Status: Real (though difficult to accept as an excuse for criminal behavior)
I first reported about the phenomenon of sleep sex over a year ago. It's a rare disorder that causes people to engage in sexual behavior while asleep. It's also potentially one of the greatest excuses for sexual impropriety ever devised. Now there's a case in Canada in which a guy successfully defended himself against charges of sexual assault by arguing that he's a sexsomniac:

Jan Luedecke, 33, met his victim at a party on July 6, 2003, and both had been drinking, the Toronto Sun reported. The woman, who can't be named, fell asleep on a couch and said she awoke to find him having sex with her. She pushed him off, then called the police. Luedecke claimed he fell asleep on the same couch and woke up when he was thrown to the floor. Sleep expert Dr. Colin Shapiro testified Luedecke had sexsomnia, which is sexual behavior during sleep, brought on by alcohol, sleep deprivation and genetics. The judgment outraged women's groups, the newspaper said.

I'm willing to bet that as popular awareness of sexsomnia grows, it'll begin to be used as a defense more and more often. It'll be like the mirror image of the repressed memory mania (i.e. a mania of not remembering, instead of remembering). The phenomenon itself may be real, but it sure seems like it's a malady tailor-made for con artists.

Psychology Sex/Romance

Posted on Wed Nov 30, 2005


This actually happned to my ex girlfriend and I on a couple of occasions. Obviously its a bit different to having sex with some random person but on a couple of occasions we woke up to find ourselves in the middle of the act. After a couple of accusations on both sides of "You shouldn't start having sex with me while I'm asleep" and protestations of innocence, we realised we definitely had started sex while sleeping.
Posted by Gareth  on  Thu Dec 01, 2005  at  06:11 AM
Hmm, I can certainly attest to doing many things while drunk that I had to be convinced of the next day, but I dont think I'd ever use it as an excuse of innocence.
Whether you're drunk, sleepy, high or mentally disturbed, it doesnt change the fact you did it, it should just be mitigation when sentencing.
Posted by AussieBruce  on  Thu Dec 01, 2005  at  06:39 AM
Drunk, sleepy, high or mentally disturbed, you are still CONSCIOUS. When you are asleep, you are unconscious. My wife has been on the recieving end of my unconscious molestations fairly regularly ( > once a month), and I have woken up having actual sex with her once. It REALLY freaked me out.
Posted by S. Thomas  on  Thu Dec 01, 2005  at  03:36 PM
Yeah I also regularly wake up my wife by grabbing at her in her sleep. It's gotten to the point where if she's already asleep and I try to get in bed and spoon her, she hits me away in her sleep.
Posted by Tim  on  Thu Dec 01, 2005  at  06:51 PM
I have heard of women who have cut off men's penises in their sleep. They were actually sleepwalking into the kitchen, grabbing a sharp knife and lopping the thing off. Perhaps the fact they were asleep and woke up horrified to see what they had done should be considered a mitigating factor, given our current knowledge of sleep disorders.

But personally, the worst I have ever done is to kick the shit out of my husband when he starts snoring. I have actually woken up in pain after kicking him so hard. You have no idea the remorse you feel when that happens.
Posted by susana  on  Thu Dec 01, 2005  at  09:56 PM
waking up in the middle of sex.... werid, my brother used to ask for cigarettes in his sleep (dispite being a "non smoker" as he protested for so long) and he used to drive me nuts with his snoring!! dear god the sanity points i lost to his snoring, his girlfriend wears earplugs
Posted by joeodd  on  Fri Dec 02, 2005  at  12:29 AM
Honest, I believe the court should be a little hesitant when the man said he didn't know he was doing anything sexual till he went to the bathroom and found out he had a condom on.

I mean please, men have a hard enough time getting the darn things on awake. Besides, if your asleep then how in the heck would he have the idea to put on some kind of protection. His body is CRAVING sex not craving sex in a responsible and protected manner.

