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Awakening to the Reality: Understanding Sexsomnia, the Sleep Disorder We're Not Talking About

Shedding Light on Sexsomnia: From Silent Nights to Confused Mornings


Sexsomnia, often referred to as sleep sex, is a sleep disorder that prompts individuals to engage in sexual acts while asleep, with no memory of the activities upon waking. While the topic can be uncomfortable, understanding and acknowledging this condition is crucial for those affected.


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What is Sexsomnia?

Sexsomnia is classified as a type of parasomnia—an abnormal activity that occurs during sleep. It falls within the same category as sleepwalking and night terrors, occurring during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep stages. The individual affected may initiate and engage in sexual acts, ranging from masturbation to intercourse, without conscious awareness.

The Medical Perspective

The exact causes of sexsomnia are still being studied, but it's often linked to sleep deprivation, stress, alcohol consumption, and existing sleep disorders like sleep apnea. Johns Hopkins Medicine provides more insight into how disruptions in sleep patterns can lead to parasomnias.

One notable case involved a Canadian man in 2003 who was acquitted of sexual assault after his defense provided evidence of his sexsomnia condition. More on this can be found in the Toronto Star's coverage of the trial. Such cases highlight the legal and social complexities surrounding the disorder.

Data on sexsomnia is scarce, but research indicates that it affects a small percentage of the population, predominantly males. The Sleep Foundation offers some statistical insights into the prevalence and demographics of parasomnias including sexsomnia.

Addressing Sexsomnia

Treatment typically involves managing any underlying sleep disorders, lifestyle adjustments, and sometimes medication. Counseling may also be recommended to address psychological impacts. Resources and further reading are available at

Sexsomnia raises important questions about sleep health and consent, necessitating greater awareness and understanding. For further information and support, visit organizations such as the American Sleep Association which provide resources and guidance for those experiencing unusual sleep behaviors.

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