Bill Cosby may have a rare sexual disorder, the lawyer of one of his accusers alleged. In a motion filed by lawyer Dolores Troiani last week, where she asked a judge to make public the full details of Cosby's 2006 deposition, during which the actor admitted to drugging women to have sex with them, Troiani wrote, "Although some of the women engaged in consensual relations with Cosby, their accounts substantiated defendant's alleged predilection for somnophilia," according to Yahoo.
Troiani is representing Andrea Constand, the first woman to lodge a sexual assault lawsuit against Cosby. Her statements are shedding light on a rare condition called somnophilia, which is also known as the "sleeping beauty" syndrome. The sexual disorder is explained simply as getting aroused by a sleeping or unconscious person.
Mental health experts classify somnophilia under paraphilia or a form of sexual deviation, and yet psychologist and therapists are still debating if paraphilias should be part of diagnostic manuals, as there are more than 500 types of paraphilias listed by different source lists.
The types range from the uncommon, to the abnormal, to the criminally deviant. What may be a simple fetish for one individual could be a full-blown mental disorder for another individual. The difference lies on whether or not the sexual deviation is causing harm.
"If somebody is doing something that is violating people's personal rights, they're more likely to have antisocial personality disorder - or they're a psychopath or a sociopath - where they don't either know what right or wrong is or they don't care," said California clinical psychologist and sex therapist Anne Randall, via Live Science. Randall reiterated, however, that the sexual deviation, "isn't the problem, it's a symptom."
Studies and research by experts regarding somnophila are limited and rare, which makes it harder to determine the cause and effects, in reference to Bill Cosby's case. "It's possibly that what the person might find arousing is the idea you have full control over this person," said Michael First, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, according to the New York Post. "Sexual tastes have gotten so much broader or better accepted, it's really hard to say what's normal or not."
To be clinically diagnosed with somnophilia, the person should be exhibiting "persistent and distressful arousal experience" within six months or more. "Somnophiliacs generally fall into a pattern where they procure drugs and have sex with partners when they're unconscious," said Ian Kerner, a sex therapist, via Yahoo.
The condition is rooted in childhood and treatments so far have been "largely unsuccessful," said Kerner. At its worse, somnophila can progress to necrophilia, or having sexual intercourse with corpses.