The Medicalization of Sex

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Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, Simon Fraser University,
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The Medicalization of Sex is a complex and fascinating phenomenon with historical roots in nineteenth century sexology. As a contemporary phenomenon, it occurs at the intersection of technology, culture, gender, medicine, sexuality, global capitalism, and rapid social change.

The Department of Gender, Sexuality, & Women's Studies at Simon Fraser University invites you to a conference on The Medicalization of Sex in Vancouver, BC, April 29-30, 2011. Conference highlights include keynote speakers Leonore Tiefer (NYU Medical School), author of Sex is Not a Natural Act, and Jennifer Terry (University of California, Santa Cruz), author of An American Obsession: Science, Medicine, and Homosexuality in Modern Society; special guests Virginia Braun (University of Aukland); Carol Groneman (CUNY); Barbara Marshall (Trent University); Elizabeth Reis (University of Oregon) and Judy Segal (UBC); a screening of the critically acclaimed documentary Orgasm Inc.: The Strange Science of Female Sexual Pleasure with an introduction by director Liz Canner; and 'Antidote,' a reception featuring local art celebrating genital diversity. This conference is made possible by the Ruth Wynn Woodward Endowment and the sponsorship of the New View Campaign, (a feminist educational project, Ruth Wynn Woodward was a BC pioneer dedicated to the advancement of gender equality.

We seek international, interdisciplinary contributions from a diversity of junior and senior scholars in the humanities, sciences, social sciences, health professions, as well feminist health activists and artists working in this area. Possible topics are the medicalization of sex as it relates to:
- Sexual 'normalcy' & deviancy
- Sexual 'function' & dysfunction
- Sexual 'hygiene' & pollution

- The Sexuopharmaceutical Industry
- Cosmetogynecology
- Sexology & Sexual Medicine

- Queer Sexualities
- Intersexualities
- Heterosexualities
- Asexualities

- Strategies for education, resistance, and activism related to age, ethnocultural and cultural, bodily, and sexual diversity

Proposals must include the paper title, abstract (max 250 words), and a biography of the author(s) (max 250 word per person). To be considered for early acceptance and reduced registration, please send all proposals via email to Thea Cacchioni, Junior Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair, Simon Fraser University at by Friday, October 1, 2010. A later set of proposal may be solicited in November. For conference updates please visit

Thea Cacchioni is the Ruth Wynn Woodard Chair in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. Thea earned her BA in Women's Studies at UBC and her MA and PhD in Gender Studies and Sociology at the University of Warwick, UK.

Thea's research interests include gender; sexuality; health; medicalization; 'Female Sexual Dysfunction;' and 'Sexual Revolution.' She has published in the journals Sexualities, Sociology, and the Sociology of Health and Illness. She is currently working on a book entitled 'The Labour of Love: Women in the Second Sexual Revolution' (University of Toronto Press).

Thea believes that a truly integrated perspective on women's health does not end in the classroom. In June, 2011 she testified at an FDA advisory hearing against the approval of Flibanserin, a daily anti-depressant drug with several 'unsexy' side-effects (proposed to treat 'hypo-active sexual desire disorder' in pre-menopausal women). During her residency at SFU, she will teach classes on the medicalization of sex, chair an interdisciplinary, multi-media conference on this theme (April 29th-30th, 2011), and engage in other forms of public outreach in this area.