Dr Hannah Frith

Associate Professor in Psychology
PhD, PGDip, BSc(Hons), SFEA, CPsychol
+44 (0)1483 689433
22 AC 04



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Therapeutic relationships play a central role in maintaining a positive social climate in forensic settings. The interpersonal difficulties characteristic of Borderline Personality Disorder, alongside the secure environment of forensic wards, can make  developing  positive  therapeutic  relationships  with  this  patient  group  challenging. Qualitative interviews aimed to explore how ward staff understand and experience the interaction of interpersonal relationships and social climate when caring for patients with Borderline Personality Disorder on forensic wards. Interviews with 11 staff members working across UK forensic inpatient settings were analysed using Ref lexive Thematic Analysis and reported following COREQ guidelines. Six interrelated themes were generated; three describe relational cycles that occur between ward staff and patients with Borderline Personality Disorder and three describe systemic factors that inf luence the context in which ward staff operate. From these themes, an integrative model was developed to summarise how factors in the wider forensic system and the interpersonal relationships between staff and patients with Borderline Personality Disorder in forensic wards inf luence one another, affecting staff experiences of the social climate of forensic settings. The model illustrates how complex cycles within the therapeutic relationships with staff and patients with Borderline Personality Disorder can interact with systemic inf luences in the wider forensic context to inf luence staff experiences of forensic settings. Clinical implications of the model are discussed, offering recommendations for improving therapeutic relationships and the social climate on forensic wards caring for patients with Borderline Personality Disorder, to better support staff and patient wellbeing.

Participating in sport and physical exercise (SPE) can be challenging for transgender and non-binary people. Previous research has identified some of the barriers trans people face in schools, leisure spaces and competitive sports (e.g. gender segregation, gendered language, sports clothing, and transphobia), and the resultant poor rates of participating in everyday SPE compared to the cisgender population. Yet, despite the ways in which sport, the experience of being trans, and being trans in sport are often framed as intensely focused on the body, less attention has been paid to the embodied experience of trans people as they engage in SPE. This paper draws on selected data examples from a qualitative study examining trans adults’ experiences of engaging in everyday SPE and looks towards Wellard’s [(2012). Body-reflexive pleasures: Exploring bodily experiences within the context of sport and physical activity. Sport, Education and Society, 17(1), 21–33. https://doi.org/10.1080/13573322.2011.607910] concept of circuits of body-reflexive pleasure, to explore how participants’ make sense of their embodied selves. Sitting at the intersection of social, physiological and psychological experiences of sport, we explore how circuits of body-reflexive pleasure (and displeasures) in SPE can induce feelings of gender dysphoria as well as feelings of pleasure and gender euphoria.

Devon Rodwell, Hannah L Frith (2024)Using a trauma‐informed care framework to explore social climate and borderline personality disorder in forensic inpatient settings, In: International journal of mental health nursing Wiley

Abstract Tensions between therapeutic and security needs on forensic wards can create a social climate which is challenging for both mental health nurses and patients. Social climate refers to the physical, social and emotional conditions of a forensic ward which influence how these environments are experienced. For patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD), previous trauma means that the social climate of forensic settings may be experienced as retraumatising, negatively impacting the outcomes and wellbeing of both patients and mental health nurses. Trauma‐informed care (TIC) has been offered as a contemporary framework for mental health nursing in inpatient units which aims to create a therapeutic social climate. In this critical review, we drew widely on literatures examining the social climate in forensic settings, the relationships between patients with BPD and staff (including mental health nurses), and the experiences of patients with BPD in forensic and inpatient settings to draw out the implications of scrutinising these literatures through the lens of TIC. Attending to the physical, social and emotional conditions of social climate in secure settings highlights how forensic wards can mirror trauma experiences for patients with BPD. Implementing TIC in these contexts has the potential to evoke positive shifts in the social climate, thus reducing the risk of retraumatisation and leading to improved outcomes for patients and staff.

