SO AROUSAL MEANS REM?
Dreamed 1999/5/19 by Chris Wayan
I'm in an airporty lounge in what looks like an orbital hotel or space station. A man debarks from the Earth shuttle, with his three kids: a son age 12, daughter age 10, son age 7. I know the guy, he's a Russian surfer. Divorced or widowed--just him and his kids. They've been helping him on his surfing quest, by creating something that sent him to... I forget. But it was truly useful, and in exchange, he brought them along, as he hasn't in the past, on his other quests. They gleefully put on swimsuits and head for the beaches of... where? We're in space, aren't we?
I notice I'm incredibly horny, and start condemning myself for getting excited over a ten-year-old girl in a swimsuit. Then I realize it's purely physiological: I'm dreaming, and in REM state, everyone always has an erection, penile or clitoral. Test this by looking around at random. Potted trees get me hot. Reservation desks get me hot. Acoustic tiles get me hot! Yep, just an effect of REM.
Wait? Who am I? Suddenly I suspect I'm the Russian dad... If so, maybe my erection IS something more: the dream may be warning that this guy wants to molest his daughter! Has she been abused? But why tell me this way? In fact, why me at all? I don't know the family, so even if it's true I can't do a thing to protect her. Besides, if he's molesting her, why's she relaxed and happy around him? In fact she worked hard to come along with him on this trip! The whole tone of the dream is happy. I'm totally confused...
Suddenly our surroundings shift. I'm still with the Russian surfer and his kids, but we're on Earth, near my parents' house near San Francisco. Houses peek out through trees on receding layers of wooded hillslopes, one a hundred yards off, then half a mile, two miles, five, and across the Bay. No, not the bay. It's become a long freshwater lake, with heavily wooded hills all around. Looks vaguely British--Lake Windermere. Coniston? We walk down to the shore. A troop of high school girls walks by in pleated wool skirts and socks. Definitely British!
And this time, I have the OPPOSITE sexual reaction! Though many of these British girls passing me on the path are quite attractive, my body has absolutely no interest. Suddenly I'm as sexless as a tax form! Though presumably I'm still dreaming, with a REM erection in my physical body, my dream-body is utterly indifferent. Feels as deliberate and arbitrary as the opposite was...
I think "So I really have two bodies--waking and dream. Sexual states are no guide to whether I'm dreaming, or even whether I'm attracted to anyone. Someone else controls that. Someone whimsical. Someone weird."
And I wake.
WHAT'S IT ALL MEAN?
When in REM (Rapid Eye Movement, the most active dream-state), all dreamers yet studied, male and female, show strong arousal of brain, genitals, heart, nearly everything but the long muscles, which stay paralyzed (usually! If they don't, you sleepwalk). This apparent sexual arousal of the REM state doesn't necessarily spill over to the dream (or EVERY dream would be a sex dream, and contrary to Freud, they ain't.) Dream sex usually does causes orgasm in the physical body too, but even that isn't always true--see A Dry Dream. Your dream can tinker with these body-mind links--if it wants to bother.
But what motivates a dream to do that--turn sex on and off, arbitrarily? What point were my dreams making here, knowing I might well put publish it online? Is it simply... to prove to skeptics that dreams can do this?
I'm still not certain. But I can't see any better explanation.
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