Chapter 22: Sexsomnia

Sexsomnia is a type of parasomnia – unwanted behaviours, emotions or perceptions while you are asleep. It is more common in men, and is associated with sleep walking. People have been acquitted of rape because they were suffering from sexsomnia, though as the story in chapter 22 goes, it isn’t always instantly clear what happened. Both parties can think the other is lying.

The defence isn’t always used legitimately though, as some papers delight in reporting. Being too drunk to remember, that’s not sexsomnia (being drunk, now that’s an interesting issue on the topic of personal responsibility).

I was intrigued by the final paragraph of this article about the Swedish man acquitted of rape due to sexomnia in 2014. The quote from a University of Iowa professor concludes that we need to be cautious about using this kind of defence because “There are bad people and there are sociopaths.”

He has clearly decided who should be held accountable for who they are and who is excused.