iOS app Android app

Joyce McFadden
Joyce McFadden is a psychoanalyst and author of the groundbreaking book Your Daughter's Bedroom: Insights for Raising Confident Women. Based on her unprecedented study of 450 women, in which women could talk about whatever was important to them, it was the women of her study who determined the book’s topic: how girls learn about sexuality from their mothers. Currently being taught in university women’s studies programs, Your Daughter’s Bedroom is considered “an empowering resource for mothers and daughters everywhere" by Publishers Weekly, and "a fascinating and empowering text for women of all ages" by Kirkus Review. In 2014 she spoke at the United Nations as the U.S. expert on girls’ sexual development and its relation to their overall confidence, participating with co-panelists from WHO, UNESCO, UNICEF and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in announcing the United Nation’s first-ever policy on puberty education and menstrual hygiene management. McFadden has an MSW from Columbia University and five years of postgraduate training in psychoanalysis, is a faculty member, training analyst and clinical supervisor at the Training and Research Institute for Self Psychology, board member of the National Council on Women’s Health, and member of the Women’s Mental Health Consortium. She’s a featured writer for the Huffington Post, and her research has appeared in The New York Times, O The Oprah Magazine, NPR, The Detroit Free Press,,,,, and the Women's Media Center.

Entries by Joyce McFadden

Is the Way We Raise Young Children Contributing to College Rape Culture?

(0) Comments | Posted October 9, 2014 | 5:41 PM

Let me say right off the bat it's not my intention to blame parents for actively creating college rape culture. Rather, this post is meant as an appeal to parents of small children -- children who will all too soon be college age -- to take an honest look at...

Read Post

3 cosas que las niñas necesitan de sus padres

(0) Comments | Posted December 21, 2013 | 2:39 AM

El último post que escribí, en el que recordaba a las madres la importancia que tiene el desarrollo sexual de sus hijas en su felicidad general, gustó bastante. Y como se hizo viral, he recibido muchas peticiones que reclaman otro para los padres. Así que aquí estamos.


Read Post

3 Things Little Girls Need from Their Fathers

(153) Comments | Posted June 18, 2013 | 12:50 PM

The last post I wrote highlighting for mothers the role sexual development plays in their daughters' overall happiness was incredibly well received. But since it went viral, I've gotten many requests to write one for fathers. So here it is.

A little girl needs her father's support in...

Read Post

3 Things Your Little Girl Needs From You That You May Not Realize

(291) Comments | Posted February 4, 2013 | 4:49 PM

As Valentine's Day approaches and thoughts of love are in the air, your daughter's future love life may not be occupying your thoughts. Right now, she may be a toddler finger-painting in the kitchen, or a third grader counting coins and bills to equal $5 for her math homework.


Read Post

Enough With the Boobies and TaTas

(7) Comments | Posted October 26, 2012 | 6:35 PM

As October comes to a close, I look back and think about what happened during a month devoted to both breast cancer awareness and a national campaign encouraging parents to talk to our children about sexuality, "Let's Talk" month.

The first has been hijacked by hot pink objectification, the second...

Read Post

Talking to Our Daughters about Sex: 15 Questions to Make It Easier

(126) Comments | Posted August 16, 2012 | 5:38 PM

In her article "Why 6-Year-Old Girls Want to be Sexy," Jennifer Abbasi writes, "Most girls as young as 6 are already beginning to think of themselves as sex objects, according to a new study of elementary school-age kids in the Midwest."

The academic study she refers...

Read Post

When It Comes to Our Daughters' Sexual Development, Do We Value Shame Over Happiness?

(164) Comments | Posted July 9, 2012 | 2:30 PM

"The day I received my period, my mother gave me a pad and told me never to let boys play with me "down there."*

Even though we only want the best for our daughters, we tend to have a blind spot when it comes to seeing sexual...

Read Post

Sexuality: How Do We Influence the Women Our Daughters Become?

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2012 | 5:39 PM

As mothers, we want to do everything humanly possible to make sure our daughters live happy, healthy lives. I spoke with 450 women about whatever was most important to them and their response -- how girls learn about sexuality from their moms -- became the subject for my...

