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. Her parents, brother and sister were all killed in the tornados. [CNN] [Sad update: the baby has since died.]
- A woman who lost her 4 year old child as well as her grandparents [Bloomington Herald Times]
- The dozens of students who waited out the tornados, huddled with their principal in their school.
- The missing pets and the families who are grieving them [Indy Star]
- The towns in Indiana that have literally been wiped out [CNN], losing their homes, schools and places of worship. I’m sure a number of people also lost their small businesses that they have worked hard to build and grow, often perhaps at the expense of doing other things that are important to them (like being with family). These are the sacrifices we all make as human beings and when you lose things you’ve worked hard and dearly for, it’s difficult sometimes not to lose hope as well.

There has also been a significant loss of life as well as a number of people who have been injured and are without homes. I know that there are a number of causes that deserve our attention and this particular disaster relief effort has my personal attention.

I don’t have endless amounts of money but I’m fortunate to be financially comfortable. And what I also have is an audience here on MSP as well as on Twitter and other social media. I’ve been surprised not to see more news about the tornados and disaster relief efforts on my Twitter feed and I want to be helpful. It occurred to me that perhaps I could help by donating money to the disaster relief efforts (probably to the Red Cross, though I’m still exploring options) and at the same time help to increase exposure – and maybe encourage others to donate – by doing something like this:

I will donate up to $1 to the tornado disaster relief efforts for every RT on Twitter (or Facebook share), up to $1000. All you have to do is Tweet the following:

“RT @mysexprofessor Support Tornado Relief Efforts. $1 will be donated for each RT up to $1000. Learn more/donate here: “


Use the “Recommend” button to Share on Facebook (above).

Important: I worried that doing this might give the perception that I am trying to get people to RT in order to get more Twitter followers. This is definitely NOT the case. First, I doubt more people will follow just because of this. Second, I’m not someone who actively courts Twitter traffic/RTs as regular readers/Twitter followers will know. If someone new decides to follow, I’m assuming it will be because they genuinely want to follow us @mysexprofessor and read about sex-related topics. But no one needs to follow me/us in order for me to donate. I’ll donate money and other forms of support no matter what; this is important to me. Having lived through one of the worst hurricanes in US history, I know how devastating it can be to not have a home, to wonder if people you love are safe, and to wonder what turn your life will take next. My idea with the RTs/Facebook Shares is that if up to 1000 people share the donation message, then more people will be reminded of the tornados and the devastation and perhaps more people will donate, if they can afford to. It’s about making more people aware and seeking support/donations.

Thanks for all of your support.

To donate yourself, check out this information from the Red Cross. And if you donate or otherwise help with the relief efforts, please consider sending me a note to so I’ll know. It would please me beyond measure to know that MSP readers and Twitter followers are doing what they can. 


With much gratitude,


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