A comparative analysis of male and female perspectives on sexuality in couples dealing with endometriosis

A comparative analysis of male and female perspectives on sexuality in couples dealing with endometriosis

Study shows different perspectives of males and females but similar satisfaction rates on sexual relationships

Key Points


  • Couples who are battling with endometriosis have different perspectives regarding satisfaction, sexual contact, and discomfort in their sexual relationships.


  • Sexual counseling is very important in maintaining a healthy sexual life in couples facing endometriosis.

What's done here

  • In this multicenter cohort study, researchers aimed to compare the perceptions of females and males on their sexual relationships while dealing with endometriosis.
  • 302 couples participated in a questionnaire with 452 questions.
  • The Brief Index of Sexual Functioning and the Sexual History Form and some questions on endometriosis were used.
  • This study is the first to gather dyadic data on the sexuality of partners among heterosexual couples who are living with endometriosis.

Key results

  • 39% of the females did not receive adequate sexual counseling.
  • 46% of them experienced pain that prevented them from having sexual pleasure.
  • 34% of the males were statistically significantly more satisfied than females.
  • A higher frequency was observed in females regarding the initiation of sexual contact.
  • Both genders overestimated their partner's satisfaction rate.

Strengths and Limitations

  • The strengths are the high response rate from males, no risk of selection bias, and being the first study to evaluate both genders' perspectives.
  • The limitations include reduced comparability, not knowing the situation of non-German speaking partners, not having data on the male participants' health status, and lack of full completion of the questionnaire.

Lay Summary

Sexual relationships of patients with endometriosis have been an area of research lately, however, studies have focused mostly on female perceptions and opinions leaving out the males. 

Helfenstein et al. from Switzerland, Germany, and Austria conducted a multicenter cohort study with the aim of comparing female and male perceptions and experiences on sexual partnership while dealing with endometriosis and also evaluating how couples assess each other’s sexual satisfaction. The study was published in the April 2023 issue of the journal Sexual Medicine

A total of 302 couples took part in the questionnaire that relied on the Brief Index of Sexual Functioning for assessing the sexual functioning and satisfaction of women and the Sexual History Form for assessing the female and male sexual functioning along with some questions focused more on endometriosis.

The results showed that around 39% of the females said that they did not receive adequate sexual counseling.

Regarding the comparison of female and male perspectives on sexuality, 46% of the females experienced pain preventing them from having sexual pleasure. Additionally, 46% of the couples picked the same satisfaction category whereas in approximately 34% the males were more satisfied than females and this difference was statistically significant.

When asked about the frequency of the initiation of sexual contact, 40% of the couples gave the same answer whereas around 40% of females answered as having a higher frequency than males while this rate was 34% in males. It is discussed that the participating males were not aware of this issue.

Regarding sexual satisfaction estimation by the other partner, 44% of females overestimated their male counterpart’s satisfaction rate.

The authors discuss that even though females are in fear of being inadequate in sexual relationships, the study showed the satisfaction rates to be high in both genders and the males were slightly more satisfied than females. They think that this fear resulted in females being the initiator of sexual contact more often. They also add that fertility issues might be the cause of different satisfaction levels in these couples as two-thirds of those who participated in the questionnaire had them.

Overall, the study proved couples have different perspectives on some aspects of their sexual relationships which proves sexual counseling should be given more often for a healthy sexual life in couples battling with endometriosis.

Research Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37256216/

endometriosis sexual relationship satisfaction perspective


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