What is behind our erotic dreams

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Are your nights full of erotic visions? Or, on the contrary, of rabbits frolicking under a soft orange light? No hasty conclusion when it comes to erotic dreams, warns psychoanalyst Tristan-Frédéric Moir. The more sensual universe of the two may not be what you think… Explanations.

Psychologies: Do Sexual Dreams Have Sexual Meaning?

Not necessarily. It would help if you never took your dreams at face value. Often, when it comes to sex, they don’t talk about it. And when it doesn’t seem to be at all, they can talk about it. Most of the time, sexual dreams stage eros, the drive for life. It is the most potent energy, much more evolved and broad than the sexual drive, which relates to all of our desires for life and love. Something that is addressed to the whole world and is part of inner fulfillment. Take the case of a scenario that comes up with many of my patients: they see themselves with a person of the other or of the same sex. There is an excellent understanding between them, a great sensuality, a climate of love. There is no penetration, but the atmosphere is very erotic. Well, this dream, prevalent, seldom has a sexual significance. Their meaning is first and foremost personal: they showcase the harmony between female and male parts of love for oneself. It’s more about learning to love those parts of yourself that sometimes we reject or that bother us.

What about scenarios featuring erotic practices?

Cunnilingus practiced in dreams is more often a tribute to femininity, and oral sex a paean to masculinity, more than a secret desire to be satisfied. It is first of all in this sense that it should be taken. The dreams of practicing erotic caresses are most often understood, the meeting between our female and male parts. Jung calls them anima and animus. When they are in their place and well developed, the human being’s communication with the world, with the outside, is facilitated because he no longer suffers from an internal dilemma. He becomes able to go in all directions, to explore new paths. These highly positive sexual dreams unify us, give us access to all our complexity, and help us better develop ourselves in real life.

In which cases can a sexual dream tell us about our sexuality?

It all depends on the context in which it fits and what the dreamer of his dream is saying. But the purely sexual fantasy can sometimes serve as an outlet for repressed impulses and desires: if a woman dreams of fellatio or a man of cunnilingus when they have never had one, the dream perhaps prompts them to unlock. It can also bring to light an attraction. If a person regularly returns in an erotic scenario, the invention may give the green light, indicating an attempted approach. It is common to dream of a person with whom we are in tune. And, at that moment, the dream has meaning: it confirms the integration by our unconscious of the presence of the other. A sexual fantasy can also play a compensatory role when sexuality is absent from reality. When it causes nocturnal pleasures, it is a sign of a deficiency. A woman dreaming of orgasm with penetration, a man ejaculating in his sleep, indicates that sexuality is not exploited enough. The dreamer puts their sexual power on stage to enjoy and obtain the pleasure they lack in everyday life. Then the question arises of the inability to enjoy in reality, which can be addressed in therapy or by oneself if one can do so: grief, loneliness but also prohibitions, blockages, guilt, fear… Many psychic restrictions can block the way to pleasure, regulations that other dreams – a priori non-sexual but which speak to us about our sexuality – can clarify. A man ejaculating in his sleep indicates that sexuality is not exploited enough. The dreamer puts their sexual power on stage to enjoy and obtain the pleasure they lack in everyday life. Then the question arises of the inability to enjoy in reality, which can be addressed in therapy or by oneself if one can do so: grief, loneliness but also prohibitions, blockages, guilt, fear… Many psychic restrictions can block the way to pleasure, regulations that other dreams – a priori non-sexual but which speak to us about our sexuality – can clarify. A man ejaculating in his sleep indicates that sexuality is not exploited enough. The dreamer puts their sexual power on stage to enjoy and obtain the pleasure they lack in everyday life. Then the question arises of the inability to enjoy in reality, which can be addressed in therapy or by oneself if one can do so: grief, loneliness but also prohibitions, blockages, guilt, fear… Many psychic restrictions can block the way to pleasure, regulations that other dreams – a priori non-sexual but which speak to us about our sexuality – can clarify. The dreamer puts their sexual power on stage to enjoy and obtain the pleasure they lack in everyday life. Then the question arises of the inability to enjoy in reality, which can be addressed in therapy or by oneself if one can do so: grief, loneliness but also prohibitions, blockages, guilt, fear… Many psychic restrictions can block the way to pleasure, regulations that other dreams – a priori non-sexual but which speak to us about our sexuality – can clarify. The dreamer puts their sexual power on stage to enjoy and obtain the pleasure they lack in everyday life. Then the question arises of the inability to enjoy in reality, which can be addressed in therapy or by oneself if one can do so: grief, loneliness but also prohibitions, blockages, guilt, fear… Many psychic restrictions can block the way to pleasure, regulations that other dreams – a priori non-sexual but which speak to us about our sexuality – can clarify.

Do you have an example of this mechanism?

