Nocturnal emission

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A nocturnal emission, informally known as a wet dream, sex dream, nightfall or sleep orgasm, is a spontaneous orgasm during sleep that includes ejaculation for a male, or vaginal wetness or an orgasm (or both) for a female. Nocturnal emissions are most common during adolescence and early young adult years, but they may happen any time after puberty. It is possible for men to wake up during a wet dream or simply to sleep through it, but for women, some researchers have added the requirement that she should also awaken during the orgasm and perceive that the orgasm happened before it counts as a wet dream. Vaginal lubrication alone does not mean that the woman has had an orgasm. [1]

Contents

Composition

Due to the difficulty in collecting ejaculate produced during nocturnal emissions, relatively few studies have examined its composition. [2] [3] In the largest study, which included nocturnal emission samples from 10 men with idiopathic anejaculation, the semen concentration was equivalent to samples obtained from the same men by penile vibratory stimulation, although the proportions of sperm which were mobile and which were of normal morphology were higher in the nocturnal emission specimens. [2]

Frequency

In a detailed study, men and women reported that approximately 8% of their everyday dreams contain some form of sexual-related activity. Four percent of sex dreams among both men and women resulted in orgasms. [4]

In males

The frequency of nocturnal emissions is highly variable. Some reported that it is due to being sexually inactive for a period of 1–2 weeks, with no engagement in either intercourse or masturbation. Some males have experienced large numbers of nocturnal emissions as teenagers, while others have never experienced one. In the U.S., 83% of men experience nocturnal emissions at some time in their life. [5] For males who have experienced nocturnal emissions, the mean frequency ranges from 0.36 times per week (about once every three weeks) for single 15-year-old males to 0.18 times per week (about once every five-and-a-half weeks) for 40-year-old single males. For married males, the mean ranges from 0.23 times per week (about once per month) for 19-year-old married males to 0.15 times per week (about once every two months) for 50-year-old married males. [6] In some parts of the world, nocturnal emissions are more common. For example, in Indonesia surveys have shown that 97% of men experience nocturnal emissions by the age of 24. [7]

Some males have the emissions only at a certain age, while others have them throughout their lives following puberty. The frequency with which one has nocturnal emissions has not been conclusively linked to frequency of masturbation. Alfred Kinsey found there may be "some correlation between the frequencies of masturbation and the frequencies of nocturnal emissions. In general the males who have the highest frequencies of nocturnal emissions may have somewhat lower rates of masturbation."

One factor that can affect the number of nocturnal emissions males have is whether they take testosterone-based drugs. In a 1998 study by Finkelstein et al, the number of boys reporting nocturnal emissions drastically increased as their testosterone doses were increased, from 17% of subjects with no treatment to 90% of subjects at a high dose. [8]

Thirteen percent of males experience their first ejaculation as a result of a nocturnal emission. [9] Kinsey found that males experiencing their first ejaculation through a nocturnal emission were older than those experiencing their first ejaculation by means of masturbation. The study indicates that such a first ejaculation resulting from a nocturnal emission was delayed a year or more from what would have been developmentally possible for such males through physical stimulation. [10]

In females

The frequency of nocturnal emissions is variable, just as with males. In 1953, sex researcher Alfred Kinsey found that nearly 40% of the women he interviewed have had one or more nocturnal orgasms or wet dreams. Those who reported experiencing these said that they usually had them several times a year and that they first occurred as early as thirteen, and usually by the age of 21. Kinsey defined female nocturnal orgasm as sexual arousal during sleep that awakens one to perceive the experience of orgasm. [1]

Research published by Barbara L Wells in the 1986 Journal of Sex Research indicates that as many as 85% of women have experienced nocturnal orgasm by the age of 21. This research was based on women waking up with/during orgasm.

Studies have found that more males have more frequent spontaneous nocturnal sexual experiences than females. Female wet dreams may be more difficult to identify with certainty than male wet dreams because ejaculation is usually associated with male orgasm while vaginal lubrication may not indicate orgasm. [1] [11]

Lucid dreaming

Sexual activity is a commonly reported theme of lucid dreams. [12] LaBerge, Greenleaf, and Kedzierski (1983) undertook a pilot study to determine the extent to which subjectively experienced sexual activity during REM lucid dreaming would be reflected in physiological responses:

Since women report more orgasms in dreams than men do, we began with a female subject. We recorded many different aspects of her physiology that would normally be affected by sexual arousal, including respiration, heart rate, vaginal muscle tone, and vaginal pulse amplitude. The experiment called for her to make specific eye movement signals at the following points: when she realized she is dreaming, when she began sexual activity (in the dream), and when she experienced orgasm. She reported a lucid dream in which she carried out the experimental task exactly as agreed upon. Our analysis revealed significant correspondences between the dream activities she reported and all but one of the physiological measures. During the fifteen-second section of her physiological record which she signaled as the moment of orgasm, her vaginal muscle activity, vaginal pulse amplitude, and respiration rate reached their highest values of the night, and they also were considerably elevated in comparison to the rest of the REM period. Contrary to expectation, heart rate increased only slightly.

