A leading feminist expert, she penned Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson in 1990. Her other works include Sex, Art, and American Culture (1992) and Break, Blow, Burn (2005).
She was the valedictorian of her class at Binghamton University's Harpur College. She later attended graduate school at Yale University.
She became a tenured professor at Philadelphia's University of the Arts in 1984.
She adopted a son with her one-time partner, Alison Maddex.
In 1998, she published a 100-page psychoanalytic review of Alfred Hitchcock 's The Birds.