Hannah Frith, Kate Gleeson (2008)Dressing the Body: The Role of Clothing in Sustaining Body Pride and Managing Body Distress, In: Qualitative Research in Psychology5(4)pp. 249-264 SAGE Publications

This qualitative research extends current theorizing on behavioural strategies for managing body distress by exploring how women manage body image through clothing practices. Eighty two women reported their subjective understanding of how body evaluation and clothing practices are interconnected in response to open-ended questionnaires. Thematic analysis of responses revealed that clothing practices are a mundane and agentic part of the adjustive and self-regulatory processes for managing distressing body image (cf. Cash, 2002b). Clothing is used strategically to manage bodily appearance and anxiety by hiding ‘problem areas’, accentuating ‘assets,’ and flattering the figure. Body image is actively negotiated and managed through everyday behaviours which fluctuate on ‘fat’ days and ‘thin’ days. These data illustrate the processes which underpin the active negotiation of body image and capture the fluidity of body evaluations and strategies for managing the appearance of the body. These findings raise a number of challenges for theorizing and research including the need to adopt methods which capture the dynamic interplay of body image processes, and the need to address body appreciation as well as distress.

Hannah Frith (2020)Appearance and Society, In: Nicola Rumsey, Diana Harcourt (eds.), Oxford Handbook of the Psychology of Appearance Oxford University Press

This article explores a number of examples of how appearance and the reading about it operate to produce class-based divisions and the different emotional registers which are used to do so. First it examines how the brief description of a woman called Teresa Bystram's appearance in Britain's largest circulation daily tabloid newspaper, The Sun positions her as a ‘chav’ — a figure which circulates through popular cultural representations and has become a pervasive term of abuse for the white poor, evoking mockery and disgust. Second, it examines how mockery, disgust, and humiliation are the emotional registers through which makeover television shows engage in symbolic violence against the working classes, before moving on to consider the implications of makeover shows which adopt a different emotional register.

Hannah Frith (2012)Narrating biographical disruption and repair: exploring the place of absent images in women’s experiences of cancer and chemotherapy, In: Paula Reavey (eds.), Visual Methods in Psychology: Using and Interpreting Images in Qualitative Research Routledge

Pictures of our first day at school, a special birthday, holidays, weddings, friends, and new additions to the family; photograph albums capture particular moments in a life. In providing opportunities for storytelling, generating laughter over outdated fashions or changing hair-styles, and allowing the rehearsal and creation of family histories, photographs are also a site for constructing a sense of the past and creating a bridge between the past, present and future. Photograph albums offer a means for narrating the lives of ourselves and of others (Van House et al., 2004; Brookfield et al., 2008) and for charting biographical continuity. In contrast, an illness, such as cancer, can provoke a sense of ‘biographical disruption’ – a critical break between past (before the illness), present and future lives (Bury, 1982). The diagnosis of an illness, and in particular cancer, forces people to experience many changes in their lives, including the reality of an uncertain future, threats to identity and sense of self, and a re-evaluation of the person’s place in the world (Frank, 1995). As such, the stories that cancer patients tell about themselves as they negotiate their way through diagnoses, treatment regimens, changed bodies, and disrupted identities are not just a way of making sense of an illness, but also a life (Mathieson and Stam, 1995). Narratives and storytelling are a medium through which people can make sense of, organise and draw together fragments of their lives into a cohesive whole, and are characterised by a temporal ordering of events (Hydén, 1997). Narratives are considered an invaluable source of experiential knowledge, a resource for developing empathy and patient-centred care, and an important conduit for aiding coping among patients (Charmez, 1999; Frank, 1995; Greenhalgh and Hurwitz, 1999). Drawing on a photographic study of women’s experiences of chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, I consider the ways in which asking women to visually represent their lives engages them in the task of creating memories and doing ‘biographical work’ to establish the place of their illness within their identities and life worlds. Asking women to mark out particular moments as significant, invites them to enact a bittersweet experience of creating memories that they might rather forget (a cancer diagnosis can be traumatic, and chemotherapy treatment unpleasant), while documenting a move towards recovery and a re-integration of the self into ‘normal’ activities (Radley and Taylor, 2003a). Re-viewing these images and using them to narrativise their experiences during an interview calls on women to remember past events and to confront images of past selves. Against this backdrop, this chapter explores the work that women do to re-image ‘missing’ photographs, and explores the role of absent images in creating boundaries around what selves are available to be remembered. In other words, I examine how the materiality of photographs is implicated in the biographical work done by women undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer as they narrate their experiences. But first, I will briefly describe the study from which the data are drawn.

