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Book cover for "Women, Sex, and Madness" with woman about to jump from edge of diving board
August 2019

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Women, Sex, and Madness

Notes from the Edge
Breanne Fahs

Covering a wide variety of subjects and points of inquiry on women's sexuality, from genital anxieties about pubic hair to constructions of the body in the therapy room, this book offers a ground-breaking examination of women, sex and madness, drawing from psychology, gender and sexuality studies, and cultural studies.

Breanne Fahs argues that women’s sexuality embodies a permanent state of tension between cultural impulses of destruction and selfishness contrasted with the fundamental possibilities of subversiveness and joy. Emphasizing cultural, social, and personal narratives about sexuality, Fahs asks readers to imagine sex, bodies and madness as intertwined, and to see these narratives as fluid, contested, and changing. With topics as diverse as anarchist visions of sexual freedom, sexualized emotion work, lesbian haunted houses, and the insidious workings of capitalism, Fahs conceptualizes sexuality as a force of regressive moral panics and profound inequalities — deployed in both blatant and more subtle ways onto the body  — while also finding hope and resistance in the possibilities of sexuality.

By integrating clinical case studies, cultural studies, qualitative interviews and original essays, Fahs offers a provocative new vision for sexuality that fuses together social anxieties and cultural madness through a critical feminist psychological approach. Fahs provides an original and accessible volume for students and academics in psychology, gender and sexuality studies, and cultural studies.


Breanne Fahs is professor of women and gender studies at ASU.