The Night Dan Savage Felt My Vulva (Puppet)

sex advice columnists Dan Savage and Debby Herbenick

Yesterday, in the midst of guest lecturing, working on a research paper and meeting with students, I had the pleasure to meet Dan Savage (yes, of the widely read Savage Love column and podcast series) when he came by The Kinsey Institute to meet with research staff and tour our art collections. That’s when the magic began.

He was so much fun in person! And just super nice and interesting to talk with. Except there was this one part where he started talking about being meh about vaginas and vulvas and how it was connected to a gay thing (to which I suggested he check out Cunts for Fags, a vulva/vagina ed program for gay men sex educators). Apparently he didn’t realize he was talking to the Queen of All Things Vulva (no, really). So shortly after meeting him, I went back to my office, snapped a photo of two of my vulva puppets and emailed it to him. In a show of inching closer to vulva appreciation (or WTF-ish-ness), he posted the vulva puppet picture on his blog with an account of our difference in opinion on vulvas.

That evening, my friend and colleague (who was supposed to introduce Dan at his talk at Indiana University last night) felt sick. My friend asked me to step in for him and introduce Dan which meant I had to very, very quickly go home to shower, change into my somewhat new black dress, walk Jezebel and, oh, write an introduction for someone whose work I admire.

I didn’t trip in my tall red heels and Dan’s talk was terrific – he was super funny and engaging with good insights (in my opinion) related to monogamy, sexual experience, fetishes, hate crime legislation and much more (in fact, Dan has since posted some of the questions students wrote on index cards for him to read and respond to). I laughed and felt more than a little proud when he publicly referenced how I had traumatized him earlier with my vulva puppet. The students gave him a wonderfully appreciative standing ovation when he was done and stood in line to have him sign their books. Afterwards, Dan joined a few of us for dinner and drinks at FARM. And by “a few of us”, I include my vulva puppet in the mix. Yes – that’s right: The Same Vulva Puppet That I Took on The Tyra Banks Show and that I Was Asked Not to Show Barack Obama.

Even better news? Dan must have picked up on the vulva puppet’s good karma because he actually touched it and even slipped his hand inside the vulva puppet (now, now – don’t get any ideas) and posed with me & my Wondrous Vulva Puppet for a photo.

Make sure to check out Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast podcasts, his Savage Love column and his books.

Follow me on Twitter @mysexprofessor

Related Articles:
- Dan Savage and I get the same sex question
- Me and My Wondrous Vulva Puppet on The Tyra Banks Show
- Sqweel Sex Toy Review (Starring the Vulva Puppet)

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