Sex Is Good Because You Get to See Another Side to your Favorite Person

There are a thousands reasons why sex can be a wonderful source of pleasure. One of them is because it gives you a chance to see a private, special side to another person that few other people in the world may ever get to see. The cynical among you may read “a few” and balk. But whether your lover has been known by one other person, a dozen, a hundred or ten thousand – it’s still a small number in the grand scheme of things of the world.

When people have sex or are in love or lust, they often let their guard down. They use baby talk or they relax and fall asleep in your arms. Maybe they snore right after sex. Or they make a disarming “o” face. They may tell you about their ejaculatory issues or the way they need a certain type of tongue flick in order to come. She may show you her favorite position and he may bend over while you search out the infamous p-spot.

The boring office guy transforms into a passionate lover of giving oral sex. The strict school teacher turns into a total softie when you hold her in your arms. The cocky class clown shows his scared, insecure side, wondering if he’s a good enough lover to please you.

With sex, anything is possible. You get to be whoever you want – it’s true. But that also means that your partner gets to be whoever they want, too, and that may not be the same as the person they masquerade as during their school or work day.

To be sexual with someone is both an honor and a responsibility. It means that you may not only have their heart in your hands, but you may also hold their sensitivities and their vulnerabilities, even their reputation. Your partner may be trusting you to not tell their buddies about their poetry-reciting side or their erectile problems or orgasmic screams. There may be secrets that just the two of you share, there in the bed or laying naked on the bathroom floor.

Having sex with another living, breathing human being is a big responsibility, but a gift too. Because whether you stay together or eventually part ways, there will always be a tiny corner of the universe that you two shared, alone in a bed, tracing each other’s freckles, naked and fragile and wanting, listening to Sam Cooke or John Legend or the pounding of each other’s hearts, and not wanting to look at the clock, lest it all have to end.

Debby Herbenick, PhD, MPH is a sex researcher and educator at Indiana University, a widely read sex columnist, and author of Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction. Follow her on Twitter @mysexprofessor

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

  • gec

    This is so true. And yet, I find that many people DO need to be able to talk in a meaningful way about their own sex lives, and if you know these people personally, then you also know who their partners are. I don’t think it’s such a good thing to make some information so “special” that it can’t be shared outside the moment. I think this post is making a point—that sharing outside the moment needs to be done with as much thought and consideration, or perhaps even more, than what went into the trusting intimate experience in the first place.

    I want to add that I am not writing this as a younger woman. I am 47 years old, have had many partners, and have found myself feeling isolated because while sexual acts are talked about in great detail in the general sense, or to provide some kind of superficial story, the details of how we feel about what we do seem to be off limits. I have a couple relationships where this is not the case, and I am deeply grateful for these friendships and support I can find from them.

  • berryberry

    Dr. Debby, I read this piece when you first posted it but I just had to come back and let you know that its probably my favorite thing you’ve ever written here. I think subconsciously I knew all along the points you made, but it’s great to see this out there in the universe. I haven’t found anything as common sense or insightful or useful in the women’s mags as this post. And actually that pretty much goes for your entire blog. Keep up the good work!

  • Debby Herbenick

    Thanks! I enjoyed writing this one in particular. I appreciate your kind words about our blog – it’s been fun to grow our blogging team and I’m very excited about the direction we’re headed!

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