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Big DreamsThe Science of Dreaming and the Origins of Religion$
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Kelly Bulkeley

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199351534

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199351534.001.0001

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(p.160) 10 Sexual
Big Dreams

Kelly Bulkeley

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the “sexual” prototype of big dreaming. These kinds of dreams often involve vivid experiences of romantic activity, pregnancy, and sexual arousal, sometimes leading in directions that deviate dramatically from waking life moral standards. This chapter looks at the frequency of such dreams in the general population, and their recurrence in various cultures throughout history and around the world. Research from neuroscience and cognitive psychology is presented to show which brain systems are most likely to be active while sexual dreams are occurring. The argument is presented that intensely sexual dreams, even when they violate the taboos of society, serve the valuable evolutionary function of sparking people’s sexual desires and preparing them for reproductive pursuits and activities in waking life.

Keywords:   dreams, dreaming, big dreams, prototypes of dreaming, sexual dreams, pregnancy dreams, sexual taboos, evolution of sexuality

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