Endometriosis and Sexual Satisfaction

Endometriosis and Sexual Satisfaction

How can women with chronic pelvic pain due to endometriosis reach an orgasm?

Key Points


  • Endometriosis affects the woman’s ability to have an orgasm through sexual intercourse but not through the other sexual activities not involving intercourse.


  • Sexual counseling could increase the sexual satisfaction of couples where the female partner experiences chronic pelvic pain. 

What's done here:

  • Researchers evaluated sexuality in 434 women with endometriosis, and 434 control women by a set of questionnaires including the brief index of sexual functioning and global sexual functioning.

Key results:

  • Endometriosis affects a woman’s ability to have an orgasm during sexual intercourse but not during masturbation or partnered sexual activities not involving intercourse. 
  • Painful intercourse is associated with a reduced ability to experience an orgasm both for endometriosis patients and women without the disease. 
  • The ability to orgasm during intercourse as well as sexual activities not involving intercourse is associated with higher sexual satisfaction in women with endometriosis. 
  • In women without endometriosis, only the ability to achieve an orgasm with sexual intercourse is associated with sexual satisfaction.


  • The length and the intimate nature of the questionnaire may have resulted in some women being reluctant to answer the part of the questionnaire about orgasm and sexual satisfaction.

Lay Summary

Endometriosis affects the ability to have an orgasm during sexual intercourse, according to a study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. However, the disease does not have an effect on reaching orgasm via masturbation or sexual activities with a partner that does not involve intercourse.

These findings suggest that women living with chronic pelvic pain due to endometriosis could increase their sexual satisfaction by integrating activities in their sex lives that do not involve intercourse.

Painful intercourse is one of the main symptoms of endometriosis and may interfere with the likelihood of a woman reaching an orgasm. However, there have been no studies on the rates of orgasm in different sexual activities in women who find sex painful.

In the present study, a team of researchers led by Dr. Brigitte Leeners evaluated sexuality in 868 women. Half of the women had endometriosis and the other half did not. They did the evaluation using a set of questionnaires including the brief index of sexual functioning and global sexual functioning.

They found that both women with endometriosis and those without had a reduced ability to have an orgasm if intercourse was painful.

In women with endometriosis, the ability to reach orgasm was associated with higher sexual satisfaction, whether this was achieved through intercourse or other sexual activity. In women without endometriosis, sexual satisfaction was associated with the ability to orgasm through intercourse.

“Partnered noncoital sexual activities may represent an alternative to reach orgasm for women with endometriosis-related chronic pelvic pain or anorgasmia during sexual intercourse,” the researchers wrote. They added that sexual counseling as part of medical support could help couples have fewer sex-related problems and higher sexual desire and satisfaction.

Research Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33032958/

orgasm sexual satisfaction pelvic pain questionnaire


EndoNews highlights the latest peer-reviewed scientific research and medical literature that focuses on endometriosis. We are unbiased in our summaries of recently-published endometriosis research. EndoNews does not provide medical advice or opinions on the best form of treatment. We highly stress the importance of not using EndoNews as a substitute for seeking an experienced physician.