Dr. Debby, Teaching Us About Sexual Pleasure

07/23/2010 09:57 pm ET | Updated Jun 26, 2011
  • Don McNay Author of Brand New Man: My Weight Loss Journey

We learned about love in the back of the Dodge,
The lesson hadn't gone too far.

-Harry Chapin

In his book, The Culture Code, Clotaire Rapaille noted that 80% of all Americans had their first sexual experience in a car.

It's one of the reasons that our culture has had such a fascinating with automobiles.

I'm over six foot tall. My first car was a tiny Ford Maverick. It might explain why I don't care about cars but have a deep affinity for recliner chairs.

Items like cars and recliners are connected in our minds to pleasure. And sex is thrown in somewhere.

All of this brings me to Dr. Debby Herbenick.

Dr. Debby is a research scientist at Indiana University and a sexual health educator at the Kinsey Institute.

She is author of the book, Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.

With her movie star looks and charming personality, Dr. Debby is a natural for the daytime talk show circuit. She has appeared on Tyra Banks and several other shows.

But she is a serious academic. Sex is her topic. She told me that the Kinsey Institute is "the Mecca" for those who study the subject.

I suspect it is.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists recently had its annual convention on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington. Dr. Debby spoke and a tour of the Kinsey Institute was part of the program.

Starting with the groundbreaking work of Dr. Albert Kinsey, Indiana University has long been a beacon of academic freedom. The Kinsey Institute studies a subject that much of America is embarrassed or hesitant to talk about.

Not Dr. Debby.

The title of her book is her mantra. Dr. Debby's mission is teaching the art of pleasure.

Hot & cold emotions confusing my brain, I could not decide between pleasure & pain

-Samantha Fox

Although sex is a leading cause of divorce, suicide, and emotional angst, the art of sexual pleasure is not something we learn in academic circles.

In my book, Son of a Son of a Gambler, I recount my childhood lunch with a young entrepreneur named Larry Flynt.

Flynt is a fellow Kentuckian and a friend of my late father. Many years ago, he told dad, with me sitting there, that he was going to start a "blue collar Playboy" called Hustler. He did.

It made Larry a millionaire.

I suspect that more people have learned about sex from Playboy, Hustler, and porn than all the universities combined.

Thus, there are gaps in our education.

Gaps that Because It Feels Good, tries to fill.

Dr. Herbenick addressed communications and expectations.

She encouraged partners to talk openly about what they like and don't like. She tells them to communicate through the process.

Not enough people talk about their likes and dislikes. Many end up in a "cycle of dread."

A cycle that often ends in breakup, divorce or unhappiness.

She addressed the concept of expectations.

I'm a television sports watcher and wonder what networks did for advertising before the non stop ads for Viagra and Cialis came along. They give the impression that anyone who takes the pills will have "MIND BLOWING SEX."

Right in the middle of the day or the middle of an open field.

As Dr. Debby notes, sex is about pleasure, not about performance. You don't need to "keep up with the Jones" on the sexual front.

The Jones are a myth created by a Madison Avenue advertising agency. You just need to make your partner and yourself happy.

Because It Feels Good is an unabashed guide to sexual pleasure.

It's aimed at women but an important read for men as well.

Along with the academic study of anatomy and physiology that you would expect from an Indiana University scientist, Dr. Debby has chapters on topics like sex toys, lubricants and sexual positions.

You usually don't see those covered in a college textbook.

In the detailed and illustrated chapter on sexual positions, she gives a "signature move" (page 194) that will be emulated by many book readers.

I don't mean to trivialize. Following in the spirit of Albert Kinsey, Dr. Herbenick takes her research and instruction very seriously. She should.

It's an important book on an important topic. From an author we going to be hearing a lot about.

When former NSNC President (and Bloomington Herald Times columnist) Mike Leonard added Dr. Herbenick as a speaker, I thought it was an unusual choice. Our normal speakers are well known giants of the media.

In recent years, we have speakers like Arianna Huffington, Bill O'Reilly, Ellen Goodman and Jon Carroll. Carl Hiaasen also spoke this year.

Dr. Debby was a nontraditional pick on the most traditional of subjects. I'm glad I got to hear what she had to say.

We need to start talking more openly about sex.

Because it feels good.

Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC of Richmond Ky. is an award-winning columnist and Huffington Post Contributor.

He is a former Treasurer of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

You can read more about Don at

McNay has Master's Degrees from Vanderbilt and the American College and is in the Hall of Distinguished Alumni of Eastern Kentucky University.

McNay has written two books. Most recent is Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners, Losers and What to Do When You Win The Lottery

McNay is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table and has four professional designations in the financial services field.