Mmmmm…such a nice, warm, soft, comfortable bed…just the right position…sigh. Dead asleep. Dreaming. And suddenly, I feel a hand sliding between my legs, searching out the magic button. I have two options: smack it and tell it to go back to sleep, or roll over and let it happen. Some nights, I succumb, willingly and happily. Other nights, I want to beat the crap out of him with a pillow for waking me from my perfect slumber.
My husband is a sexsomniac. We didn’t even know what that was until a few months ago, but now that we do, he now has a convenient excuse for waking me up in the middle of the night for a little skin to skin friction.
So, what exactly is “sexsomnia”?
Sexsomnia, also referred to as “sleep sex”, is a type of parasomnia. “Parasomnias are disorders characterized by partial arousal during sleep or during transitions between waking and sleeping” (Healthtree).
Sexsomniacs engage in sexual activity while sleeping; sometimes, they don’t even remember what they have done, while others wake up during the activity to find themselves involved in a sex act. The intensity of sleep sex can be different for each individual; some people might only feel or grope their partner, while others may have a rousing sex session or masturbate. “At the extreme end of the scale are those who become violent and dangerous during sleep sex” (Healthtree).
No one really knows what causes it. Some say that it may be genetic and might be exacerbated by alcohol/drugs, fatigue, stress, or a lack of sexual activity. The disorder is much more common in males.
For some, seeking medical help might be necessary if the activities the individual engages in while asleep are dangerous to either himself or his partner. There have been cases where individuals (mainly men) have had to endure legal action due to violent sexual behavior they had no control over or awareness of. Some sufferers experience shame or embarrassment, which can lead to fear, depression, or greater stress. If this is the case, the person should definitely pursue medical attention.
The treatments include medication (for sleep, anxiety, or depression), therapy, drug/alcohol cessation. If there is any concern of dangerous behavior, sleeping in a separate, locked room may be recommended.
Luckily, my husband doesn’t behave violently. And he does eventually wake up…oftentimes when we are already having sex. I can say, that I have never noticed that he was asleep. He behaves just as if he were awake (or at least half-awake). But then, when he wakes me up and I roll over in positive response, I’m usually not fully awake, either. I don’t notice it when he wakes up…there is no difference between him fucking me asleep or awake. So, why would I complain…other than when I want to sleep and I’m not interested? Besides, if I smack him and tell him no…even asleep, he seems to get the point.
Down, boy. The store is closed. Go back to your side.
Unfortunately, on the nights when his symptoms are worse, he tends to be overly “snuggley”, and I spend much of my night fighting him off for non-sexual behavior. I’d say that is the only real down-side.
He concurs that stress, fatigue, alcohol, and a lull in our sex patterns do worsen his symptoms. When he’s less stressed, more rested, and our sex life is in full swing, he has fewer to no episodes.
So maybe it’s a good gauge of how well our life is going or a notice that things need to improve in some way.
And even if I tend to tell him no most of the time, on the nights I do submit, we end up having some pretty torrid sex. So maybe for some of us, a sexsomniac partner is a bittersweet gift.
So, what say you? Any of you readers have experience with this disorder?