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Sleep sex. How your late night quicky may be something neither of you remember.


Having been a sex therapist for over 20 years there are few sexual problems that I haven’t seen in clinical practice. I’ve seen diaper fetishes, skipping rope obsessions, polygamy in all forms as well as what I thought was every kind of sexual dysfuntion. However recently, I had a patient who was having “sleep sex”. Meaning he was masturbating, and jumping on his partner to orgasm without any remembrance of doing the deed. A trip to the sleep lab confirmed that he was in deep REM sleep during the sexual activity. It was the first time I’ve encountered it. It turns out it is one of eleven types of sex disorders.

Carlos Schenck of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center said that basic instincts of the human psyche can reveal themselves during the course of sleep. This includes the animal instinct of sexual interaction embedded deep in the human mind.

What Schenck found was that people, a significant majority of whom are men, occasionally masturbate during sleep. Even more astounding, is that in the course of masturbation, they can sometimes initiate sex with a partner and reach orgasm during sleep. With no remembrance of the night’s events, people with the disorders usually find out about this disorder through their partner or roommate.

If you have a regular partner and simply push them away or wake them up would work. Generally, I love being woken up for sex (if you can rouse me out of a dead sleep). But if your partner isn’t present, even I can see how daunting that would be.

ufferers of sex-related sleep disorders might feel ashamed at having this ailment, but people should know that it is not an indicator of their daytime behavior. They are all perfectly normal people with psychologically stable minds. In no way does their unorthodox behavior during sleep reflect their overall personality.

People with sexsomnia are encouraged to note that the disorder is relatively easy to treat with medication. But if they don’t treat the problem once it becomes an issue, the sufferer runs the risk of developing a secondary psychological problem such as depression. Of course, as a sex therapist one of the most common issues I address is loss of libido relating to the use of anti-depressants. Sometimes the cure can be worse. Either way, it’s a good week when you run into something new.

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