Monday, January 21, 2013

Dr. Andrea and The Case of the Night Wank

Welcome, possibly troubled Gentle Reader, to today's installment of Ask Dr. Andrea. For you new subscribers (thank you!!!), Dr. Andrea is our Doctor-at-Large with specialities in women's/sexual health, nutrition and Ayurveda. If you have an entertainingly embarrassing problem, or--why not!--even a regular ol' boring one, man up and email it to jillhamilton001@gmail.com. And don't worry, you can be completely anonymous so no one needs to be knowing about your personal business. Except in a broad general sense. (Note: This is NOT a substitute for individual medical advice or care. So if Dr. Andrea tells you to stick a rusty tin can up your butt or something, check with your doctor first. Go on, check with them. I dare you.)

A few months ago, I noticed my partner was masturbating in his sleep. I've been aware of it happening a handful of times since then. It doesn't really bother me, but he thinks it's weird. He wanted to know more about how he's doing it, but since it's dark and I'm usually half asleep when it happens, I'm pretty useless. I suggested he film himself sleeping, then we could get some creepy Paranormal Activity action all up in here. He didn't really like the idea. Anyway, so far I haven't been able to collect much data on it for him although it did happen last night and I had my back against his left side so I knew he was using his right hand. He thought that was weird because he always uses his left hand (when he's awake). He started breathing hard for a bit, but then calmed down and then I woke him up. He doesn't think he's ever finished from this. 

Anyway, we were just wondering if there are any known causes, cures, or magical potions.
Anonymous 

Dr. Andrea:  First, this is not unheard of and is likely not harmful.
If he's really concerned, my doctor-like inclination is to suggest a sleep study with a sleep disorder specialist, since these activities might indicate that his sleep structure is not quite normal for some reason (normal being a rather arbitrary word here- very few of my patients have totally 'normal' sleep).

But honestly this doesn't sound like a problem big enough to warrant all that. It sounds like an interesting combination of a sleepwalking-style sleep movement disorder (there's even a movie about it! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2077851/ ), and normal tumescence and ejaculation during sleep (the phrase 'wet dream' makes me gag).

There is actually a name for this type of activity: "sexsomnia"!! I know, right? It does sound a bit funny, but that means there are enough cases for researchers to have given it a label. The technical definition is initiating sex while asleep, but I imagine it would pertain to your partner's activities as well. If it indicates that he's not sleeping enough or deeply enough for true rest, then it might be a problem. The things that I'd ask are whether he feels rested when he wakes in the morning (jumping out of bed vs hitting snooze multiple times), and whether there has been a change in your sex life linked to when this started. 

If sleep structure is indeed an issue, and he'd like to stop, it may be he needs more 'quality' rest- the body wants to be asleep between 10pm and (at least) 5am. In Chinese medicine, there's a proverb that says "every hour of sleep before midnight is actually worth 2 hours of sleep." Making sure he's getting adequate exercise and eating a healthy diet (plant-based, not too much processed food) can be helpful too, as those affect sleep disorders in general.

You're welcome to email me directly and give me more details if you'd like!
******
If you wish the Wisdom of Dr. Andrea, bring the customary two chickens and goat to her mountaintop lair, or just pop your question into an email.
xoxoxo
jill

3 comments:

My Half Assed Life said...

My mother has actually said that my dad occasionally will initiate sex while sleeping. She claims she doesn't wake him and usually it's pretty good.

Brandon Lostinidaho said...

I have a body pillow to help with my sleep apnea, and have been told that I've 'humped it good' once or twice...

I'm a little sex-starved. Could that be a contributor? Maybe if he's worn out when he goes to bed, he won't be so quick to jerk it?

a girl said...

When I have sex dreams, I never ever have an orgasm during the dream. If some women can supposedly "think" themselves to orgasm, shouldn't it be possible to during a dream?

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