Leonore Tiefer

Leonore Tiefer 5/09

Biography

Leonore 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. Tieferís 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 (www.newviewcampaign.org) 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 the medicalization of sex to focus on overtreatment and overdiagnosis writ large as co-organizer of the successful conference, Selling Sickness: People Before Profits.
Be sure to sign the Call to Action on that website!!

Selected Works

TV and print media interviews and quotes on sexuality and pharmaceutical topics
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," NBC "Today;" many more
Many quotes in Boston Globe, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, The Independent (UK), Seattle Times, Psychology Today magazine, Science, Miami Herald, San Diego Union Tribune, Chicago Tribune, The Nation, Toronto Globe & Mail, etc.
Recent lectures
Analysis of role of pharmaceutical industry in creating and promoting "female sexual dysfunction" in order to sell drug products. Similar lectures on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yUeVaU408s
Article
Provocative critique of how pharmaceutical companies create sexual disorders and the role of consumer activism and resistance.
Collected essays
Popular and professional writings on contemporary sexual life. "An important book"
--The Nation
Essays
Diverse commentaries on the New View Campaign Manifesto, plus essays on new sex research on women