Sex Stoppers -- The Good Girl Syndrome

Here is an anonymous comment that explains why I write this blog:

Anonymous said...

My libido has disappeared. I'm not talking about, "Don't feel like it." We're talking, "Thinking about it is sort of making me ill."

It's bad over here.

MAY 21, 2010 10:14 PM

There are many, many reasons for a low libido, a few of which are medical. Sex is mostly in your head. Have you noticed? I wrote a little bit about that here and here. One possible sex stopper, things that stop you from having sex, may be the Good Girls Syndrome.

Image via here, here and here

Sex Stopper: The Good Girl Syndrome

Many women suffer from what author Laura Brotherson calls the Good Girl Syndrome. She writes about it in her book, And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment. While this book is directed toward Christian women, the idea is truly universal. A good girl does not ride in cars with boys whether she is from Canada or Cambodia. Good girls keep their legs crossed. Then, with a simple "I do," the rules you have lived by your whole life are null. A girl is bound to be confused.

Here is an excerpt from her book:

Chapter 1: The Good Girl Syndrome
  • The "Good Girl Syndrome" is a result of the negative conditioning that occurs from parents, church, and society as they teach—or fail to teach—the goodness of sexuality and its divine purposes. This conditioning leads to negative thoughts and feelings about sex and the body, resulting in an inhibited sexual response within marriage. . . . The Good Girl Syndrome may be the great underlying and underestimated cause of sexual dissatisfaction in marriage.
  • The marriage ceremony is simply insufficient to reorient one’s attitude from 'Thou shalt not' to 'Thou shalt—regularly and with great passion!'" (Dr. James Dobson)
  • "When parents focus only on premarital chastity and forget about preparing their children for the joys of sexual fulfillment in marriage, their message is skewed to the negative with mostly warnings and consequences rather than filled with the blessings and godly purposes of sex." (Dr. James Dobson)
  • When teaching chastity or sexual abstinence, the message is often, 'Good girls don't.' This is true prior to marriage. However, the message should also be, that, once married, 'GOOD GIRLS DO!'
  • "We're weary of dealing with young women who were taught for years, 'Sex is bad. Sex is bad. Sex is bad...' and then later, 'Oh, you're getting married tomorrow, then sex is good!' You can't undo a life of teaching in a couple of days, weeks, or months. " (Joe Beam)
  • Satan has 24-hour access to our hearts and minds through society's swamp of sexual sensualization. Sex is everywhere in society, but at home or at church, discussion of it is often taboo. It's a "forbidden subject."
  • It's pretty hard for a young bride to relax when her internal programming tells her she is doing something sinful.
  • Sex became a chore for Lisa—something that had to be tolerated for the sake of her husband. Babies and motherhood came along, and sex was simply relegated to the back burner as another item on her 'to do' list.
  • Overcoming the Good Girl Syndrome does not mean you become a bad girl, but that you develop a healthy and accurate understanding of the godly purposes and potential of sexual relations in marriage.
  • An unseen spell had been broken. She was freed from the belief that sex was bad and dirty, and that men were uncontrollable monsters. She learned that sex was ordained of God, and that He wanted her to fully enjoy it.
Identify if this is a problem for you. Retrain your thinking. This takes a conscious effort. When your husband touches you intimately and you feel embarrassed or nervous, recognize that you are feeling "bad." Tell yourself that you are not "bad" and that this is a "good" thing. It brings physical pleasure to me and emotional closeness with the person most important to me.

Instead of shutting down and turning off sexual feelings, embrace them. Allow yourself to dwell on them because they are "good" and you are "good." Act on sexual feelings. if your husband is at work, call him and tell him you are thinking about him and how you can't wait to rip his clothes off when he walks through the door. *gasp* I know, you're shocked. This isn't "bad" behavior? Nope. This, dear girls, is "good."

What do you think? Have you heard of the "Good Girl Syndrome" before? Could you be suffering from it?


  1. My problem isn't so much the Good-Girl Syndrome as it is the Sex-Hurt-For-A-Year-And-A-Half Syndrome, and even though I fixed THAT problem, it's still hard to retrain your brain to WANT to do something that's associated with pain. (And still isn't entirely satisfying, to tell you the truth...)

    Working on it.

