Q&A: He Masturbates In His Sleep And Says Another Person’s Name

E-mail Email Icon Print Print Icon
Reddit Digg StumbleUpon Delicious Bookmark

QUESTION: My partner masturbates during his sleep and says another person’s name. My partner is a physical therapist and the person’s name he says is a patient of his. This really bothers me. Should I be concerned?

Subscribe to the Kinsey Confidential Podcast: iTunes | RSS

Sleeping Guy

Photo: timsnell (flickr)

Some people experience sleep disorders that cause them to masturbate or attempt to have sex with other people, while they themselves are asleep. Some people call this sleepsex or sexsomnia.

Is He Cheating?

I can certainly understand your concern. If you’re in a monogamous relationship, you might be worried that your partner is cheating on you with his patient which would be unethical for your relationship but also unethical in his job, as health providers are generally not supposed to be sexually involved with their patients.

However, you don’t know if your partner is actually cheating on you with his patient or if he is fantasizing about his patient or whether this is just one of those quirky things that has happened to him during his sleep that has nothing to do with how he feels when he’s awake.

Dreams vs. Reality

You might try talking to your partner about his night-time behavior. Although he cannot control whether or not he has sex dreams or masturbates during his sleep, if you feel bothered by this behavior, then it may help to talk about it together so that you can understand more about each other’s feelings.

If nothing is going on, this gives him an opportunity to reassure you of that. If he does have feelings for his patient, this also gives him the opportunity to talk about that with you.

It’s worth noting that it is very common for both men and women to fantasize about other people, even when they are happy and satisfied in their current relationship. As such, even if he is fantasizing about someone else, it does not necessarily mean that he doesn’t feel positively about you or your relationship.

Sleeping Disorders

The other reason I would urge you to talk with him about his night-time masturbation is because some people experience sleep disorders that cause them to masturbate or attempt to have sex with other people, while they themselves are asleep. Some people call this sleepsex or sexsomnia.

If he masturbates or attempts sex while he is asleep, and he is concerned about this, he might want to make an appointment with a sleep specialist who can talk with him about his experience or run sleep tests.

Although talking with him about his patient-related masturbation may feel awkward, it may end up being helpful for both your relationship and his health.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
More posts by this author »

Comments