Raping While Supposedly Asleep – Guilty or Not Guilty?

Last spring we wrote a piece for the British feminist website The F-Word which discussed a sleeping disorder called sexsomnia. Sexsomnia is described as a condition in which people behave sexually in their sleep, such as masturbating or even engaging in intercourse.

In the post we were critical of sexsomnia as a defense claim for people who had been charged with rape or sexual abuse. Even though perpetrators have confessed that the sexual assault took place, they also claim to be innocent since they were not aware of their acts. And in some cases, the courts have responded by not invoking a sentence. In order to back up this claim of innocence, some rapists have stated that former partners have told them that they behaved sexually while asleep.

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