Q: I’m a 31-year-old gay male. I’ve been with my fiance for three years, and we are getting married in the fall. I’ve got a question about initiating sex in my sleep—I read somewhere that “sexsomnia” is the medical term, but maybe the Internet invented that? According to my fiance, I have initiated or performed some kind of sex act in the middle of the night and then gone right back to sleep. The next day, I don’t remember anything. This freaks me out for a couple of reasons: My body doing things without my mind being in control is concerning enough, but it feels kinda rapey, since I doubt I’m capable of hearing “no” in this state. My fiance doesn’t feel that way; he finds it sexy. The other thing—and maybe I shouldn’t have read so much Freud and Jung in college—is that I’m worried my body is acting out desires that my conscious mind doesn’t want to acknowledge. According to my fiance, the last time I did stuff in my sleep, I rimmed him and told him how much I wanted to fuck him. Rimming isn’t a typical part of our sex life (although I’d like it to be), and my fiance has never bottomed for anyone (I’ve topped guys in prior relationships, but in our relationship I’ve only bottomed). Is my body doing things that my mind won’t admit it wants to do? Is there a way to prevent it from happening? —Sexsomniac Hoping Eventually Eager Trysts Stop
A: Sexsomnia is a real and sometimes troubling phenomenon, SHEETS, and not something the Internet made up like Pizzagate or Sean Spicer. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says sexsomnia is real—a real clinical condition—but they prefer the fancier, more medical-sounding name: sleep-related abnormal sexual behaviors. Dr. Michel Cramer Bornemann, a lead researcher at Sleep Forensics Associates, describes sexsomnia as “sleepwalking-like behaviors that have sexualized attributes.” And sleep-rimming your delighted fiance definitely counts.
“Sexsomnia may be expressed as loud, obscene vocalizations from sleep (that are typically uncharacteristic of the individual while awake), prolonged or violent masturbation, inappropriate touch upon the genitals, buttocks, and breast of a bed partner, and initiation of sexual intercourse,” said Dr. Bornemann. “The vast majority of sleep disorders are not reflective of a significant underlying psychiatric condition.”
So your unconscious, late-night gropings/initiatings/rimmings don’t mean you secretly desire to be an ass-eating top. And there’s no need to drag poor Sigmund or Carl into this, SHEETS, since you’re not doing anything in your sleep that you don’t desire to do wide awake. You wanna rim your fiance, you’ve topped other guys and would probably like to top this one too—so neither of the examples you cite qualifies as a desire your “conscious mind doesn’t want to acknowledge.” Like all sleep disorders, sexsomnia is just something that happens to a very small number of people, SHEETS; there’s no need to endow it with deeper meaning.
In most cases, sexsomniacs will hump a pillow or jerk themselves off. The sexsomniacs who tend to make the news—the ones we hear about—are the “unintended criminals” Dr. Bornemann alluded to, i.e., people who’ve sexually assaulted someone while asleep. Luckily for you, SHEETS, your fiance is OK with your behaviors.
But you might wanna watch Sleepwalk With Me, an autobiographical film by Mike Birbiglia, a comedian with a sleep disorder. Birbiglia wasn’t initiating sex in his sleep—he was jumping out of windows. He successfully sought treatment, and I’d suggest that you do so too, chatting with a doctor about drugs and/or other interventions.
“My catch-all advice is to read this book called The Promise of Sleep by Dr. William C. Dement,” said Birbiglia after I shared your letter with him. “He talks about sleep hygiene extensively, i.e., how to have the best night’s sleep possible by avoiding TV, eating heavily, drinking, etc, a few hours before bed. I know this isn’t exactly an answer to SHEETS’s specific question, but getting a better night’s sleep could probably help him across the board in ways that he doesn’t even realize.”
Q: My boyfriend wants to visit a private gay sex dungeon in Europe this summer but we want to play only with each other. Any tips on getting to play in an actual dungeon without having to put out for the guy whose dungeon it is? —Requests a Curious Kinkster
A: Put Berlin on your itinerary, RACK, google “SM Apartments” or “Hoist Basements,” break out your credit card, splurge, and send pics.
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