Kate Gleeson, Hannah Frith (2011)Qualitative Data Collection: Asking the Right Questions, In: David Harper, Andrew Thompson (eds.), Qualitative Research Methods in Mental Health and Psychotherapy: A Guide for Students and Practitioners Wiley
Mariette Henning-Pugh, Hannah Frith, Mon Ami Trauma Troops (2023)Exploring the delivery of community‐based trauma support by volunteer counsellors in a South African context, In: Journal of community & applied social psychology Wiley

Abstract South Africa experiences high levels of violence and trauma in a context where formal mental healthcare is not widely accessible. Lay (non‐professional) trauma counselling services, staffed by volunteers, often fill this gap in provision. Extant research highlights the risk of secondary traumatic stress and burnout for volunteers, and although volunteering is often a collective activity, research typically focuses on the individual volunteer's characteristics, motivations and attitudes. Drawing on a case study with one organisation, this study explores lay counsellors' experiences of providing voluntary emotional support in a context of high trauma and low resources. Semi‐structured interviews with volunteers ( n = 12) explored the nature of the work, reasons for volunteering and perceptions of the organisation. Thematic analysis generated two overarching themes, each with three subthemes: ‘We serve our community’ (sub‐themes: ‘Giving back to our community’, ‘Need outstrips resources’ and ‘Being there is powerful’) and ‘We are family’ (sub‐themes: ‘Being there for each other’, ‘Working through the work’ and ‘Being put in a safety net’). Findings illustrate how organisations with few resources can mitigate the psychological risks of trauma‐focused work by fostering strong bonds, collective identity and an ethos of care.

Hannah Frith, Glen S. Jankowski (2023)Psychosocial impact of androgenetic alopecia on men: A systematic review and meta-analysis, In: Psychology, Health & Medicine Taylor and Francis

The adverse psychosocial impact of androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is often framed as an essential motivation for developing efficacious treatments to halt hair loss or promote regrowth, especially since AGA is common among men but does not result in physically harmful or life-limiting consequences. Yet, empirical evidence documenting the impact of AGA on men’s psychological wellbeing and quality of life is patchy and has not previously been subject to systematic review. This systemic review and meta-analyses aim to integrate and evaluate evidence regarding the psychosocial impact of AGA on men. A database and manual reference search identified English-language articles which reported: 1) empirical research; of ii) psychosocial distress (mental health, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, or quality of life); and iii) data separately for male AGA participants. Screening of 607 articles resulted in 37 (6%) for inclusion. PRISMA guidelines, the (modified) AXIS quality assessment tool, and independent extraction were deployed. Heterogeneity in measures and study aims, moderate study quality (M = 7.37, SD = 1.31), probable conflicts of interest (78%) and biased samples (68%) suggest that results should be treated cautiously. Meta-analyses revealed no impact on depression (pooled M = 8.8, 95% CI = 6.8–10.8) and moderate impact on quality of life (pooled m = 9.12, 95% CI = 6.14–12.10). Men with AGA were found to have average or better mental health compared to those without AGA. Overall, there was limited evidence of a severe impact on mental health and quality of life for men experiencing hair loss, with most studies evidencing (at best) a moderate impact. Good dermatological care includes accurately educating about the psychosocial impact of AGA on men, taking care not to overstate levels of distress, and screening for distress using validated measures which have clear clinical thresholds.

