What is Sleep Sex or Sexsomnia?

  • Sexsomnia, like sleepwalking, is a type of parasomnia. Parasomnia is the result of your brain being caught between sleep stages.
  • This in-between phase during sleep stages may make you act like you’re awake when you’re still asleep.
  • People with sexsomnia experience sleep-related sexual behavior. These behaviors range from masturbation to sexual intercourse.
  • Sexsomnia is different from sex dreams. People with this disorder engage in sexual behaviors while asleep, often with other people.
  • The difficulty with a parasomnia like sleep sex is that the person with the disorder may not realize they have it until someone else brings it to their attention.
  • Symptoms include-fondling or inducing foreplay with bed partner, pelvic thrusting, behaviors that mimic sexual intercourse, masturbation, spontaneous orgasm, vacant look in eyes, and being unaware of such behavior later.
  • Certain factors that can contribute to sexsomnia are sleep deprivation, increased stress, anxiety, fatigue, certain medications, drinking alcohol, using recreational drugs or prescription drugs you weren’t prescribed.
  • Underlying medical conditions like head injuries, migranes, restless leg syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, sleep-related epilepsy and other sleep disorders can trigger sexsomnia too.
  • One can consult a sleep specialist that will conduct a test known as polysomnography that includes studying the brain waves, heart rate, breathing pattern, eye and leg movement and based on that provide diagnosis.
  • The treatment includes dealing with underlying sleep disorders, changes in medication or new medication. Treating the underlying causes successfully treats sexsomnia in most cases.

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