I believe the phenomenon might happen but this story is a load of crap.
Posted by Kith  on  Fri Dec 02, 2005  at  10:54 AM
Maybe he put on the condom before going to sleep? You know just in case.
Posted by Steve  on  Fri Dec 02, 2005  at  12:59 PM
If the condom thing is true it makes this sound like BS, but even if he did have the condition, he was responsible for it and he was responsible for letting himself be in a position where he could assault someone. He needs to be held legally accountable. And if anyone out there is regularly doing this stuff to their girlfriends/wives in their sleep might I suggest seperate bedrooms or bondage.
Posted by Reynard Muldrake  on  Fri Dec 02, 2005  at  01:57 PM
"I have heard of women who have cut off men's penises in their sleep. ..."

I've heard of that, too, but it was the men who were asleep at the time, not the knife-wielding women.

See Lorena Bobbitt for further info.
Posted by Big Gary in Eddy, Texas  on  Fri Dec 02, 2005  at  04:32 PM
I hate the net and I hate this site even more.
Now my standard excuse has been blown... if you'll pardon the expression. :coolmad:
Posted by Sir Trev  on  Fri Dec 02, 2005  at  05:23 PM
The attitude expressed in this thread, except mine, is pure misandry. A woman who goes to sleep next to a man should of course be held responsible for allowing sex to happen. But unfortunatley, this is representative of how men are treated throughout the West today, and because everyone's in thrall to hateful feminism, everyone agrees that all men are rapists and should be punished accordingly at the whim of any woman. It is appalling and sad to see all you wimps not standing up for your sex, and American men are the worst cowards on the planet.
Posted by Eivind Berge  on  Fri Dec 02, 2005  at  09:49 PM
To the previous poster: If you'd read the article, you'd see that she went to sleep on the sofa - implying that she wasn't sleeping with the defendant. I don't know about you, but I've never been able to sleep 'next' to anyone on a sofa, unless both of us were sitting up.
Posted by Maureen  on  Sat Dec 03, 2005  at  05:33 AM
To bring this discussion back to the mediacl aspect . . . This form of activity during sleep is certainly possible as a lot of people eprfom complex but routine activities in a state of slumber; In psychological terms, it's similar to the fugue state when you act but have no later memory of doing it.

Ever driven to work and arrived without being able to recall exact details of the journey? Same procedure from a neurological viewpoint.
Posted by DFStuckey  on  Sat Dec 03, 2005  at  07:54 PM
I know first hand that this type of thing is possible. Twice now, my girlfriend has stopped me from peeing on her parents. She said I was walking, talking and acting normal but I can't remember anything about either episode. I think it is totally possible to put on a condom while sleepwalking and get busy. This guy is looked at as being a rapist; put the woman from this situation in his position of having sexomnia and the guy would still be viewed as the criminal for taking advantage of her "fragile condition".
Posted by sleepwalker  on  Sun Dec 04, 2005  at  11:41 AM
I also am a 'victim' of this condition. I have found myself waking up several times in the beginnings of passion with my spouse. It is an odd thing to happen. It probably happens most when we haven't had sex in a while. My spouse is HIV positive so putting on a condom is a very important thing to do, but not something I have ever done in my sleep. They guy is a fraud with a very good lawyer. Incidentally I also answer the phone when my alarm clock rings in the morning (or answer the clock like a phone), I have also been known to sleep-walk. Lately I've been moving things from the bathroom into mybedroom while I sleep (toothbrushes, combs, toilet paper, shampoo, bars of soap). I heard of a guy about a decade ago that got off from killing his inlaws after he said he did it in his sleep (a 6 mile drive, stabbing them to death, then driving back).
Posted by Travis  on  Mon Dec 05, 2005  at  05:09 PM
Travis, interesting points. A lot of complex behaviurs can be performed while in the sonambulistic state, though using a prophylactic seems more a higher state of awareness I agree.

