Feeds

What is sexsomnia?

Amorous while asleep?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Also in this week's column:

What is sexsomnia?

Falling asleep after sex is common, but falling, sleeping and staying asleep during sex is another matter. The condition is called sexsomnia.

Sexsomnia occurs when a person is asleep and yet proceeds to initiate sexual activity with their bedmate. Sexsomnia is also known as "somnambulistic sexual behaviour".

The first use of "sexsomnia" for this condition was by Dr C M Shapiro and two colleagues from the Sleep Alertness Clinic of the University of Toronto and the Toronto Western Hospital in a June 2003 article in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Sexsomnia is described as a mix of sleepwalking and adolescent wet dreams.

According to the researchers, amazingly, not all partners of sexsomniacs are distressed or irritated by the novel experience of having an unconscious person make love to them. In fact, some seem to prefer it. The researchers describe sexsomnia as a "distinct variation" of sleepwalking.

The researchers discovered it by interviewing patients referred to their sleep clinic for normal sleep-related problems. According to the Shapiro team, "[o]nly subsequently did the issue of sexual behaviour during sleep emerge", although they noted prior cases of indecent exposure during sleep.

They add: "We anticipate that the number of potential cases is large but sexual behavioUr in sleep is not yet recognised by physicians as a behaviour of note or a problem."

There were 11 case studies, mostly male. One married man, aged 35, had sexual dreams and "enacts these by having intercourse with his wife, who is convinced he is asleep...[he] is only aware of his behaviour from his wife's reports".

Two girlfriends of another man, aged 43, "independently confirmed that he frequently engages in sexual behaviour while asleep". One describes him as a "different person" during these activities - apparently he is a more amorous and gentle lover and more orientated towards satisfying his partner.

By contrast, another man, aged 37, according to his wife is "more aggressive and more amorous. He indulges in behaviours while asleep that he does not undertake when awake...there is no stopping him. But when he once grabbed her neck, she had to slap him."

In the May 2006 Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine, Dr I O Ebrahim of the London Sleep Centre describes a recent sexsomnia case in England "where the defendant was acquitted on three charges of rape on the basis of automatism due to somnambulistic sexual behaviour".

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.