Sexsomnia is a distinct type of parasomnia also known as ‘sleep sex’. It is an abnormal activity that evolves during the NREM sleep stage of a person. The sexual activities resulting due to Sexsomnia is entirely different from nocturnal sexual activity.

Various parasomnia disorders such as sleep talking, sleepwalking, or night terrors are discussed and studied widely. However, sexsomnia facts are plagued with illusions and misconceptions because of the hesitancy and lack of research on the topic directly linked with sexually aggressive nature.

People with Sexsomnia may be fully awake at the time but they fail to recollect their sexual behavior while they are asleep. Therefore, medical diagnosis of this disorder has been used considerably to defend criminals in court in the alleged rape and sexual assault cases. These Sexsomnia facts need to be understood both medically and legally.

The good news is the cure! For those of you who want to find out how to cure Sexsomnia, there is more than one way to do so. How to deal with Sexsomnia involves a combination of medications, therapy, and changes in lifestyle. There are even natural ways to treat this disorder.

Let’s find out more about Sexomnia in detail.

Sexsomnia Symptoms

People with Sexsomnia involved in sexual behavior with other people while asleep. It is dissimilar from a sex dream. Sexsomnia people did not realize that they have this kind of disorder. The parents, partners, friends, or roommates firstly notice the behavior because people with Sexsomnia did not know until someone let them know about it.

Here is the list of some common Sexsomnia behaviors.

  • Foreplay with partner
  • Spontaneous organism
  • Masturbation
  • Pelvic thrusting
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Glassy look in eyes in this behavior

Behaviors such as sexual arousal, orgasm, and pelvic thrusting are regular elements of sleep-related epilepsy disorder. Sexsomnia is found generally in adults as opposed to children.

If the people with Sexsomnia are not aware of their behavior after waking up, this is a sign of a parasomnia. After watching the series of Sexsomnia, an individual become completely unaware and unconscious of their actions because they did not remember anything. Similarly, slight changes in sexual behavior can be a sleeping disorder sign. The behavior of this disorder is varying in people. Some become confused and others make it their daily activity.

ist of some common Sexsomnia behaviors

What Causes Sexsomnia?

As mentioned above there are various symptoms that people with Sexsomnia experience. These symptoms can occur due to:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Various stress factors
  • Underlying parasomnia behaviors
  • Individual consuming drugs or alcohol

Sleep deprivation malfunction neurons in the brain and it starts influencing the normal behavior of an individual. Neurons are not able to regenerate like muscles during the absence of sleep. There are different stages of sleep that regenerate neurons. Furthermore, Zolpidem is used for treating insomnia has a side effect that directly causes Ambien Sexsomnia. Furthermore, Sexsomnia can be triggered by direct physical contact as well by a person sharing the bed.

Risk Factors

Multiple risk factors can affect all age groups or backgrounds individually. According to a study, an increased risk is noticeable at the individual level and following are some medical conditions that trigger Sexsomnia.

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Sleeping disorder e.g. sleepwalking or talking
  • Head injuries
  • Certain medications
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Sleep-related epilepsy
  • Sleep disturbance to obstructive sleep apnea

However, people with Sexsomnia have a parasomnia history that can start in childhood. In some other cases, these disorders activate Sexsomnia behaviors while physical interaction with a partner in bed.

Research & Incidence

How common is Sexsomnia? There is no clear answer to this but experts consider this condition to be rare. The condition made its first appearance back in 1996 in a publication by Nik Trajanovic and Colin Shapiro from the University of Toronto.

A recent Sexsomnia study from the Clinic of Canadian Sleep Disorder only 8% of the participants exhibited Sexsomnia symptoms. The condition is more frequently found in men as compared to women.

Interestingly, masturbation was more frequent among women with Sexsomnia.

We need to understand the fact that this study only involved the people in that clinic. This condition might be much less common in the general population. In most cases, people hesitate to share such conditions purely due to embarrassment.

In the study, only 63 out of 832 participants reported their concerns about Sexsomnia with their consultants. These numbers are very small especially if we consider that more than 4% of the world’s population sleepwalks. Therefore, Sexsomnia statistics will vary considerably and we can assume that a significant percentage of the population may experience Sexsomnia. However, there are plenty of areas to explore by different Sexsomnia studies emphasizing on a variety of questions associated with the topic.

