The Power of Sexual Dreams: Day

by | Jul 18, 2018 | 2 comments

A friend recently told me about her experiences at a workshop where the participants were encouraged to discuss a sexual fantasy that felt important to them, something along the lines of what Jack Morin called a “Core Erotic Theme” in his fascinating book, The Erotic Mind. We can identify our own personal CET fairly simply as the sexual fantasy that’s guaranteed to turn us on and pull us into an erotic reverie, even if we’re not really in the mood at first.

The stories my friend shared reminded me of something I realized a while back—that all the characters in my sexual fantasies are part of me. The more dominant characters–generally, but not always male–express my own active sexual desire. The Others in my fantasies know exactly what I want because we are one in the same. The socially subordinate characters, always someone more or less like me, overwhelm their “superiors” with their profound erotic pleasure. However powerful and heartless the dominants are out there in the “real world,” they devote themselves to my pleasure in our sheltered realm of desire. In the end, all of us have a good time, unlike in the real world, where that doesn’t happen often enough.

For me, and possibly the readers of Fifty Shades of Grey, sexual fantasy addresses the power inequities I’ve experienced in our society and temporarily heals them. I came to this understanding in the early 1990s when I read Dorothy Allison’s novel, Bastard Out of Carolina. The novel was one of the first to explore incest and child abuse with courage and insight. I remember hearing a discussion on Fresh Air about the way the main character, Bone, processed her step-father’s abuse. The real-world abuse happened in secret, an erasure of Bone’s free will and her welfare, but in her fantasies, a huge crowd observed and applauded her. Thus the world witnessed the genuine pleasure that she controlled.

Some of us suffer more extreme abuse that others, but I’d argue that nearly everyone experiences some level of sexual shame and rejection. Kudos to those who’ve escaped society’s messages that repress and demean our natural erotic urges—and do share your secrets of resilience and resistance! I’m certainly stronger now, but most definitely was shamed for my imperfect body and my unfeminine sexual interest in the past.

As I was pondering the topic of this column, I came upon an interesting quote in Robert G. Lee’s Orientals: Asian Americans in Popular Culture:

“Sexuality does the political work of defining and regulating desire as well as the body, determining whose bodies and what body parts are eroticized; what activities are sexual and with whom; under what conditions those activities are acceptable; what privileges, rewards, and punishments accompany sexual behavior; and how the erotic may be distinguished from the non-erotic. Articulated by systems of race and class, with the logics [sic] of national identity, and with the organization of gender, sexuality is organized to produce and reproduce the social relations of production.” (p. 85-86)

Lee discusses the portrayal of the sexuality of Asian Americans in a nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century world that was hostile to their very humanity. Inter-racial sex was particularly compelling to Americans a century ago because it did threaten rigid racial, gendered and class boundaries. In any case, I would argue that sexual fantasy deconstructs the regulations and categories that any culture attempts to impose to control the chaos of desire. Pretty much all of my sexual turn-on’s involve mildly transgressive sexual behavior of some sort, be it the location or the partner or just the fact that sexual pleasure itself is taboo. “The forbidden is exciting” is common wisdom, but why is that so?

I don’t intend that to be a rhetorical question. Our Core Erotic Themes are a source of endless fascination to which we return again and again. What are they trying to tell us? What needs are they trying to fill? For me, a basic issue is the revelation of my sexual self and permission to enjoy it. Nineteenth-century social mores held that men had sexual desire and women had none—much has changed but this legacy is still strong enough in many of us. Yet in my fantasies I can claim both at once as my “male” side encourages the “female” to let loose. Perhaps, in their own fantasies, some men can claim the part of themselves that wants to be desired and courted and coaxed to satisfaction without all the burdens masculinity imposes.

The variations are endless, but what I’d like to leave you with is this idea: erotic stories and fantasies are not just about lowly carnal pleasure and thus easily discarded when they’ve fulfilled their immediate purpose. These stories and daydreams have much to tell us about our society, our desires, our resentments, and our deepest selves—if we listen.

Next month, we’ll talk about dreams at night and what they have to tell us!

Write on!

About the Author Donna George Storey

Donna George Storey

I want to change the world one dirty story at a time.

When I posted this mission statement on my website, I hoped my cheeky ambition would make my readers smile. I smile every time I read it myself. And yet I’m totally serious. I truly believe that writers who are brave enough to speak their truth about the erotic experience in all its complexity—the yearning, the pleasure, the conflicts, and the sweet satisfaction—do change the world for the better.

So if you’re here at ERWA because you’re already writing erotica, a big thank you and keep on doing what you’re doing. If you’re more a reader than a writer, I encourage you to start dreaming and writing and expressing the truth and magic of this fundamental part of the human experience in your own unique voice. Can there be a more pleasurable way to change the world?

I'm the author of Amorous Woman, a semi-autobiographical erotic novel set in Japan, The Mammoth Book of Erotica Presents the Best of Donna George Storey  and nearly 200 short stories and essays in journals and anthologies. Check out my Facebook author page at:



  1. Avatar

    Excellent post. I get so annoyed when someone asks why I don’t write something “serious”. Meanwhile I can hardly imagine a more worthy theme than the exploration of our sexual selves.

  2. Donna George Storey

    I agree it is a most worthy theme! I was checking out some reader reviews of a book and someone said that they read to learn about the inner lives of the characters, things that they usually can’t access in ordinary life. Our sexual selves are often the most hidden aspect–erotica opens that door in a way that most literary fiction is still hesitant to do.

Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica


  • 2019 (35)
  • 2018 (93)
  • 2017 (103)
  • 2016 (137)
  • 2015 (160)
  • 2014 (155)
  • 2013 (144)
  • 2012 (110)
  • 2011 (14)
  • 2010 (5)
  • 2009 (31)
  • 2008 (8)
  • 2007 (3)


Babysitting the Baumgartners - The Movie
From Adam & Eve - Based on the Book by New York Times Bestselling Authors Selena Kitt

Pin It on Pinterest