Sleep Sex: More Nightmare Than Dream Come True
From "dirty talk" to intercourse, men and women suffering from a rare but legitimate set of disorders may engage in a variety of sexual activity, both alone or involving others, all while asleep. Because amnesia is a symptom, those who sleep alone may never learn of the problem, while others may become a danger to themselves and others.
These sleep-related disorders resulting in or associated with abnormal sexual behaviors and experiences have now been documented and given formal classification as "sexsomnia" also known as "sleepsex" or SBS. A paper published by Carlos H. Schenck, M.D. and his associates at the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Minneapolis is the first to provide a formal categorizing of these behaviors.
According to Dr. Schenk, "While people may think this type of behavior is humorous, in reality it can be disturbing, annoying, embarrassing and a potentially serious problem for some individuals and couples."
To gather data for the review, Dr. Schenck and his colleagues conducted computerized literature searches of peer-reviewed journal articles and scanned textbooks and other sources, drawing largely upon the famous Kinsey and Hite reports for information on sexual activity during sleep or sexual behaviors associated with sleep disorders.
The following categories emerged from the research:
The age of onset for both parasomniacs and those suffering from sleep-related sexual seizures was early adulthood. Many individuals also reported other sleep disorders including sleepwalking and night terrors and about half them men and one quarter of women reported hypersexuality. Sleep deprivation and alcohol or drug consumption were shown to trigger the disorder. At least one case involved a homosexual incident in an individual whose waking orientation was heterosexual. and "adverse physical and/or psychosocial effects" were reported in all cases, with many incidents, particularly those involving minors, going to court. However, pleasurable aspects of sleepsex were also reported by many regular bed partners of sufferers who claimed their partner was more amorous or aggressive than usual.
Sleepsex.org, a website established in 2000 by University of New Hampshire, Durham sexomnia expert Michael Mangan Ph.D., allows people with these disorders to share their experiences and participate in research. Many report being surprised to find they are not alone in the condition.
Despite their awareness of the condition, many sufferers often delay seeking help, either because they don't know that it's a medical disorder or for fear that others will instead judge it as willful behavior. Individuals who believe they may have any type of sleep disorder are encouraged to contact their primary care physician for further assessment and possible referral to a sleep specialist. There is hope, however: The report states that the disorders are "readily amenable to therapy," particularly via clonazepam (Klonopin®), a drug commonly prescribed for epilepsy and rapid eye movement disorder.
FULL TEXT: Sleep and Sex: What Can Go Wrong? A Review of the Literature Disorders and Abnormal Sexual Behaviors and Experiences (PDF)
Posted by FindCounseling.com Staff on June 13, 2007 at 09:49 AM | Permalink
This page contains a single entry from Psychology Briefs, the FindCounseling.com Blog.
The next post is Male Voice Reveals Physical Prowress.