The effects of Sexomnia

People with Sexsomnia experience multiple negative emotions. Occasionally, Sexsomnia disorder extends during affiliation with the patient. The condition also encompasses the abnormal behavior in multiple conditions such as a bystander, sexual intercourse, or masturbation behaviors. According to Sexsomnia studies, the following are some common secondary effects:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Confusion
  • Revulsion
  • Frustration

Sexsomnia Mechanism

To understand this we have to get comfortable with the concept of NREM sleep. Nonrapid eye movement sleep that has three different stages.

  • Stage 1 is somnolence or drowsy sleep. This is where the breathing rates get consistent during sleep. In this stage, the muscles activity declines along with the heart rate. This stage lasts for about 10 minutes and comprises 5% of the overall sleep.
  • In Stage 2 muscle activity declines further and the individual’s sense of consciousness of his/her surrounding reduces as well. The brain waves in this stage are in theta range. This stage comprises of 45-50% of the overall sleep.
  • Stage 3 is also called Slow Wave Sleep stage. In Stage 3 which is the final stage of NREM, the heart and respiratory rate, blood pressure, and brain temperature are at their lowest. This stage comprises 15-20% of the overall sleep. It is the most common of all sleep stages for Sexsomnia to occur. The brain waves are in delta range during this stage. People who awake during this stage experience grogginess. To recover and regain the normal consciousness and function they will have to wait for at least half an hour.

eeg recordings during sleep

Sexsomnia Diagnosis

Before going to the doctor, it is wise to ask your partner about your abnormal behavior during sleep. You should keep a journal related to your sleeping pattern to help the doctor diagnose the condition. The sleep studies are generally conducted at specialized medical facilities by the multiple clinical tests.

Despite the fact that it is not feasible for a definitive diagnosis of sleep sex because a number of factors are involved to determine the abnormal behavior of this disorder. Plenty of important factors are involved but here is a list of some limiting factors.

  • A family history of sleepwalking
  • Automatic behavior or observed confusion
  • The event’s nature compared to a baseline of individual character
  • Not have regard to concealing episode
  • The individual possesses trigger factors
  • Past episodes of somnambulism
  • Amnesia of episode
  • Disorientation when awoken

Clinical Tests

Sometimes, it is required to diagnose Sexsomnia by using clinical testing and can be used for an additional study. The electroencephalography and Polysomnography are the two valuable clinical tests for Sexsomnia.

➢    Electroencephalography (EEG)

The electroencephalograms are the clinical test to illustrate electrical waves and activity that is produced by the brain. The EEG is able to identify abnormalities related to Sexsomnia disorder because it affects the activities of the brain. The series of Slow-wave-sleep (SWP) slowdowns the brain waves and make them larger in comparison to normal people.

Electroencephalography (EEG)

➢    Polysomnography (PSG)

A sleep study is known by Polysomnography or PSG, which records the body functions individually as they sleep. If you want a complete a study of sleep then you have to contact a designated sleep center. During the study, the monitors and electrodes are links to the individual and keep in place. In some severe cases, the video cameras are also used to record the physical behavior while asleep.

➢    PSG measured body functions

The clinical PSG test is also used to diagnose other sleeping disorders such as restless leg syndrome (RLS), narcolepsy, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Except for the PSG, other normal test represents little to no episode of electrical normal activity and sleep apnea in the brain during sleep. The following are the body functions that are measured by a PSG:

  • Respiratory rate
  • Respiratory effort
  • Brainwaves
  • Position of body
  • Expiratory & aspiratory air flow
  • Electrical activity in muscles
  • Oxygen saturation in blood
  • Eye movements
  • Breathing pattern

PSG measured body functions

Sexsomnia Treatments

The people who might experience the above-mentioned symptoms would be thinking, is there a cure for Sexsomnia? Well, the good news is, there is! Let’s find out what are the possible treatments, therapies and natural ways available to treat this disorder.

Disclaimer: The following treatments should not be considered as a prescription and you should consult your doctor before taking or starting any of the following treatments.

➢    Medications for Sexsomnia

There is a considerable chance that Sexsomnia is caused by some other underlying sleeping disorder. Restless leg syndrome or sleep apneas are strong contenders for causing Sexsomnia. This prevailing disorder might be causing unwanted sexual behaviors.

In such cases, the person can go for different medications to get rid of these sleep disorders. Some over-the-counter sleep medications also cause parasomnia. Even you may have experienced some after starting a new medication then it’s time to make a switch.

The most significant example here is Ambien Sexsomnia. Ambien Zolpidem is the cause behind Sexsomnia and it is used to cure insomnia. Another example is Melatonin Sexsomnia. Melatonin is a hormone that aids in sleep and it regulates wakefulness.

