Seven-year itch

Posted by Masakim on September 27, 2001

In Reply to: Seven-year itch posted by ESC on September 27, 2001

: : What is the Meaning and Origin of "The seven year itch".

: SEVEN-YEAR ITCH "Used to describe a husband's or wife's urge to stray from his or her mate after seven years of marriage, this expression appears to have been invented by American playwright George Axelrod in his play 'The Seven Year Itch ' and further popularized by the film version starring Marilyn Monroe . Word and phrase hunters haven't been able to turn up any earlier use of the words in a sexual context, although seven-year itch had been used to describe a poison ivy itch that supposedly recurred once every seven years. From the Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).

itch, the Sexual urge. Generally occurs in expressins like 'she's a bitch with an itch', or 'the seven-year itch', widely known as the time when after several years of marriage a husband or wife gets restless and starts to look for extramarital liaisons. This use of 'itc' dates back to the 17th century.
From The Slanguage of Sex by Brigid McConville & John Shearlaw

seven-year itch ... Previously it had been used to describe various itching ailments, including scabies, that only disappeared after seven years of treatment. Itch however, has been used since the 17th century as a slang word for a sexual urge and seven years is a traditional period for change:
Time's pace is so hard that it seems the length of seven years. (Shakespeare, As You Like It)
From Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

George Axlerod said in BBC Radio's "Quote ... Unquote" :
There was a phrase which referred to a somewhat unpleasant disease but nobody used it a sexual context before. I do believe I invented it in that sense.