Hannah Frith (2017)Faking, finishing and forgetting, In: Sexualities21(4)pp. 697-701 Sexualities
Hannah Frith (2015)Sexercising to orgasm: Embodied pedagogy and sexual labour in women’s magazines, In: Sexualities18(3)pp. 310-328 SAGE Publications

Positioned as the ‘peak’ of sexual experience, orgasm is packed with sociocultural meaning. Exploring the construction of orgasm in Cosmopolitan magazine in the context of the shift towards a postfeminist sexuality and the neoliberal shift towards the rational management of sex as work, this article argues that magazines offer a ‘pedagogy of the body’ by teaching women to: (1) become aware of how to touch their body; (2) strengthen muscles and master bodily responses; (3) position the body and understand how male and female bodies fit together, and (4) instruct men in how to interact with female bodies. Postfeminist, neoliberal and pedagogical discourses merge to offer explicit instruction in how to develop a ‘technology of sexiness’ by training the body to ensure orgasmic success

Hannah Frith, Jayne Raisborough, Orly Klein (2012)Making death ‘good’: instructional tales for dying in newspaper accounts of Jade Goody’s death, In: Sociology of Health and Illness35(3)pp. 419-433 Wiley

Facilitating a ‘good’ death is a central goal for hospices and palliative care organisations. The key features of such a death include an acceptance of death, an open awareness of and communication about death, the settling of practical and interpersonal business, the reduction of suffering and pain, and the enhancement of autonomy, choice and control. Yet deaths are inherently neither good nor bad; they require cultural labour to be ‘made over’ as good. Drawing on media accounts of the controversial death of UK reality television star Jade Goody, and building on existing analyses of her death, we examine how cultural discourses actively work to construct deaths as good or bad and to position the dying and those witnessing their death as morally accountable. By constructing Goody as bravely breaking social taboos by openly acknowledging death, by contextualising her dying as occurring at the end of a life well lived and by emphasising biographical continuity and agency, newspaper accounts serve to position themselves as educative rather than exploitative, and readers as information‐seekers rather than ghoulishly voyeuristic. We argue that popular culture offers moral instruction in dying well which resonates with the messages from palliative care.

Hannah Frith, Jane Raisborough, Orly Klein (2012)Shame and Pride in How to Look Good Naked, In: Feminist Media Studies14(2)pp. 165-177 SAGE Publications

Most academic work exploring the makeover genre has argued that TV “experts” draw on a narrative of humiliation to push the participant to adopt more appropriate forms of feminine appearance. However, shows like How to Look Good Naked, while sharing the problematic logics of the makeover, are qualitatively different in tone and style from more aggressive shows. We extend emerging analyses which argue that makeover shows can be read as reflecting struggles for recognition by demonstrating that TV “experts” can also interrupt processes of mis-recognition by offering alternative symbolic systems of interpretation of the body by which the body can be recognised, visible and valued. We argue that humiliation is not the only point of affective engagement for audiences of these shows, while wanting to avoid the seductive illusion that this makes the shows more empowering or less malevolent. We conclude that in failing to embrace the wide variety of affective mechanisms by which we might be able to appreciate the popular appeal of reality TV, we do a disservice to female audiences and women participants, as well as limiting our own theoretical insights.

Hannah Frith (2012)‘CONGRATS!! You had an orgasm’: Constructing orgasm on an internet discussion board, In: Feminism and Psychology23(2)pp. 252-260 SAGE Publications

Drawing on insights from conversation analysis, this article explores a discussion about orgasm on an internet forum. Critical of sex education for failing to address young women as sexual subjects with embodied desires, some feminists believe the internet offers alternative spaces for young women to discuss pleasure. I argue that the micro-political work done by offering ‘congratulations’ on one such site serves to mark young women’s orgasms as both ‘newsworthy’ and ‘good news’ in ways which simultaneously disrupt the idea that sexuality is inappropriate for young women while paradoxically reaffirming conventional ideas about the centrality of orgasm to sexuality.