Treating anxiety, depression, and stress can lead to the consumption of these medications. Excessive melatonin has its side effects and can cause Sexsomnia. Most of Sexsomnia disorders are associated with prescription drug abuse and for this reason, people don’t even know that they have a condition.

You can use anti-seizure or antidepressant medication to stop Sexsomnia as well. Klonopin, also known as Clonazepam is considered to be a treatment for Sexsomnia. This medication works on GABA-A receptors of the central nervous system. Klonopin is classified benzodiazepine and it allows chloride to enter neurons.

➢    CPAP therapy for Sexsomnia

CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and it is a common treatment technique to cure sleep apnea. It is very effective to treat the cases where sleep apnea and Sexsomnia are interlinked. This therapy discontinues any unneeded sexual behaviors.CPAP therapy for Sexsomnia

➢    Lifestyle changes

Medical professionals advise positive lifestyle changes for people with Sexsomnia. Reduction in anxiety and stress will reduce the effects of Sexsomnia disorder.  An open discussion between the couple and a better understanding will also lower any negative emotions and it will enable them to generate a support system. These are the best Sexsomnia natural treatments.

Overview of Results from the Treatments

In most cases, if you get treatment for the underlying conditions, you will be able to treat your Sexsomnia successfully. Occasionally, you might experience one or two Sexsomnia episodes again particularly if you change your sleep patterns. This might also be the case if you develop any other sleep disorders. However, most people with Sexsomnia find relief after the treatment.

How to stop episodes of Sexsomnia without medication

Overcoming Sexsomnia is easy with medication. But if you’re not interested in taking medical treatment then let’s have a look at some of following lifestyles that can minimize the risk of Sexsomnia and helps to prevent future episodes.

➢    Discuss the issue with your partner and your family

Sexsomnia generates more risks that affect your personal relationship. Therefore, it is wise to let your family or partners know of the diagnosis as well as how you are trying to treat it, plus what they can also help you.

➢    Look to develop a protective and caring environment

It is necessary to create a protective and caring environment during treatments. Try to follow some tips for managing Sexsomnia condition such as:

  • Put yourself in a separate bedroom for sleeping
  • Lock the door before sleeping
  • Configure alarms on the door to alert the people about your abnormal activity

➢    Make sure to avoid any Sexsomnia triggers

The important question here to answer is what triggers Sexsomnia. There is a number of aspects that help to trigger Sexsomnia such as taking recreational drugs, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, lack of sleep, stress or anxiety, poor sleeping conditions, sharing a bed with an unknown person, high-stress job and much more. You have to restrict these activities because it assists you to prevent future Sexsomnia episodes.

➢    Ensure good sleep hygiene

You should get a regular amount of sleep daily to prevent Sexsomnia because changes in sleep pattern and deprivation can generate the episodes of the disorder. Hence, make sure to set your bedtime and try to follow it strictly.

Criminal behavior and Sexsomnia

Most people often wonder, is Sexsomnia real? As the individual who is suffering from this condition experiences unintentional sexual behavior, lawyers have brought this condition up on numerous occasions in courts to defend criminals in different rape and sexual assault cases.

One defense lawyer stated that the condition is just like a car with the engine on but no one on the driving seat. For most people, this might be a joke but Sexsomnia is an issue that can threat relationships and can lead people to jail.

It can also save criminals from court trials. Recently, the use of Sexsomnia in rape cases has increased significantly. In the UK, Lawrence Barilla was cleared from the case of raping his partner. The court ruled that he was suffering from Sexsomnia.

Although, it is very difficult to differentiate between Sexsomnia and molestation in the case of Lawrence Barilla? But, due to the lack of research on the condition, courts can’t do much when it comes to drawing a line between Sexsomnia and molestation. For this reason, there have been a significant number of times where Sexsomnia is used to cheat the courts.

For over 15 years, UK lawyers have been using this condition to defend their clients. In Australia, it has been in use since 2008 since Leonard Spencer. Spencer made history when the court ruled in his favor and cleared him of a rape case due to sex sleeping.

Sexsomnia in Court

➢    Controversies involving sex offenders

As mentioned above, the sex offender cases involving Sexsomnia is growing in numbers. Australasian Sleep Association is asking the qualified medical professionals to make contributions in the expert testimony for these cases from approving and ensuring individual claims and their validity. It shouldn’t be just an attempt to clear his/her case. But there are differences in opinions as well as some courts rule in the favor of defendants while another rule in the favor of prosecutors.

