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My Gay Toronto - Bellini's 8 1/2

To sleep, perchance to . . .

Ever been raped in your sleep?

Once, while sharing a bed with a straight friend, I awoke to him kissing me and shoving his tongue into my mouth. Then he reached down and when his hand realized that I wasn't his wife, he abruptly rolled over and started to snore. Yes, he was on anti-depressants, and yes, I would have loved for him to continue, and yes, we laughed about it the next morning. But what if he had continued and didn't even realize it?

Now its been diagnosed as sexsomnia, which sounds more like a song title than a condition. Identified in 2003 by U of T researcher Colin Shapiro, it is "accepted as a sleep condition rather than an excuse given by rapists", writes Conrad Braxton in the blog Gay Pop Buzz. The article goes on to say that a whopping 11% of all men are sexsomniacs and that it can possibly be attributed to colorants and additives in food. 

So how does it occur? I quote: "When a diagnosis is given, it is usually referred to as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) parasomnia . . .  In NREM, the person is caught between their sleeping and waking cycles when suddenly roused from deep sleep . . . One of the biggest issues for sexsomniacs is that during an 'attack' on someone, the sexsomnia sufferer appears relatively normal, awake and conversant." So they seem awake, but are actually asleep, doing something people usually do while awake in order to get to sleep. 

I have to say, regardless of whether I believe in sexsomnia or not (and let's be honest, sleepwalking and other ungoverned behaviours are fascinating - I once knew of a man who hung himself in his kitchen while apparently sleepwalking), it's given five star red flag treatment in this article. The hysterical tone starts with phrases like "highly disturbing," "forcible restraint," "distress and shame," and "serious injuries." Jesus! The article also recommends that sexsomniacs sleep alone in locked rooms. What, are they werewolves? 

Indeed, the whole article is typical click bait for online blogs that need to keep filling their pages with 'newsy' things, like sleep rape. Thank you, Gay Pop Blog, for bringing to our attention this horrible new scourge that is currently overwhelming our community. 

Thank God that the worst thing I do while sleeping is to fart. If you ask my partner, he will tell you that that is enough of a violation for one night. 

 


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