Relationship Goals and Sexual Satisfaction for Couples Coping with Endometriosis

Relationship Goals and Sexual Satisfaction for Couples Coping with Endometriosis

The higher relationship approach goals the higher sexual satisfaction.

Key Points


  • ​The partner should be involved in the treatment program in women with endometriosis:
  • The issues of sexual satisfaction should be addressed, and the couple needs to realize the factors beyond physical illness.


  • The relationship approach and the avoidance goals vary at an individual or mutual level and differ regarding the outcomes.

What's done here:

  • This is a prospective cross-sectional study on 56 couples residing in Australia and 5 couples in the US coping with endometriosis.
  • Couples completed the full survey.
  • The current endometriotic symptoms and sexual relationships were evaluated and the data was used to measure the dyadic relationships.

Key Results: 

  • The severe and advanced endometriosis patients (stage III and IV) were 54,1% and the mean relationship duration of the couples was more than 5 years.
  • The relationship approach and avoidance goals of the couples varied at an individual or mutual level and differed regarding the outcomes of relationship and sexual satisfaction.
  • The higher relationship satisfaction was associated with greater partner engagement in approach goals. 

Limitations and strengths:

  • The strength of the study is its design on well-validated measures that can be generalized for both genders.
  • The small sample size and the self-reported data for analyzing the dyadic relationship of the couples that could elevate the risk of response and recall bias are the limitations.

Lay Summary

"Relationship satisfaction" is based on an individual's emotional judgment. Physical and emotional obstacles may present and negatively affect relationship satisfaction.

Endometriosis is associated with multiple life domains, and also includes relationship and sexual satisfaction. Sexual satisfaction, on the other hand, is defined as the individual's assessment of their sexual relationship; is being viewed as an essential element of individual wellbeing and an important consideration for relationship quality and stability.

Mutual variables such as potent communication, partner support, and empathy along with spiritual confidentiality are associated with positive outcomes in women with endometriosis if it is associated with pain during intercourse. Close and intimate relationships for women with endometriosis usually create greater distress due to dyspareunia and pelvic pain. Understanding the vulvar pain triggered by touch and sexual activity, and ongoing pain associated with penetrative intercourse would help to explain the preventative negative nature of relationship goals in women with endometriosis.

McKay et al. from the University of Tasmania, Australia set up a large study examining the role of physiological health, emotional intimacy, and empathic concern in relationship satisfaction of sixty-one couples coping with endometriosis. The article entitled "An Exploration of Dyadic Relationship Approach-Avoidance Goals and. Sexual Satisfaction in Couples Coping with Endometriosis"   is recently published in the journal "Archives of Sexual Behavior" is a part of the project.

Relationship goals, relationship satisfaction, and sexual satisfaction were measured by using a survey completed by couples. Demographic data, stage of endometriosis, and endometriosis-related symptoms were also gathered from these women. The mutual relationship was evaluated by several tests, including "Data of the Couple Satisfaction Test", "Actor-Partner Interdependence Model", and the New Sexual Satisfaction Scale form.

The study reported that partners' own relationship avoidance goals were associated with higher levels of their own relationship satisfaction. For women with endometriosis, their partners' relationship approach goals were associated with their own satisfaction. 

"The study's findings highlight relationship goals as relevant to the relational and sexual experience of couples with endometriosis. When treating women with endometriosis, the inclusion of partners and consideration of factors beyond the physical illness are important" concluded the authors.

Research Source:

relationship satisfaction sexual satisfaction relationship goals couples pelvic pain endometriosis.


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.