Read Post

The Right Way to Be a Mother

(2) Comments | Posted April 16, 2012 | 5:16 PM

Can we really still be here? Fighting amongst ourselves to determine The Right Way to be a mother?

Sure we can. Because we still live in a culture that struggles to afford women the right to make our own decisions in our highly individualized pursuit of whatever a fulfilling quality...

Read Post

What Do You Get When You Cross Gloria Steinem with a Call for Aspirin Between the Knees?

(1) Comments | Posted April 2, 2012 | 3:24 AM

What do you get when you cross Gloria Steinem with a call for aspirin between the knees? You get inspired.

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of attending a salon hosted by Gloria Steinem, which also featured the sea-changing psychologist and author of In...

Read Post

Body Image: How Women Contribute to Girls Asking YouTube if They're Ugly

(4) Comments | Posted February 27, 2012 | 12:00 PM

Although we don't mean to, we women fuel the fires of self-loathing in our girls every time we express dissatisfaction with our own appearance or dissect it in other women and girls.

I can't think of a single woman I know, including myself, who hasn't grappled with some form...

Read Post

How to Use Sexualized Halloween Costumes to Discuss the Power of Mothers and Daughters

(5) Comments | Posted October 10, 2011 | 4:16 PM

When my daughter was twelve, I asked her what she and her girlfriends were going to be for Halloween. Among the litany of vampy costumes she didn't even understand were vampy because they're so the norm, she casually mentioned that one of the girls in her class was going to...

Read Post

How Mothers Unintentionally Harm Their Daughters' Self-Confidence

(4) Comments | Posted June 23, 2011 | 3:06 PM

Earlier this week on Good Morning America there was yet another story on the body image crisis affecting our pre-pubescent daughters.

We all know our society is hard on girls and women. It values thinness and "beauty" above all else, and propels our girls, at younger...

Read Post

Raising Our Daughters to Be Sexually Authentic Adults

(165) Comments | Posted April 5, 2011 | 6:05 PM

In her Wall Street Journal article "Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That?" Jennifer Moses argues that the reason we mothers let our daughters "dress like prostitutes" is largely due to our own sexual regrets. She goes on to speculate that mothers who came of age in...

Read Post

Check Out the Documentary Orgasm, Inc.

(5) Comments | Posted February 14, 2011 | 5:01 PM

Can female desire come from a pharmaceutical company? Check out filmmaker Liz Canner's documentary, Orgasm, Inc., and see what you think.

The film, which opened last week at Quad Cinema, explores the focus our culture places on pharmaceutical intervention for all that ails us -- even on the...

Read Post

Raising Our Children to Be Whole, Not Just Successful

(3) Comments | Posted January 22, 2011 | 1:09 AM

I wanted to piggyback on David Brooks' Op-Ed in The New York Times earlier this week. In "Amy Chua Is a Wimp" he appraises Chua's critique in her book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" of the way Americans raise their children to be entitled. However, Brooks takes...

Read Post

Donor Egg Love

(2) Comments | Posted July 16, 2010 | 5:00 PM

The most important woman in my life is a woman I only met for a couple of minutes.

My sweet daughter Olivia is 14 now, and I'm still so madly in love with her that several times each day I wish I could inhale her. I often think about the...

Read Post

Politics and the Dangerous Psychology of Hate

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2010 | 8:52 AM

When someone is desperate, they go to extremes. It's a psychological survival tactic. Like when someone first hears a cancer diagnosis, and they pray to God, promising they'll do anything if only the cancer would go away.

In both the individual and society, desperation is driven by fear. And fear...

Read Post

Women's Realities: What Do You Want Others To Understand About Your Experience Of Abortion?

(8) Comments | Posted January 27, 2010 | 11:25 AM

Last week was the 37th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision.

It's a time in our history when the emotional support of a woman's right to choose is still uneasy and unsettled, and insurance coverage for abortion is an active battle fraught with contention.

In many ways politics have...

Read Post

The Cultural Importance Of Oprah

(11) Comments | Posted November 23, 2009 | 11:05 AM

I can't think of another figure on television who's done more to encourage us as a culture to rise to the highest common denominator.

MacNeil and Lehrer come to mind, but they began as a team and their purview was and is limited to news, whereas Winfrey's platform is broader...

Read Post