LaBerge, S., Greenleaf, W., & Kedzierski, B. (1983). Physiological responses to dreamed sexual activity during lucid REM sleep. Psychophysiology, 20, 454-455.

Cultural views

There are numerous cultural and religious views on nocturnal emissions. Below is a limited summary of some perspectives.

Antiquity

In ancient Rome nocturnal emission was perceived as quite natural, as noted by Lucretius in his De Rerum Natura (translated here by William Ellery Leonard):

... Again, those males
Into the surging channels of whose years
Now first has passed the seed (engendered
Within their members by the ripened days)
Are in their sleep confronted from without
By idol-images of some fair form—
Tidings of glorious face and lovely bloom,
Which stir and goad the regions turgid now
With seed abundant; so that, as it were
With all the matter acted duly out,
They pour the billows of a potent stream
And stain their garment.

"Titus Lucretius Carus, De Rerum Natura, Book IV, lines 1025-1036".

Jewish and Samaritan

Some examples of passages under the Mosaic law of the Hebrew Bible teach that under the law of Moses, a man who had a nocturnal emission incurred ritual defilement (as with any other instance of ejaculation):

"If a man has an emission of semen, he shall bathe his whole body in water and be unclean [Hebrew tameh] until the evening. And every garment and every skin on which the semen comes shall be washed with water and be unclean until the evening."

Leviticus [13]

"When you are encamped against your enemies, then you shall keep yourself from every evil thing. If any man among you becomes unclean [Hebrew lo yihyeh tahor, literally 'will not be clean'] because of a nocturnal emission [literally: 'by reason of what happens to him by night'], then he shall go outside the camp. He shall not come inside the camp, but when evening comes, he shall bathe himself in water, and as the sun sets, he may come inside the camp."

The first of these is part of a passage [15] stating similar regulations about sexual intercourse and menstruation. Leviticus 12 makes similar regulations about childbirth.

A third passage relates more specifically to priests, requiring any "of the offspring of Aaron who has ... a discharge", among other causes of ritual defilement, to abstain from eating holy offerings until after a ritual immersion in a mikveh and until the subsequent night-fall. [16]

In Judaism, the Tikkun HaKlali, also known as "The General Remedy," is a set of ten Psalms designed in 1805 by Rebbe Nachman, whose recital is intended to serve as repentance for nocturnal emissions.

Patristic Christian

Saint Augustine held that male nocturnal emissions, unlike masturbation, did not pollute the conscience of a man, because they were not voluntary carnal acts, and were therefore not to be considered a sin. [17]

Islamic

A wet dream (Arabic : احتلام, ihtilam) is not a sin in Islam. Moreover, whereas a person fasting (in Ramadan or otherwise) would normally be considered to have broken their fast by ejaculating on purpose (during either masturbation or intercourse), nocturnal emission is not such a cause. However, they are still required to bathe prior to undergoing some rituals in the religion.

Muslim scholars consider ejaculation something that makes one temporarily ritually impure, a condition known as junub; meaning that a Muslim who has had an orgasm or ejaculated must have a ghusl (consisting of ablution followed by bathing the entire body so that not a single hair remains dry on the whole body — may also require one to rub the body according to Maliki school of thought, dalk in Arabic — while showering) before they can read any verse of the Qur'an or perform the formal prayers. Informal supplications and prayers (du'a) do not require such a bath.[ citation needed ]

Medieval

In European folklore, nocturnal emissions were believed to be caused by a succubus copulating with the individual at night, an event associated with sleep paralysis and possibly night terrors.[ citation needed ][ dubious ]

See also

Related Research Articles

Orgasm is the sudden discharge of accumulated sexual excitement during the sexual response cycle, resulting in rhythmic muscular contractions in the pelvic region characterized by sexual pleasure. Experienced by males and females, orgasms are controlled by the involuntary or autonomic nervous system. They are usually associated with involuntary actions, including muscular spasms in multiple areas of the body, a general euphoric sensation and, frequently, body movements and vocalizations. The period after orgasm is typically a relaxing experience, attributed to the release of the neurohormones oxytocin and prolactin as well as endorphins.

Pre-ejaculate clear fluid emitted from the urethra of the penis during sexual arousal

Pre-ejaculate is a clear, colorless, viscous fluid that is emitted from the urethra of the penis during sexual arousal. It is similar in composition to semen but has distinct chemical differences. The presence of sperm in the fluid is variable from low to absent. Pre-ejaculate functions as a lubricant and an acid neutralizer.

