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The Crazy Sleeping Disorder That Can Actually Make You Have Sex Without Knowing

We've all heard or watched films and TV series with characters who walk, talk, and even drive while still in a sleep state. For a long time I thought real sleepwalkers, those who can do anything while sleeping, only belonged to the realm of fiction. I found out the truth when I was 16. The anatomy professor at my high school told us the story of how her father suffered from this sleeping disorder and how demanding and nerve-racking it could be. She said that one of the most terrifying events he experienced was rising from his bed, getting dressed, calling a cab, and going to the bus station. He had actually bought a ticket to travel outside the city when his family found him. Although they might seem very exaggerated or impossible cases, parasomnias are very real, and people who experience them can reach severe bouts of amnesia, having absolutely no knowledge of their behavior and actions. 

A controversial case in Sweden came into the spotlight in 2014. A man who had been accused of rape was set free and cleared of the charges because the defendant pleaded that the accused suffered from sexomnia, a type of parasomnia characterized by involuntary engaging in sexual activities and/or behaviors. According to the report from ABC News, one of his ex-girlfriends and his mother testified that he indeed had erratic sleeping behaviors. He was tested to determine if he actually suffered from this uncommon disorder. Now, parasomnias are the neurological transition between sleeping and waking states. People presenting them can actually engage in regular activities while still being asleep. Naturally, there are many indicators and levels of parasomnia, and not all develop it in the same way. 

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Many sleep and dreaming specialists have tried to come with a determined cause for parasomnias. However, there isn’t an exact answer. While it’s possible for these to be genetic disorders, there are many other things that can trigger them. For instance, there’s a research strand stating that people with severe cases of stress can develop any kind of parasomnia. There are others assuring that the use of alcohol and recreational drugs, also play an important role in it. 

Also, it’s been proven that people experiencing other kinds of parasomnia are more likely to develop sexsomnia, since the brain functions responsible for the disorder are basically the same. The only differences lie in how it’s presented. Unlike what many would think, this is nothing like having vivid sex dreams. According to neurologist Cramer Bornemann (MD, professor at the University of Minnesota), sexsomnia is the sudden need of masturbating or even engaging in full sexual intercourse while being completely asleep. It’s absolutely involuntary. That’s why the accused man in Sweden was able to prove his innocence, since, in broader terms, it could be understood as an impulse.

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Now, according to Susan Davis (writer for WebMD) in a study made with 832 patients, only 8% manifested sexsomnia. And, in more interesting facts, from that percentage male patients were twice as likely to present this compared to women. It’s also important to note that this disorder manifests during puberty and adulthood. So, how can this be treated or avoided?

If you’re one of the rare cases, the obvious thing is to seek help, since it’s not something that can be cured with medicines. Specialists recommend patients to avoid any triggers such as alcohol, recreational drugs, caffeine, as well putting yourself in stressful situations. Also, one great way to prevent any neurological and body imbalance is to be at your ideal weight, stop smoking, regular exercise, and extra sleep. 

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Sleep apnea might also be involved in the development of parasomnias. For that reason, it’s important to notice if you experience that condition and be treated for it. Sleep apnea refers to those episodes where regular breathing is interrupted momentarily. While you’re profoundly asleep, you present a blockage of air, and your brain becomes alert and aroused, trying to continue with the involuntary process of breathing. However, while all this happens, you’re still in a sleeping cycle. That sudden arousal to the brain might boost parasomnia. The good news is that sleep apnea is, to an extent, easy to control.

Finally, as the last comment, I’d like to insist that this is not a common disorder. Why am I being completely emphatic on this point? Well, it turns out that this has become a slightly frequent plea among sexual predators who seek to get away with their crimes. The case of the Swedish man was confirmed by doctors and sleep experts besides the long history he had with sleeping disorders, but this shouldn’t be used as a means to cop out.

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The human body is a very complex machinery where everything is connected; however, there are some cases in which, for some reason, the functions don’t work normally:

The Female Nightmare Of Having 100 Orgasms A Day 

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What Happens When You Realize You're Unable To Have An Orgasm?

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Images by @overexposures

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