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DP is initiating sex with me when we're both asleep, and earlier this week he went too far. What can we do about this?

(19 Posts)
ThisIsNigglingMe Wed 31-Aug-11 20:19:15

I've been friends with my partner for eight years, and we've been together for nearly a year. Things are going well ? he's easy-going and we get along well, as we always have, and seem to share similar values ... he is simply a good man ? has morals, does the right thing, etc. I'm as sure as I can be of that.

An issue that arose not long into our relationship is that he sometimes (maybe once or twice a month) initiates sex in his sleep. He has a history of sleep-walking ? quite seriously at times, having driven to work in his sleep before, and done his early morning job (on a farm) in the middle of the night, before waking up and realising what was happening. He doesn't live with me, and has said that sometimes, where he lives, he finds himself in the kitchen in the middle of the night - having woken up there from sleep-walking, looking for me in his sleep.

There is a pattern to what he does, in that it only seems to happen when he is very tired (which is actually quite often, because he works full-time, has his kids from a previous relationship half the time, and the youngest of these is a poor sleeper).

I confronted him about this months back, asking if he remembered the second/third time we had sex the night before. He said he didn't, explained what might be happening, and was genuinely sorry. I believed him. When he's trying it on, his eyes are open but vacant, and he doesn?t speak; he doesn't engage with me, or caress me ? it is dehumanising, to be honest, because he isn't loving or tender and I do feel rather like a piece of meat. But because I don't believe he is doing this consciously, and because I'm able to stop what's happening and encourage him back to sleep as soon as I stir and realise what's going on, I've been able to work with it - practically and mentally/emotionally.

We've talked it through, and have agreed that if/when he does it, I'll steer him away and tell him he's asleep and that he needs to lie back down ? and this has generally worked. I put knickers back on before sleep too, which helps.

But on Monday night, which was a late and disturbed night sleep-wise, I was in such a deep sleep, that he was having full ? and rough ? sex with me before I stirred and realised what was going on. My stirring seemed to jolt him into semi-consciousness, and he withdrew and rolled over and went back to 'normal' sleeping. But I felt a bit shocked, and sore; I felt pain deep inside because he'd been so vigorous, and my tummy ached like I had period pain, so my cervix must have taken a bashing.

I told him the next morning what had happened and that I was upset about it, and he was really very sorry and cuddled me ? but that doesn't put it right really, or prevent it, does it? I have this nagging question in my mind along the lines of, basically, have I been raped? Rape is a very emotive word, and because I don't believe he means to do this ? because there isn't intent there ? I'm reluctant to use it. But still, it was pretty grim, and obviously can't continue to happen ? and perhaps because I have PMT this week and so am paranoid and a bit glass-half-full, there's a niggly part of me that wonders if he could possibly know he's doing this; if maybe he does mean to ? and yet I can never can know, 100%. Unless he goes to a sleep clinic with me, I suppose ? but that seems extreme.

I've read a bit about sexsomnia (having sex in one's sleep) ? DP's behaviour is textbook. But he can't not get up several times a night with his DC; we can't make the tiredness that seems to precipitate this go away overnight, although it should improve as his kids get older. I don't like the idea of him taking medication for this. So what else do we do? Sleep in separate rooms after snuggling up? Maybe that's the answer for now.

I don't know really. I just wanted to share this, because it's been bothering me this week. Sorry this is so long.

Thanks in advance for anything at all, really.

samhaircin Wed 31-Aug-11 20:58:35

Hi OP, I have heard of this condition. He might be able to attend a sleep study centre for testing, and they might be able to suggest some treatments? Maybe talk to the GP about it and they might know where to refer you.

Eurostar Wed 31-Aug-11 21:07:49

I have a friend who had done dangerous things in his sleep. I'm told there is little help beyond heavy medication at the moment.

Looks like, if you know he is tired/stressed, you sadly need to make yourself safe by sleeping in another room (if that works to keep him away).

buzzsorekillington Wed 31-Aug-11 21:08:05

Asking him to go to a sleep clinic isn't an extreme response to being violated in your sleep, OP. It's pretty mild and reasonable.

And yes, I think separate bedrooms until this issue is addressed, because he hurt you, whether he meant to or not, and you need to be safe.

PamBeesly Wed 31-Aug-11 21:08:11

Hi OP, sorry for what happened, it must have been horrible. I don't want to label anything, I don't want to upset you. You were very hurt by it both physically and emotionally and are unsure if he really was asleep.
I think he definitely needs to see an expert in the field and maybe until then, sleep separtately so you are not in any fear going to sleep.
I hope someone with more advice will be along soon

LesserOfTwoWeevils Wed 31-Aug-11 21:11:27

If it's been going on for so long and has led to him endangering himself, why hasn't he seen a doctor about it before? Have you seen him sleepwalking or just heard about it from him?

Change99 Wed 31-Aug-11 21:22:00

I do not believe for one minute that your DP was having full, rough and so vigorous sex with you that you slept part way through it!
Next you'll be saying he rolled over in his sleep, accidentally touched you in an intimate place and you'll be suggesting that he's sexually assaulted you!

