Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a complex mental health condition characterized by emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, and unstable interpersonal relationships. Some individuals with BPD regularly engage in sexual risk behavior such as unprotected sex and are at higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections. This study investigates discounting of condom- or dental dam-protected sex in women with BPD compared with a control group.
Data were collected from 40 women diagnosed with BPD and 40 healthy controls with an average age of 27.28 years (SD = 6.14) using the Sexual Delay Discounting Task (SDT), the Borderline Symptom List-23 (BSL-23), and the Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder Scale-19 (CSBD-19).
Women with BPD were less likely to use an immediately available condom or dental dam and more likely to discount safer sex than controls. Partner desirability and the perceived STI risk influenced the participants' likelihood of having protected sex. Women with BPD showed more symptoms of compulsive sexual behavior (CSB) than controls. However, sexual delay discounting was not significantly correlated with borderline symptoms or CSB in the BPD group.
Discussion and conclusions
These findings contribute to our understanding of sexual impulsivity in women with BPD and highlight the omission and delayed availability of safety measures as important contributors to sexual risk behavior and STI risk in women. Impulsive sexual behavior, as well as the accompanying sexual health concerns, should receive special attention in the treatment of women with BPD.