Support our work
Decorative header background

Role of Sexuality in Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID)

Publication year 2017
Published in Journal of Sexual Medicine
Authors Rianne M Blom, Sija J van der Wal, Nienke C Vulink, D. Denys

BACKGROUND: Body integrity identity disorder (BIID)-a strong desire for amputation or paralysis-is often accompanied by feelings and cognitions of sexual arousal, although this sexual component has been largely neglected in the recent literature.

AIM: To examine the presence of BIID-related sexual arousal in subjects with BIID and explore clinical and demographic variables of subjects with BIID who do and do not possess this sexual arousal.

METHODS: Eighty individuals with BIID responded to an internet-based survey we created. For all subjects, restoring identity was the primary motivation for preferred body modification. We collected data about respondents’ demographic, clinical, and sexual characteristics. Based on responses to questions about BIID-specific sexual desires, subjects were assigned to the group with BIID-related sexual feelings (S-BIID; n = 57) or the group without such feelings (NS-BIID; n = 23).

OUTCOMES: Differences in clinical, demographic, and sexual characteristics between S-BIID and NS-BIID groups.

RESULTS: Of the respondents, 71.3% endorsed S-BIID. Subjects with S-BIID were significantly more often men, religious, and of a homosexual identity compared with the NS-BIID group. Subjects with S-BIID also significantly more often reported a change in localization and/or intensity of their BIID feelings over time. Furthermore, 66.7% of subjects with S-BIID reported S-BIID as an additional motivation for body modification. Seven of the 57 subjects with S-BIID achieved their preferred body modification through (self)-amputation, whereas none of the subjects with NS-BIID did.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: BIID is a heterogeneous disorder in which subjects who self-reported comorbid sexual arousal more often resorted to (self-induced) amputation.

STRENGTHS AND LIMITATIONS: This study contains the largest BIID cohort presented in the literature and is the first to genuinely research sexuality in BIID. The first limitation is the lack of face-to-face interviews with the subjects, so no clinical diagnoses could be made. Moreover, there is an ascertainment bias because subjects were collected through the internet and in English, which excluded those who spoke other languages or subjects without an internet connection.

CONCLUSION: The present study provides preliminary evidence for a subpopulation or distinct group of individuals with BIID based on the presence of S-BIID. Blom RM, van der Wal SJ, Vulink NC, Denys D. Role of Sexuality in Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID): A Cross-Sectional Internet-Based Survey Study. J Sex Med 2017;XX:XXX-XXX.

Support our work!

The Friends Foundation facilitates groundbreaking brain research. You can help us with that.

Support our work