What is Sexsomnia?

Sexsomnia is a recently described parasomnia, or unusual behavior that occurs during sleep. Sexsomnia has recently been added to the DSM -5  or Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders which lists most recognized mental health disorders.

Individuals who exhibit sexsomnia symptoms often demonstrate sexual behaviors during sleep. Moaning, body thrusting, and self-pleasuring have been described with this condition. It is believed to occur during slow wave sleep, when most parasomnias occur. Because it occurs during the deepest stage of sleep, those associated with sexsomnia often are unaware of their unusual behaviors. It is usually observed by bed partners.

Sleepwalking is another slow wave sleep parasomnia that occurs during deep sleep. Like sleepwalking, the individual is usually completely unaware of night time events.

Diagnosis is made by health professional based on symptoms.

Like other parasomnias, the potential danger of sexsomnia is related to unintentional injuries that occur during sleep movements.

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19 thoughts on “Sexsomnia

  1. Joe Reply

    I am a guy aged 28 now have dealt with this for years now firs realising when I was around 14 … not a fun experience. Luckily partners have tried to be understanding and haven’t had any problems there however I’m terrified to sleep at friends or at parties and even more terrified if I ever have children. Me and my friends have discussed it as an ongoing joke years later as I’m straight and have had some awkward mornings waking up after nights drinking and staying at theirs luckily they are understanding too. Have never had the chance to discuss with someone going through the same who would actually fully understand. If anyone has time to reach out I would really appreciate it,

  2. Richard Acosta Reply

    need to talk with someone. Think maybe might have sexsomnia .dont remember or know, just things.

  3. Mary Reply

    Reading these comments and doing further research has inspired me to post a comment myself.

    I am seventeen years old and I have noticed sexsomnia symptoms on myself since I was twelve. The only symptom I know of having is masturbating when I am asleep, I tend to randomly wake up at night and notice my hands in my pants. I have tried to talk to my mother about this a few times, but she does not take this condition seriously.

    I follow a decently normal sleep schedule at night, sleeping around the same times. I’m not normally under a ton of stress and I do not drink. Both of my parents have other sleeping disorders (my dad with insomnia and my mother with narcolepsy). I am wondering if this has anything to do with it.

    I am also concerned if other symptoms will appear, like other comments have mentioned, advancing on my partner without consent for example.
    How do I begin to have this conversation with my partner?

  4. tia Reply

    I recently came to know about sexsomia and read through some articles. I have been facing the same exact problem as Lola (latest comment on here), the same symptoms and i’m of the same age group too. It would be of great help if someone could guide us through and give an insight about the situation so we know what to do if this indeed is a form of sexsomia. Do you think it will lead to problems in the future? Like i’m not causing anyone any harm rn but i’m kinda worried if it gets intense and i don’t really quite know when i’m masturbating if not for the nails?.. if that makes sense

    • Paige Reply

      I’ve had the exact same problem, though I’m 17.

      Nothing that I do guarantees it won’t happen. Still, I’ve realised that wearing more layers and masturbating before sleeping helps.

      How are you getting on?

  5. Lola Reply

    Hi, I Lola I am 20 yrs old and I have had symptoms of sexsomia I noticed this when I woke up self masturbating but I didn’t know how I got there. Sometime when I wake up my nails were black and I didn’t know why and then when I woke up masturbating they were black. I know it is gross but I know that every time I wake up I have stuff in my nails. So know I know that I masturbate in the night. But I don’t know how to tell my parents to get right care as they are strict and are Christians, it will be an awkward convo. What do you think of my situation? Do you think I have sexsomia? What should I do?

    • Anonymous Reply

      I’ve noticed when I take melatonin it makes me more likely to have an episode.

  6. Dizzyagain Reply

    When I was around 5 or 6 I was sleepwalking pretty frequently. I stopped sleepwalking around 8. Fast forward to 5yrs ago (I’m 59). I went into my house to get something to drink. I then went outside. That was the last thing I remembered until I woke up the next morning. My wife said we had fun with the grandchildren and had a bonfire. She said it was about 3 or 4 hours from the time I went outside until we went to bed. She has pictures from that night that show me having a fun time with everyone. She said I seemed pretty normal. I do not remember anything except walking outside that night and waking up the next morning. That is when I started to have nights of sleepwalking again. Lots of nights where my wife says we have conversations in bed but I do not remember anything. A few days ago she said we went to bed at our normal time (10pm) and we had wonderful sex (her words)…..I have no memory of that happening. That made me sad. I recently have been diagnosed with epilepsy. Had my first seizure last Sept. I do not know if they are related. It seems the sleepwalking/loss of memory has been getting more frequent. Anyone know what could be causing this problem?

