Genital automatisms in complex partial seizures.
ABSTRACT To determine which brain region is responsible for the generation of sexual automatisms.
Ninety consecutive patients with medically refractory focal epilepsy (74 with temporal lobe and 16 with frontal lobe epilepsy) referred to an epilepsy monitoring unit were studied. The occurrence of the following sexual automatisms was assessed during prolonged video-EEG monitoring: 1) repeatedly grabbing or fondling the genitals and 2) pelvic or truncal thrusting or similar movements.
Five patients repeatedly fondled or grabbed their genitals during or immediately after some of their seizures. All five had temporal lobe epilepsy, as evidenced from prolonged video-EEG monitoring, high-resolution MRI, and good to excellent outcome after epilepsy surgery. Sexual automatisms did not occur with frontal lobe epilepsy.
Sexual automatisms cannot be related exclusively to frontal lobe seizures. As previously proposed, apparently sexual hypermotoric pelvic or truncal movements are common in frontal lobe seizures, but this study suggests that discrete genital automatisms, like fondling and grabbing the genitals, are more common in seizures evolving from the temporal lobe.