All you need to know about sleep sex

Curious about sleep sex?

Sexsomnia is a relatively rare sleep disorder, and thought to be a variant of sleepwalking. Sexsomniacs exhibit sexual behaviours in their sleep, usually without being aware of their actions or remembering it the next morning. For obvious reasons it can be a problematic condition, but in otherwise healthy relationships the partners of sexsomniacs can usually learn how to manage the condition from their perspective - whether by figuring out how to break the cycle and awaken the sufferer, or by getting into it if they happen to be in the mood themselves! As with all things, communication is key. Talk this over with your partner well in advance, and come up with a strategy that works for you both.

What is sexsomnia?

Like sleepwalking and sleep eating, sex whilst sleeping is a parasomnia – a sleep disorder. A person with sexsomnia will masturbate or make sexual advances on a partner or roommate whilst asleep.

Can you have sex in your sleep?

Some people can. When the brain switches between different stages of sleep sometimes neurons can misfire and turn on parts of your brain while the rest is still in sleep mode. This can result in all kinds of behaviour such as sleep walking and sleep sex. People who are having sex in their sleep have no idea about it unless they wake up in the middle of the act or are told about it by their partner or another person who has witnessed it.

What are the signs of sexsomnia?

The person having sleep sex is unlikely to know. They may masturbate in their sleep, spontaneously orgasm, thrust their pelvis, fondle a partner or even instigate sexual intercourse. They may well seem to be awake with their eyes open but they won’t remember a thing when they wake up. Anxiety and stress are thought to be a cause as well as fatigue, use of recreational drugs, drinking alcohol and irregular sleep patterns.

How is sexsomnia treated?

If you are worried about sexsomnia symptoms it is recommended to see your doctor. They can then offer various treatments from changing medications to prescribing antidepressants or suggesting other ways to control it like regulating your sleep pattern and developing a calming routine before going to sleep.

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