Saturday, October 25, 2008

Unconscious Sex?

Thanks to the Sponsored Links, I learned something new today. This ad caught my attention, because I never really expected to see something like this in my blog. I've never mentioned the word "sex" in any of my previous entries. Although, I do have lots of entries on health, so I guess that's the reason why this ad from showed up.

I haven't heard of "Sleep Sex" before. Do you have any idea what it is? I searched the net, and saw an article at This is what I found out...

Sleep Sex, a.k.a. SBS (sexual behaviors during sleep), is "the forceful initiation of relations while in the unconscious state of sleep". In other words, making love unconsciously. Gee.. I never thought that's even possible. Skeptic? Here's an email from a woman who has a husband who's experienced Sleep Sex:

My husband has a difficult time falling asleep at night. Within that first hour after he finally falls asleep, he will initiate sex with me. He is a very different person while doing this, much more aggressive, groping and playfully biting me. I used to think he was awake and doing this consciously until I would confront him the following day and he wouldn't have any recollection of what he did.

This could be scary. Innocent people could be charged for rape because of this, and rapists could probably use this as an alibi.

And guess what? Sleep Sex is not limited to men. This scares me even more. Read on:

In several cases in the Stanford study, women had started moaning ("with sexual undertones," the researchers noted) within a few minutes of falling asleep. In another case, a woman had started fondling herself violently and compulsively while sound asleep.

I honestly wouldn't wanna be caught doing that - especially not by my family, or friends... haha... But how would we know if no one would tell us, right? Who knows? You've probably done something like this! hehe And someone might have caught you fondling yourself, and they thought you were.. what.. masturbating? =P Sorry for the quite vulgar words... :) But yup, a thing like this can be interpreted in many ways. Even the experts have yet to decide if this could be formally categorized as a parasomnia, i.e. sleepwalking.

Luckily, Christian Guilleminault, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., have speculated that 1% of the population may have sleep sex - only 1%. :) This is good news for the majority.

What causes Sleep Sex?

The reasons are not clear, but most often, people who engage in sleep sex have a history of other sleep/neurochemical disorders.

Michael Mangan, PhD, an adjunct professor of psychology at the University of New Hampshire in Durham likens sleep sex to multiple personalities: "Asleep, this is essentially a different person." He further stated that fatigue and stress, as well as drug and alcohol use, can precipitate incidents.

Guilleminault says that patients are confused and don't see reality. Here's something from the article:

All of these behaviors could come from abnormal brain activity, though in some cases people may not experience the muscle laxness that is supposed to come during REM sleep, which can lead to forceful behavior they would otherwise be too weak to initiate. "These people exhibit slower brain waves," Guilleminault says, suggesting confusional arousal. There can also be abnormal breathing, resulting in less oxygen and a more confused mental state.

I personally feel sorry for the victims of Sleep Sex, I'm sure there are. =( Researchers say there's treatment available: If a person has a seizure disorder that is contributing to the behavior, that can be treated. Otherwise, clonazepam, in the benzodiazepine family, has proved helpful. It is best to consult a physician. But first and foremost, how should one seek help if he/she isn't aware that he/she has it, right?


Anonymous said...

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CSouthwell said...

what an odd topic.

interesting though.