Sexsomnia: What It Is, 44 Signs, Causes, Myths & How It Feels to Experience It

Sexsomnia may sound like interesting, but it’s so much more than just sleep sex. Here are the signs, causes, myths and every other must-know!


In the classic tale, the Prince awakens Sleeping Beauty with a kiss. But imagine the twist if, under the grip of Sexsomnia, it was Sleeping Beauty who was giving the kisses while still deep in her enchanted sleep!

Sexsomnia is more than a mysterious term, it’s a fascinating and often misunderstood sleep disorder. Part of the family of parasomnias, Sexsomnia has its unique characteristics that set it apart.

Imagine a roommate displaying unusual nighttime behavior, like trying to cook breakfast at 3 AM. Laughable? Maybe. But discovering it’s a sign of Sexsomnia takes it from comic to compelling!

In fact, this is a very bizarre disorder. People who suffer from sexsomnia might not even know that they are suffering from it. Or if they do, they are completely clueless about its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

It is best to learn everything about this disorder as soon as possible, as nocturnal sexual activities can lead into potentially dangerous situations, and even illegal activities.

[Read: Middle of the night sex – How to enjoy it, tips, tricks and when to avoid it]

What is Sexsomnia?

Sexsomnia, to put it simply, is when someone engages in sexual activities while they’re asleep. Yep, you read that right – asleep!

It’s like sleepwalking, but with a sexual twist. Now, before your mind starts racing to wild scenarios, let’s break it down.

Sexsomnia is part of a group of disorders known as parasomnias, where strange things happen during slumber. It’s not just another odd sleep habit like talking in your sleep or stealing the covers.

Sexsomnia involves actual sexual behaviors, ranging from moaning to full-fledged sexual acts, all while in dreamland.

“But wait,” you might say, “I’ve heard of people doing all kinds of weird stuff in their sleep!” True, but Sexsomnia is different from merely kicking your legs or humming a tune. It’s a complex condition that even baffles sleep experts!

Let’s add a human touch here. Imagine “Sam” *not a real name, of course*, who discovered he was fondling his partner in his sleep. Or “Jane,” who woke up to find herself in compromising positions.

These aren’t fictional characters from a late-night TV show, these are real people grappling with Sexsomnia. Their stories give us insight into how bewildering and distressing this condition can be.

In short, Sexsomnia isn’t just an amusing oddity. It’s a legitimate and often challenging medical condition that affects real lives. [Read: 36 ways to induce sex dreams, get wet and experience a sleep orgasm]

The Telltale Signs of Sexsomnia

Let’s have a look at the typical symptoms associated with Sexsomnia, from distinct physical manifestations to behavioral patterns that occur during sleep.

Recognizing these symptoms is the first step in understanding this intriguing medical phenomenon. Knowledge of these symptoms is not just for clinicians; it’s vital for those who may be experiencing Sexsomnia or know someone who is.

1. Muffled Moans and Groans

These vocalizations are often the first sign. They’re more than just random noises, they can indicate arousal during sleep, which is an initial symptom of Sexsomnia. [Read: Moaning in bed – 15 sexy reasons why girls moan and gasp in bed]

2. Touching or Fondling in Sleep

This includes behaviors like masturbation or fondling a partner. Unlike typical sleep movements, these actions are often coordinated and directed.

3. Complete Sexual Acts During Sleep

In extreme cases, individuals may engage in full sexual activities while asleep. Research indicates that these behaviors can be entirely unconscious and are often not remembered upon waking.

4. Daytime Confusion and Anxiety

Waking up with no memory of the events, or even finding physical evidence, can lead to significant distress and confusion.

[Read: Signs of anxiety: how to read the signs ASAP & handle them better]

Diagnosing Sexsomnia, As Understood by Sleep Scientists

Diagnosing Sexsomnia is a delicate and precise process that requires specialized knowledge and expertise. Unlike common ailments that can be identified with a simple examination, Sexsomnia requires a more nuanced approach.

1. Medical History Examination

Understanding your sleep patterns and prior medical history is essential. Studies have linked Sexsomnia to other sleep disorders like sleepwalking.

2. Sleep Studies (Polysomnography)

This involves monitoring brain waves, heart rate, and more during sleep. Research in the “Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine” has utilized polysomnography to better understand Sexsomnia.

3. Partner’s Testimony

Sometimes, the partner’s observations are critical in diagnosis, as the person with Sexsomnia may be unaware.

4. Ruling Out Other Conditions

Conditions like restless leg syndrome or other sleep disorders can mimic symptoms. Proper diagnosis requires careful evaluation by a sleep specialist.

No to Self-diagnosis

When it comes to medical conditions, it’s human nature to consult “Dr. Google” and attempt to diagnose ourselves. However, with Sexsomnia, this approach is fraught with challenges.

Firstly, Sexsomnia shares symptoms with other sleep disorders, making it easy to confuse with more common conditions.

A professional sleep scientist or medical expert uses specialized tools and evaluations to distinguish Sexsomnia from other sleep-related issues.

