Self asked sleep experts to explain why they think sexsomnia happens, what might cause people to have sex while sleeping, and what you can do if you think you might be exhibiting symptoms.
Many NREM parasomnias like sexsomnia feature behaviors called automatisms, Jesse Mindel M.D. a neurologist and sleep medicine specialist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells SELF. Automatisms can occur without complex reasoning and coordination. “A sleepwalker will just wander around and open a door [or] sit down, but they don’t do complicated tasks,” Dr. Mindel says. Sexual behaviors like thrusting, masturbation, and even intercourse fall under this type of activity. It’s also worth mentioning that, in most cases, people who deal with NREM parasomnias don’t remember their actions when they wake up, Dr. Mindel explains.