Heidl Williamson, Diana Harcourt, Emma Halliwell, Hannah Frith, Melissa Walalce (2020)Adolescents’ and Parents’ Experiences of Managing the Psychosocial Impact of Appearance Change During Cancer Treatment, In: Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing27(3)pp. 168-175 SAGE Publications

Using combined qualitative data from multiple case study interviews and an online survey, this study explored the impact of appearance change on 22 adolescents receiving cancer treatment aged 13 to 18 years and six of their parents. Data were analyzed using template analysis. Appearance changes were a major concern. Adolescents typically struggled to adapt to new experiences and concerns related to this highly sensitive issue. Many felt anxious and self-conscious and were reluctant to reveal appearance changes in public. These feelings were compounded by the negative reactions of others (e.g., staring, teasing, and inappropriate questioning), which sometimes lead to avoidance of social activity and threats of noncompliance. Parents of these children felt ill-prepared to manage appearance-related anxieties. Adolescents wanted support to develop the practical and social skills necessary to maintain a “normal” appearance and manage the negative responses of others. However, some adolescents showed resilience and, with support from friends and family, developed strategies to manage their altered appearance and its social consequences. These strategies are explored, which can inform interventions to support adolescents and parents.

Hannah Frith, Jayne Raisborough, Orly Klein (2010)C’mon girlfriend: Sisterhood, sexuality and the space of the benign in makeover TV, In: International Journal of Cultural Studies SAGE Publications

In the context of a purported shift from humiliation to the benign exemplified by the marked contrast between How to Look Good Naked and What Not to Wear, this article examines the cultural work performed by the ‘space of the benign’. We identify three main mechanisms — body appreciation, synthetic friendship and suspended sexuality — which manipulate existing constructions of female friendship and homosexuality to produce the host as the ‘gay best friend’. As such, the host sidesteps the heterosexual scopic economy while seeking to re-place women within it, and avoids the censure frequently directed at female presenters. At the same time, by coaxing women towards an acceptance of their body as is, How to Look Good Naked provides a ‘feel-good’ sense of empowerment while preserving individualistic framings of body problems and solutions. We conclude that the show rehabilitates women within the heteronormative scopic economy, and reinscribes them as neo-liberal consumers.

Virginia Braun, Victoria Clarke, Nikki Hayfield, Hannah Frith, Helen Mason, Naomi Moller, Iduna Shah-Beckley (2018)Qualitative story completion: Possibilities and potential pitfalls, In: Qualitative Research in Psychology16(1)pp. 136-155 Routledge

Virginia Braun, Victoria Clarke, Hannah Frith, Nikki Hayfield, Helen Malson, Naomi Moller, and Iduna Shah-Beckley came together at the University of the West of England (UWE) in July 2017 to discuss and share their enthusiasm for the story completion method. Virginia nominally “led” the discussion to keep us on track. This is a transcript of the discussion, edited by the Special Issue editors, principally Hannah Frith, which we have all read and commented on. The discussion begins with the contributors introducing themselves and their experience of the story completion method. It then identifies a series of “knotty issues” about story completion which we explored: 1) what can stories tell us?; 2) research practicalities, comparative design, and sample size; 3) what happens when story completion doesn’t go to plan?; and 4) getting published. The conversation ends by considering “future possibilities for story completion research.” Our aim was not to reach consensus of definitive “answers” but to debate and gain perspective on an open issue. Hence, we reach no “conclusion” for any of these issues.

Jane Raisborough, Hannah Frith, Orly Klein (2012)Media and Class-making: What Lessons Are Learnt When a Celebrity Chav Dies?, In: Sociology47(2)pp. 251-266 SAGE Publications

Class is often overlooked in sociological studies of death, just as studies of class overlook death. The controversial media coverage of the death of Jade Goody provides a useful focus for exploring contemporary class-making. Recent sociological analyses of class representations in popular culture have demonstrated how denigration and humiliation serve as mechanisms which position sections of the white, working class (chavs) as repositories of bad taste. We argue that these are not the only (or even the most prevalent) affective mechanisms for class-making. In this article, we explore how cultural imperatives for ‘dying well’ intersect with what could be perceived as more positive or even affectionate representations of Jade to produce ‘good taste’ as naturalised properties of the middle class. As such, we demonstrate that the circulation of inequalities through precarious and dynamic cultural representations involves more complex affective mechanisms in class boundary work than is often recognised.

