Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sexologist disproves common sex myths

True or false: all you need is technique for a good sex life.

Sexologist Dr. Debby Herbenick says false.

The Wellness Center kicked off its 11th annual Healthy Sexuality Week on Feb. 7 with a lecture about 12 sex myths called, “Because It Feels Good,” featuring sexologist Dr. Debby Herbenick.

“There’s a lot of bad sources of information out there and it’s hard to tell what’s what, especially in the sex world,” Herbenick said.

Herbenick is trying to educate people of all ages, not just college students, about how to improve their sex lives.

“The best thing you can do is to learn about sex,” Herbenick said. “You will ultimately have a better, more pleasurable sex life.”

Herbenick’s event promoted a positive sexual message through a presentation that dispelled a variety of myths about sexual activity, from “lubricants are for old people” to “you can get tested for everything.”

The presentation was followed by a question-and-answer session, allowing audience members to anonymously submit their questions into a fishbowl for Herbenick’s expert opinion.

Herbenick is a research scientist at Indiana University and sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute. She is also the founder of, which promotes optimal sexual health and pleasure for men and women, according to its mission statement.

More than 100 students attended the presentation, which was co-sponsored by Women’s Initiative and the GLBTA Resource Center.

“I think it was really important for students to hear about the realities of sexual activity and to dispel some of the myths that are endemic in our culture,” said Alan Duffy, a health educator in the Wellness Center and organizer of Healthy Sexuality Week.

The week continued with a screening of “A Closer Walk,” a film about HIV and AIDS in Africa, on Feb. 8 sponsored by the Clinical Alliance for Research and Education - Infectious Diseases (CARE-ID), a local research organization.

It also featured a sexual health products party on Feb. 10, provided by in-home party company Pure Romance.

“I think events like these are so important for a very sexually active campus like ours,” said Ali Zottola, a junior in the School of International Service and the Kogod School of Business. “The top thing for better sex is to understand the other gender’s body and needs.”

Duffy said the week’s events aimed to make students see responsible sex as not only a safe practice, but also an enjoyable one.

“When students hear the word ‘responsibility,’ they think of rules and regulations,” Duffy said.

Throughout the week, the Wellness Center promoted its programs and resources, including the peer education program, Love S.H.A.C.K. (Sex, Health and Contraception Knowledge), and offering free sexual health information, condoms and dental dams in its McCabe Hall office.

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