Borderline Personality Disorder and Sex
The trauma of desertion and disconnection from the love object is felt most intensely by those suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). There are many other symptoms of the patient such as feeling like a victim, extreme sensitivity to stimuli; depression, and impulsive actions. In the case of sex and sexuality these can take on a monstrous charge and affect not only the patient but their partners.
The most remarkable feature of certain BPD patients is their sexual aura. The likes of Marilyn Monroe and Britney Spears are famous cases. The partners are likely to experience an ecstatic frenzy as it is rare to find someone who exudes an unmatched sexual force. The heady blend of insecurity and vulnerability might also feeds into the narcissistic personality of those involved with BPD patients. The fact that you have instantaneously become the most important person in someone’s life can be intoxicating. However, what is in store is a more fluctuating experience.
A BPD sufferer will use sexuality to manage his or her relationships. Sexual abuse as a child is often a major cause in the development of the condition and the haunting past may leave traces in adult sexual behaviour. If the patient associates guilt and punishment with the act of sex s/he may want to inflict that on the partner or have them play out elements from the traumatic memory unconsciously. Conversely, they may withhold sex as a means of punishment for the apparently erring partner. Sex as a reward for good behaviour on the part of the mate is a sign to watch out for.
High Risk Behaviour
Since the Borderline wavers between a simplistic good/bad worldview and makes rash decisions without premeditation, promiscuity and unsafe sex practices are likely. High risk behaviour on an impulse leads to the increased vulnerability towards STIs and physical injury. Drug abuse cannot be ruled out either. Sex may be seen as means to quell anxiety in the Borderline’s case. S/he might go out of the way to seek trouble in order to create an artificial cycle of commit and repent. Unusually high sex drives may catch the patient unawares and it then becomes impossible to avoid dubious sexual contact.
If you have recognised traits of Borderline Personality Disorder in your partner you might feel the experience of your love affair akin to a roller coaster ride. It is up to the mate to decide whether s/he wants to continue to invest in a relationship with an unstable person. It may take years of therapy and medication to overcome BPD and the journey can be traumatising. It is a good idea to discuss openly the patterns of your sexual relationship with the patient in order to reveal the pathology behind the expressions.
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Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Jun 24, 2011
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