Visual representations of orgasm – whether in the flesh or mediated through a screen – are produced in a context of intense uncertainty about whether what is being seen represents an authentically experienced bodily event. Despite detailed scientific scrutiny and close attention to bodily signs, the authenticity of women's orgasm remains a site of cultural anxiety and contested gender politics. This uncertainty is exacerbated by the construction of female orgasm as inherently invisible or un-see-able, and ‘faking’ orgasm as a prevalent social practice. Drawing on existing literature from psychology, sociology and porn studies, this theoretical paper explores the problem of visually representing orgasm in the context of these uncertainties, and examines how the distinction between the ‘real’ and the ‘fake’ is structured by discourses of authenticity. Pornography and everyday sexual interactions provide ideal contexts for exploring the practices of producing and consuming visual representations of embodied experience because both necessitate a see-able orgasm which consumers/lovers can read as ‘real’. This paper demonstrates that considerable interpretative work is necessary to read the female body as authentically orgasmic in the context of cultural uncertainty, and that distinctions between the ‘real’ and the ‘fake’ are continually reworked. Drawing on the contrast between ‘surface’ and ‘deep’ acting (Hochschild, 1983), I argue that the distinction between the ‘real’ and the ‘fake’ cannot be established by recourse to unmediated bodily experience, and instead, researchers should consider how and when this distinction has traction in the world and the implications of this for gendered power relations, subjectivities and practices.

Hannah Frith (2013)Labouring on orgasms: embodiment, efficiency, entitlement and obligations in heterosex, In: Culture, Health and Sexuality15(4)pp. 494-510 Routledge

Women's orgasms have long been subject to vociferous scientific debate, but over the last 10–15 years a small but growing body of largely feminist qualitative research has begun to explore how the sociocultural construction of orgasm finds contemporary articulation in popular culture and in lay accounts of heterosex. This work is explicitly concerned with gendered power relations and how these operate. This paper provides a critical review and synthesis of this work by exploring three discursive imperatives: (1) orgasm and the coital imperative (2) efficient orgasms and hard work (3) and the ethic of reciprocity. Drawing on these insights, this paper outlines how a focus on embodiment, on situated meaning-making and on everyday sexual practices would further extend our understanding of the social construction of orgasm. Finally, the paper argues for the importance of locating these processes of meaning-making in relation to socially structured material realities.

Hannah Frith (2012)Accounting for orgasmic absence: exploring heterosex using the story completion method, In: Psychology and Sexuality4(3)pp. 310-322 Routledge

Orgasms are central to academic and lay debates about sexual ‘normality’ and ‘dysfunction’ and are culturally constructed as the peak of heterosexual sex (Potts, 2000). Conversely, sexual interaction without orgasm is positioned as ‘only foreplay’, a failure or dysfunctional. Examining how people account for orgasmic absence during heterosex using a story completion method, this article addresses three key themes: (1) ‘reciprocity, blame and the orgasmic imperative’, which places obligations on both men and women to elicit or deliver an orgasm to another; (2) ‘sex work, technique and the orgasmic imperative’, which indicates the growth of a ‘performance imperative’ in which both men and women must work to improve their sexual skills and (3) ‘honesty and dishonesty in sexual communication’ in which open communication is positioned as difficult but key to solving sexual difficulties. Collectively, these themes demonstrate how gendered discourses of sexuality coalesce to produce an orgasmic imperative that provides different entitlements and obligations for both men and women.

Eugenia Drini , THOMAS KENT, HANNAH L FRITH (2023)“Disclosing the innermost part”: Exploring therapists’ constructions of shame using a story completion method., In: European Journal for Qualitative Research in Psychotherapy 13

Previous research on shame has indicated that it is an important phenomenon that can benefit or hinder the therapeutic process, depending on how it is understood and managed by therapists. However, therapists’ conceptualisations of shame have not been explored adequately. This study utilised a novel method of data collection called story-completion to examine how therapists talk about shame, and the impact this can have on how they manage it. Forty-five therapists were asked to complete a story-stem describing a therapist working with a client’s shame via an online survey platform. Foucauldian discourse analysis (FDA) was used to critically analyse participants’ stories. Shame was constructed as a rather problematic emotion that hinders the therapeutic progress by preventing the clients from revealing their “true” self. In these narratives, the therapist’s task was to uncover what is hidden behind shame. Some participants constructed the therapist as an expert, holding the appropriate knowledge to manage it. A counter position was the therapist conceptualised as humane, where they were de-skilled and vulnerable in relation to shame. We invite practitioners to be mindful of the ways that their understanding of emotions, and their role in relation to them, can impact the direction of therapy.