1.      Smith v. State

In this case, the court ruled in favor of the defendants. As per the defense lawyer, an individual who commits an act during sleep or unconsciousness is not involved in a voluntary act. Due to this s/he is not criminally responsible for that act. Voluntary commitment is necessary for accusations. The court affirmed the defense.

2.      The case of the Swedish Man

In Sweden, the court acquitted Mikael Halvarsson of rape because of the Sexsomnia defense. His girlfriend brought the charges on him for sexual assault. After the investigation, Mikael was found in his girlfriend’s bed even when the police arrived. Mikael also troubled his previous girlfriend with the same behavior. His mother also reported irregular sleep behaviors when Mikael was young.

What the general public is saying about Sexsomnia

Imagine that you wake up in the morning and your partner is telling you that, last night’s surprise sex was that best thing that has happened lately. But you cannot recall any of it. This is a huge turn off for most people because they know that their partner has violated the right and the partner feels embarrassed about not knowing about their condition.

It feels as if they are sexually assaulting the person that is in their bed. It is very close to touching someone when s/he doesn’t want to be touched. Some people understand the issue and they cooperate with their partner, while others feel violated. Some views of Reddit people are as follow:

  • One lady says, “My husband has Sexsomnia and he deathly scares me when knocking me up at night. It is something that doesn’t feel good. It is more robotic because he does all of it without making any sounds.”
  • One man says, “My wife has Sexsomnia and she becomes aggressive and dominant during it. She wants to control everything and also becomes foul-mouthed. It seems pretty weird because she is totally opposite of what she becomes during a Sexsomnia episode. Though I like what goes down after that I also understood that she needs to see the doctor.”
  • Another person says “I had Sexsomnia problem in the past and thankfully I got rid of it with the help of medication. In my sleep, I would start touching her body very hard and would hurt her. My girlfriend would hit me to back me off but I wouldn’t wake up. For 2 long years, our relationship suffered a lot due to my condition.”

Frequently Asked Questions

–        What is the difference between a wet dream and Sexsomnia?

Sexsomnia and wet dreams are very close to each other. According to researchers, the wet dream and Sexsomnia are the mix condition of sexual activity contains nocturnal emissions as wet dreams in men and sleep orgasms or sexual dream in women.

–        Is Sexsomnia related to high sex drive?

Sometimes, we can say that Sexsomnia is related to high sex driver but on the other side, it is not. Some people have a severe sleeping disorder such as sleep talking, sleepwalking, and sleep driving that helps to trigger the sex drive at a higher level. Other people face unwanted or incident sexual behavior by the partner as sexual assault.

–        How many women have Sexsomnia?

There is a very less percentage of Sexsomnia in women as compared to men. However, the frequency of Sexsomnia for a man than women is at 11%, which is three times higher.

–        Is there any relation between sleep paralysis and Sexsomnia?

Sleep paralysis and Sexsomnia both refer to abnormal activities while asleep. However, in the sleep paralysis, you are unable to move or speak for a minute or two and it is quite frightening.

–        Is there any sleep disorders Sexsomnia causes?

Yes! There are different types of sleep disorders Sexsomnia causes. These include sleep talking, sleepwalking, sleep driving, obstructive sleep apnea, sleep-related epilepsy, and restless leg syndrome. The Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) has also three sleeping stages that decrease heart rate, decline muscle activity, and affect brain activities accordingly.

–        Is there a link between some medical conditions e.g. brain tumors and Sexsomnia?

Yes! You can link Sexsomnia with other medical conditions such as narcolepsy, dementia, Parkinson disease, and mid-brain tumors.

–        Can Sexsomnia occur in young children?

Sexsomnia disorder can be a trigger in teenagers and adults due to an unsafe or unpleasant environment. You have to follow some precautionary measurement to save your children from Sexsomnia because even 14-year-old girls can be affected with this.


Most of the myths associated with Sexsomnia are due to the lack of knowledge that people have on this topic. Because there are not many people who find it comfortable to discuss such an issue, we might not be able to find the answers to the questions. Still, we need to explore different ways to sort out this issue.

The biggest concern in this area is that we are not able to differentiate Sexsomnia and molestation. Some say, Sexsomnia is a myth and it doesn’t exist. It is just a term to cover up misdeeds. However, before judging we must also consider the people who have suffered losses in their relationships. The good thing is Sexsomnia is curable as a condition. Stress and depression can lead to numerous health issues and Sexsomnia is one of them.

If you know that you have this issue, then discuss it with your partner or family. When they know about it they will try to understand and cooperate. It will also ease up your stress.

Send this to a friend