (and exciting) turns. Good luck to you both!