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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 49 (2007) 4, 233 - 240

Review article

The relevance of sexuality in the treatment of borderline personality disorder

A.J.F. Neeleman

summary
background
Although many articles about borderline personality disorder have been published over the last 25 years, sexuality has not received much attention. Sexual functioning may however be relevant for the treatment of this disorder.
aim To find out from research reports, the literature and clinical practice whether they contain evidence of varying degrees of problematical sexuality in borderline patients, and if so, to make an inventory of the evidence.
method A literature search was conducted via PubMed and Psycinfo using the search terms 'borderline personality disorder', 'sexuality' and 'research'. In addition, the literature was searched manually.
results Only six empirical studies about the sexual functioning of patients with borderline personality disorder were found. The research findings provided information about patients' problems with regard to intimate and sexual relations. These problems related to heightened sexual impulsivity, reduced satisfaction, increased sexual boredom, greater preoccupation with sex, avoidance of sex and a range of other sexual complaints. In addition, there is evidence that homosexuality and vulnerability regarding gender identity occur more frequently in these patients.
conclusion Helping to integrate love and sexuality with a suitable partner seems to be an important developmental assignment for persons assisting borderline patients.

keywords borderline personality disorder, sexuality, therapy