Sleep tight


Dear Andrea:

I am newly married and have a great, fulfilling sex life with my husband. A while ago, I told him that I'm really turned on by the thought of him rousing me out of sleep with sex. Months have passed since I told him my fantasy, and, thinking he just wasn't interested, I recently asked him why he hadn't tried it yet. His response was "I have, but every time I do, you mumble incoherent stuff and roll over." I'm really bummed that I don't remember his advances, and even more bummed that my deep slumber is depriving me of potentially awesome sex! Is there anything I can do about this issue, or is this a fantasy that must remain only in the mind?



Dear Sleep:

I'm not sure if it's my job to rate people's fantasies, but hey, what the heck? Good fantasy. It just ever so gingerly starts to poke a toe into kinkier water: unconsciousness, inability to give consent, a little bit of the more wholesome sort of necrophilia — good stuff! — and yet it's very sweet, very harmless, and very married. I give it a 9, and I'm sorry it's been such a bust for you so far. Happily, though, you've hardly exhausted the possibilities. Give it here, and let's see what we can do.

Your poor sweet husband is doing the equivalent of the would-be dom who, when the disappointed bottom complains, "You had me all tied up! You had a flogger! Why didn't you whip me?" says, "Um, you said, 'Please don't!'<0x2009>" That's why we have safe words: not so much so the top will stop as so he or she will start. The main problem, obviously, is that you have not worked out with your husband what you mean by rousing, nor have you determined just how awake you have to be in order to for him to continue his ministrations. If you're going to push it toward my (admittedly, liberally editorialized) version above, then you hardly need be conscious at all. You've also apparently failed to give him explicit permission to wake you up. Which was sort of the point, wasn't it? Your husband is simply being too considerate, and if he's to take the role of the sort of brute who would rouse a lady from her slumbers just to satisfy his base lusts, he'd better get with the program: either he wakes you or he has his way with your somnolent self. Either way, he has to press the issue. He can't just let you snore on! Talk about unclear on the concept. Apparently he needs express permission to pester you, so grant it and go to bed.

As I was answering this, something about it began to seem familiar, and after a while I realized I was remembering that long, deeply strange period in Alt.Sex.Column's history (starting, I think, in 2004) when sleep sex and sleep rape simply would not go away and leave us alone. There was the guy who'd mounted his male partner in the latter's sleep; there was the story of the woman who'd get in her car, drive to bars, and pick up strangers for sex, all in her sleep; and there was this guy who claimed he'd had accidental anal sex with his wife in her sleep and is still kind of freaking me out at several years later:

Since then I have done this again, with a growing sense of excitement. She will stir and wake up ... so I always get out before she wakes. I want to do it when she's awake but I don't know how to tell her.... [February 2004]

He didn't wait for my answer ("She will kill you!") before he confessed to her and then seemed a little surprised when she nearly killed him. And there was the molesting priest who had the boy sleep over repeatedly, got him drunk, took him out to bars and parties, and did who knows what to him under cover of night, then blamed it all on some sort of parasomnia.

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