Sleep, sex, and the Web: surveying the difficult-to-reach clinical population suffering from sexsomnia

Behav Res Methods. 2007 May;39(2):233-6. doi: 10.3758/bf03193152.


One major advantage of Web-based research lies in its ability to reach and study people who have rare conditions of interest. Another advantage is that, due to the anonymity of the survey situation, the Internet is particularly suited for surveys on sensitive topics. Sexsomnia is a newly identified medical condition whose sufferers engage in sexual behavior during their sleep. Problematic cases are highly distressing and have forensic implications. The consensus among opinion leaders in sleep medicine is that sexsomnia may be quite common but that it often goes unreported because of shame and embarrassment. Thus, little is known about this condition's demographics and clinical features. This article reports findings from a sample analysis of 20 years of research on sexsomnia and discusses the results, strengths, and weaknesses of a recent Web-based survey conducted on the difficult-to-reach clinical population that suffers from sexsomnia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Parasomnias / epidemiology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Somnambulism / epidemiology*