Frigidity in the past referred to a sexual dysfunction among females in the same way that the term impotence referred to the same broad phenomenon among males.

Many clinicians now regard frigidity to be a sexist term that places the blame on the woman herself rather than on her sociocultural milieu, emotional experiences, or health status, all of which can contribute to sexual nonresponsiveness.

Female sexual dysfunction — which has replaced frigidity as a diagnostic category in psychiatry and psychology — refers to the inability of a woman to function adequately in terms of sexual desire, sexual arousal, orgasm, or in coital situations.

The term frigidity continues to be used in everyday language, commonly as an insult or derogatory term for women who are unaffectionate or are seen as sexually nonresponsive. Very likely the term is most frequently used to explain lack of interest or rejection by a woman who originally was of interest to the person making the insult.

Copyright 2002 Sinclair Intimacy Institute