Is Bill Cosby a somnophiliac?

At least 16 women have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault, and in many cases their stories are eerily similar: The women claim the comedian gave them some pills and proceeded to assault them.

But one woman, Dr. Charlotte Laws, claims her friend had a long-running affair with Cosby in the early ‘80s and was drugged by him, too, even though they were already in a consensual sexual relationship.

“[My friend] came to me and was distraught and said he had drugged her and had sex with her, and she said ‘it’s not like I would have said no to anything,’” Laws told FOX411. “She was pretty sexually adventuresome. She was perplexed as to why he would have done that, and she felt betrayed and she was confused about it.”

Laws said her friend, whose name she does not wish to reveal, eventually split from Cosby, but Laws kept in touch with him because she “liked him as a person.” She said looking back on the incident she suspects the famed comedy king drugged her friend because he enjoyed having power over her. Laws, who holds a Ph.D. in social ethics, recalled a strange meeting when she heard him offer her friend a large sum of money to grow her hair longer. Laws claims Cosby even offered her money to convince her friend to grow her hair as he’d asked.

“It could be that he enjoyed having that power over women or that control over someone who was not in control,” she speculated. “I think that he probably… it turns him on somehow to see a woman incapacitated or out or not in control of herself.”

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The word “somnophiliac,” meaning someone who is aroused by sex with a person who is asleep or unconscious, has popped up in several articles related to the recent Cosby allegations. Could the man once dubbed “America’s dad” indeed be a somnophiliac who wanted to have sex with unconscious women?

According to Dr. Judy Kuriansky, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist who has not treated Cosby, if the women’s accounts of their interactions with Cosby are true, he is a somnophiliac who also suffers from a serious need to dominate and control other people.

“Basically, this is an inability to have a normal, sexually intimate and respectful exchange with a partner,” Kuriansky explained. “Therefore, that partner needs to be drugged and semi-conscious in order for [one] to interact. It is not a matter of the sexual pleasure as it is of the dominance or control.”

Kuriansky emphasized that in some relationships partners fantasize about and even engage in “sleepy sex,” where they agree that one person can have sex with the other while they are sleeping, but when drugging and sexual assault are involved it becomes a dysfunction.

“We have differences between people who have fantasies about these things [and] people who have actually carried these fantasies into an act,” she said.

Dr. Mark Griffiths, of Nottingham Trent University, however, countered that from the extensive research he’s done on somnophilia he believes the paraphilia – another term for sexual deviation -- is very rare and is probably not a factor in the alleged Cosby rapes.

“I think [allegedly] using roofies to drug people is definitely one step removed from being a direct somnophiliac,” he said. “The date rape is just about having total power over somebody but not about being asleep as much.”

Both doctors agreed that somnophilia is on a larger spectrum of sexual behavior and it is somewhat related to necrophilia, which is the sexual attraction to corpses.

“I refer to it being pseudo-necrophilia,” Griffiths said. “There are some people who really won’t go through a necrophilia act but having someone who is drugged or asleep may be enough for someone.”

Kuriansky, who teaches a course about human intimacy at the Columbia Teachers College, speculated if Cosby is suffering from any type of sexual perversion it is likely due to an incident during his childhood.

“I would love to have him on the couch to explore how some of his early childhood behavior led to this need to [allegedly] dominate women and the difficulty with intimacy,” she said.

Laws said she suspects based on what she knows of him, Cosby probably has somnophilia.

“People take incredible risks when they have compulsions or obsessions,” she said. “It seems he gambled it all -- his career and legacy --and he lost.”

Cosby’s lawyer, Martin Singer, did not return FOX411’s request for comment.

Cosby, 77, has never been criminally charged stemming from any of the sex-abuse allegations, many of which date back to the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

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