Thea Cacchioni

Thea Cacchioni
Associate Professor, Undergraduate Advisor
Gender Studies
Office: CLE B123

PhD 2007, Sociology, University of Warwick

Area of expertise

Medicalization, health, heterosexuality

Joined UVic Gender Studies in 2011

My research examines the medicalization of sex, gender, and sexuality, broadly, as well as through specific diagnoses such as Female Sexual Dysfunction and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I am interested in the ways in which doctors, psychiatrists, and more recently, drug companies shape understandings of ‘normalcy’ and ‘deviance’ across categories of gender, race, and class. My work examines the pathologization of some sexual acts and identities and the 'healthicization' of others.  I am also a pharmaceutical drug regulation activist. I have testified twice at the US Federal Drug Administration against an ineffective desire drug with several harmful side-effects, hyped in the media as a ‘pink Viagra.’ This experience is documented in my book Big Pharma, Women, and the Labour of Love. I am currently working on UVic Faculty of Humanities funded study titled ‘Understanding and Experiences of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.’

Research Interests

  • Sexual 'function' and 'dysfunction', sexual pain
  • Medicalization
  • Heteronormativity

Courses Designed and Taught

  • GNDR 204 Gender, Health, Power and Resistance
  • GNDR 209 Families, Intimacies and Nationhood
  • GNDR 300 Gender Studies Seminar
  • GNDR 321 The Medicalization of Sex

Selected Publications

Cacchioni, Thea (2015) Big Pharma, Women, and the Labour of Love. University of Toronto Press.

Cacchioni, Thea (2015) 'The Medicalization of Sexual Deviance, Reproduction, and Functioning,' Handbook of Sexualities. Rebecca Plante and John Delamater (eds.), Springer.

Cacchioni, Thea (2014) ‘Sexuopharmaceuticals’ in Encyclopaedia of Human Sexuality. Patricia Whelehan and Anne Bolin (eds), Wiley Blackwell.

Cacchioni, Thea (2014) 'Feminism’ in Encyclopaedia of Health, Illness, Behaviour, and Society. William C. Cockerham, Robert Dingwall, & Stella Quah (eds), Wiley Blackwell.

Gupta, Kristina & Cacchioni, Thea (2013) ‘Sexual Improvement As If Your Health Depends On It’, Feminism & Psychology, 23 (4): 442-458.

Cacchioni, Thea and Leonore Tiefer (eds., 2012), 'Special Issue on the Medicalization of Sex', The Journal of Sex Research, 51.

Farrell, Janine and Thea Cacchioni (2012), 'The Medicalization of Women's Sexual Pain', The Journal of Sex Research, 51.

Cacchioni, Thea and Leonore Tiefer (2012), 'Why Medicalization? Introduction to the Special Issue on the Medicalization of Sex', The Journal of Sex Research, 51.

Cacchioni, Thea (2011), 'Expose on the Pink Viagra', The Canadian Medical Association Journal, July.

Cacchioni, Thea and Carol Wolkowitz (2011), 'Treating Women's Sexual Difficulties: The BodyWork of Sexual Therapy', The Sociology of Health and Illness 33 (22).

Cacchioni, Thea (2007), 'Successful Heterosexuality and "the Labour of Love": A Contribution to Recent Debates on Female Sexual Dysfunction', Sexualities 10 (3).


The New View Campaign: Challenging the Medicalization of Sex