Sleep experts report that almost 8% of their patients reported engaging in sexual activity with their partners whilst asleep, an unusual sleepwalking condition dubbed “sexsomnia.”
Research published at the 2010 annual meeting of Associated Professional Sleep Societies found that of 832 patients admitted to a sleep disorders centre, 63 (7.6%) reported having at some point initiated sexual activity with a bed partner despite being asleep.
Unsurprisingly given the mechanics of the situation, men were most likely to report sexsomniac experiences, with 11% versus 4% of women.
However, one of the doctors involved cautions that the results may not apply to the population at large:
“While our finding of eight percent of people reporting sexsomnia seems really a high number, it should be stressed that we only studied patients referred to a sleep clinic. So, we would expect the numbers to be much lower in the general population.”
No previous studies into sexsomnia rates have been conducted, so just what the actual incidence is amongst general sleepers is unknown.
She also observes that the condition is not something people generally talk about:
“It seems that patients generally don’t discuss this with their doctors.”
The condition has lately been attracting media attention due to its successful use as a defence against charges of incestuous rape – it would appear there is a stronger scientific basis for this defence than many previously thought.