Female ejaculation Expulsion of fluid during or before an orgasm

Female ejaculation is characterized as an expulsion of fluid from the Skene's gland at the lower end of the urethra during or before an orgasm. It is also known colloquially as squirting, although research indicates that female ejaculation and squirting are different phenomena, with squirting being attributed to a sudden expulsion of liquid that partly comes from the bladder and contains urine. Female ejaculation is physiologically distinct from coital incontinence, with which it is sometimes confused.

The Masters and Johnson research team, composed of William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, pioneered research into the nature of human sexual response and the diagnosis and treatment of sexual disorders and dysfunctions from 1957 until the 1990s.

Premature ejaculation (PE) occurs when a man experiences orgasm and expels semen within a few moments of beginning sexual activity and with minimal penile stimulation. It has also been called early ejaculation, rapid ejaculation, rapid climax, premature climax and (historically) ejaculatio praecox. There is no uniform cut-off defining "premature", but a consensus of experts at the International Society for Sexual Medicine endorsed a definition of around one minute after penetration. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) applies a cut-off of 15 seconds from the beginning of sexual intercourse.

Retrograde ejaculation occurs when semen which would be ejaculated via the urethra is redirected to the urinary bladder. Normally, the sphincter of the bladder contracts before ejaculation, sealing the bladder which besides inhibiting the release of urine also prevents a reflux of seminal fluids into the male bladder during ejaculation. The semen is forced to exit via the urethra, the path of least resistance. When the bladder sphincter does not function properly, retrograde ejaculation may occur. It can also be induced deliberately by a male as a primitive form of male birth control or as part of certain alternative medicine practices. The retrograde-ejaculated semen, which goes into the bladder, is excreted with the next urination.

Cum shot Depiction of human ejaculation

A cum shot is the depiction of human ejaculation, especially onto another person. The term cum shot is usually applied to depictions occurring in pornographic films, photographs, and magazines. Cum shots have become the object of fetish genres like bukkake. Facial cum shots are currently regularly portrayed in pornographic films and videos, often as a way to close a scene. Cum shots may also depict ejaculation onto another performer's body, such as on the genitals, buttocks, chest or tongue.

Sexual stimulation is any stimulus that leads to, enhances and maintains sexual arousal, and may lead to orgasm. Although sexual arousal may arise without physical stimulation, achieving orgasm usually requires physical sexual stimulation.

Ejaculatory duct

The ejaculatory ducts are paired structures in male anatomy. Each ejaculatory duct is formed by the union of the vas deferens with the duct of the seminal vesicle. They pass through the prostate, and open into the urethra at the seminal colliculus. During ejaculation, semen passes through the prostate gland, enters the urethra and exits the body via the urinary meatus.

Facial (sexual act) Sexual activity involving ejaculating on the face of another

A facial is a sexual activity in which a man ejaculates semen onto the face of one or more sexual partners. A facial is a form of non-penetrative sex, though it is generally performed after some other means of sexual stimulation, such as vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex or masturbation. Facials are currently regularly portrayed in pornographic films and videos, often as a way to close a scene.

Human sexual response cycle

The human sexual response cycle is a four-stage model of physiological responses to sexual stimulation, which, in order of their occurrence, are the excitement-, plateau-, orgasmic-, and resolution phases. This physiological response model was first formulated by William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, in their 1966 book Human Sexual Response. Since then, other human sexual response models have been formulated.

Edging, peaking, or surfing is a sexual technique whereby orgasm is controlled. It is practiced alone or with a partner and involves the maintenance of a high level of sexual arousal for an extended period without reaching climax.

Delayed ejaculation describes a man's inability or persistent difficulty in achieving orgasm, despite typical sexual desire and sexual stimulation. Generally, a man can reach orgasm within a few minutes of active thrusting during sexual intercourse, whereas a man with delayed ejaculation either does not have orgasms at all or cannot have an orgasm until after prolonged intercourse which might last for 30–45 minutes or more. In most cases, delayed ejaculation presents the condition in which the man can climax and ejaculate only during masturbation, but not during sexual intercourse. It is the least common of the male sexual dysfunctions, and can result as a side effect of some medications. In one survey, 8% of men reported being unable to achieve orgasm over a two-month period or longer in the previous year.

Masturbation Sexual stimulation of ones own genitals

Masturbation is the sexual stimulation of one's own genitals for sexual arousal or other sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm. The stimulation may involve hands, fingers, everyday objects, sex toys such as vibrators, or combinations of these. Mutual masturbation is masturbation with a sexual partner, and may include manual stimulation of a partner's genitals, or be used as a form of non-penetrative sex.

