SexSomnia, Be Careful where you Sleep!
If the first time you heard the word you laughed, you are not alone. To some it seems like a great excuse to "get some" in your sleep and not be responsible for it the day after. For others it's a condition that they live with and literally sleep through every night. I first heard about it about a month ago on one of those news magazine TV shows. In my search for more information I was more shocked by what I didn't find out. Like how many people does this really effect? Is there a cure? What causes it?
What I did learn was that it has many names: Sleepsex, sexsomnia or SBS; (sexual behavior in sleep). Sexsomnia is not listed in medical journals as a sleep disorder; however, in revised editions of these medical reports, sexsomnia does get mentioned as "sexual behavior in sleep that does occur in some people". Okay, so what this means to you and me is that it does exists, it has happened and that there are some people that are victims of and victims to this disorder.
Let's first talk about the many people that suffer from sexsomnia. A lot of them are embarrassed and too ashamed to seek help. Think about it, they had to be told about their behavior (sometimes overly aggressive sexual acting out), by a partner or mate that they share a bed with. Their first reaction is disbelief; think about it, they are really asleep while it's going on. Once they come to believe that they really did do something, they have to convince someone else like a doctor, therapist, etc.? And because many professionals are not aware of sexsomnia, they aren't getting the proper diagnosis or treatment. Let's not forget the other potential victims here. If you are with someone that suffers from sexsomnia and you sleep in their presence while they have an "episode" you can fall prey to an unwanted sexual encounter or assault.
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There was a case in 2005 in Canada, where a man was acquitted of rape, in part because it was determined that the man had sexsomnia and "could not have been aware of his actions". As you can imagine, some people will view this as just another excuse for men to behave badly and get away with it. The reality is that men are not the only ones that suffer from sexsomnia. As research is continued to be conducted, it's important to look for signs and listen to those around you and be aware of what's going on. If you think that you suffer from sexsomnia there are a few resources available to you. First know that you are not alone. There's even been a book written on the subject. Sleepsex: Uncovered by Dr. Michael Managan. The book puts together all the research to date and even has over 60 first-hand accounts of others that have this disorder. As always, knowledge is power, if you or someone you know thinks there's a problem...seek help. And if you have a sleep over at a new friends' ...lock the doors.
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