Ever woke up to wild stories of sex the night before from your partner? Don’t remember it? You’re not alone. It’s called sexsomnia and its a medically and legally accepted diagnosis. Contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t made up by Gabby on Desperate Housewives.
I was hanging out at Maggie O’riley’s Pub on University Blvd. when I met Sarah (not her real name). She told me about her boyfriend and how she is thinking of leaving him because he roughly initiates sex at night and claims to be sleep when she gets mad. The few times that it wasn’t too rough and she began to have sex with him, he would start to snore or go limp a few minutes into it. I told her that it was possible that he was telling the truth.
Sexsomnia, also called “sleep sex” is a type of parasomnia. Parasomnia is where the brain gets caught between being asleep and being awake. Other parasomnias include sleep walking, sleep talking, sleep eating, even sleep driviing. While doctors aren’t sure what causes sexsomnia, they do know you are more likely to get sexsomnia if you also suffer from another form of parasomnia.
So what do you do if your partner suffers from sexsomnia? Well there isn’t much out there to tell you how to deal with a partner so let’s just go with common sense answers. First, research has shown that drug and alcohol use triggers sexsomnia episodes. So refraining from recreactional drug use is a no brainer. Also, drinking in moderation as opposed to drinking to excess is also a good idea.
Second, its more likely to happen to a person who is sleep deprived than someone who gets a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. So setting a regular bedtime and making sleep a priority is important. Also get your partner to deal with any other sleep issues they may have.
My final two pieces of advice are simple. Seek treatment and get as much information as possible. Talking with your doctor is the best place to start and there are treatments available to help. With new research, doctors know more now than ever before about parasomnias and not only does that mean you may be able to stop this but with treatment comes understanding. As with any medical condition, you want to be an active and informed advocate for yourself and your loved ones and that requires information.
Here are some links to help you and Sarah find out more about sexsomnia. Sleepsex.org, Psychology Today, Newsweek, Fox News, MSNBC.
Live, love, and have great sex (while both of you are awake).