Sorry to hear about your spouses HIV status. How are they responding to medication, if they are on a regime?
Posted by DFStuckey  on  Tue Dec 06, 2005  at  12:05 AM
If you knew the character of this man in question, if you could know his kindness, his gentle spirit, and his tortured state after this truly unconscious event, you would not crucify him and make him a villain. You would feel compassion. Many years ago, I was a victim of a sexual assault with full vaginal rape, in a parking lot where I worked. The victim was fully aware, was waiting for prey, and never showed an ounce of remorse nor cooperated with any aspect of my case. Mr. L., the centre of this current sexsomnia case, has shown nothing but remorse for an action he has no memory of, is in active therapy, and his joyful, caring spirit has been crushed by that one very unfortunate night. Search deep in your hearts and minds before you pass judgement. By the way, I've had boyfriends actually place condoms on during the night, while asleep, but never engage in any activity because they enter a deeper part of the sleep cycle and lie back down with a condom on all night. Nothing in life is beyond the realm of the possible.
Posted by allthingspossible  on  Tue Dec 06, 2005  at  09:13 AM
like it was said early on, let a medical condition be a mitigating factor during sentencing. if the person poses a threat to others (because they rape or kill in their sleep) then they need to be either properly medicated or removed from society.
it won't be any better on me or my wife if someone kills my kids when they're awake or asleep. if they're a danger, put them away.

Posted by MockingBird  on  Mon Dec 19, 2005  at  12:09 PM
My name is "comnine" and I am a sexsomniac. After my first girlfriend, I realized how sexually arroused I could become from just kissing and if I didn't always refuse to enter her living quarters, I could've gotten into some real "trouble". Because of my experience and my devotion to Bible teachings, I made a rule to never kiss another woman until the wedding. After meeting, marrying, and having a good yearlong love affair with my wife; she started to cut me off. Soon after that is when I believe I started unconsious sexual advances in my sleep. Having my sleep disturbed by being rejected repeatedly, I now am more sexually repressed than sexsomniatic and now she is fat and ugly. Every blue moon she feels bad for me and wants to have sex but I refuse because I know it is going to be a one time thing and I'll be pus-C hunting in my sleep again with all the attantant rejection. I am gratefull for this blog because now I know there are other people out there that have problems like mine and that there is a name for it.
-sexsomniatically yours
Posted by comnine  on  Sat Feb 11, 2006  at  11:56 PM
ha ha ah this story really baffles me, i cant imagine that someone could be sleeping and at the same time having sex with somebody,anyway i have seen a guy that is addicted to that. but one day the guy had sex with socumbus, and the socumbus collect his semen till know the guy can not ejaculate. so if u are addicted to it be careful never to meet with a soccumbus. or still if you want to stop it i can help you do that just mail me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Posted by sizzlars  on  Fri Mar 31, 2006  at  02:45 AM
sizzlars, I would be more likely to take up your offer if you actually knew how to spell Succubus/Incubus, which is what you appear to be referring to.

And frankly, if I was getting regular visits from a Lilith-like creature I am not entriely convinced that I would desire an end to it . . .
Posted by DFStuckey  on  Sat Apr 01, 2006  at  02:48 PM
OK. Enuff discussion on this topic already. Now, everybody, please!!! Get a life!!! Just go to sleep. :>) PLEEZE!
Posted by Eddie Dee Rockit  on  Tue May 23, 2006  at  07:45 PM
Brand new talk show in NYC looking to hear stories from couples who are having problems with their relationship.
Posted by TvshowPA  on  Fri Jun 30, 2006  at  12:05 PM
It is very common. It happened to me. I am a gay male and woke up with my lover and found that he stimulated me to erection and backed into my hardened member and I was well up his wazoo. I was pleasantly surprised and proceded bang off a great piece.
Posted by Tunchie  on  Sat Jul 01, 2006  at  04:05 PM
My husband has grabbed me and started having sex with me while he was still asleep on quite a few occasions. He wakes up very startled. One time he asked "What am I doing?!" which cracked me up.
I don't mind those dreams but I didn't like the time when I was pregnant, and breathing heavily, and he dreamt that I was being raped, jumped on top of me, knelt on my arms and punched me in the face.
On the other hand the time he thought a tree was falling on the bed so he leapt out the (fortunately open) window stark naked was very funny. It was a bright full moon night, so just as well we live out in the country.
Posted by Drusilla  on  Tue Aug 29, 2006  at  12:17 AM
I had a for real experience of sexsomnia. And there is a for real explanation for it

