Sexsomnia, also known as sleep sex, is a distinct form of parasomnia, or an abnormal activity that occurs while an individual is asleep. Sexsomnia is characterized by an individual engaging in sexual acts while in non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.
Sexual behaviors that result from sexsomnia are not to be mistaken with normal nocturnal sexual behaviors, which do not occur during NREM sleep. Sexual behaviors that are viewed as normal during sleep and are accompanied by extensive research and documentation include nocturnal emissions, nocturnal erections, and sleep orgasms.
Sexsomnia can present in an individual with other pre-existing sleep-related disorders.
Sexsomnia is most often diagnosed in males beginning in adolescence.
Although they may appear to be fully awake, individuals who have sexsomnia often have no recollection of the sexual behaviors they exhibit while asleep. As a result, the individual that they share the bed with notices and reports the sexual behavior.
Symptoms of sexsomnia include, but are not limited to:
intercourse with climax
sexual assault or rape
talking dirty while asleep
Symptoms of sexsomnia can be caused by or be associated with:
consumption of alcohol or other drugs
pre-existing parasomnia behaviors
Sexsomnia really exists - here's what to know about 'sleep sex' Live Science - February 7, 2023
Sexsomnia is a disorder that leads people to perform sexual behaviors while they're asleep. There is no cure for the condition, but medications and lifestyle changes have been shown to manage the disorder effectively.
It's thought that 7.1% of the global adult population will experience sexsomnia at some point in their lives, according to a 2018 review in the journal Cureus (opens in new tab). It's also thought to be more common in men than women although it is unclear why.
Sexsomnia is sometimes called sleep sex, but it can involve all kinds of sexual behaviors including masturbation, moaning and orgasm. It can be distressing and embarrassing for both the person experiencing it and anyone sharing a room with them.
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