Human penis

The human penis is an external male intromittent organ that additionally serves as the urinal duct. The main parts are the root (radix); the body (corpus); and the epithelium of the penis including the shaft skin and the foreskin (prepuce) covering the glans penis. The body of the penis is made up of three columns of tissue: two corpora cavernosa on the dorsal side and corpus spongiosum between them on the ventral side. The human male urethra passes through the prostate gland, where it is joined by the ejaculatory duct, and then through the penis. The urethra traverses the corpus spongiosum, and its opening, the meatus, lies on the tip of the glans penis. It is a passage both for urination and ejaculation of semen

Intravaginal ejaculation latency time (IELT) is the time taken by a man to ejaculate during vaginal penetration. IELT varies not only from man to man, but from one time to the next for the same man and tends to decrease with age.

Ejaculation Discharge of semen from the male reproductive tract

Ejaculation is the discharge of semen from the male reproductory tract as a result of an orgasm. It is the final stage and natural objective of male sexual stimulation, and an essential component of natural conception. In rare cases, ejaculation occurs because of prostatic disease. Ejaculation may also occur spontaneously during sleep. Anejaculation is the condition of being unable to ejaculate. Ejaculation is usually very pleasurable for men; dysejaculation is an ejaculation that is painful or uncomfortable. Retrograde ejaculation is the condition where semen travels backwards into the bladder rather than out the urethra.

Postorgasmic illness syndrome is a syndrome in which people have chronic physical and cognitive symptoms immediately following ejaculation in the absence of a local genital reaction. The symptoms last for up to a week. The cause and prevalence are unknown; it is considered a rare disease.

The prohibition of extracting semen in vain is a rabbinic prohibition found in the midrash and Talmud. The prohibition forbids a male from intentional wasteful spilling of his semen.

Shenkui is a culture bound syndrome native to China, as well as exists globally, in which the individual suffers withdrawal like symptoms including painful brainfog, chills, nausea, and even flu like symptoms with anxiety, believed to be caused by a loss of semen and orgasm. The symptoms can last weeks to months after a single orgasm. And in Traditional Chinese Medicine, shen (kidney) is the reservoir of vital essence in semen (ching) and k’uei signifies deficiency. In simplified Chinese it is called 肾亏, Traditional Chinese 腎虧, and in pinyin Shènkuī.

References

  1. 1 2 3 "Do women have wet dreams, too?". Go Ask Alice!. May 7, 1999. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  2. 1 2 Meng, X; Fan, L; Liu, J; Wang, T; Yang, J; Wang, J; Wang, S; Ye, Z (2013). "Fresh semen quality in ejaculates produced by nocturnal emission in men with idiopathic anejaculation". Fertility and Sterility. 100 (5): 1248–52. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.07.1979. PMID   23987518.
  3. Hovav, Y; Dan-Goor, M; Yaffe, H; Almagor, M (1999). "Nocturnal sperm emission in men with psychogenic anejaculation". Fertility and Sterility. 72 (2): 364–5. doi:10.1016/s0015-0282(99)00239-3. PMID   10439013.
  4. American Academy of Sleep Medicine (June 15, 2007). "Sexual Activity Reported In Dreams Of Men And Women". ScienceDaily.
  5. Kinsey, Alfred C. (1948). Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. p. 190. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  6. Kinsey, Alfred C. (1948). Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. p. 190. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  7. "Knowledge about Human Reproduction and Experience of Puberty" (PDF). Indonesia Young Adult Reproductive Health Survey 2002–2003. Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS-Statistics Indonesia), Jakarta, Indonesia; National Family Planning Coordinating Board, Jakarta, Indonesia; Ministry of Health, Jakarta, Indonesia, ORC Macro, Calverton, Maryland, U.S. p. 27. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  8. Finkelstein, Jordan W.; Elizabeth J. Susman; Vernon M. Chinchilli; M. Rose D’Arcangelo; Susan J. Kunselman; Jacqueline Schwab; et al. (1998). "Effects of Estrogen or Testosterone on Self-Reported Sexual Responses and Behaviors in Hypogonadal Adolescents". The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. The Endocrine Society. 83 (7): 2281–2285. doi:10.1210/jc.83.7.2281. Archived from the original on September 6, 2013. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  9. Kinsey, Alfred C. (1948). Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. p. 190. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  10. Kinsey, Alfred C. (1948). Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. p. 299. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  11. "Nocturnal Orgasm...or...Female wet dream?". Newsvine. September 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  12. Garfield, 1979; LaBerge, 1985
  13. 15:16–17
  14. 23:9–1123:9–11
  15. Leviticus 15
  16. Leviticus 22:4
  17. This view is confirmed by the Protestant theologian Philip Schaff. S.23