The Mating Grounds

Sexsomnia: The Sleep Disorder You’ve Never Heard Of

Sexsomnia: Understanding this Sleep Disorder

Have you ever heard of sexsomnia? Its a type of sleep disorder thats becoming increasingly common.

Also known as sleepwalking for sex, its a condition where people engage in sexual activity while theyre asleep. If youve never heard of it, youre not alone.

In this article, well explore what sexsomnia is, its symptoms, triggers, and causes. What is Sexsomnia?

Sexsomnia is a type of arousal parasomnia that occurs during sleep. Arousals, in general, are abnormal events that happen during the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) phase of sleep and can cause partial or complete awakenings.

Arousal parasomnias are disturbances of sleep that are characterized by incomplete arousals that can result in various sleep-related behaviors, such as sleepwalking, sleep terrors, and sexsomnia. Many people with sexsomnia engage in sexual activities while asleep, which can include masturbation or sexual intercourse.

These actions are typically automatic, without any conscious awareness, and not tied to any sexual desire or pleasure.

Symptoms of Sexsomnia

It can be challenging to identify the signs of sexsomnia, as people with the condition are usually unaware of their actions. However, some of the symptoms of sexsomnia include:


Engaging in sexual activities during sleep

2. Initiating sexual activity with a bedpartner while asleep


Expressing sexual behaviors that differ from their usual behaviors.

Triggers of Sexsomnia

Sexsomnia can be triggered by different factors, and these triggers can vary from one person to another. Here are some potential triggers:


Anxiety and stress: Many people with anxiety and stress disorders may develop sexsomnia. This can be due to the elevated stress hormones in their bodies, which can trigger arousals and sleepwalking episodes.

2. Sleep-related epilepsy: People with epilepsy can develop seizures that cause pattern disturbances in their brains.

These disturbances can trigger abnormal sleep behaviors such as sleepwalking and sexsomnia. 3.

Sleep Apnea: People with sleep apnea have repeated breathing interruptions while they sleep. These breathing interruptions can trigger arousals, resulting in sleepwalking and other parasomnias.

Causes of Sexsomnia

The causes of sexsomnia are not yet fully understood. However, some studies suggest that the following factors could be contributing to its development:


Genetics: Many genetic factors may increase the likelihood of developing sexsomnia. Thus, people with a family history of the disorder may be more likely to have it.

2. Hormones: Hormones can influence sleep and arousal.

Hormonal imbalance, particularly in the levels of testosterone and cortisol, can trigger sexsomnia. 3.

Medications: Certain medications, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics, can trigger or worsen sexsomnia.

The Seriousness of Sexsomnia

While sexsomnia seems relatively harmless, it can have serious physical and psychological consequences. Engaging in sexual activity while asleep can lead to dangerous situations.

For instance, people with sexsomnia may engage in risky sex behaviors like unprotected sex, sexual assault, or illegal activities.


Sexsomnia is a sleep disorder that can have severe consequences if left untreated. Its essential to seek medical attention if you or someone you know experiences symptoms of the disorder.

Treatment options for sexsomnia include medication, psychoanalysis, cognitive-behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, and sleep hygiene. Most people with the condition can manage it and lead a healthy and safe life with the help of these treatments.

Sexsomnia in Men and Women: What are the Differences in Effects? Sexsomnia can occur in both men and women, which raises questions about the differences in its effects on both genders.

While this sleep disorder can affect both sexes negatively, several factors can influence the manifestation and severity of the condition.

Sexual Activity and Sleepwalking in Men and Women

One of the primary effects of sexsomnia is it can lead to sexual activity during sleep, which can be disruptive and embarrassing. Various studies suggest that men and women experience different forms of sexual behavior during sleep.

For instance, women with sexsomnia may have more frequent orgasms or experience a higher level of arousal, while men may engage in more aggressive and violent sexual behaviors.

Sleep Parasomnias and Mild Amnesia

Sexsomnia can also occur with mild amnesia, which can be unsettling for those who experience it regularly. While some may remember some of the events that occur during sleep, they may not have a complete recollection of the experience in the morning.

Amnesia can occur in a wide range of sleep disorders, including sleepwalking and night terrors, and it can lead to confusion, anxiety, and depression. As such, people with sexsomnia must receive the right treatment from medical experts to prevent its worsening long-term effects.

Adapting to Sexsomnia

Due to the potential negative effects that sexsomnia can have on the mental and physical health of individuals, people who suffer from this disorder must adapt their daily lives. This can involve changes to their environment, such as using a lock on the bedroom door and avoiding provocative materials such as books and films that may trigger sleep behavior.

Further, people need to be aware of the potential danger to sexual partners that may arise from sexsomnia and discuss the condition before sexual relations begin. Additionally, it is essential to seek medical treatment and counseling to address any underlying conditions and manage the symptoms.

Sexsomnia as a Criminal Defense

In a rare instance, sexsomnia can serve as a valid defense for criminal acts such as rape. Nonetheless, this is controversial and has only been considered a defense in a handful of cases, typically in Sweden.

The validity of this defense is dependent on the results of brain wave patterns and medical expert testimonies, coupled with a lack of awareness of the sexual act while asleep. Further, most legal systems require that the defendant did not provoke the sexual act or induce it unknowingly.

In conclusion, while millions of people worldwide suffer from sexsomnia, the condition remains largely unrecognized. Although the awareness and management of sexsomnia may not cure it, seeking medical treatment, changes to environment, and community support may help prevent negative long-term effects.

In summary, sexsomnia is a type of sleep disorder that requires awareness and proper management to prevent its potential negative physical and psychological effects long-term. Individuals with sexsomnia must adapt to their environment and seek help from medical experts and communities to ensure its symptoms do not worsen.

Though rare, sexsomnia can serve as a criminal defense dependent on medical expert testimony and brainwave patterns, particularly in the instance where the defendant did not provoke such actions. Overall, with an intensive understanding of the disorder’s triggers, symptoms, and causes, people can receive appropriate treatment procedures, ensuring they live a safe and healthy life.

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