The Centre for the History of European Discourses was incorporated in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in August 2015.

The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.

Frigidity: An Intellectual History is the first major study of this curiously neglected term in the history of sexuality. It represents an exciting new approach to culturally informed intellectual history and is essential reading for students, scholars, and anyone interested in the way notions of feminine desire and its failure have been conceived across time. With a primary focus on France, it also considers the broader European and transatlantic scope of sexual coldness, frigidity, anaphrodisia and vaginismus, considering how ideas migrate from one cultural context to another. It is a study that ranges across seventeenth-century canon law, eighteenth and nineteenth-century medicine, nineteenth-century marital advice, literary works, and psychiatric theories; twentieth-century psychoanalysis, feminism and sexology. Though the word 'frigidity' may have fallen into disuse among specialists, there is now an array of new terms with which psychiatrists and sexologists continue to theorise sexual lack. This book puts both old and new into historical context.

"Frigidity: An Intellectual History is the first rigorous analysis of the way that ideas about sexual coldness in women changed over time. ... This book is a bold, revisionist history that is based on an original and meticulous exploration of theories of female desire. It is essential reading not only for people interested in sexuality, but in gender history, the history of medicine and psychology, and the wider history of ideas."--John H. Arnold, Joanna Burke and Sean Brady (series editors)

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