Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gettin' Naughty - Sleep Sex?

Ever have a partner wake you during the middle of the night for sex? Did they seem to be more asleep than awake? Well, they may have been experiencing Sexsomia. A co-worker taking a psychology class had us all debating this “condition” at work over the weekend.

Sexsomia—sleep sex—is becoming sexually aroused and having sex while asleep and not in control of your actions. Think sleepwalking to the extreme. Sleep disorder researchers have proven it happens and psychiatrists have begun to treat the condition in the past decade. Initially, this may not sound like a problem but there have been several cases of sexual assault and even rape that have been acquitted due to this not very common medical diagnosis. It has even been used to justify being caught in the act of cheating.

That’s right. People have used Sexsomia as a legal defense and been believed by the courts. One story in the National Post (click here to read) details an Ontario appeals court upholding a rape acquittal due to Sexsomia. The man in question had passed out after consuming high quantities of alcohol and suffering from sleep deprivation.

In fact, according to one study (click here to read) sleep deprivation and stress can be triggers for this condition in people who have other sleep or sexual disorders. The New Scientist (click here for article) discusses an Australian woman who would have sex with strangers while sleeping and was caught in the act by her partner. There is also a case of a man fondling and raping young girls who was later cleared when he claimed to have sleep walking tendencies (click here for article).

Wow, I’m not sure what I think about this. Is Sexsomia an actual disorder or just a convenient excuse for some sick people? What do you think?


Minime said...

I think some would use it as an excuse, but I'm not sure if I can believe in it. I guess I would have to see it to believe it.

Ciana Stone said...

Hmmmm, well as someone who has experienced the phenomenon (once a long time ago, during a stressful time) I have to say that I believe it can happen. However, since I became aware of what I was doing once things got going I don't know that I would accept it as a defense in rape. After all rape is a violent act - even if you are asleep, to do something like that demonstrates you have some issues that need tending.

Just my two cents :)

Lover of Books said...

Same here, I have experienced it. It was not forced on me because I really did not realize what was going on. I feel bad cause I do not mean to worry my s/o that I do not remember that and other things that happened afterwards. Nothing bad, we have talked about it but it is just weird.

Nicole Austin said...

Both of my kids sleepwalk and they talk so much I used to think they were having conversations in the middle of the night. So I can see how it can happen, but I don't believe its a valid defense for rape either.

N.J.Walters said...

It's a strange phenomena, and I have no doubt it actually happens.

A defense for rape. That I can't buy.

Myst said...

I myself have experience this with my own partner quite often. funny enough the love making was more passionate than what was normal. when being asked if he recalls these event he says he doesnt remember the instances at all and maybe i was just having a really good dream.