"My boyfriend
raped me in his sleep!"


Men who turn sexually aggressive at night may be suffering from a disorder known as Sleepsex. In a 1/02 article in Cosmo, they talk with women who live with someone with this puzzling and often disturbing phenomenon.

To most, it doesn't seem to be a problem, once they understand that the person is asleep. However, for others it has been terrifying, especially when it has become controling or violent since people usually act very differently during sleepsex than during normal lovemaking. Sometimes, they're more tender, but usually, they're more aggressive and even violent. And, for some women on the receiving end, the experience can be psychologically damaging. especially is they were sexually abused, knowingly or unknowingly, as a child.

Thought to be a variation of sleepwalking, sleepsex primarily affects people (primarily men) who have a history of sleep problems. Experts suggest that men might be more prone toward sleepsexing for hormonal reasons or because initiating sex is a part of a man's deeply ingrained instincts. Like other nighttime disorders, sleepsex seems to be triggered by a lack of adequate rest.

Some doctors, however, doubt it's a legitimate disorder and consider it a cover up for inappropriate behavior. Others, however, are convinced that sleepsex not only exists but is actually fairly widespread.

Some men have been convicted of rape, child abuse or indecent exposure, often because juries are loathe to accept sleepsex as a defense. Some sleep doctors insist that a sleep disorder cannot excuse criminal behavior.

Treatment is available - more sleep, more exercise, and sometimes the sedative Klonopin. But many sleepsexers are either too embarrassed to report their behavior or have a hard time finding a doctor who will take them seriously.

So, if you or your partner are experiencing sleepsex, get a handle on it and do something about it, if necesscary, before it gets acted out in a way that could result in criminal procesution.

Source: Sabrina Rubin Erdely, Cosmopolitan, 1/02 

Other Resources:

What is "sleepsex"?

Sleepsex is sexual behavior that occurs during sleep (SBS). In a 1996 case study, sleep researchers first identified SBS as a new type of parasomnia. In reference to Shapiro's work, more recent research (1999) identifies SBS as a "newly proposed parasomnia" Some experts (e.g., Rosenfeld & Elhajjar, 1998) suggest SBS may be a variant of sleepwalking. SBS is not included in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine's (formerly known as the American Sleep Disorder Association) Diagnostic and Coding Manual/International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD) as a sleep disorder. The ICSD, the most widely used classification of sleep disorders, is now being revised. Whether or not SBS will be included as a new parasomnia in the revised ICSD is unknown at this time. Source: www.sleepsex.org

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Sleep is when all the unsorted stuff comes flying out as from a dustbin upset in a high wind. - William Golding

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