My experience occurred during my college years, I suffered from sleep apnea, where I stopped breathing about 10 times while sleeping. Its a potentially life threatening condition. But a couple side effects are irregular sleeping habits then leading into sleep walking. I found myself in a awkward position one night, when I woke up with my ex girlfriend strattling on top of me. She told me we were having sex for the last 20 minutes in various positions, missionary, doggy, oral...But I had no memory.
Posted by Ben T.  on  Sun Oct 01, 2006  at  11:45 PM

OK you hear a lot of talk that sexomnia is a sleep disorder and people don't realise what they are doing. Then how come they know how to open a packet and put on a condom. I tried to do it in the dark once, not as straight forward as I thought. So I can imagine it aint going to be that easy with your eyes shut.
Posted by jon  on  Fri Nov 03, 2006  at  11:23 AM
yeah , im a sexsomniac...have been for years in which first i couldnt beleive my initial girlfriend who first had to put up with it until there was no reason for me not to beleive.
Then i started catchign myself mid act.

i thought i was alone, so im glad sucha site exists.

apparantly, not only have i been loving n gentle in my sleep but also violent holding my partner at the time down, etc.

its gotten to the point i just cant fall asleep next to anyone, and try to resist it. Its unfortunate, because fallign asleep next to a loved one is one of the simple pleasures of life that i cant privelage myself with. I will never be able to fall asleep with my un-born child, or share a bed witha mate due to circumstances, etc.

oh well, small price to pay i guess if it means legal proceedings or hurting those you care about.

But remember, it is a disorder and deserves the recognition, study and compassion that it merits. Public awareness of the disorder should enable people who suffer the condition to take better responisbility and not fall asleep next to anyone. rapists and other degenerate individuals will always find excuses for their acts. there should be a verifiable neuropsychical and medical way of measuring wether one suffers from the condition, prohibiting it being used as an excuse.
Posted by chrissy from OZ  on  Tue Dec 05, 2006  at  04:21 PM
This is not the first case where the argument has won freedom. Some guy raped a 15 year old girl, another raped three people in a row.

Well the person is cognisant of his actions if he is able to put a condom on.

The person knew he had this problem and put himself in the position that he knew would trigger the response (drugs, acohol and sleep deprivation), all of which he admitted to.

If the male is looking for sex in his sleep and he ISN'T cognisant of his actions; then how come he never manages to target a man in their sleep.
Posted by Tony  on  Fri Feb 08, 2008  at  04:24 PM
1. I don't call it a problem, niether does my wife.

2. I have sex while fully asleep, never waking up, or knowing about it until she tells me the next day. (maybe she is a liar)

3. She will turn me on while sleeping to get me to do it some nights. I've caught her.

4. But I also sleep walk, and will do things like laundry and dishes and never be aware that I did them.

5. Sometimes the only way I know I was "up" in either sense is where I wake up.
Posted by Yupmetoo  on  Tue Apr 07, 2009  at  07:22 PM
I just want answers on why I do this. My husband is confused as well. He wants to know who I'm dreaming about evernight when I have these sexsomnia acts. I have no memory of anything he tells me. It's aweful. I've been to my GP, Neurologist, Sleep specialist, hypnosis, Video EEG, you name it. No one has answers or can fix me. Yet, there are some out there that still laugh that it doesn't happen. My marriage is suffering, but there's no cure in sight and depression is huge.
Posted by Louise  on  Sat Jan 30, 2010  at  08:26 AM
i too am a sexsominac it is putting a big strain on my relationship with my wife. at first is was some groping that she could deal with but last week i fell asleep and i guess i tried to penetrate her with my fingers, she woke up and kicked me and i woke up and didn't remember a thing she is now disgusted with me and probably wont be sleeping with me again. i have always been a sleep walker/talker and have a high libido to begin with, i am ashamed and want to seek some kind of help with this condition because i fear it is going to ruin my marriage, i love my wife and kids more than anything in the world, im not sure how to make her understand how or why i did this i'm just seeking some help from people who also have experienced this. what kind of things have you done to treat this? how did you spouses cope with this? im at my wits end here, i don't know what else to do.
Posted by anton  on  Sat Feb 27, 2010  at  01:47 PM
Um this is kinda worrysome .. i co slept and still do with my children .=/ now im paranoid.. i have ocd also.
Posted by julia  on  Mon Aug 16, 2010  at  12:51 PM
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