Glen S Jankowski, HANNAH FRITH (2021)Psychology’s medicalization of male baldness, In: Journal of health psychologypp. 135910532110247-13591053211024724 Sage

Male baldness is physically benign though it is increasingly described as a “disease” based on claims that it is profoundly distressing. The medicalization of baldness was assessed using data extracted from a review of 37 male baldness psychosocial impact studies. Findings revealed most studies likely had commercial influences (78%), represented baldness as a disease (77%), were conducted on biased samples (68%), and advocated for baldness products/services (60%), omitting their limitations (68%). Health psychologists should challenge baldness medicalization so that men can make informed choices about what, if anything, they do with their baldness.

Thula U Koops, Hannah Frith (2021)'I don't live in my body somehow': metaphorical talk in women's accounts of vaginismus and dyspareunia, In: Culture, Health & Sexualityahead-of-print(ahead-of-print)pp. 1-15 Routledge

Vaginismus and dyspareunia are common sexual difficulties; they often take a long time to be appropriately diagnosed, and their origins remain unclear. This paper examines the metaphors used by women to describe bodily experiences associated with vaginismus and dyspareunia, and highlights the contribution this form of analysis can make to the study of sexuality and sexual difficulties. A secondary analysis was conducted on primary data from biographic interviews exploring women's experiences of sexual pain and difficulties with sexual intercourse. Metaphor analysis was used to analyse a data subset of 28 interviews translated from German into English. Metaphorical concepts lying at the basis of the metaphors used were identified and grouped into three themes: characterisation of sexual difficulties; split body and 'self'; and sexual agency and objectification. Results are discussed with in the context of literature regarding the function of metaphors and the utility of metaphor analysis for research, and healthcare research and interventions more generally.

Orgasmic Bodies explores how bodily experiences of orgasm are worked up as present/absent, complicated/straightforward, too slow/too fast, fake or real, in the doing of masculinities and femininities. Engaging with both science and popular culture it examines the meanings given to orgasmic bodies in contemporary heterosex.

"This book provides conceptual and practical insights into temporal aspects of qualitative inquiry. A significant portion of qualitative research, if not its raison d'être, is to better understand human experience and the human condition. However, the explicit and/ or collective challenges of time and temporal considerations in qualitative research, as yet remain relatively undocumented. Suitable for graduate students and researchers interested in qualitative inquiry, and in disciplines such as education, health research, sociology and communication studies"--

Hannah Frith (2009)Sexual scripts, sexual refusals and rape, In: Miranda Hovarth, Jennifer Brown (eds.), Rape: Challenging Contemporary Thinkingpp. 99-122 Willan Publishing

The construction of sexual violence between heterosexual partners as a problem of communication (a misunderstanding in which consent or non-consent is poorly communicated or inaccurately understood) has been at the heart of debates about the nature of sexual negotiation, what 'counts' as rape, and how to eradicate sexual violence. But womens' refusals are often not heard, ignored or overruled, and establishing women's right to refuse sexual activities (of any kind, with any one and under any circumstances) and to have these refusals recognized has been central to campaigns asserting that 'No Means No'. This chapter explores the 'problem' of sexual negotiation and communication—often simplistically characterized as saying 'yes' or 'no'—as represented in both academic and lay discourse. In lay discourse, women often report that they fail to say 'no' clearly or effectively, or that their behavior is misperceived as indicating sexual interest, while men report difficulty understanding women's communications about sex. The 'problem' of communication also underpins two of the most popular explanations for rape (especially acquaintance rape) in academic discourse—sexual script theory and miscommunication theory. Script theory asserts that culturally prescribed 'scripts' for sexual interactions ascribe the role of sexual initiator and pursuer to men and sexual gatekeeper to women. So, women are responsible for limiting and saying 'no' during sexual interactions which follow cultural patterns of activities in a preset order. Miscommunication theory suggests that 'acquaintance rape' results from poor communication between men and women, in which women fail to say no clearly and effectively while men fail to understand or act upon women's refusals. This chapter explores the interplay between lay explanations for difficulties in sexual negotiations and these academic theories. Drawing on discursive psychology and conversation analysis, the chapter highlights some of the limitations of sexual script and sexual miscommunication theories for understanding rape and sexual aggression, but also seeks to account for their prevalence in young heterosexuals' everyday talk about sexual interactions