This story looks as if it's been compiled after reading up on Wikipedia. It really is just too much!

greengirl87 Wed 31-Aug-11 21:35:31

My partner does exactly the same thing, and i have never slept through rough sex! I always wake up before any sex actually happens, and have never thought for one second that i was being raped or violated! If it is upsetting you this much i suggest separate beds, im sure your partner would agree to this if he knew you were accusing him of rape.

confidence Wed 31-Aug-11 22:25:01

Chastity belt? I saw a doozy in a museum once with outward-turn spikes all around the *ahem" - "openings". I dare say that'd soon wake him up. grin

Seriously though, I have had this a few times myself, so I know it's not a genuine condition. For me it only gets as far as a bit of clumsy groping though before Mrs Confidence bats me away like an insect. She always has a good laugh at me the next morning though.

I'm not aware of anything that can be done for it. But really - your DP DROVE TO WORK in his sleep?! Surely that's gotta be life-threatening both to himself and others, and he has a duty to investigate whatever can be done?

confidence Wed 31-Aug-11 22:25:36

Sorry, I meant "so I know it IS a genuine condition."

FabbyChic Wed 31-Aug-11 22:30:36

He needs to see a doctor, you cannot either diagnose him or help him really. He needs medical intervention. Something could seriously happen to him one of these days.

BertieBotts Wed 31-Aug-11 22:43:12

Change88, not a helpful post at all.

OP I agree he really needs to go to a sleep clinic, and I would definitely be sleeping in separate rooms at the least, in fact I'd probably be saying something along the lines of "I never ever want to go through that again, so you need to sort this out or I don't think we can be together any more."

Was he really aware of how upset you were and how violated you felt? I can understand why he never got around to seeking treatment before if you were handling it and it wasn't an issue, though it was a bit shortsighted of him not to realise that one night it might be worse, but I'm a bit concerned that he thought a cuddle and a "sorry" was going to be enough unless he was really half asleep or something. I know that DP would be absolutely horrified if he'd hurt me during sex, never mind inadvertently doing something which made me feel that bad. I think you need to talk.

garlicnutter Wed 31-Aug-11 23:02:51

There is a known, and not all that uncommon condition like this. It's part of a group called parasomnia. Sleep clinics do succeed with some sufferers. He really needs to get the ball rolling by seeing his GP> Driving while asleep is incredibly dangerous, he could have killed himself and others.

That must have been horrible for you, OP, and it'll be best if you can put in place some measures to make you feel protected - otherwise, you won't sleep well either! Sleeping in separate rooms looks like the obvious thing, with a bolt on your door. I know it might seem drastic but, really, he's got to grasp what a serious problem this is.

You could try wearing big knickers in bed and so forth but, believe me, if he's so active in his sleep, he'll find a way in. Not good.

Separate room, lock, doctor.

honeyandsalt Wed 31-Aug-11 23:11:43

Well, what everyone else said really. Definately seperate rooms for a bit, you can cuddle when you're both conscious!! You'll sleep better apart anyway.

And thence to the GP, and tell her the full story.

I don't think it's rape no, but it must be very upsetting for you both and I really don't get why you'd just coast along and not do something about it tbh.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Thu 01-Sep-11 00:38:01

I'm so sorry you went through this, OP sad How horrible for you, please don't listen to the frankly unbelievably callous posters who are taking the piss. Even if he didn't mean to do it (which sounds likely), you are the one who woke up being penetrated presumably without lubrication, and are now hurt. His intentions don't make any difference to your phyical injury, nor to the fact that you woke up to a scary situation over which neither you nor he were in control.

Look after yourself, and pack him off to the GP before he damages himself, you again or others.

Am shock at those who are saying "he could hurt someone like that" - er, yes, he HAS hurt someone. Or does this not count because she's his girlfriend?

solidgoldbrass Thu 01-Sep-11 00:51:03

OK, I'm perfectly prepared to believe that he has a form of parasomnia but that doesn't mean he just gets to fuck you in his sleep with no consequences. Tell him that now he has hurt and distressed you, he either seeks help for his parasomnia, you sleep in separate rooms in future (with a bolt on the door of yours) or he's dumped. It is not reasonable for you to be expected just to put up with this because he 'can't help it. YOU MATTER, TOO.

confidence Thu 01-Sep-11 01:05:40

Incidentally, the wiki article on sexsomia mentions several cases of men being acquitted of sexual assault and even rape committed while asleep:

I suppose when push comes to shove, you have to accept that someone who is asleep cannot possibly be responsible for their actions. It's a hell of a challenging subject though.

flangeismyfaveword Thu 01-Sep-11 01:09:28

Hi Op. I coudn't but help notice the italics and question marks in your post?
If you are so unsure of this man then I suggest seperate houses never mind bedrooms for a while at least until you decide what you really think of him.

I too suffer from a problem like his (and believe me it is a big problem) fortunatly I have a partner who is very understanding (now!) and over the years we have come to a way of dealing/coping with the problem.

BertieBotts Thu 01-Sep-11 08:58:01

The question marks are supposed to be hyphens I think - it happens when you copy and paste from Word or similar (Word converts " - " - with the spaces - into a long dash which doesn't appear in the web interface. Same for "curly" quotes and apostrophes, they sometimes get replaced by ? as well.)

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