If your partner wakes you up in the night with amorous advances, appearing to be sound asleep, and insists he has no recollection in the morning, would you think he was having you on? (Confessions of a Sexsomniac)
Yes, and you’d have all your girlfriends nodding in agreement.
Women who are the subjects of sexsomnia report that there doesn’t seem to be any pattern to it nor an obvious explanation of why it should happen on one night rather than another. (Comprehensive Overview of Sexsomnia)
Some women have had full sex with their partner while he was fast asleep even though he seemed to be fully awake. (Share Your Story)
Scientists would call it parasomnia, which refers to any unwanted behaviour while a person is asleep, such as teeth grinding, talking, sleepwalking, even getting up and vacuuming.
Sexsomnia was first identified as a form of parasomnia in the 1990s and published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry in 2003. Apparently, it is most likely to occur in the first few hours of sleep during the “deep sleep” state. (What is Sexsomnia)
London professor Matthew Walker likens it to night terrors in children, which is a state of confused arousal.
Adults experience the same, except they might get sexually stimulated by a dream or a partner’s closeness in bed.
At this time, he says, the cortex that judges and makes decisions is switched off. But the back of the brain where we feel basic urges like hunger or arousal still works.
So a sexsomniac is free of inhibition and because the lower level of the brain has no memory, he or she cannot remember what they did during the night.
This only tends to occur when a bed is shared and increases in times of stress and under the influence of alcohol or drugs, yet few women suffer from the condition. (Sexsomnia Triggers)
So what can you do to calm down these nocturnal sex sessions? Here are Professor Walker’s tips.
No noise or light in the bedroom, no caffeine after 4pm, no alcohol before bed and try to get enough sleep. Try therapy or antidepressants if stress is a factor.
Source: Walker, M. (2011) The Truth About ‘Sexsomnia:’ Having Sex While You Sleep http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/sex-relationships/the-truth-about-sexsomnia-having-sex-while-you-98339#comments Retrieved: 19 Dec 2012
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