In the world of lucid dreams, where absolute freedom exists, sex is a very common topic. Psychologist Patricia Garfield, who specializes in this field, describes the orgasm as a natural recurrence in her lucid dreams. In her personal experience, conscious dreaming is orgasmic. She reports that two-thirds of her lucid dreams contain sexual content and about half of these culminate in orgasms that are at least as good as or perhaps even better than orgasm experiences in her waking life. Garfield describes these experiences as intense and deep, creating a sense of explosion at the level of body and mind and a sense of totality relating to the self that she rarely experiences while awake (LaBerge, 1990).
In 1983 Walter Greenleaf, a graduate of Stanford University, conducted a study examining the levels of physical arousal during sexual dreams. During the experiment, many physiological indicators and parameters that are normally affected during sexual arousal were recorded, including, sweating, specific heart rate, vaginal pulse levels and vaginal muscle tone. During the experiment, the subject was asked to enact predetermined eye movements when she realized she was dreaming, when she began sexual activity, and when she experiences an orgasm. The physiological findings revealed a clear correspondence between the activity in the dream (according to the subject’s signals) and the physiological indices, except for one index (the heart rate increased but not significantly). The experiment was repeated with two male subjects who showed very similar findings. Although the men reported a realistic and vivid orgasmic feeling, they did not ejaculate, as opposed to what is known as “wet dreams” which are reported mainly by teenagers and are not always linked to erotic dreams. (LaBerge, 1990).
The frequency of women’s orgasms in dreams is relatively low compared to the frequency reported by men; this is similar to differences in waking life. However, a number of female orgasms during lucid dreaming have been documented in sleep labs. According to the 1953 Kinsey report on women’s sexuality, 37% of women experienced orgasms in their dreams before the age of 45. Abraham Maslow, the humanist psychologist who created the theory of Self-actualization, claimed that sexual dreams are typical among women who have high self-confidence, are balanced, independent, and are capable in general. Women with high self-confidence levels will have explicit sexual dreams, as opposed to women with low self-confidence levels, who will often dream romantic, symbolic, anxious dreams, or distorted sexual dreams. Another study showed that the more creative a woman is the more active she will be in her sexual dreams and the more likely they are to take place in a non-conventional setting. Additionally, Garfield notes that experiences of flying in dreams, similarly to sexual experiences, can be very exciting on a physical level. According to her, such dreams can help with the sense of inner freedom. (Garfield, 1992).
There are reasons, both psychological and physiological, that lucid dreams are fertile ground for sexual activity. A study conducted at Stanford University proved that lucid dreaming occurs during REM sleep, characterized by increased blood flow to the vagina and the male erection. These physiological factors, together with social and moral freedom, turn sex into a frequent experience in lucid dreams. These findings imply that lucid dreams can be a tool for sex therapists and offer hope to those suffering from sexual dysfunction (such as impotence, premature ejaculation, difficulty reaching orgasm, etc.). Based on discoveries in the world of lucid dreams, this topic is also ripe for further research and has not yet been sufficiently explored. However, it can be concluded that lucid dreams can provide a form of sexual escape for prison inmates, people working in solitary conditions and people whose sexual activity is limited in waking life due to a physical disability. The significance of sex in dreams can vary. For some people it is pure fun, for others it is an experience of unity of different sides of their personality (the male and female within them) and for some a spiritual experience (LaBerge, 1990).