Are You Suffering From Sexsomnia or Sleep Sex?

Sexsomnia, like sleepwalking, is a type of parasomnia. Parasomnia is the result of your brain being caught between sleep stages. This in-between phase may make you act like you’re awake when you’re still asleep.


The difficulty with a parasomnia like sleep sex is that the person with the disorder may not realize they have it. Partners, parents, roommates, or friends may first notice the behaviors. The person with the condition may not know it’s occurring until someone else brings it to their attention.

Sexsomnia presents differently from case to case. Common behaviors include:
• Moaning
• Vocalizations
• Dirty talk
• Masturbation
• Sexual fondling
• Sexual intercourse

These behaviors can be directed towards someone else, and in some cases, sexsomnia episodes have been reported as violent, harmful, and aggressive.

A person dealing with sexsomnia will fall back asleep after an event and have total amnesia when they wake.


Sexsomnia has been reported to be associated with some of the following characteristics:
• A history of parasomnias
• sleep deprivation
• increased stress
• anxiety
• fatigue
• certain medications
• drinking alcohol
• using recreational drugs or prescription drugs you weren’t prescribed
• irregular sleep patterns
• A history of substance abuse
• A history of trauma or abuse
• Use of sleeping pills

Steps To Improve Sleep Hygiene

For some patients, taking steps to improve sleep hygiene can help. These steps might include:
Keeping a sleep schedule – going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
Having a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as taking a bath or reading a novel.
Keeping stress and anxiety under control so that worries do not interfere with sleep.
Getting enough sleep.


Sexsomnia, characterized by sexual behavior when sleeping and total amnesia of the event, is a rarely reported and complex parasomnia. If you or a loved one experience symptoms of sexsomnia, please speak with a board-certified sleep specialist who can answer any questions and arrange the appropriate diagnostic testing and treatment.