In our “fucketlist” series, we cover men’s and women’s fantasies when it comes to sex. A fucket list is something like a bucket list, but in the area of sex. So it contains acts that you want to have done once before you die. This time we discuss the ‘Sleeping Beauty Syndrome’, or the fantasy of having sex with someone who is asleep.
Sex with someone who is sleeping?
Some people get aroused by the idea of having sex with a partner who is sleeping – or having their partner initiate sex while they themselves are sleeping. This sexual interest is known as somnophilia. Strangely, little scientific research has been done about somnophilia. It is assumed that it is a fairly rare phenomenon, but that too is an assumption that is not based on data. One study would suggest that about 10% of women and 22% of men have, or have had, this fantasy at one time or another. But in this study the wording of the question was related to sexual violence. Probably the percentage of people, who have this fantasy in a relationship and with mutual consent, is much higher.
It is important that when performing this fantasy, you should know very well whether your partner is “in” for it, because while sleeping, of course, you cannot give consent. This is why somnophilia – in certain contexts – is associated with sexual violence. John Money defined somnophilia in 1986 as a rape-related form of paraphilia, in which arousal depended on the reaction of the sleeping partner upon awakening during sexual activity. Somnophilia has therefore often been compared to the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty, where the prince wakes the princess with a kiss.
There are theories that associate somnophilia with necrophilia because of the passivity of one of the partners. Other scientists go so far as to say that somnophilia is a substitute of necrophilia. And there is even a study that shows that there is a in male lovers of somnophilia a positive correlation with necrophilic behavior.
But is this a true reflection of somnophilia? If you go by the definition that assumes the partner’s reaction when awakened by sexual activity-the rhetoric of “Sleeping Beauty”-then the comparison to necrophilia goes awry.
Getting excited by the idea of having sex while you sleep is therefore also called dormaphilia, to get rid of the negative association with necrophilia and to make it clear that the sleeping person can also have this fantasy. One of the aforementioned studies on what people found arousing about their sleep-related fantasies and behaviors found that the individuals who fantasized about dormaphilia often reported that their fantasies were about waking up during sexual activity. For example, they wanted to wake up at the time they were half undressed, or only when their partner was “ready.
So the “Sleeping Beauty” syndrome is all about passivity. The sleeping person is awakened with or by sex and that thought excites them (both). For the non-sleeping person, the passivity of the sleeping partner is also arousing. It is a similar complementary fantasy to sadism and masochism.
In the case of the sleeping person, on the other hand, the fantasy is often centered on oneself. This person likes to be awakened by sex. Sometimes these individuals even pretend to be asleep a little longer, to enjoy their passivity. They find it exciting that their partner sees them as an object of desire.
Wake-up sex is the most fun way to wake up, unless you’re in jail
Positive forms of the “Sleeping Beauty Syndrome
Of course we know the stories of Bill Cosby allegedly drugging co-workers to have sex with them, or other stories involving “rape drugs. This is not to say that all fantasies of sex while you sleep are related to rape and sexual assault.
If you are in a good relationship and you want to try new sexual activities, some forms of dormaphilia can actually be very exciting. for example, consider the following:
- Many people have what is called ‘morning wood’ in the morning. Women also know this form of morning arousal (AKA morning dew). Apart from that, both men and women often feel like sex when they wake up. That’s because testosterone levels are at their highest then, because you’re rested, relaxed, and nice and comfortable. This is often different than in the evening, when you are still stressed from the day and your head is not in the right place. Especially during waking up it is very pleasant if your partner pampers you orally and initiates sex.
- If you are still (half) asleep and are slowly awakened while someone is playing with your nipples, or having oral sex with you, you are living in a kind of half dream/half reality. What’s happening? It feels so good! The yummy feeling of snoozing is enhanced by this.
- Even if your partner has fallen asleep earlier, or if you wake up in the middle of the night, it can be nice to stroke and kiss your still sleeping partner. The worst fatigue of the day is then gone (powernap) and after sex you can sleep on in each other’s arms.
- Sometimes you can enhance the fantasy by pretending that you are already/ still asleep. Let your partner do what he or she wants with you, while you remain passive. Try not to move or make any noise for as long as possible. This “procrastinating” behavior creates a kind of “edging” that will eventually enhance the arousal.
- As mentioned earlier, part of the arousal comes from the idea that your partner sees you as a sex object. Your partner gets aroused by you and your body and ‘uses’ you for his or her sexual needs.
- The fantasy of sex in your sleep can also be combined with bondage (tying you up in your sleep) and even threesome or group sex (going to sleep with more people in one bed and then having sex during sleep while others sleep).
- Waking up to sex is about the opposite of planned sex. It is spontaneous and surprising.
The fantasy of having sex in your sleep is completely normal and can include all sorts of aspects from vanilla sex to submission and BDSM. For some, the passivity of having sex in your sleep is a form of relinquishing all control; for others, it’s just that your partner feels overwhelming desire and finds you irresistible. For most people who have this fantasy – or carry it out – it is precisely about the sleeping person waking up at some point and then continuing to have sex.
The important thing is that both partners find it an interesting idea and agree to try it (once). Somnophilia is often the subject of sexual violence in the media, but between two consenting people it can be a wonderful experience. In fact, for most people who have this fantasy, there is no sexual violence involved, but rather the desire to excite the partner at a time when it surprises them.
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