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 sex sleepsex sexsomnia parasomnia phenomenology 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

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

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