ORIGINAL RESEARCH—WOMEN’S SEXUAL HEALTH: Impaired Sexual Function in Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder is Determined by History of Sexual Abuse

Introduction. Patients suffering from a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) display altered sexual behavior, such as sexual avoidance or sexual impulsivity, which has repeatedly been linked to the sexual traumatization that occurs in a high percentage of BPD patients. Until now, no empirical data exists on whether these patients concomitantly suffer from sexual dysfunction.
Aim. This study investigates sexual function and the impact of sexual traumatization on this issue in women with BPD as compared to healthy women.
Main Outcome Measures. Sexual function was measured using the Female Sexual Function Index. Additionally, diagnoses were made with SCID II Interviews for Axis II and with the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview for Axis I disorders. The Post‐traumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale for trauma evaluation was used. Sexual orientation was assessed by self‐evaluation.
Methods. Forty‐five women with BPD as diagnosed according to DSM‐IV criteria and 30 healthy women completed questionnaires on sexual function and sexual abuse history, as well as interviews on axis I and II disorders and psychotropic medication.
Results. The BPD group showed a significantly higher prevalence of sexual dysfunction. Subgroup analyses revealed that BPD with concomitant sexual traumatization, and not BPD alone, best explains impaired sexual function. Sexual inactivity was mainly related to current major depression or use of SSRI medication. In sexually active participants, medication and symptoms of depression had no significant impact on sexual function.
Conclusions. Not BPD alone, but concomitant sexual traumatization, predicts significantly impaired sexual function. This may have a therapeutic impact on BPD patients reporting sexual traumatization. Schulte‐Herbrüggen O, Ahlers CJ, Kronsbein JM, Rüter A, Bahri S, Vater A, and Roepke S. Impaired sexual function in patients with borderline personality disorder is determined by history of sexual abuse. J Sex Med 2009;6:3356–3363.

Source: Online Library, Wiley

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