Sleep Sex

In truth, any basic instinct can come out in the context of sleep and all sorts of things can happen…

If you think it’s impossible to have sex while you sleep, think again. According to a new study, there are at least 11 different sexually related sleep disorders, collectively referred to as “sexsomnia” or “sleepsex,”. This disorder affects people who are otherwise psychologically healthy causing them to unknowingly engage in various sexual activities during the night.

Dr. Carlos Schenck, a psychiatrist at the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center, and his colleagues have studied a number of sexual and behavioral disorders associated with sleep. One study found that people sometimes masturbate, initiate sex, fondle or play with their partner and reach orgasm while being completely asleep. Typically these people have no memory of these sexual activities/advances when they awake and are only made aware of their actions when told by another person.

It is a possibility that some of these sleepsex activities can have legal consequences if someone initiates sex without consent, but please keep in mind that this is a legitimate sleep disorder and as stated above the individuals have no memory or awareness of their actions.

People are at-risk for developing sex-related sleep disorders when they also tend to suffer from other sleep disorders, according to Schenck. “Sexsomnia doesn’t come out of nowhere,” he said. But “for whatever reason, sexual behaviors become part of the repertoire.”

While people might feel ashamed to learn from their partners that they are exhibiting these behaviors while they sleep, these disorders are not indicative of psychological problems as the bizarre and inappropriate behavior during sleep does not necessarily reflect a daytime psychological problem and “sexsomnia” disorders are easily treated with counseling. If anything, people who become aware of this issue but don’t seek help, puts them at an even greater risk of liability.

 “The longer you go with this problem without getting it treated, the more you can then develop a secondary psychological problem,” such as depression, said Schenck, whose study is published this week, in the journal Sleep.


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