In over three years of collecting dreams from around the globe for my World Dream Atlas project, one thing I’ve found is that Freud was right: "The majority of the dreams of adults feature sexual material and give expression to erotic wishes."
I have certainly found this to be true. Erotic dreams are so common, yet the shame is still so deep that I receive more requests for anonymity about them than for dreams of murder. I have an entire series of nameless photographed hands just from people who have dreamed of having sex with their parents or siblings.
Below is a collection of some of the most intriguing erotic dreams I’ve gathered across the United States, along with photographs of the brave dreamers who shared them.
"I was 19 when I had the dream: A large black snake was curled around my forearm. I could feel his body pulsing. He retracted his fangs, fixed his eyes on mine, and one by one, began to suck my fingers. I was frightened, and I didn’t want it to stop. It felt like a test. If I wrenched my hand away, I knew the snake would bite. I think of that dream as a kind of initiation—a sexual awakening." —New York, USA
"I was tiny, and I was standing in somebody’s mouth—just a tiny little being. It felt intimate, and secretive, and maybe like I was somewhere I shouldn’t be. At the same time, it felt like every ounce of me was welcome. It was the most erotic thing I’ve ever experienced." —Seattle, USA
"I was in bed with a girl, rolling around under the sheets. When I looked up, the bed was surrounded by every woman I have ever had sex with, from one-night stands to ex-wives. They were all staring down at me while I frantically tried to remember everyone's name." —Ketchikan, USA
"I have this recurring dream where I’ll be having sex with some guy. And then, in the middle of it, his features will change, and he’ll become my dad. At that point, I just go with it. In the dream it doesn’t feel dirty or anything. When I wake up, I feel filthy." —New York, USA
"There's a massive trend in my dreams of trying to have sex and being consistently thwarted by my unconscious. It keeps weaving and warping the storyline to interfere with my ambitions. Floors collapse. Water floods in. The target woman shifts identity. Once, right at the critical moment, the woman became a ball of golden light. Another time, she transformed into a black guy with glasses. I thought he might be some kind of hybrid, so I asked him if the girl was still in there. He said, 'No, sorry.' I asked him, 'Well then, why are you still holding her folder?' He just shrugged, and the dream spun into something else." —New York, USA
"It wasn't human. It was some kind of creature covered in white fur, with claws and fangs. He was gaunt with big hungry eyes and a needle-dick. I knew that he wanted to have sex with me. I wasn't turned on, but I wasn't turned off either. Mostly, I was just curious. When he climbed on top of me, I let it happen." —New York, USA
"This is a dream from a long time ago. I was having sex with these two girls, and they both had little power meters over their heads, like a video game. I could tell the effect of whatever I was doing to them, and I could see when they were getting close to climax, just by looking at the bars of the power meters." —New York, USA
"I was at a house with this guy that I really liked. We had something romantic between us. Then, one of my students, a really beautiful 20-year-old with long blond hair came in. She’s a good student, and I like her. She said hi to me, and then asked the guy if she could kiss him. He said, ‘Of course.’ They were making out for a while in front of me. It went on for so long that it began to feel normal, and not so strange. It made me feel old." —Gettysburg, USA
"As soon as I went lucid, I became a tiger. I could feel my muscles swell enormously. I felt my claws tearing into the earth. I ran, and then I leaped—soaring for a mile at a time. Down below, I saw a woman lying on a bed. It was Marilyn Monroe. When she caught sight of me hurtling above, she opened her robe and spread her legs. Between her legs were seven vaginas. Simultaneously, I could feel my own seven enormous tiger penises become erect. I took aim, and tumbled down into her, landing perfectly—exactly as nature intended." —Detroit, USA
"I once had sex with a crescent moon—with the bottom tip of the crescent. I wasn’t sure it was a good idea, but I did it anyway. The moon had a face. It had eyes with eyelids, and a mouth—but it wasn’t saying anything." —New York, USA
Roc Morin is a journalist based in San Francisco and the author of &, a book of short stories.