Introduction: Men partners to women-with-endometriosis
face long-term challenges to their sex life. The
man may perceive responsibility for the sexual pain
and be tentative about initiating sexual contact.
Relationship discord is also common. The limited studies
on the male partner recommend further qualitative
research to understand the impact.
Objectives: To explore the impact of painful intercourse
due to endometriosis on male partner’s sexual
Method: Qualitative exploratory approach was
adopted to guide the study. Nine male partners participated
in in-depth interviews which lasted approximately
90 minutes. Data were analysed using a
Results: Sexual frequency is an early casualty as men
(and women) attempt to avoid the pain of intercourse.
Men reported their arousal (erection and ejaculation/
orgasm) being adversely impacted due to an
inability to be “present” when their partner was experiencing
sexual pain. Participants indicated not wanting
to initiate any form of sexual activity due to a fear it
might lead to painful intercourse. Lower levels of fear
were reported where the focus shifted to non-penis-invagina
sex. Not all men found a comfortable compromise.
Overall, sexual satisfaction was achievable despite
sexual limitations. All men value good
communication about sexual and relationship matters.
Conclusion and Recommendations: Male partners
grieve the loss of a pain-free sex life. Men who adopt a
team approach coupled with creativity reported a satisfying
sexual relationship. Men willing to embrace a
non penis-in-vagina sexual approach reported a more
Couples are encouraged to talk about the impact of
painful intercourse for each partner. Practitioners are
encouraged to explore the sexual impact of endometriosis
through open-ended questions and to refer couples
for sex therapy. Sex therapists need better education
about endometriosis and sexuality. Public education
resources, aimed at both members of the couple, which
address the sexual difficulties that arise from endometriosis
are also required.
Keywords: painful intercourse, endometriosis, male
partner, sexual function, sexual wellbeing
Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Statement: None
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