Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 287–293

A Phenomenology of Problematic Sexual Behavior Occurring in Sleep

  • Michael A. Mangan

DOI: 10.1023/B:ASEB.0000026628.95803.98

Cite this article as:
Mangan, M.A. Arch Sex Behav (2004) 33: 287. doi:10.1023/B:ASEB.0000026628.95803.98


First-person reports of individuals' experiences of problematic “sleep sex” were collected in an Internet-based study. Qualitative analysis of 121 reports yielded 6 distinct themes: (1) fear and a lack of emotional intimacy; (2) guilt and confusion; (3) a sense of repulsion and feelings of sexual abandonment; (4) shame, disappointment, and frustration; (5) annoyance and suspicion; (6) embarrassment and a sense of “self-incrimination.” Results suggest that sleep sex can elicit negative emotions and cognitions that may become a source of personal and relational distress. Clinician familiarity with problematic sleep sex may foster more effective communication with individuals presenting with such complaints.

sleep sexsleepsexsexsomniaparasomniaphenomenology

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Mangan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of New HampshireDurham