In 2003, psychiatrist Colin Shapio first coined the term sexsomnia, referring to a sleep disorder that leads the subject to have sex while asleep . To date, many had believed that it was a type of sleepwalking or that it was a mere excuse to have intercourse, however now we know what it is.
- You are also interested in: Sex in the office: advantages and disadvantages of having relationships at work.
What is sexsomnia
It is abouta sleep disorder, considered to be a type of parasomnia . Like sleepwalking, those who suffer from it show abnormal behaviors or activities during sleep.
Sexsomniacs (as those who suffer from it are called) can moan loudly, masturbate, grope or even make obscene expressions, all while they are asleep. On some occasions they come to seek intercourse and are able to carry it out. When they wake up, they do not remember anything that has happened.
This is a very common problem, and according to several studies , 10% of the population suffers from some type of sleepwalking, although not necessarily sexsomnia. In a group of 832 people with sleep disorders, they found that around 11% of men and 4% of women had this disorder. In any case, it is difficult to determine the number of people affected.
Although it affects men and women equally, a group of researchers determined that sexsomniac women are less likely to have sexual encounters . They tend to masturbate and moan, while they seek to initiate the sexual act.
Causes and treatment
In stage 3 sleep, also called NREM, the capabilities of the prefrontal cortex of the brain are canceled, which controls the decisions. Without this regulation, the body releases its instincts and seeks to satisfy basic needs such as hunger, security or sexual desire. Despite being at rest, sexsomniacs can react to danger or perform certain physical activities such as sex.
Sexsomnia affects men and women equally. | Image from: Getty.
Patients should know that it is a medical problem, and as such it should be treated with drugs, although there are no specific drugs yet .. Psychiatric experts have concluded that treatment should be accompanied by sociological therapy to combat guilt as well as preserve the relationship. Many times, the sentimental partners of sexsomniacs prefer to sleep apart from their partner so as not to be disturbed.
People who suffer from the disorder are usually subjects with stress and sleep problems , so it is advisable to carry out relaxation and exercise therapies. It is usually a problem related to drug use. The most effective method to detect it is through a polysomnography, recording brain activity and eye movement of the patient while sleeping.
Although sleepwalking is not hereditary, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the risk is greater if there is a family history.
Excused for having sexsomnia
Sexual sleepwalking has sparked debate over the case of Stephen Lee Davis, a 43-year-old British man who was charged with a crime of rape . A 16-year-old teenager who spent the nights at the defendant’s house denounced having been a victim of abuse, although the jury ended up acquitting Davis for suffering from sexsomnia.
Dr. Chris Idzikowki, director of the Edinburgh Sleep School, corroborated the defendant’s version by alleging a series of tests. Kirsty Merriman, the victim, tells the Mirror newspaper:
“I still have nightmares and suffer from depression. I don’t understand how a jury can deny that I was raped, when a person had sex with me against my will.”
Researchers continue to work to clarify more details about this disorder that little is known about and that continues to generate obvious psychological consequences for those who suffer from it.
- It may interest you: 7 sexual objects and toys that you did not even know existed.