Debra Herbenick

Professor and Director, the Center for Sexual Health Promotion
Applied Health Science
(812) 855-7011

  • Indiana University, Ph.D., 2007
  • Indiana University, M.P.H., 2003
  • University of Maryland, B.A. in Psychology, 1998
  • SPH F255 Human Sexuality
  • SPH H395/H595 Practicum in College Sex Education
  • President (2016 - 2018), American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists
  • Chair, Bloomington Commission on the Status of Women
  • Grants exceeding $3 million from the US Department of State, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Patty Brisben Foundation, as well as various corporate and start-up companies
  • 2013 Early Career Scholar Award. School of Public Health - Bloomington. Indiana University. Bloomington, Indiana.
  • Former board member of the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health; American Sexual Health Association; and Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.
  • Co-producer, Hot Girls Wanted (Emmy-nominated documentary)
  • AASECT-certified sexuality educator (2010-present)
Research Interests

For more than 15 years, Dr. Herbenick's research has focused on bett! er understanding how contemporary women and men experience the! ir bodies and their sexual lives. Among her 100+ scientific publications, she has created measurement scales to assess male and female genital self-image, the quality of sexual experiences, attitudes toward condoms, attitudes toward bisexual women and men, and she has consulted on the development of a number of other measurement scales. Since 2009, together with her colleague Dr. Michael Reece in the School of Public Health, she has led the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) - a nationally representative survey of Americans focusing on their sexual behaviors and experiences. In total - between the NSSHB and several other (separately funded) studies - Dr. Herbenick has conducted 10 nationally representative probability surveys of sex in America including issues related to female pleasure/masturbation, couples communication, diverse sexual behaviors, condom use and condom attitudes, sexual satisfaction, genital sensation and pleasuring techniques, media use, and the use of consumer products (e.g., condoms, lubricants, technology, vibrators and other sex toys). Passionate about sharing sexual science with the general public, Dr. Herbenick has also written five books and several thousand newspaper and magazine columns about sex. She hosts the Kinsey Confidential column and podcast series, and has appeared on various TV, radio and web-based video series talking about sex and sex research. In addition, Dr. Herbenick is the founder and host of the Bloomington Sex Salon, a popular local event series dedicated to creating campus-community conversations about sexuality topics, with rotating guests.

Selected Publications

For information about Dr. Herbenick's published books, visit her Amazon author page: <>

Herbenick, D., Fu, T.C., Arter, J., Dodge, B., & Sanders, S.A. (2017). Women's experiences with genital touching, sexual pleasure, and orgasm: results from a U.S. probability sample. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. Published online ahead of print.

Herbenick, D., Bowling, J., Fu, T.C.J., Dodge, B., Guerra-Reyes, L., Sanders, S. (2017). Sexual diversity in the United States: Results from a nationally representative probability sample of adult women and men. PLOS One. Article Link

Dodge, B., Herbenick, D., Fu., T.C.J., Schick, V., Reece, M., and Fortenberry, J.D. (2016). Sexual behaviors of U.S. men by self-identified sexual orientation: results from the 2012 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 13(4), 637-649.

Herbenick, D., Schick, V., Sanders, S.A., Reece, M., and Fortenberry, J.D. (2015). Pain experienced during vaginal and anal intercourse among male-female partners: findings from a nationally representative probability study in the United States. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 12(4), 1040-1051.

Herbenick, D., Reece, M., Schick, V., Sanders, S., & Fortenberry, J.D. (2013). The development and validation of the male genital self-image scale: results from a nationally representative probability sample of men in the United States. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10(6), 1516-1525.

Herbenick, D., Reece, M., Schick, V., Jozkowski, K., Middlestadt, S., Sanders, S.A., Dodge, B., Ghassemi, A., & Fortenberry, J.D. (2011). Beliefs about women's vibrator use: results from a nationally representative survey in the United States. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 37(5), 329-345.

Herbenick, D., Reece, M., Sanders, S.A., Schick, V., Dodge, B., & Fortenberry, J.D. (2010). Sexual behavior in the United States: Results from a national probability sample of males and females ages 14 to 94. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 7 (suppl 5), 255-265.