The reality of sexsomnia

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2016 Nov;22(6):576-82. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0000000000000321.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to help further the understanding of the clinical profile of patients with sexsomnia and to better understand the spectrum of the clinical manifestations of sexsomnia. We will review the literature from the past decade on the subject and then compare it with our own clinical experience from patients who were retrospectively identified with sexsomnia at a tertiary sleep clinic over a 6-year period.

Recent findings: The prevalence of sexual behaviours in sleep remains unknown, but it seems to involve predominantly younger male adults who also frequently exhibit other non-rapid eye movement-related parasomnias. Medication-induced cases have been reported and treatment approach of sexsomnia greatly varies.Of 41 individuals with sexsomnia from our centre with a mean age of 32 (37 men), manifestations of sexsomnia were variable; sexual intercourse was most frequently reported overall, but the majority of women carried out masturbation. Violence and aggression were described on 11 occasions. All patients were amnesic of events. 73% had a history of another parasomnia.

Summary: Sexsomnia is frequently associated with concurrent sleep conditions or drugs initiation. It is a real clinical disorder which should be properly diagnosed and managed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parasomnias / diagnosis
  • Prevalence
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications