Uncovered, elicited dozens of descriptions of this behavior from respondents on the Internet. 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. Another respondent's year-old sister awoke to find her year-old brother-in-law on top of her. In some of the cases described by Guilleminault, sleep sex can be "rape or rape-like behavior.
Sleep sex is not limited to men. 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.
Continued What Is Sleep Sex? They fall into several categories, including arousal disorders, sleep-awake transition disorders, and parasomnias related to REM rapid eye movement or dreaming period sleep. Sleep sex, which is also known as SBS sexual behaviors during sleep , has yet to be formally categorized as a parasomnia, although that may soon happen. As is well known, sleepwalkers can venture out of the house into traffic and even walk through plate glass windows, harming themselves. In the Stanford study, all subjects were evaluated in sleep labs and kept logs.
Their medical records and medications and alcohol intake also were charted. The sex was categorized by severity.
The second category, "annoying to bed partner and at times harmful," referred to masturbation activities. Force and brutality characterized these encounters. What Causes Sleep Sex? Many times, people who engage in sleep sex have a history of other sleep disorders such as REM behavior disorders, apnea, bed-wetting, and sleepwalking, to name a few.
Some have seizure disorders. All this suggests neurochemical disorders in the brain. We really don't understand this too well," says Guilleminault. 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. There can also be abnormal breathing, resulting in less oxygen and a more confused mental state.
Mangan likens sleep sex to a dissociative state, similar to multiple personalities. Fatigue and stress, as well as drug and alcohol use, can precipitate incidents, Mangan says which is borne out by a study done in Canada. Apparently, sexual denial or frustration or in the case of eating, being on a diet does not have much to do with these behaviors.
Continued Treatment Is Available Though lacking a complete explanation for sleep sex, doctors can still treat it successfully. 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. Some people automatically reject sleep sex as a possibility and think people are making excuses, but we have to be careful of making snap judgments.