I have just received a patient prisoner of his notions of duty. He is separated from his wife and so anxious to take good care of his children that he refrains from having romantic relationships. In his last dream, he was inspected by a phallic-shaped metal detector that ended up between his legs. The sexual power was represented by this object, which was lodged in this particular place as if it had to reposition its phallus in its place. His dream is the vector of a judicious intimate questioning: “Am I well positioned in terms of masculinity or not?” So I said to my patient, ‘You have a phallus. It would help if you used it. The more sexually fulfilling you are, the more you will be in life. Your relationship with your children will be more positive. Rather than being in a duty of presence vis-à-vis them, take an interest in your development to pass it on to your children. “

How to spot these little dreams?

Dreams are always symbolic; they advance masked like the unconscious to escape the censorship of the superego, our system of internal vigilance. The superego would not let too precise information pass if they were to upset the inner order that it wishes to enact. The more inhibited a person is, the more symbols with sexual significance will arise in their dreams. Taking an interest in it will nourish this reality and make it evolve. Dreamlike images are linked to double-meaning words, to symbols… They are parables. A man who, for example, sees himself eating almonds is in tune with the female sex, which he sees as a nourishing product. The almond, a beautiful and rich fruit, is under the sign of the fullness of life. Very positive things are added to it.

Do the symbols always have the same meaning regardless of the dreamer and the dreamer?

At 90%, a symbol carries a precise meaning, but it is polysemous. When the unconscious has recourse to it, there are always ordinary senses: a needle can have a phallic significance, but in a haystack, it can symbolize an element that is difficult to locate, such as the clitoris. There are also the word games which the dream uses a lot. This is what Freud calls the with, the “wit.” Things must be heard by dreamers when they tell their goal: there are, for example, homophonies, these words which have the same phonetic pronunciation, but several possible meanings (“rabbit” for “the cock”); paronymies, words whose accent is similar (“tennis” for “penis”) … You have to put all these elements about each other to make the proper analysis.

Concretely, how to proceed to enlighten ourselves with our desires with his dreams?

You have to start by noting them. Putting them down on paper allows you to give them concrete form and listen to our unconscious, even if the self-interpretation is sometimes tricky. Indeed, we are not always objective with ourselves. We may be tempted to adapt the dream to our conscious wishes. Apart from this reservation, we must consider the context of the invention, correlate the images, the words that correspond to each other, consult the definitions made of them, the different possible meanings in a dictionary of dreams. Or symbols. This will make it possible to identify the signifier, the purpose for the dreamer, then proceed to a tightening of meanings. The dream is there to give us indications to evolve, to change.

Little dreamer’s lexicon

Here are some common symbols decoded.

Elevator

The elevator and its movement symbolize the rise of libido, the internal circulation of this energy. If the latter is too solid and repressed, it is often a source of anxiety. As a principle of libido, the elevator symbolizes the drive for life but is usually prohibited or misunderstood.

Cat

The cat is first and foremost a representation of the female sex. The ambivalence of the symbol remains with some men, for whom this organ simultaneously evokes envy, the supreme temptation, and disgust, the fear of not being up to it, even the fear of the dentate vagina. It also represents the instinctive and imperious desire, the premise of all sexuality.

Shoes

In a traditional psychoanalytic view, shoes have a sexual connotation. The hollow that the foot, the sexual organ, perfectly fits, but not the only male. In general, shoes, like all accessories that go in pairs, are related to the couple.

Soccer

The craze for this game is not insignificant; it is the most critical and most primitive act symbolized here, the sexual act and fertilization. The balloon represents the egg, and the feet, the sperm. Each dreamlike football scene would, therefore, always be related to the dreamer’s sexual drive.

Washbasin or sink

Most often, the sink represents the female genitalia, the vagina. It is a hollow, a container. It is linked to the cock, which means the reverse, the male sex. The shapes and positions – up and down – reinforce the sense of sexual polarities.

Orange (color)

When visualized in a dream, this color is that of sexuality. Often it symbolizes the awareness of the energy-related to sexuality and desire. Pure, spontaneous energy, red, is channeled through consciousness and directed towards knowledge, yellow. The fusion of these two colors represents the fusion of two beings uniting to give life.

Snake

The serpent is the great representative of sexual energy. But if this energy that he embodies is not warmed by the feeling of love, too archaic, it can frighten. Most of those who dream about it feel that it can be dangerous. The presence of a snake signals that sexual energy is brought into play. Only, it hides because the dreamer censors certain aspects of it.

Car

Sometimes it can represent the desired body. A partner with whom the dreamer has had sex. It symbolizes the person led or directed on the paths of pleasure. If the ignition key starts the engine well, the meaning of the dream is obvious. Anyone who has their car stolen feels that their partner is being “stolen” from them. A black vehicle whose headlights dazzle the dreamer can evoke the femme fatale.

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