  2. I've never heard of the syndrome but I think it has valid points for sure.

  3. How interesting! I guess I was never taught good girls don't do that haha!

  4. I had a touch of that a couple months after the honeymoon (delayed onset?), but I got over it pretty quickly. Had some friends who really struggled with it, though.

    Hooray; a blog that talks about sex from a Christian perspective!

  5. I struggled with this for a while, so this is a great post, thank you! Now, though, I think the problem is reversed. I think my boyfriend has the "bad boy syndrome." We were both raised Catholic, and from your post, I can tell you know what that means. How can I get around this with him? I'm not trying to convince him to have sex before we're married, but I don't know how to make him understand that we, I, need to have some sort of sexual relationship before we're married.

  6. I have to agree 100% with Anonymous comment #1. It's just a hassle because it's not good. And I know it's one of those practice-makes-perfect ideas, but practicing isn't fun, so why would you want to practice? It was definitely more fun when it was something forbidden and exciting. Now that it's "okay" all the thrill is gone.

  7. Anonymous might be in serious need of self-love time. Figuring out what feels good for them, and learning to enjoy it by themselves, with no pressure and no judgment.

    For someone that associates pain with sex, the pressure to perform with a partner might be just too overwhelming and negate the pleasure.

    Just my two cents.

  8. Well said Housewife. Some self-pleasuring practice might take some of the "hassle" out of feeling pleasure. It could help you re-learn or discover the first time what feels pleasurable and then you can share those discoveries with your husband. It might add some of the "forbidden" factor too!

    Pay attention to the fantasies you have and then share them with your man. It took me years, but when I was finally able to share my fantasies openly, it really helped me overcome the good girl syndrome. (I hadn't heard it called that before. Good name!)

  9. New follower here. I am loving your blog and look forward to reading more!

  10. Here's something I have a problem with...why is it that there is so much pressure to orgasm during sex? I, for one, have never. At least I don't think I have. Don't get me wrong- sometimes it feels REALLY good, but I have not gone over the edge. I have heard a lot of women never have an orgasm during intercourse. I do through other ways, but never sex. I am curious what your other readers have to say about this!

  11. Anon @ 1:51,

    What are the other ways you can orgasm? Can you incorporate that type of stimulation during intercourse? I usually have to add my own clitoral stimulation during intercourse to get there.

    I agree with the other commenter about sharing fantasies. GREAT libido boost. My husband and I read parts of "My Secret Garden" together to open up the fantasy dialog.

  12. Confession. I am anonymous that you quoted in your post.

    And this is me too.

    And this is also me.

    So thank YOU for the tip.

  13. I'm going to buy this book. Even though I have sex with my fiance I get that libido problem... I mean I'm just beginning in this journey, is there hope for the years to come?

  14. Gwen,
    This is an excellent post.

    I spend quite a bit of energy teaching these principles to my children. I think this book would be very helpful to me. I want them to know that sexual relations are wonderful in marriage and tell them so no matter how many times their eyes roll at me.

    Now, another reason for so many difficulties with sex is the aftermath of childhood sexual abuse. There is a wealth of information and help for the victim of this suffering. My blog is linked to an entire community of survivors who are "thriving" one day and one victory at a time.

    Thank you for your excellent blog.

  15. Amen sister! It's so wrong and disturbing that young girls are still being taught that sex is dirty and sinful...even if it's unspoken. The real problem with the "Good girl syndrome" is parenting. Although I don't have this issue, many of my friends do.

    Now...what to do with my low libido husband? Hmm.

  16. I hadn't heard of this before. But it really does make a lot of sense. A lot.

  17. this makes so much sense. the knowledge of this will save many girls problems in the future. thanks for sharing!

  18. All of these comments are so spot on. I will be writing more on Sex Stoppers and all of your suggestions are on the to-do list.

  19. Gwen you're a rockstar! What a beneficial blog - you're making lots of lives better because when love life rocks how can normal life not rock!

    I'm not going to lie - I'm glad you've only been going for three months so it won't be too overwhelming to catch up :)

    btw - I really really love this book - got it for my wedding from my momma and me and my sweetie read it together during the first months of our marriage - it stimulated lots of great conversation between us and has helped us understand each other and our love life.

  20. Wow this makes sense I was never from a religious background but my family always made it seem bad and Dirty and the unspoken subject in the house. So I am still filled with these bad feelings and shame about sex or kissing and I'm Married and have two children but it's not talked about and quite shameful to discuss doesn't help when hubs is also that way


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