What Is Known and Unknown About the Association Between Endometriosis and Sexual Functioning: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Reprod Sci. 2017 Dec;24(12):1566-1576. doi: 10.1177/1933719117707054. Epub 2017 May 31.


It is well known that endometriosis is associated with an increase in the risk of deep dyspareunia, with potential negative effects on global female sexual functioning and couple relationship. The aims of this study were to review the literature on the impact of endometriosis on female sexual functioning and to suggest new avenues for future research and treatment strategies. An electronic database research was performed to identify all the studies on the relation between endometriosis and sexual functioning published in the period 2000 to 2016. This systematic review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. After the screening process, a total of 9 studies investigating the relation between endometriosis and female sexual functioning were considered. Overall, these studies indicated that around two thirds of women with endometriosis have some form of sexual dysfunction not limited to deep dyspareunia. These findings suggest that the global sexual impact of endometriosis requires further investigation, focusing not only on pain during intercourse but also on psychological and relational dimensions, including partner's sexual functioning. Because sexual functioning is a complex, multidimensional phenomenon, the ideal treatment for endometriosis-related sexual dysfunctions should be conducted by a multidisciplinary team composed of gynecologists, sexologists, and psychologists/psychotherapists.

Keywords: dyspareunia; endometriosis; female sexuality; sexual dysfunction; sexual functioning.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Coitus
  • Databases, Factual
  • Dyspareunia / complications*
  • Endometriosis / complications*
  • Endometriosis / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Sexual Behavior*