Putting the sex back in Texas and testing out a Sqweel sex toy-all in a week's work for this sex professor.
1/32Playing with my new red petticoat that I bought at a vintage shop in Austin, Texas
2/32I love this skirt... so much fun. Can I wear this to work?
3/32Taping a radio show about my new book, Because It Feels good, with an old dear friend in College Station, TX
4/32With my friends and fellow sexual health researchers at the radio station
5/32Trying on a Stetson
6/32In the dressing room, all blinged up with my rhinestone jeans and belt and a shredded back shirt (I bought the shirt)
7/32I had NOTHING to do with these stuffed bears in a compromising position; I just stumbled upon them in a Barnes & Noble
8/32A friend and I hit up the Whole Foods to sample slut our way through the aisles (wine? yes. cheese? yes. butternut squash? oh yes. and chocolate? double yes.) Loved this chocolate graveyard - so creative!!
9/32Trying on red boots and a cowboy shirt. Didn't go with either of these.
10/32The new Sqweel sex toy arrives in the mail! It came out on Monday from LoveHoney.com. So excited to be among the first to try it out for a review on my MySexProfessor.com blog.
11/32Having an Alice in Wonderland moment at a park in Austin.
12/32Trying on a 1950s lavender prom dress and giving up on the idea that it might ever zip all the way up. Did women wear corsets back then? Or what's up with the over-exaggerated hourglass shape of it?
13/32Photograph: Jeremy Northum
14/32Photograph: Jeremy Northum
15/32Photograph: Jeremy Northum
16/32Photograph: Jeremy Northum
17/32Photograph: Jeremy Northum
18/32Photograph: Jeremy Northum
19/32Photograph: Jeremy Northum
20/32Photograph: Jeremy Northum
21/32Photograph: Jeremy Northum
22/32Photograph: Jeremy Northum
23/32Photograph: Jeremy Northum
24/32Photograph: Jeremy Northum
25/32Photograph: Jeremy Northum
26/32Photograph: Jeremy Northum
27/32Photograph: Jeremy Northum
28/32Photograph: Jeremy Northum
29/32My wheels! I bike to work most days, weather allowing.
30/32My Uggs arrived! I am (bedrudgingly) preparing for winter and Uggs are one of the few things that gets me through it. That and hot chocolate.
31/32My Uggs arrived! I am (bedrudgingly) preparing for winter and Uggs are one of the few things that gets me through it. That and hot chocolate.
32/32Another day, another sex toy review. Coming home from work today, I'm torn between reviewing and writing about sex toys (and my new superhero themed uterus doll) or re-reading The Madness of a Seduced Woman, a wonderful through troubling novel of passion, heartbreak and loss.
By Debby Herbenick|
Sunday: After tailgating and dining with friends the night before, The Boy and I decide to begin Sunday by going shopping for fall clothes. I immediately hit up Anthropologie in search of dresses for several upcoming talks I’m giving at universities and at conferences. I find one dress that will do (it’s black, wool and possibly warm for fall) and one cute but sort of risqué shirt—I send photos of both to Twitter prematurely (I’m @mysexprofessor if you want to say hi!). Really, I can’t be trusted with my iPhone; when I get home and view the photo in its much larger state, I realize that the shirt and photo are perhaps a bit too boobalicious. Oops.
At night, I invent and then test new recipes for homemade body sugar (i.e., sex sugar)—basil flavored, rosemary flavored, mint flavored, etc. I marvel at how easy they are create and, while The Boy is out running around a field with other grown men, I make a video about sex sugars for my MySexProfessor.com blog.
Monday: I wake up, roll out of bed and try not to step over the boxes of sex toys on the floor by my closet (for review purposes, of course). I’ve got so much work to do today and a column edit. I learn about a brand-new sex toy that’s going to hit the market in one week but that is being kept ridiculously hush-hush. Over e-mail, I beg to learn more and set up a call to discuss.
In the meantime, I get back to work—pouring through books like The Science of Orgasm (and admiring a great image of male anatomy), answering sex questions, reading an article about sexual harassment among beetles, analyzing data related to women’s in-home sex-toy parties, and doing a few phone and e-mail interviews about how women feel about their genitals (thanks to a study I just published on the topic). It’s getting good press! I sign and mail six copies of my new book, Because It Feels Good, for someone I met in Canada four years earlier and who, just the week before, had the books shipped directly to me for a signing (and an offer of a bottle of wine). Lovely.
