What is Sexsomnia (Sleep Sex)?
Sexsomnia, also known as sleep sex, is a parasomnia that causes a person to engage in sexual behavior while sleeping. Characteristics of sexsomnia include performing the following during a non-REM sleep stage:
- Sexual vocalizations
- Sexual assault
People who engage in sleep sex most often do not remember the event upon awakening. Sometimes they may wake up in the middle of an act confused about what is actually happening.
Causes of Sexsomnia
No one knows for sure exactly what causes sexsomnia but researchers believe it could be related to abnormalities in the brain’s arousal system, similar to what occurs during sleepwalking. Sexsomnia may occur with other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, sleepwalking, night terrors and bed-wetting and may be triggered by stress, sleep deprivation and excessive consumption of drugs or alcohol.
Sleep Sex Treatment
Sexsomnia is a disorder that can have psychological and physical consequences. People with sexsomnia report feeling embarrassed, guilty and ashamed and experience serious problems with their relationships. Treatment for sexsomnia can involve behavior modification and medication. Treatment may also involve sleeping in separate beds and/or bedrooms for those with sleep sex disorder who share their beds with a partner.
If you are concerned about a sleep sex problem, consult with your doctor or visit a sleep center for professional diagnosis and treatment.
Disclaimer: These statements and products are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult your physician regarding any sleeping disorders.