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The Frigid Woman Syndrome


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.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Callie on August 29, 2019:

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My husband started doing things like call me the ice queen Even came through my bedroom door with the ice maker tray and threw the whole thing in bed with me telling me he hoped that made me comfy. Usually after we made him work a holiday he wanted off or a few days after returning from a vacation which again we were sort of forcing him to cooperate with fellow workers hoping he would take anytime off for his vacation after the holiday shutdowns. WE could never get his willing cooperation about holiday and vacation times when it would be best for his fellow workers, And wanting to live in peace with the community instead of shove his UAW contract and its seniority down everyones throat I tried to make a bargain, As soon as he stopped yelling about his rights and started being a little cooperative. Take the option he had of January off for holiday replacement and vacation. We could have done something he might have liked and started our sex life and family out without disrupting lives and plans in the community.

After making him live like that not taking any days off the first 18 years of our marriage He still would not cooperate about the Milliniall holidays forcing a judge to keep many other plans from being disrupted sent four deputies to hold him until after Christmas and the flights he had reserved expired. For where his family and me were going to spend the millinialls in Bavaria. HE first demanded his constitutional rights under miranda He was not being arrested just held for the welfare of the community. He actually went into combat mode and knocked out two deputies forcing two others to use their tass guns to put him to his knees. The things he screamed at us over just being made to work the next two weeks was the filthiest terminology that was ever screamed at a whole family and wife in public.

We even came back with a 1300 dollar clock that changed scenes of what we had done and saw in Munich including second by second shots of the celebrations from around the world at midnight If he had just done as we wanted and taken from his 45th birthday The fifth of January to the 24th off in exchange for the Holiday, He might not have been in Munich for the Christmas and New years celebrations but he would have still seen it all. Instead we came back Hoping a short Trip to the straights of Mackinack to a B and Be with celebrating his birthday annd the two holidays like he was deployed. I hoped against hope we would some back to some agreement instead of yelling at us or worse even more fists and feet kicking everyone rears. WE came back tio being told in a horrible demonstration that he consid4red us as low as Nazis and slavers. There was no forgiving any thing with the new century. I was called a ice queen again and he was taking things out in revenge on everyone that interfered with him since our wedding in 1982. IN front of everyone as I cried we could do something for our anniversary that was the 2nd of January like a real married couple would, He said if we were actually married like real couples were, And he was not held as a slave to the community everything he did when we came home was designed to make us feel nothing but low after a nice holiday That somehow he could have found something to be happy about. Instead of insulting Until 2009 I could not find any thing that he would accept unless it was his seniority right decisions. And he was beating people into medical care every time he was interfered with, Even About the Orient Express he Dislocated my shoulder when I was trying to explain we had arranged a very nice vacation for him on the 2nd of January. He then tried to murder his father over us canceling our double berth And His flight.without his permission that when we returned still trying to think of a way to get him to work with us to find a solution. HE had me and his father Jailed. Arraigned and sentence to serve in county for three months for acting as false agents canceling the orient express. There were just no answers to what he was willing to give up, For community peace. I seemed there was nothing he was willing to give the community, and nothing he would take in exchange.

Mark on February 20, 2019:

Any real frigid wives out there?

Petruchio on March 12, 2016:

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

Eric Berne on September 29, 2014:

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.

Shane on July 01, 2012:


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".


Sondra from Neverland on December 29, 2011:

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 from Oklahoma on December 29, 2011:

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 (author) on December 29, 2011:

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 from Talisay City, Cebu on December 29, 2011:

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

Orvas Dren (author) on December 29, 2011:

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 from Talisay City, Cebu on December 28, 2011:

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 from Oklahoma on December 28, 2011:

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)

Debra Allen from West Virginia on December 28, 2011:

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 (author) on December 28, 2011:

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?

Sondra from Neverland on December 28, 2011:

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.

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