Sexual Satisfaction and Frequency of Orgasm in Women With Chronic Pelvic Pain due to Endometriosis

Published:October 05, 2020DOI:



      Dyspareunia, one of the main symptoms of the chronic gynecological pelvic pain disorder endometriosis, may interfere with the likelihood of reaching an orgasm, yet for women with dyspareunia, no data on orgasm rates in different sexual activities are available.


      The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability to reach an orgasm and its association with sexual satisfaction during different sexual activities in women with a chronic pelvic pain disorder and in healthy control women.


      A set of questionnaires including the brief index of sexual functioning and global sexual functioning was used to evaluate sexuality in women affected with endometriosis (n = 434) and a nonaffected control group (n = 434) recruited in German-speaking countries.


      The primary outcome measure of this study was the orgasm rate during different types of sexual activities.


      Only the ability to have an orgasm during sexual intercourse (P = .002) but not during masturbation (P = .509) or partnered noncoital sexual activities (P = .229) is affected by endometriosis. Dyspareunia was associated with a reduced ability to experience an orgasm during intercourse for endometriosis patients (P = .020) and control women (P = .006). The ability to orgasm during noncoital sexual activities (P = .006) and sexual intercourse (P = .038) was associated with a higher sexual satisfaction in women with endometriosis. For controls, only the ability to achieve an orgasm with sexual intercourse was associated with sexual satisfaction (P = .038).

      Clinical implications

      Sexual counselling as part of medical support could help couples living with chronic pelvic pain of the female partner integrate noncoital sexual activities in their sex lives, leading to fewer sex-related problems and higher sexual desire and satisfaction.

      Strengths and limitations

      This study is the first to examine different ways of achieving an orgasm and sexual satisfaction in a large group of women with endometriosis and a matched control group. The breadth of the questionnaire allowed a differentiated analysis of factors influencing the likelihood of achieving an orgasm and overall sexual satisfaction. The one limitation is that the length and the intimate nature of the questionnaire possibly resulted in reluctance to answer this part of the questionnaire.


      Partnered noncoital sexual activities may represent an alternative to reach orgasm for women with endometriosis-related chronic pelvic pain or anorgasmia during sexual intercourse.
      Hämmerli S, Kohl-Schwartz A, Imesch P, et al. Sexual Satisfaction and Frequency of Orgasm in Women With Chronic Pelvic Pain due to Endometriosis. J Sex Med 2020;17:2417–2426.

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