Tuesday: A former student sends me a link to a Feministing post about my research related to women’s and men’s use of sex toys and how women feel about their genitals. The blogger, Rose, wrote that I’ve been doing some “really great, sex positive, feminist research” which makes me smile even though I saw the post a few days earlier when it first came out. I love Feministing and to have them notice anything I do is beyond exciting.
Later, an incoming master’s student is in town and drops by my office for a meet and greet. She’s fantastic and I can’t wait for her to join us! I also get a chance to speak with the folks at LoveHoney who are behind the new amazing sex toy coming out the following week. They send me photos and a video and put a sample in the mail. I cannot wait.
After a day of edits on research papers, answering questions about sex via e-mail, and more press interviews about my women’s genital research and our new Kinsey Confidential website redesign, I head to the salon after work to get my hair cut and lowlighted and my brows waxed. After all, tomorrow I’m headed to Texas, where I have a sense that women put way more effort into their appearance than I do.
At night, while packing for the trip, I debate whether I should pack vibrators for a show and tell during the two talks I am giving at Texas A&M. Given the state’s history of restrictive sex laws, I decide against it. Better not to risk any drama at the airport.
Wednesday: At work, we start the morning off with research meetings and it’s one thing after another until I leave for the airport wearing jeans and a fleece. On layover in Minneapolis, I change into shorts and a T-shirt, excited for warm Texan air. And then I scarf down sushi at the food court. Lots of it. And I happily spend time on my laptop.
In the airplane, I am amazed at how the bathroom has a three-fourths-length mirror. Few do. The fact that it’s to the left of the toilet (the only place one could possibly kneel or bend over) makes me feel as though the airlines, in some ways, encourage people to try their hand at the Mile High club. Why else such an expansive mirror? If just to check one’s outfit, it should be on the door.
When I arrive in Austin, I rent a car to drive to College Station. Thanks to tiny street signs (apparently not everything is bigger in Texas) and talking on my cell phone, I miss my turn and have to re-route myself using my iPhone’s GPS. Except it takes me on the backroads, which means I find I am the only car in most places. A policeman pulls me over for speeding (but lets me go after I express confusion about where I am) and gives me directions but warns me to watch my speed as “cattle can get on the road.” Seriously? I arrive at my friend Ariane’s house late night/morning and hit the hay, as they say.
Thursday: I wake up not so bright and early (but well rested) and finish my slides after breakfast. I learn about my friend Ariane’s human sexuality class, what they’ve covered (male/female anatomy), what they haven’t (ejaculation, orgasm, multiple orgasm, sexual-response-cycle stuff) and add or cut slides as needed. I’m pretty sure I have way too many slides of vulvas and penises, but I figure it’ll work out fine.
Class goes well and fortunately it doesn’t faze me to have a photographer snapping away during class. Maybe he’s just that good (or nice). Probably both.
Ariane’s undergrad students ask great questions about female ejaculation, research methods, the clitoris, orgasms during intercourse, erections, lasting longer during sex, exercise and sex and so much more. I love them! A few lovely girls stay afterward to ask questions and say nice things.
Then it’s off to a late lunch and time to relax before the evening talk. I’m worried about whether anyone will show up. However, when we arrive, not only is the room full but there are actually people standing in the back. Bad for them but so heartening for me! This time, I talk about sexual health and pleasure and my ideas for public health/medical research that incorporates pleasure. I show a Sarah Haskins/CurrentTV video about birth control and sex that seems to go over well. Again, very smart and insightful questions are asked by the women and men in the audience. I sign a few books and we go out to the loveliest of lovely dinners. College Station, Texas, is winning me over.
Friday: In the morning, I catch up on work—lots of it. Plus I’m a guest on a radio show (talking about sex and my book), have a conference call with a TV production team, and realize I scheduled a call with a journalist for a German women’s magazine for the wrong time (fortunately, she’s very kind about this). In the afternoon, Ariane and I have lunch with faculty and a student from the department including the student’s dad who is visiting from Chicago! The dad and daughter are amazing to watch together, which makes me miss my dad. A lot.
