February 27, 2006


I don't mind sexy dreams, and I don't mind violent ones, but I hate it when the two happen at the same time.

And the tenor of the sexy dreams has changed so much that I wonder if the alterations in my hormonal cocktail, post-40, have some bearing. In particular, I wonder whether my testosterone levels are going up. As a chick I associate estrogen low points with bitchiness and the desire to snipe at those around me. Sex is usually the farthest thing from my mind at such times.

Then the estrogen comes back, life is beautiful, and I have that "happy, horny" week.

With Prozac in the mix I can weather that estrogen drop a bit better. But there are moments that I'm convinced my dreams are giving me a vision of a more masculine sexual drive than I ever had when I was young. As a kid (teens, 20s, 30s) my sex dreams featured individuals. Now there are, um, more individuals. And not all have such distinct faces, characters, and identities. They feel like the dreams of a 17-year-old boy.

And I know hormonal interactions are a lot more complicated than estrogen vs. testosterone, but I slept late that week in physiology class, so I don't remember them all and I'm operating on yin-yang caricatures.

Still: a friend of mine had a daughter who went through a gender-identity crisis, and eventually elected to become a man. As she started the testosterone shots, she—he—called dad up to say, "I had no idea what you've been coping with all these years. I am unbelievably horny and restless."

Bottom line: by the time I'm done with menopause, my male characters will be the envy of my writer's group.

Posted by Attila Girl at February 27, 2006 02:37 PM | TrackBack

Nelly, hold the phone. You're "post-40"? From your picture I assumed you were some sophomore at one of the Seven Sisters. This changes everything.

Posted by: jason at February 27, 2006 04:37 PM

Have you seen a real picture of me, or are you going by the avatar at the top of the page? She's a drawing, you know ;)

Frankly, I love mentioning my age, because of the shock value. It's fairly pathetic, if you want to know the truth, like when I'd buy booze in my 30s, for my friends--even though I didn't drink that decade. 'Cause the odds were reasonable that I'd get carded.

Cheap ego food. Pathetic, on a certain level.

On the other hand, I've lost a couple of jobs--and a fair amount of money, therefore--because people could not convince themselves that someone who looked like a child might truly be capable of performing the work at hand. So I feel entitled to enjoy the whole thing now.

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 27, 2006 04:49 PM

Interesting prospective. I often thought that the sudden fits of rage women have were because of the same feelings men have learned to control since they were 15 (or older if they were slow learners). I was just afraid of the backlash for mentioning such a thing.

Whereas I thought men just became more complacint. Testosterone levels still being to high to give them female qualities, at least for the most part. (I still have sudden urges to rip people,..... uh maybe to much info).

Question, if it is too personal you can of course refuse to answer? Do your dreams have confused genders? Or do you find yourself in a dominate role? Ever want to run over that guy jaywalking in front of you whol flips you off when you honk at him?

Also be careful of drugs of course. I don't even want to tell you about the wonderful dreams I had on codiene. I wish to avoid a psychiatric evaluation.

Posted by: Jack at February 27, 2006 05:31 PM

1) I've heard that theory--that women under the influence of PMS are dealing with urges men cope with from adolescence onward. I don't buy it, since I've dealt with too many female rage-aholics. (And, perhaps, been too many female rage-aholics.)

After all, anger and rage are different from the desire for bloodshed for its own sake. The angry/malicious person can content herself with mental torture and psychological dominance. The edgier aspects of my post-40 dreams go well beyond dominance, rage, and revenge, and cross into the realm of more detached cruelty. Cruelty for its own sake, and the bloodier the better.

2) Answers: (a) No, I don't confuse genders in my dreams. (Waking might be a different matter.) I really don't consciously associate masculinity with dominance, though I understand the stats on serial killers have something to say on that score. (b) Dominant role? That appears vague. Are you talking about SM-style fantasies? 'Cause I definitely don't associate the dominant position in SM with masculinity. You must also remember that I was raised in a female-run household, so I'm no stranger to feminine authority.