They may utilize polysomnography, a sleep study that observes the patient during sleep, to accurately diagnose the condition.

Secondly, self-diagnosis may lead to mismanagement or neglect of the underlying causes of Sexsomnia, which could exacerbate the condition.

It might also result in unnecessary anxiety and distress, particularly given the intimate nature of the symptoms.

Lastly, an accurate diagnosis of Sexsomnia often requires collaboration between various healthcare professionals, including sleep specialists, therapists, and sometimes legal experts.

Self-diagnosis bypasses this comprehensive and sensitive approach, potentially missing important aspects of the condition.

All said and done, while self-diagnosis might seem convenient, it’s a path riddled with potential mistakes when it comes to Sexsomnia.

Trusting a professional healthcare provider ensures that the condition is accurately identified, the underlying causes are uncovered, and appropriate treatments are provided. For something as intricate as Sexsomnia, it’s best to leave the diagnosis to the experts. [Read: Dreams about cheating – 21 meanings, why we get it and how to read the signs]

Major Causes of Sexsomnia

While the exact cause of sexsomnia isn’t very clear, research has shown a few very big reasons why some people have sexsomnia while most people don’t.

1. Genetics

Family history of sleep disorders, such as sleepwalking, may increase the risk of Sexsomnia. Studies indicate that specific genetic components may predispose individuals to parasomnias, including Sexsomnia.

2. Environmental Triggers

Factors such as stress, anxiety, or sleep environment can contribute to Sexsomnia. Research shows that the body’s response to stress may trigger unconscious actions during sleep, including sexual behaviors.

3. Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Alcohol and recreational drugs have been found to be potential triggers for Sexsomnia. Substance use can disrupt normal sleep patterns, leading to sleep disorders like Sexsomnia. [Read: Alcohol’s effects on sex and your libido]

4. Sleep Deprivation

Chronic lack of sleep alters the body’s sleep architecture, which may activate underlying tendencies toward Sexsomnia. In fact, studies have found correlations between sleep deprivation and an increase in parasomnias.

5. Relationship with Other Sleep Disorders

Sexsomnia is often associated with other sleep disorders like sleepwalking or sleep apnea. The “Journal of Sleep Research” has published work on these interconnected relationships and how they can coexist.

6. Medical Conditions

Neurological disorders, epilepsy, or a history of head injuries might contribute to Sexsomnia. The alteration in brain function related to these conditions can affect sleep behavior, leading to Sexsomnia.

7. Medications

Certain medications affecting neurotransmitters or sleep patterns might trigger Sexsomnia. Research is still ongoing to identify specific medicines and their connection to this complex sleep disorder.

8. Psychological Factors

Underlying psychological conditions, including PTSD or anxiety disorders, can contribute to Sexsomnia. Mental health professionals recognize the complex interplay between psychological well-being and sleep behaviors like Sexsomnia.

Myths and Misconceptions about Sexsomnia

Sexsomnia, like many medical conditions, has its share of myths and misunderstandings. Let’s delve into these misconceptions and set the record straight:

Myth 1: “Sexsomnia is just a fancy name for bad behavior.”

Fact: Sexsomnia is a legitimate medical condition classified as a parasomnia. Research in sleep medicine recognizes it as involuntary behavior occurring during non-REM sleep. It’s not an excuse for inappropriate conduct but a complex neurological phenomenon.

Myth 2: “Anyone who talks in their sleep probably has Sexsomnia.”

Fact: Sleep talking is a common occurrence and doesn’t necessarily indicate Sexsomnia. While both are classified as parasomnias, they are distinct conditions with different underlying causes and symptoms.

Myth 3: “Sexsomnia can be cured by simply changing your bedtime routine.”

Fact: While sleep hygiene can be part of managing the disorder, it’s not a cure-all. Treatment usually involves a combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes guided by a sleep specialist.

Myth 4: “Only men experience Sexsomnia.”

Fact: Though more commonly diagnosed in men, Sexsomnia affects both genders. Studies indicate that women may also experience Sexsomnia, and it may go underreported or misdiagnosed.

Myth 5: “Sexsomnia is just a dream acted out.”

Fact: Sexsomnia occurs during non-REM sleep when dreaming is less common. It is considered a dissociated state where parts of the brain are asleep, and others are awake, leading to the involuntary behavior.

Myth 6: “Sexsomnia is common and affects many people.”

Fact: It is actually quite rare. Its prevalence is estimated to be around 1% of the population. It can be challenging to diagnose and requires specialized evaluation.

Spoiler Alert! None of these myths are even remotely true.

Misunderstanding Sexsomnia can lead to stigma and a lack of empathy for those affected. Educating ourselves about the true nature of this condition fosters compassion and supports appropriate treatment and care.

Dispelling these myths helps create a more compassionate and informed society where those affected by Sexsomnia can seek help without judgment or misinformation.

Challenges Faced by People with Sexsomnia and Their Partners

Living with Sexsomnia is not a solitary experience; it impacts both the individual with the condition and those close to them, particularly partners. The challenges extend beyond the symptoms themselves, affecting relationships, daily routines, and emotional well-being.

