Now that I have your attention: The existence of the “sleep orgasm” is about as newsworthy as acknowledgement of suffrage.
For all the flack Vice gets — some deserved, some not — the edgy media conglomerate often does a bang-up job identifying trending topics before sharks get jumped. But, despite the O-M-G tone of a widely-shared post on Vice's Broadly vertical, “What Are Sleep Orgasms, and How Can I Have One?,” the “sleep orgasm” is not some elusive phenomenon kept under wraps by the family values lobby.
And, before you go looking for a larger meaning. As the writer, Stevie Martin, describes it, the “sleep orgasm” is an orgasm that happens at some point between falling asleep and waking up. Just like the words would suggest. And, yes, we've known about them for a long time. Nocturnal emissions were covered in the infamous Kinsey report, for starters. In the 60 years since that groundbreaking study of American sexuality, we’ve come up with more than enough terms to describe them — wet dreams, nocturnal emissions and sex dreams, to name just three.
Yet, Vice’s new “girl power” website seems to believe they’re charting new territory with this examination of the sleepgasm.
“If you're lucky enough to wake up coming, then I'd also say — spread the word,” Martin writes. “The fact that we don't talk about it with friends, boyfriends, grandparents (joking, please don't talk about it with your grandparents unless they’re very chill) means that people aren’t aware of the bounteous joys of what our bodies can do.”
This is precisely wrong. Not discussing our sexual behavior with friends and boyfriends (and grandparents, ha ha ha), doesn’t equate to unawareness. Not everyone on this planet is required to shout about their busted nuts — awake, asleep or otherwise — from the rooftops. Our orgasms, ourselves.
We’re also well aware that the human orgasm isn’t a purely physiological phenomenon. For women in particular, the ability to orgasm can hinge on emotional and psychological readiness. Just consider Flibanserin, the only female sexual dysfunction drug to pass FDA muster. Despite being described as “Female Viagra,” it’s not actually a physiological trigger, like the famous blue boner pill. Rather, it’s a weak antidepressant that primes women for sack-time by tinkering with their neurotransmitter levels. In other words, it’s meant to bring on the horny by tickling the emotions.
So, yeah, we’re well aware that the female orgasm is a heady, complex mixture of both physical and psychological stimulation.
Finally, the Broadly article goes on to stress that women report having more sleep orgasms when their waking sex lives are sluggish. Neither is this news. As Van Winkle’s has reported, “Kinsey’s data implied a correlation between frequency of masturbation and wet dreams. Living a dry life will likely lead to wet dreams.” And it’s certainly not just for women. The sex drought/sleepgasm connection persists across both sexes, and the uptick in slumber-coming in the absence of waking orgasms sounds like animalistic self-soothing. Consider that infants automatically regulate their caloric intake and cease consumption once they’ve taken in the nutrients they need. Grown-ups coming during sleep when they aren’t getting laid (or otherwise releasing the pressure) strikes me as a non-dissimilar biological mechanism.
That’s not to say there’s nothing new to be said about sleep-gasms, but this particular article added nothing to the conversation. The simple fact is that sleep orgasms are not breaking news. They’re just fun.