Sexuality is a complex and multifaceted domain – encompassing bodily, contextual and subjective experiences that resist ready categorisation. To claim the sexual as a viable research object therefore raises a number of important methodological questions: what is it possible to know about experiences, practices and perceptions of sex and sexualities? What approaches might help or hinder our efforts to probe such experiences? This collection explores the creative, personal and contextual parameters involved in researching sexuality, cutting across disciplinary boundaries and drawing on case studies from a variety of countries and contexts. Combining a wide range of expertise, its contributors address such key areas as pornography, sex work, intersectionality and LGBT perspectives. The contributors also share their own experiences of researching sexuality within contrasting disciplines, as well as interrogating how the sexual identities of researchers themselves can relate to, and inform, their work. The result is a unique and diverse collection that combines practical insights on field work with novel theoretical reflections.

When orgasms are positioned by biomedical discourse as the pinnacle of healthy sexual expression, and when popular culture urges individuals to work on their sexual technique to get bigger, better, and more intense orgasmic pleasure, how do people account for the absence of orgasm? This question was explored in a qualitative study using the story completion method where participants complete the end of a story in which a male or female partner does not have an orgasm during sex. Story completion was originally developed as a projective measure within psychoanalytic traditions, designed to access people’s inner thoughts, feelings, and motivations. This case study describes the benefits of using the story completion method as a social constructionist approach to examining the sensitive topic of sexuality. Considered in this discussion is the use of ambiguous stimuli; the benefits of writing about others rather than the self; the creative method of responding; and its merits as a relative quick, cheap, and effective method of data collection. The research demonstrates how discursive imperatives including (1) placing orgasm as central to demarcating problematic from unproblematic sex, (2) emphasizing sexual skill and working technique in pleasuring one’s partner, and (3) making open communication and reciprocity pivotal to successful relationships coalesce in accounts of orgasmic absence to produce different entitlements and obligations for men and women in heterosex.

Hannah Frith (2017)Ejaculatory Timing and Masculine Identities: The Politics of Ab/normalising Sexual Performance, In: Jonathan Louth, Martin Potter (eds.), Edges of Identity: The Production of Neoliberal Subjectivities University of Chester Press
Dave Harley, Julie Morgan, Hannah Frith (2018)Cyberpsychology as Everyday Digital Experience across the Lifespan Palgrave MacMillan UK

Digital technologies are deeply embedded in everyday life with opportunities for information access and perpetual social contact now mediating most of our activities and relationships. This book expands the lens of Cyberpsychology to consider how digital experiences play out across the various stages of people’s lives. Most psychological research has focused on whether human-technology interactions are a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ thing for humanity. This book offers a distinctive approach to the emergent area of Cyberpsychology, moving beyond these binary dilemmas and considering how popular technologies have come to frame human experience and relationships. In particular the authors explore the role of significant life stages in defining the evolving purpose of digital technologies. They discuss how people’s symbiotic relationship with digital technologies has started to redefine our childhoods, how we experience ourselves, how we make friends, our experience of being alone, how we have sex and form romantic relationships, our capacity for being antisocial as well as the experience of growing older and dying. This interdisciplinary book will be of great interest to scholars and practitioners across psychology, digital technology and media studies as well as anyone interested in how technology influences our behaviour.