  7. Don Rutter Reply

    I believe I may have this disease. After studying it, I fit most of the typical models. It started a few years ago probably brought on by working night shifts and excessive work hours. My wife has noticed me masturbating in bed quite a few times. I am 52 years old, so not exactly the typical age for this to occur. I guess I will be going to a sleep center now to address the problem. I have no recollection of when this occurs, only when my wife wakes me up in the middle of these spells. I sent her this information since neither of us had ever heard of this disease. I haven’t tried to have sleep sex with her yet, at least as far as I know, only wanking. And I do not have a history of sleepwalking. I do drink a lot of beer which fits the model.

  8. tay Reply

    on trip with a friend and had separate beds. i noticed during the night what appeared to be him pleasing himself which was totally out of the box and not expected… this happened three nights in a row. The second night it happened I purposefully made effort to make it known that I was aware of what was happening – It wasn’t until when I actually got up from my bed and walked close by passing his bed as i walked to the bath to recognize that he wasn’t awake even though he appeared to be. I was confused and a intrigued at the same time. the third night, I stayed awake as long as i could to see when and how & even IF this would happen again… It did… this time I was more exploratory and although the self pleasure never occurred, I managed to approach almost nose to nose to witness that his eyes would randomly open and stay open – his eyes were glossy & ghost-like moving slowly in all directions and often disappearing into white… I found this disturbing because he is looking at me and I him, but no recognition or even acknowledgment of my presence. I googled some of this & arrived at sexsomnia acticles. All of the info is lining-up to support the evidence I witnessed. Now I’ve hit a brick wall… I’ve tossed-around thoughts of how to bring this up in conversation without sounding weird… I’m certain he has no knowledge of this. I could really benefit from communication with someone/anyone who has had similar experiences. It is weighing on me b/cuz I do care about this person, & I know I would want to know if it was me.

  9. Jamie Kubess Reply

    Separate beds work really well. Those with sexsomnia will generally disengage in sexual behavior before leaving the bed. Or if you want to sleep with your partner you can get out of bed when they are experiencing an episode. Most of the time parasomnial events are triggered by stress or alcohol consumption. Mitigating these two factors can help dramatically. I wish my fellow sexsomniacs and partners of sexsomniacs all the best.

  10. Danielle Brown Reply

    I’m a 32 yr old wife who was sexually abused as a child. Now married 10 yrs and 3 kids. Husband must have sexsomnia. He keeps appolologizing. The advances without my consent upsets me. I even say no sometimes and it continues. I don’t want to live like this anymore. It makes me feel like he is just like the pervert that abused me. We’ve talked about doing separate beds but nothings changed. I’m not confident that it would work or that we will have a happy marriage. Advice plz?

  11. Susan Reply

    Are there any sleep study programs that I can volunteer for to help us to have a better understanding? I suffer from sexsomnia, or more so my partner. I’m desperate for answers and I just want to do what I can to learn more about why this happens and how to make it stop.

  12. Becky Reply

    My partner has this, any way I move his body move the same way in our bed so my back is usual towards him most nights. He seems to be aroused all the time, Day and night. I get so tired of it. I yell at him to leave me alone, it becomes a turn off then becomes to not wanting sex no more. Sometimes I want to please him so he’ll leave me alone about it but I just end up telling him to hurry up. I feel bad. I don’t know what to do.

  13. Mike Reply

    My wife and I both believe that I have sexsomnia and after nine years of marriage and two wonderful children my nighttime antics have taken a toll on every aspect of our life. She has been repulsed by me for over a month and today she told me she is no longer in love with me due to what I have done, might have done and could possibly do when I am asleep. and the thought of losing the love of my life over this is crippling. I don’t know what to do and I am at the end of my rope, and I just pry I can find the help we both desperately need to work through this large rough patch in our life.

    • Rob Reply

      You really should sleep in another room. You can lay with her and talk before going to sleep.

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