What is frigidity?

Dear Alice,

Could you give me some information about frigidity?

Dear Reader,

These days, the term frigidity may be used more often in relation to cold weather than to a person's sexuality. However, dating back to the 15th century, frigidity was used to refer to women who were thought to be indifferent to sex. Instead of frigidity, sex therapists now use the term hypogyneismus, to refer to the inability of women to orgasm under otherwise conducive circumstances.

Other terms people may use instead of frigidity include sexual aversion, sexual apathy, hypoactive sexual desire, or inhibited sexual desire (ISD). Keep in mind that people of any gender may experience sexual apathy; some people may even identify as asexual.

Nevertheless, if you or your partner feels that a low sex drive — whatever you may call it — is affecting your personal life (lives) and/or relationship, you may want to consider seeing a health care provider or counselor. You may want to consider a counselor that also provides couples counseling if you would like to include your partner in this discussion.

A low/no sex drive may be frustrating if it stands in the way of a fulfilling sex life, but by understanding what may be contributing to it, you'll be able to keep your cool.

Last updated Mar 26, 2015
Originally published Apr 26, 1996

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