As far as he knows, he’s never forced himself on an unwilling partner in his sleep. But he’s only so certain that’s true. “In order for me to really know that, I would have to ask everyone I’ve ever shared a bed with if this is something that happened and they didn’t want to tell me about it,” James says. “Which is another thing that can get to you with this — if someone seems a bit off the next day, the worry of, ‘What have I done to them?'”
So He Has Created A System (Which Is Incredibly Life-Limiting)
James is now married to a woman who’s aware of his issues (and kind of into it, to be frank), and he estimates that he has no more than a dozen sexsomnia episodes a year. OK, that actually sounds like a lot. “[T]hat being a dozen times in a year where it’s severe enough and sort of pressing enough that my wife actually wakes up and is aware of what’s happening. That’s another thing that’s really strange about it: It’s very hard to quantify and to figure out exactly what’s happened, because the other person may not actually wake up if there’s just a little bit of touching or kissing, and then you go back to sleep.”
Even though he’s not a sleepwalker, he has a lock on his bedroom door for when guests are in town, for peace of mind. After all … who knows? Is this the kind of thing you take risks with? But that also means that basically the only person he can sleep in the same room with is his wife. “I can’t share a room with a friend or family member. And I don’t really tell them why; I just insist on having my own room, and it makes me look like a bit of an asshole … It’s not just about trying to initiate something with them, it’s also about what I might do on my own.
“I had to go on a business trip with my boss six months ago, and then he booked a twin room, and I had to get my own room. I really don’t want my boss to be sitting up at night reading a book, or to wake up in the middle of the night because I’m orgasming in the bed next to him.”
So what’s your cover story in that situation, if you don’t want to have the “potential sleep rapist” conversation with your employer? If you say, “I snore really bad,” they might be nice about it and say, “Oh, that’s fine, I don’t mind!” or “I have earplugs.” Most people would rather put up with someone snoring or sleepwalking than pay the extra money for a hotel room.
This sort of thing comes up more than you’d think. Like, say, at music festivals — the kind where everyone camps for the weekend. “Last-minute, someone didn’t have a tent and wanted to stay in my tent, when they were already there and had no way of getting one. So I had to navigate that thing of, like, how do I get this person away from me and still be nice and accommodating and find them another place to sleep? Finally he got too drunk anyway and went home.”