Borderline Personality and Mental Health and BDSM: Is there a Connection? PART II

By 2019-09-10Uncategorized

This is Part Two of My look into whether or not BDSM attracts those with mental health problems like Borderline Personality Disorder…Did you miss Part One?

Sexual Masochism, Masochism and Borderline Personality Disorder

One study, Sexual Masochism Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder, does a nice job of differentiating the sexual drives of those with BPD and those who are simply masochists:

“Sexual masochism disorder is not the same thing as masochism!

Masochism is the sexual or emotional enjoyment of receiving pain. Sadism is the opposite. It’s the enjoyment of giving pain. Many people safely practice sadism/masochism as part of their sexual life. Masochism and sadism by themselves are not psychiatric diagnoses. They are normal, healthy parts of human sexuality.

In contact, sexual masochism disorder (SMD) is masochism that causes distress, dysfunction, or nonconsensual harm. For example, deliberately putting yourself in a situation where you could be raped. Or asphyxiating yourself when you’re alone (because it can, and does, kill). Because those are likely to cause serious harm, they might be considered SMD rather than masochism.”

In other words, a person with BPD has a tendency toward UNSAFE sex. In a way, the description of SMD by the researchers imply that SMD is associated with BDSM, but BDSM is the exact opposite. While our lifestyle gives the impression of out-of-control sex, We are about consent and being careful.

Dominants insist on safewords. submissives do as well. We have scenes that are acted out if We wish to be “raped.” That’s called Consensual Non-Consent. We don’t actually rape anyone. We don’t encourage people to place them in TRUE harms way. We are always there, or We SHOULD be always there.

If We look more at the SMD actions of a person with BPD though, We can see the clear parallels which are easily misconstrued as BDSM-related activities.

 

BPD and Trauma

It seems generally accepted that those who are BPD have experienced trauma—child rape, for example. And that the extreme emotions and unsafe sexual activity of masochism are directly related to this trauma. Borderline Personality Disorder and Sexual Masochism: Treating the Roots of Dysfunction states the following:

“According to a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers found that ‘sexual masochism disorder was 10 times higher in BPD women than in women with other personality disorders.’ Furthermore, those women who identified as masochists reported “more child sexual abuse, more hostile/dismissing attachments, higher sensation seeking, and more frequently exploratory/impersonal sexual fantasies than BPD without sexual masochism.” The findings reveal that women with borderline personality disorder are at significantly increased risk for participating in high-risk sexual activities that could compound existing suffering and lead to serious emotional and physical injury.”

The piece goes on to say that these unsafe practices are often a way to re-live the trauma.

But I think this is oversimplifying too.

Personally, I don’t view BDSM-related practices as “high-risk.” I think this is a view most of us share. It’s very controlled.

 

My Conclusion

Once We analyze all the facts, combining Our understanding of mental health with that of BDSM, I think it’s easy to see that BDSM does NOT attract those with Borderline Personality Disorder.

While we have Our moods, BDSM is very controlled. Scenes are planned out usually. We’ve discussed with Our partner what can and can’t be done, what Our Hard and Soft Limits are, and Our expectations. Those of Us who practice “true” BDSM—ensuring CCS and/or RACK principals are followed for the sake of safety—aren’t simply looking for a great fuck that include beating the shit out of someone and raping them. We are looking for a willing partner who agrees to control.

The tendency of those with BPD toward sexual masochism means BDSM is not a place to which they’d gravitate.

In short: Nope. BDSM does not appear to attract those with mental health issues such as Borderline Personality Disorder.

Miss Ruby

Miss Ruby

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