People that suffer from sexsomnia (also known as “sleep-sex,” and “SBS”), a non-rapid eye movement sleep disorder and parasomnia, engage in sexual activity such as masturbation, fondling, intercourse and sexual assault or rape while they are asleep. When studying those that suffer from sexsomnia at a sleep center, the most frequent symptoms include sexual arousal with erection, vaginal lubrication, ejaculation and sweating. In contrast, it is possible to suffer from sexsomnia without having sexual arousal and this may hinder a correct diagnosis.
Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center psychiatrist Carlos Schenck and neurologist Mark Mahowald call sexsomnia or sleep-sex a “more advanced form of sleepwalking that covers the full gamut of sexual activity, from fondling to intercourse, with one crucial difference: the patients apparently have no conscious awareness of what they're doing and, when wakened, have no recollection of it” (Underwood, 2007).
To add another twist to the sleep disorder, there is another form of sexsomnia which is caused by sleep-related epilepsy that results in sexual arousal, thrusting and orgasms where the patient actually remembers the event and is not confused upon awakening.
The first report came out on sexsomnia in 1996. Since that time, some sexsomnia sufferers report only pleasurable outcomes of the disorder. In these cases, treatment for the disorder is unnecessary and can be potentially detrimental to their relationships.
Many sufferers of sexsomnia, however, do not experience pleasurable outcomes. Far from pleasurable, they range anywhere from genital bruising from violent masturbation to a man who attempted killing his wife. This sleep disorder manifests itself to a degree where those who suffer ascribe feelings of shame, guilt, and depression and as a result, do not seek medical intervention. Irrespective and equally as detrimental is that many doctors are still unaware of this growing phenomenon.
Upon expert consultation and diagnosis, sexsomnia sufferers are generally prescribed behavior modification for treatment, as well Valium for more violent sufferers. In addition, patients are provided with techniques, have their sleeping schedules changed, and sometimes, for sufferers who share beds with partners, the separation of beds and bedrooms.
Colin M Shapiro, M. N. (2003, June). Sexsomnia - A New Parasomnia? Retrieved January 6, 2010, from Canadian Psychiatric Association: http://ww1.cpa-apc.org:8080/Pu blications/Archives/CJP/2003/j une/shapiro.asp
Sleep Sex. (n.d.). Retrieved January 6, 2010, from Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S leep_sex
Underwood, A. (2007). Sexsomnia. Retrieved January 6, 2010, from http://www.newsweek.com/id/342 41/page/1:
Related Source: Sexsomnia (Sleep Sex) Treatments