(c) I don't so much want to run over people as vaporize them when they inconvenience me. I'm bright, and therefore a bit impatient. Again, though: I don't want to fall victim to my impatient rage, so I generally talk myself down in a hurry.

I think what's mysterious to me now is that I'm not the angry person I was in my teens and 20s. But I'm guilty of casual brutality in my sleep that shocks me when I wake up.

Anger is different from aimless aggression, as I see it. Though I couldn't tell you which is more dangerous in real life.

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 27, 2006 06:57 PM

There have now been many large studies in which people have kept dream journals (either written or audio) and a much smaller sample in which people in a sleep lab or wearing a home EEG recording unit are awakened during various sleep stages to provide dream reports. What becomes clear from these studies is that, in general, dream content is very highly biased toward negative emotional states. Fear, anxiety and aggression, are the dominant emotions in about 70% of dreams recorded in dream journals. Only about 15% of these dreams are clearly emotionally positive. These results seem generally to hold cross-culturally: Dreams of being chased are the most common single theme found around the world, from Amazonian hunter-gatherers to urban dwellers of Europe. Interestingly, the proportion of dreams with prominent anxiety, fear and aggression is greater in dream journals which rely upon spontaneous waking than it is in situations where people are awakened artificially in the last third of the night (reduced from 70% to about 50%). One interpretation of this disparity is that dreams with negative emotions are more likely to awaken the sleeper, who will then remember and record them.

Posted by: Prof. Purkinje at February 27, 2006 07:17 PM

I'd still take the somewhat disturbing dreams i have now over the nightmares I had when I was 17-18. I'd dream that my mother was chasing me. Which, you know--happened.

I'm much less scared by thoughts of chopping people's arms off, because it's much less real to me. I'm pretty confident I'll never do any such thing, of course.

So I guess I trust myself more than others. Silly me.

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 27, 2006 07:38 PM

So life isn't just delicious, it's also just a dream. So now we know who is writing those slasher films. I recognized your work in 'Kill Bill 1&2."

Posted by: Darrell at February 27, 2006 09:08 PM

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep."

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 27, 2006 11:37 PM

"my male characters will be the envy of my writer's group"...which raises an interesting question. Writers must, of course, create characters of the opposite sex, which requires them to attempt to live in the mental world of that character. How well, in general, do they accomplish this? Are there things about female characters that male writers almost always get wrong (as evaluated by actual women)? Are there things about male characters that female writers almost always get wrong (as evaluated by actual men)?

Any writers who do this particularly well (or, for amusement, particularly badly)?

Posted by: David Foster at February 28, 2006 07:23 AM

Well, it's difficult for men to write erotica from a female POV. In this regard the original Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, IIRC) was hilarious.

One of my favorite crime writers, T. Jefferson Parker, wrote almost exclusively about men, and father figures loomed large in his books. But when he finally broke out and wrote a female character in The Blue Hour, he was so successful that she became his his first "franchise" (series character).

Truth be told, I can get just as insecure trying to write about "normal" women, since it's difficult for me to get inside their heads. Thanks goodness I know a few.

Posted by: Attila Girl at February 28, 2006 10:56 AM

I meant dominate as in controlling the situation, boss instead of worker.

I have simple and extremlly ellaborate dreams. Some of my dreams can stop one night and pick up a month or two later and continue from where I left off.

My dreams include;

Sex (of course)
Being killed (sometimes I am both the killer and the killed).
Color (especially grass, skys and blood).
Touch (except my feet).
Flying (although it is hard to stay aloft as I have to use my mind to levitate).

I use to share some of my dreams with others at work till I found out that many of them did not dream or thought my dreams were REALLY REALLY strange.

My abolute goriest dreams were when I was on codiene. Maybe it is the prozac that is affecting your dreams.

Now I have come to accept that it really is me and not the rest of the world 8^).

Posted by: Jack at February 28, 2006 01:55 PM

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