If you ask the average lucid dreamer what they like to do best in their lucid dreams, two answers are by far the most popular. One is flying, the other is sex. Lucid dream sex can feel as real as waking life sex. Most lucid dreams take place in REM sleep and genital arousal is a feature of REM, so this may go some way to explaining not only the realism of the sensations but the heightened sexual desire many lucid dreamers report. One veteran lucid dreamer, Patricia Garfield, wrote an entire book about her erotic lucid dreams. She reports that the majority of her lucid dreams result in orgasm, and often do not even require a partner:
Often I will bring on the orgasm by ascending to great heights and then, turning, plummet back to earth or ocean. On impact with land or water, I explode into orgasm.
Patricia Garfield, author of Pathway to Ecstasy.
Lucid dreaming is such a versatile state that the dreamer can explore sexual bliss in any way that occurs to him or her. Sexual exploration in lucid dreams can even be a path to healing for some: a deeply inhibited person may experiment with lucid dream sex far more easily than in waking life, as in dreams we are less inhibited. Learning to express sexuality freely in the dream can carry over into waking life ease and confidence in the bedroom.
Clearly there are many ‘pros’ to lucid dream sex: you can’t contract STDs, you can experiment with multiple partners without hurting anyone’s feelings (unless your waking life partner is jealous of your lucid dream adventures: this does happen!), and the sensations can be convincingly real and result in actual physical orgasm, as demonstrated by LaBerge, Greenleaf and Kedzierski back in 1983.
But what about the cons?
Being stood up by a dream figure
What if your heart is set on having an erotic lucid dream but no matter how many ways you try to get your heartthrob to appear, he or she doesn’t materialise? Or they show up but look totally unappealing, or start to fade away before your eyes? Lucid dream sex is not always as straightforward as it might sound.
People have reported their ideal lover not showing up at all or melting into nothing just as things were starting to get interesting, or even turning into an animal, monster or parent right in the middle of the action.
In these situations of spontaneous metamorphosis, lucid dreamers tend to report instant awakening or a sudden scene change. If the shock doesn’t wake you up, there are various possibilities if faced with this situation in a lucid dream.
What to do if your dream lover turns into a zebra
- Ask the dream imagery what it represents – after all, why did your heartthrob just turn into a zebra? Was this a day-residue from a visit to the zoo the day before, so that an accidental thought triggered a change in the dream content, or is there a deeper message here?
- For those less fussed by the psychological possibilities, if strong lucidity is retained it can be enough to will the zebra to change back into something more inspiring, or initiate a complete change of dream scene.
- Patricia Garfield reports simply going with the flow in this kind of situation and continuing with the erotic activity regardless of the aspect the dream lover takes on, knowing that this is, after all, a dream.
- Release the idea of having an erotic encounter in this particular lucid dream. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be! Look around and see what the dream is creating, and choose a new way to engage with it.
Lucid dreaming is full of surprises and this is part of its fascination. We are not the sole creators of a lucid dream; there’s another force there, the force of the unconscious mind, a hotbed of emotions, associations, memories, instinctual drives and symbolic imagery.
The lucid dream is co-created: it’s a mutual dance. This is one reason why it is generally a wise idea to treat all lucid dream figures with respect, in erotic situations as in any other. It’s also helpful to expect the unexpected, remain mentally flexible, and learn to laugh at yourself. With this mindset, we can learn to dance to the creative beat of the lucid dream.