Leonore Tiefer, PhD: The Marketing of Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD)

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My interview with Leonore is now posted. If you want to understand the state of women’s bodies in the U.S. then this is a must listen to.

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Leonore Tiefer, PhD
Hijacking feminist rhetoric: Latest PR tactics in the promotion of “female sexual dysfunction”
April 15
7pm ET – 4 pm PT


The Liberty Beacon Media Network

Dr. Leonore Tiefer is passionate and committed to women’s health. I had the opportunity to meet this highly respected feminist at the 2013 Society for Menstrual Cycle Research conference New York City.  It was then that I found out and joined Dr. Tiefer’s New View Campaign – which has become a major resource for professionals and the media on the medicalization of women’s body’s.

The New View Campaign was formed in 2000 as a grassroots network to challenge the distorted and oversimplified messages about sexuality that the pharmaceutical industry relies on to sell its new drugs.

Dr. Tiefer has been featured on “PBS’ “Need to Know,” photo and interview in Slovenian Newspaper Delo, Interview on “Q” CBC radio, photo and story June 17, 2010 in New York Times, appearances on ABC “Nightline,” CBS “Sunday Morning,” ABC/CBS/NBC Nightly News programs, ABC “Good Morning America, and” NBC “Today.” It is my honor to interview her on Holy Hormones Honey!

The feminist scholar, researcher activist, and author is asking the question – how can women’s sexuality be natural when it is constructed through a process of A New View of Women's Sexual problemsmedicalization? Her latest concern is the ‘sexual dysfunction drug’ now under review by the FDA. The pharmaceutical companies are now using feminist rhetoric to promote this campaign – calling for equality with the approval of  flibanserin “an unsafe brain drug” – formerly known as an anti-depressant which failed to get through the FDA three times – now re-branded as the first sexual dysfunction drug for women. Why equality? Well, appears that there are many drugs for male sexual dysfunction – but none for women. These new marketing strategies were developed in 2014 under the guise of a PR campaign called “Even the Score.” Right?

The campaign contained a jazzy web site, petition, a congressional hearing, expensive tax-deductible luncheons (meaning you and I foot the bill) as well as expensive and flashy handout packets. No doubt other deals were made under the table to get this drug in front of the FDA for the fourth time. Scientific misinformation (Hmm.. why does that sound so familiar? #CDCwhistleblower), and feminist rhetoric were used to mobilize women labeled with sexual dysfunction – and the campaign even recruited feminist co-sponsors.

The jazzy web site and marketing campaigns are so similar to the first long acting contraceptives on the market – namely Seasonal, and of course the pharmaceutical award winning Gardasil, HPV vaccine which had teenage girls dancing around their living rooms singing to the musical jingle “I want to be one less girl to get cervical cancer.” Merck and Co was given an award for creating a market out of thin air.

What are “female sexual dysfunctions – and do you have it? Have you been labeled with Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder? How about Female Sexual Arousal Disorder…no? Well, just wait there is more…. Female Orgasmic Disorder and Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder. Well the last two will probably affect all women in menopause.

Are you seeing the picture? Are you waking up yet? If not, Dr. Leonore Tiefer will open your eyes wide shut.

Leonore 2013Leonore Tiefer, PhD, author, educator, researcher, therapist and activist has specialized in many areas of sexuality. She began with a Psychology PhD on hormones and hamsters (University of California, 1969) and an academic position and animal laboratory (Colorado State University, 1969-1977). Responding to the call of feminist politics and the world of sexology for people, she later respecialized in clinical psychology (New York University, 1988) with a focus on sex and gender problems. Beginning in 1977 her New York City career took her to Downstate Medical Center, Beth Israel Medical Center and then to Montefiore Medical Center where she was employed in the Urology Department and co-directed the Sex and Gender Clinic from 1988-1996. She is currently Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine and has a limited private psychotherapy and sex therapy practice in Manhattan.

Dr. Tiefer has written widely about the medicalization of men’s and women’s sexuality. She has been interviewed by news media around the world and appeared on many news shows as the foremost critic of “disease-mongering” trends in the medical management of women’s sexual problems. The website of her educational anti-medicalization campaign, newviewcampaign.org, is a major resource on this topic for journalists, colleagues, and the public.

Dr. Tiefer has received many professional awards, e.g., 1994 Alfred C. Kinsey Award and 2004 Distinguished Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and 2004 Lifetime Career Award from the Association for Women in Psychology. She has been elected to many professional offices within sexological and feminist organizations (e.g., 1986 National Coordinator of Association for Women in Psychology, 1993 President of the International Academy of Sex Research). She served as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Coalition against Censorship (ncac.org) and on many committees at her New York City Unitarian Universalist Church.

Dr. Tiefer’s c.v. contains over 150 scientific and professional publications. Her Westview Press book, Sex is Not a Natural Act and other essays now in a 2nd edition (2004), has been translated into several languages. In 2001 she co-edited an important feminist sexology collection, A New View of Women’s Sexual Problems, that grew out of the New View educational campaign (newviewcampaign.org). She also co-authored a classroom and workshop teaching manual (2003) to accompany this text. The New View campaign has held 4 scholar-activist conferences, testified before the FDA, provided fact sheets and briefings for media, and generated articles and chapters that are influencing the way students and professionals are taught about human sexuality.

Dr. Tiefer is well-known as a public speaker, having been invited to keynote scores of conferences from London to Paris to Berlin to Osaka to Istanbul to Calcutta to Ljubljana to Auckland. She has given challenging and provocative grand rounds in Psychiatry, Urology, and Obstetrics and Gynecology at numerous medical centers and spoken to innumerable university and college clubs, classes, and public audiences. In 2003, she was a platform speaker at the Chautauqua Institution, speaking to an audience of over 4500, standing in the same honored spot as Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, presidents and senators, and other leading intellectual figures.

As an organizer, Dr. Tiefer convened the New View Campaign in 1999. She used her experience as a clinical psychologist, sexologist, and feminist activist to critique, resist, and transform medical models of sexual health and dysfunction. Her successful intergenerational campaign uses tactics both old (manifestos, scholarly publications, op eds, protests, testimony, lobbying, conferences, and counter-conferences,) and new (art shows, websites, FaceBook, Twitter, online petitions, listservs, and interactive blogs).

In 2013, she moved from focusing exclusively on the medicalization of sex to a larger perspective on overtreatment and overdiagnosis as co-organizer of the successful conference, Selling Sickness: People Before Profits.

  • View the amazing video spoof of the cosmetic genital surgery industry
  • Sign the 2014 petition challenging the deceptive Pharma PR campaign that pressures the FDA to approve an unsafe brain drug – flibanserin – because of gender equality (men have their sex meds why shouldn’t women – and never mind the science!).

For more information please view Dr. Tiefer’s web site.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.