Later that afternoon, Ariane and I head over to a community radio station where my friend Matt (also a public health/sexual health researcher) hosts a show. He’s been kind enough to ask me to come on the radio show and discuss Because It Feels Good. When we arrive, it turns out that the entire show—yes, an hour-long show—is devoted to an interview with me and Ariane. Even though this comes as a surprise to the both of us, Ariane agrees to join us and is a total natural on air. We have a great time talking with, laughing with and being interviewed by my longtime friend Matt (we did our master’s degree together at IU) and his cohost Naomi. Leaving the station, Matt takes us out for drinks and dinner and we talk sex, research and all the normal stuff one talks about with friends. I not-so-secretly hope that Ariane and Matt become friends, too, now that they live in the same town. That night, I stay up later than I should on my laptop.
Saturday: My flight leaves very early on Sunday morning, so after doing a bit more work on Saturday morning, we head off to Austin in the afternoon. First, we peruse Central Market and grab lunch. I notice pumpkins that look as if they have a serious case of untreated genital warts and have to take a picture. Later, we stop at Borders and I notice that someone (not me!) has placed stuffed brown bears in a compromising position. After sample slutting our way through Whole Foods and taking a walk on a trail that has these huge red mushrooms that remind me of Alice in Wonderland, we end up stopping by two vintage shops before dinner. Well, after dinner too (I got hooked). I must have tried on 20 outfits. The photos here are just a selection—though the red petticoat was my favorite find (it’s gorgeous, isn’t it?), you should have seen the clothes that didn’t make the cut. The tiny, short, green romper and the red leisure suit were oh-so ’80s and quite tempting. Given my enormous love for costume parties—and turning regular parties into costume parties with a slew of dress-up clothes (and sometimes lingerie worn over clothes)—I can’t wait to take these clothes back home. I am especially excited about the green sparkly leotard and the petticoat.
We befriend the guy who works at the store and who quickly realizes I have little modesty in regard to the changing room (Ariane outs me by telling him that I study sex, as if that explains everything). Later that night, I put the petticoat on and Ariane takes photos of me wearing it in the hotel room. Somehow, she manages to help me fit it into a bag to take back home.
Sunday: My flight is at 7am—what a travesty! The good news is that when I get home, the Sqweel—that top-secret sex toy I learned about on Monday —has arrived from the U.K. I find time to check it out, write a review and send the info to Gizmodo, which is posting about it the next morning, and also to schedule a post about it on my blog. That night, while The Boy is out playing flag football, I make a video review about the Sqweel. He comes home to find me sitting at the dining room table with the Sqweel, a vulva puppet, a peeled banana and my laptop. How to explain?
Monday: First, it’s a crazy-cold bike ride into work this morning. My hands take eons to warm up when I get to my office. The Sqweel sex-toy review goes live, I get reviews back on a research paper I’ve submitted for publication and start working on those, I respond to more media calls (one about Because It Feels Good, another about sex for a women’s magazine and a third about the genital research), I answer sex questions via e-mail, I am interviewed by a college student for his class project and I have meetings. Whew.
When I arrive home, I’m greeted with two big boxes of Uggs—so ugly, I know, and yet so utterly warm and cozy that I can’t get through winter anymore without them. The pair I wore every winter day (and some fall/spring days, too) for the past two years is looking shabby. This year I bought two new waterproof pairs in black and brown (the brown ones are actually way less ugly than most of the line). I put on my new red petticoat just for fun then try on the Uggs to make sure they fit (They do! Keepers).
I decide to leave the big mess of opened boxes in the middle of the living room floor even though I know The Boy will frown (only momentarily) about this when he comes home. But sometimes when you live with someone, it’s those little acts of rebellion that keep you feeling free.
Going through my iPhone photos, I look over and over again at what I call my photos of “hearts in the wild” (hearts or heart-like things that I see when out and about). Two recent examples: the leaves that I found in a heart shape on the ground and some absolutely enchanting hearts from a wrought iron gate, in shadow on the ground. Though I study sex, I can’t shake my fascination with hearts and with love, which is perhaps not a bad mix to have.
I gather my boxes of sex-toy samples to review as well as my relatively new superhero-themed uterus doll (so cute!) that I bought from Etsy. I weigh whether I’m going to blog about these tonight or instead reread a novel that an old boyfriend’s mother had me read years ago called The Madness of a Seduced Woman—an incredible story about love, passion, seduction, the crazy side of lust, and madness. Absolute madness. The book wins (for now). Well, at least until I decide to watch Lost in Translation, which I haven’t seen in ages. My longtime favorite scene—the one where he touches her foot in bed—is now in competition with the scenes in which they deal with their confusing feelings they both experience after he has a drunken hookup with the singer. Later, I fall into a deep, dreamless asleep.