Borderline personality disorder tends to be associated with impulsivity in general, and this certainly includes sexual impulsivity. Numerous studies have noted such a correlation, although there are certain idiosyncrasies in the sexual behavior of those with borderline personality disorder(Sansone & Sansone, 2011):
1) They are more likely to engage in casual sex.
2) They are more likely to report a larger number of sexual partners.
3) They are more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behavior.
4) They are more likely to have been coerced into sexual behavior.
5) They are more likely to have been raped by a stranger.
6) They are more likely to have an STD.
7) They are more likely to have experienced date rape.
It is clear that the sexual behavior of those with borderline personality disorder is more likely to be characterized by both impulsiveness and victimization(Sansone & Sansone, 2011). This impulsivity, as noted before, extends not simply to sexual behavior, but to driving, eating, drug and alcohol abuse and compulsive spending. Those with borderline personality, in addition to this impulsivity, are more likely to exhibit greater fluidity in sexual preference. They may oscillate between heterosexuality and homosexuality, engage in some form of “polymorphous perverse” sexual behavior, or to exhibit tendencies towards “pan-sexuality”(Sansone & Sansone, 2011).
One researcher reports that 25 percent of borderlines exhibit promiscuity (however this is defined). Borderlines are more likely to engage in sexual acting out in general. Some borderlines understand their promiscuous behavior as a means of coping with negative emotions. Women with BPD are more likely to exhibit “greater sexual assertiveness, erotophilic attitudes, sexual esteem, sexual preoccupation, and sexual dissatisfaction”(Sansone & Sansone, 2011).
In one study, 52 individuals with BPD who struggled with substance abuse were compared with 40 individuals with BPD who were not engaged in substance abuse. Those who struggled with substance abuse were also much more likely to exhibit promiscuity. In another study, 46 percent of 71 hospitalized females with BPD were found to impulsively engage in casual sex. In yet another, those who engaged in high-risk sexual behavior were more likely to be diagnosable with BPD(Sansone & Sansone, 2011).
In another study of personality disorders and risky sexual behavior in 403 teens, symptoms of borderline personality disorder were more likely to be associated with risky sexual behavior, which was defined in the study as having sex without a condom(Sansone & Sansone, 2011). In another study of 112 borderline women, those with borderline personality disorder who engaged in substance abuse were much more likely to have tested positive for STDs. In another literature review which included 6 studies, borderline personality disorder was disproportionately associated with both homosexual behavior and sexual impulsivity.
In a 2008 study of 76 female outpatients, statistically significant relationships were found between borderline personality disorder and date rape, as well as earlier sexual experiences. In a 2009 study, 12 databases were analyzed with two variables mind:
“1) casual sexual relationships (e.g., “I have done things on impulse that can get me into trouble…[such as] having sex with people I hardly know”) and 2) promiscuity (e.g., “Have you ever intentionally, or on purpose,…been promiscuous [i.e., had many sexual partners]?”). In this study, we found that participants with BPD were twice as likely to endorse casual sexual relationships as well as promiscuity, regardless of clinical setting”(Sansone & Sansone, 2011)
The authors of the paper conducted another study of 354 outpatients and found that those with borderline personality disorder reported about twice as many sexual partners when compared with those without it. The authors conducted one more study, comparing 126 psychiatric inpatients(Sansone & Sansone, 2011). Those with BPD were much more likely to have experienced sexual coercion, having had a much greater number of sexual partners than the general population, and having been raped by a stranger(Sansone & Sansone, 2011).
Randy A. Sansone, MD corresponding author and Lori A. Sansone, MD. Sexual Behavior in Borderline Personality. Innov Clin Neurosci. Feb 2011; 8(2): 14–18. Published online Feb 2011. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3071095/