Nothing but a wall separates your side of the room from your roommate’s. She’s managed to avoid her usual late night rendezvous with the stud from the hockey house, and you’re guessing she’s not happy about it — but you aren’t about to bring it up. You have beauty rest to attend to. And while you might be the roommate always sleeping alone, at least…
Well, I can’t even finish that sentence.
Anyway, although you’re certain she’s gone to bed alone, you suddenly hear something coming from her side of the room that sounds a lot like it’s requiring the help of another person. (And now you feel like you need to put a scrunchie on the door and walk yourself out.)
But when you realize that you’re roommate is legitimately alone and sound asleep, all signs should be pointing to Sexsomnia.
I don’t need to be the first one to tell you that much like eating and drinking, sex is a primal impulse. And sometimes, this primal impulse doesn’t necessarily require our alert attention. Sometimes, all it requires is sleep.
Yes, you read it right — sleep.
About 4% of the population has sex completely asleep.
This kind of “gratification”, if you will, can be either spicy for relationships, or completely destructive. Sufferers of sexsomnia will have masturbated, fondled, had sex with a partner, and/or moaned loudly all night, without having even a slight recollection of it the next morning.
What causes it?
Your primal urges are stored in your brain stem. These urges are ultimately controlled by your brain’s cortex, which basically prevents you from bitch slapping a police officer after writing you a ticket, even if it’s what you feel like doing at the moment. Unfortunately, this little “hall monitor” of urges rests as you rest, leaving your brain stem up and running during the night. Which means that if you happen to be having a naughty dream, you could very easily get turned on and act upon what’s playing out in your dirty little mind.
According to Michel Cramer Bornemann, M.D., sleep forensics expert and Director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorder Center, “The brain stem is located very close to the sleep center of the brain and an impulse can misfire. If the sleep center accidentally picks up that “let’s get it on” signal, the next thing you know, you’re not just dreaming about sex, you’re acting on that urge.”
This primal urge is sometimes triggered just from sharing a bed with someone else. So it’s no surprise that Sexsomnia has been used lately as a legal defense in several rape cases. In fact, because of this little fact of how well your urges can lead to action, this defense has stood its own in court.
But in order for such a defense to actually stand, the jury must be presented with evidence of:
1. The defendant previously suffering from parasomnias.
2. The act not being planned or sought out.
3. No “covering of tracks” after the act — a.k.a., the defendant has no recollection of it happening.