The Frigid Woman Syndrome

Updated on December 27, 2011


The husband makes his move on his wife but she rejects him. He repeats his attempt several times, but he is told that all men are pigs, he doesn’t really love her and that he is only interested in having his sexual desires met. He takes a step back and waits for a while. Then makes his move again just to encounter the same result.

After several rejections, the husband no longer makes advances. Weeks and months go by, and the wife becomes forgetful. She walks through the bedroom wearing only a towel or forgets to bring a clean towel when taking a bath and the husband has to fetch it for her. The wife may drink at social events and become flirtatious with other men. After a while all these provocations will cause him to try again. But he is rejected once more. They fight, which ends in a door slammed in someone's face.

It is worth mentioning that the frigid man syndrome also exists, although it is uncommon.

When it occurs, it takes the same general course as the frigid woman syndrome and is treated the same way.

This upsets the husband so much that he decides he is through with her once and for all. Week and months go by again and he no longer reacts to the wife running around in her undies or asking him to fetch the forgotten towel. The wife becomes even more provocative and in one evening she makes her move and kisses him.

If at first he ignores her, it doesn't last long. The husband's will is easily broken after the long famine he had to suffer. He gains new confidence as his first advances are not repulsed. But as he becomes braver, the wife takes a step back and cries pig once again reminding him that she told him - all she wanted was affection, but all he wanted was sex. Again! And here comes another round of fighting.

This game suggests that even though he doesn't show it, the husband is equally afraid of sexual intimacy. He probably chose his mate to avoid overtaxing his disturbed potency as much as possible, which he does not fail to blame on her now.

In Great Expectations, Charles Dickens wrote about a prissy little girl who went out in her starched dress and asked a little boy to make her a mud pie.

When he did, she sneered at his dirty hands and clothing and told him how clean she was herself.

Possible Treatments


In situations like this the husband may cheat on his wife, which may elicit completely unpredictable reactions. In one scenario the wife may abandon the game and attempt to start a normal married life to defeat the competition and keep the husband. In a different scenario, she may cry betrayal and use the help of a lawyer to divorce the husband from a good position.

Individual Therapy

If the husband is willing to undergo individual psychotherapy, he may grow stronger and learn new, healthier ways of relating to his wife. On the other hand, if the wife is a tough player and has no intention to get back together with him, she may call a divorce to defy her husband's new-found strength and optimism.

Transactional Marital Group

It is crucial to uncover the root of the frigid woman syndrome. If the couple goes into a transactional marital group, they stand a good chance at laying bare both the advantages that the game provides for them and the basic sexual pathology that led to it. This preparation can pave the way for both partners to undergo intensive individual psychotherapy, which may result reconciliation.

Why The Frigid Woman Syndrome Kills Marriages

Since the frigid woman syndrome usually leads to scenarios that end in fighting, developing sexual intimacy again is impossible. Both husband and wife derive a perverse satisfaction from the fights themselves, this leaves no room for desiring further sexual excitement from one another.

If they want to save the marriage, the first thing they need to do is stopping fighting. This results in sexual dissatisfaction for the wife and she may become more compliant. For this to happen, the husband needs to realize that the fighting substitutes for the sex act itself and finishes off the episode before it could even begin.

Advantages Of Being Frigid

In case you experience something similar in your marriage, it is a good idea to acquaint yourself with some of the advantages such behaviors usually provide. Think about these and whether or not they may be applied to your case.

  1. Internal Psychological – freedom from guilt for sadistic fantasies.
  2. External Psychological – avoids feared exhibition and penetration.
  3. Internal Social – Fighting with a sexual undertone.
  4. External Social – What do you do with dirty little boys (husbands)?
  5. Biological – inhibited sex play and belligerent exchanges.
  6. Existential – I am pure.

Does your marriege offer any perverse pleasures other than a sexual life?

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    • profile image

      Petruchio 2 years ago

      It seem your article so riled up Dr. Berne, he returned from the dead to chastise you for not giving him proper credit.

    • profile image

      Eric Berne 3 years ago

      The Frigid Woman Syndrome "article" is copied and pasted from this book:

      Berne, Eric (1964). Games People Play – The Basic Hand Book of Transactional Analysis. New York: Ballantine Books.

    • profile image

      Shane 5 years ago


      A very good overview of Eric Byrnes "Frigid Woman" from his transactional analysis. I recommend to all to read his book "Games People Play" and for a greater understanding of transactional analysis, "What to say after you say hello".


    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      Hahah sorry - I didn't mean for my complement to come across like I didn't expect you to be a good writer...but I guess that's what I meant :P Many times I will visit a new hubber and its obvious they are new. Whereas your hub is polished and very well written like an old pro. And look - now you have 6 followers!

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      I wouldn't automatically blame the husband but there is definitely a problem. She needs counseling at the very least, there may be childhood issues causing her to have hang-ups about sex.

    • Orvas Dren profile image

      Orvas Dren 6 years ago

      Of course. :D You can run your mouth all you want, if you don't do anything about it, it's not gonna go away.

    • raciniwa profile image

      raciniwa 6 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

      yes, talking but the most important thing should be in resolving it...

    • Orvas Dren profile image

      Orvas Dren 6 years ago

      Lady Guinevere, thank you for giving the proper name of the condition. I'll be sure to go and read your hubs about the topic.

      Pamela, thanks for reading my article. I agree that medication might have a huge impact on people and that is should be considered. I also think that if a woman refuses to have sex with her husband, it is probably largely the husband's fault.

      Raciniwan, thanks for reading. I agree, you can't solve the problem unless you find out what causes it. Oftentimes, it's just a matter of whether the parties are willing to talk about it or not.

    • raciniwa profile image

      raciniwa 6 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

      This is a great hub...very informative...i was thinking it was just a story, and here you are spelling out to us about troublesome marriages...

      The syndrome may well have a deeper cause other than perversion...Discovering the hidden root of it all and acceptance are some of the steps to undertake...

      Love making is for me a union of the's more than lying down together and making a go at it...

      Great hub...

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      You also have to consider if she is on medication. Serotonin drugs kills more marriages today than anything else.

      Women don't realize men need sex, if they don't get it at home they'll find it somewhere. Good article. Welcome to HubPages. :o)

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 6 years ago from West By God

      This is called Intimacy Anorexia and I have written a few hubs about it. It is horrible what the spouse has to go through and all the hoops they must jump.

    • Orvas Dren profile image

      Orvas Dren 6 years ago

      Thanks Ardie. You are also my first visitor and the first one to comment on my hub. What makes you so surprised? Is this not the type of article that is expected of Hubpages writers?

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      Wow - I came over to see about your writing and I have to say I am very surprised! This is a well thought out and put together article about a real issue many married couples face. Excellent hub.