Somnophilia, also known as “Sleeping Princess Syndrome” or “Sleeping Beauty Syndrome” is a sexual paraphilia characterized by arousal from sleeping people. People with “somnophilia” are sometimes called “somnophiles” or “somnophiliacs”. The term “Somnophilia” comes from the Latin word “somnus”, meaning “sleep”, and the suffix “-philia”, meaning “love”.
Somnophiles may be attracted to the physical appearance of sleepers, their helplessness, or the idea of having sex with someone who is asleep. Some somnophiles engage in activities such as watching people sleep, touching, groping or cuddling with them, or masturbating while they are asleep. In some cases, somnophiles may attempt to have sex with sleeping people without their consent, leading to the danger of predatory behavior by people with the condition. “Somnophilia” may also result in a more severe attraction toward unconscious bodies, possibly leading to necrophilia eventually.
If you think you may be attracted to sleeping people, it is important to remember that sex with someone who is unable to consent is rape. It is important to get help if you are struggling to control your urges, as you could hurt someone if you act on them. There are many resources available to help you, including therapy and support groups.
The term “Somnophilia” was first coined by John Money in 1986, as a kind of sexual fetishism, a syndrome of a predatory kind. The word is made of the parts “somnus” meaning sleep in Latin and “-philia” meaning liking or love in Greek. Despite this etymology, one is not considered a “somnophile” if they love to sleep.
In its original usage, “Somnophilia” referred to someone who was sexually attracted to sleeping or unconscious people. However, the term has since been expanded to include anyone who is sexually aroused by people who are asleep or otherwise incapacitated. Although some people may find this behavior strange or even disturbing, it is not illegal and therefore cannot be classified as a mental disorder. Despite this, according to the legal policy of the United States, people with the paraphilia who committed sexual abuse are obliged to undergo treatment at the least, although accusations of rape usually land somnophiliacs into a correctional facility. Due to a close association of the condition to necrophilia, people with “Somnophilia” may be treated harshly both in prison and in the outside world.
The term “Somnophilia” started out as a medical term for a type of sexual fetish, mostly seen in psychology journals. However, as time passed, the definition broadened, and it became a more commonly used term to describe a psychological disorder.
In recent years, the spread of the term “Somnophilia” has been aided by popular culture. For example, in the French motion picture Who Killed Bambi? (2003), the main character is seen having intimate relations with an unconscious partner. This portrayal of “Somnophilia” further cemented the association between this condition and sexual fetishes.
In 2006, an entry was uploaded to Urban Dictionary, which gave a more comprehensive definition of “Somnophilia”, helping people gain a better understanding of what the condition is and how it can manifest itself in different forms.
Overall, though the paraphilia has been around for centuries, the usage of the term has only recently gained traction due to its portrayal in popular culture and its presence on online platforms. Memes, joking about the questionable behavior of the prince in Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” also spread the knowledge of “Somnophilia”. With continued education and awareness about this condition, we can hope to reduce its stigma and help those who suffer from it get access to proper treatment.
Despite its somewhat sinister reputation, “Somnophilia” can actually be a very enjoyable and fulfilling experience for both parties involved, if the sexual contact is performed with consent. If you are interested in exploring this activity with someone, make sure you do your research and find a trustworthy partner. And above all else, remember that communication is key!
- Psychology Today – Somnophilia: When Sleeping Is Sexy
- eCounseling – Somnophilia-Sexual Attraction To Those Unconscious