n. A form of non-rapid eye movement parasomnia that causes people to engage in various sexual acts while they are asleep.
***Disclaimer No.1- Almost definitely NSFW (though to be honest the title really should have given that away)***
***Disclaimer No.2 – This film is intended to spark a conversation about this controversial condition. I realise that it may offend some people and that there will be those that don’t believe it is a real condition and is used as an excuse for sexual assault, which I in NO way condone. But, that said, like most controversial things, I think it is better to discuss them openly than pretend they don’t exist. Sexsomnia as a condition is well documented and recognised by the medical community as a real parasomnia.***
When I first read the blog post that was to become this piece I was a mixture of fascinated and slightly disturbed. I’d never heard of Sexsomnia but as someone who is more than a little fascinated by sleep and our often problematic relationship to it I really wanted to know more.
The author of the anonymous post was someone I knew and after a little persuasion, he agreed to read the post on camera, provided I hid his identity.
I’d had every intention of doing something with the footage at the time, but the subject had reservations, understandable I think. It’s not an easy thing to comprehend and I can see if you had read about the condition in a newspaper in relation to some crime, for example, you may be skeptical as to its status as a real condition.
I did some tentative research and tried to find online forums with other sufferers(?) but for the most part drew a blank.
Given my subjects fear of their identity being revealed and not really knowing how to present the footage in a way that would be visually interesting I filed the footage away and largely forgot about it.
That was 5 years ago.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago as I was having a conversation about my own sleep issues with a friend and a memory was sparked.
On returning home I dug out the footage (thank you past me for your very well labeled and multiple hard disk backups) and found it to be as compelling as I remembered.
I reached out to the subject again and asked if he would mind me doing something with the footage now. He agreed.
More than I care to admit hours of laying out and animating text, consulting and working with talented electronic musician Dave “LAICA” Fleet on the music / sound design and I had the piece presented here.
I’m very pleased with how it turned out and am very thankful to “the sexsomniac” for allowing me to use the footage and to LAICA for the music.
I think it raises some interesting questions and offers a brief insight into a condition that is little known or talked about.