1. Emotional Strain

It can lead to confusion, fear, guilt, or resentment. Individuals may struggle with the reality of their condition, and partners may feel conflicted or concerned about how to respond.

2. Relationship Tensions

This condition may cause tension or misunderstandings within romantic relationships. Trust and intimacy can be affected, creating hurdles that need to be overcome.

[Read: How to make things less awkward after a fight & feel closer again]

3. Legal and Social Implications

In some cases, Sexsomnia might lead to legal challenges. The social stigma surrounding this condition can also add to the difficulty of navigating daily life.

4. Impact on Sleep Quality

Both the individual with Sexsomnia and their partner may experience disrupted sleep, leading to fatigue and other health consequences.

Dealing with Sexsomnia

Strategies for coping with Sexsomnia are essential not only for those directly affected but also for their partners and families. This section will detail practical approaches for dealing with it, focusing on supportive measures, understanding the condition, and implementing professional and personal strategies.

1. Professional Guidance

Seeking the assistance of healthcare professionals who specialize in sleep disorders can provide tailored treatment plans that may include therapy, medication, or lifestyle changes, as we’ve emphasized here.

2. Open Communication

Fostering open and honest dialogue between partners is vital for building understanding and trust. Sharing feelings and concerns can help both parties feel more connected and supported.

3. Educating Oneself and Others

Knowledge is empowering. Understanding the medical nature of Sexsomnia can help in dispelling myths and promoting empathy. Joining support groups or finding resources online can also provide valuable insights.

4. Safety Measures

Taking practical steps such as locking doors or creating a safe sleep environment can mitigate potential risks associated with Sexsomnia.

5. Self-Care and Partner Care

Recognizing and addressing the emotional toll this condition might take on both parties is essential. Seeking counseling or finding shared activities that promote bonding and relaxation can be beneficial.

[Read: How to take care of yourself emotionally and avoid falling apart]

6. Legal Consultation if Needed

Understanding the legal rights and responsibilities associated with Sexsomnia might be necessary in some cases. Consulting with a legal professional who understands this specific area can provide clarity and guidance.

Treatment and Therapy Options for Sexsomnia

Addressing Sexsomnia involves exploring various treatment and therapy options tailored to the individual’s specific symptoms and needs.

Let’s discuss the array of professional treatments available, ranging from medications to Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Additionally, we’ll look into self-help techniques and lifestyle changes that can complement medical interventions.

Understanding these options empowers those who are affected to take control of their condition and work towards a healthier future.

Professional Treatments Available

Professional treatments for Sexsomnia provide targeted and evidence-based interventions.

1. Medications

Benzodiazepines and Other Sedatives: These can be prescribed to regulate sleep patterns, treating the underlying disruptions that might lead to Sexsomnia.
Antidepressants: In some cases, these medications might be used to control symptoms, especially if linked to stress or anxiety.

2. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

A specialized form of therapy where patients work with a trained therapist to identify and change thought patterns and behaviors related to sleep disorders, including Sexsomnia.

3. CBT-I (CBT for Insomnia)

This specific approach targets the underlying insomnia that might be contributing to Sexsomnia.

4. Sleep Restriction and Reconditioning

Professional guidance to modify sleep patterns can help in treating Sexsomnia by controlling sleep stages.

5. Polysomnography

This sleep study helps professionals understand the underlying sleep patterns and tailor treatment accordingly.

6. Collaborative Approaches

Working with sleep specialists, therapists, and possibly legal professionals to create a comprehensive treatment plan considering all facets of the individual’s situation.

Self-Help Techniques and Lifestyle Changes

Self-help techniques and lifestyle changes can be valuable adjuncts in managing Sexsomnia.

7. Sleep Hygiene

Implementing routines like a consistent sleep schedule, relaxing bedtime rituals, and creating a conducive sleep environment can make a significant difference.

8. Stress Management

Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, or hobbies that promote relaxation can contribute to overall well-being and potentially reduce Sexsomnia occurrences.

[Read: How to reduce stress for a calmer & happier life]

9. Avoiding Triggers

Reducing or eliminating alcohol and recreational drugs, which may exacerbate Sexsomnia.

10. Safety Measures

Implementing practical steps to ensure safety during sleep, such as securing the bedroom environment.

11. Community Support

Engaging with support groups or online communities focused on sleep disorders can provide encouragement and practical advice.

12. Collaboration with Partners or Family Members

Open communication and collaborative planning with loved ones can provide a supportive environment for managing Sexsomnia.

Understanding, Not Judgment

Sexsomnia demands understanding, not judgment. It’s a health condition, not a reflection of character or morality. And if it’s a concern for you or someone you know, don’t hesitate to consult healthcare professionals. Timely intervention can lead to proper management.

Above all, embrace the power of education and communication. Knowledge and open dialogue are your guiding lights, illuminating the path toward empathy and compassion.

At the end of the day *or night*, we’re all human, navigating the fascinating world of sleep and Sexsomnia with curiosity and care.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...