Chapter V – Sex in Dreams

6. A modified stair-dream.

To one of my very nervous patients, who was an abstainer, whose fancy was fixed on his mother, and who repeatedly dreamed of climbing stairs accompanied by his mother, I once remarked that moderate masturbation would be less harmful to him than enforced abstinence. This influence provoked the following dream:

“His piano teacher reproaches him for neglecting his piano-playing, and for not practicing the Etudes of Moscheles and Clementi’s Gradus ad Parnassum.” In relation to this he remarked that the Gradus is only a stairway, and that the piano itself is only a stairway as it has a scale.

It is correct to say that there is no series of associations which cannot be adapted to the representation of sexual facts. I conclude with the dream of a chemist, a young man, who has been trying to give up his habit of masturbation by replacing it with intercourse with women.

Preliminary statement.—On the day before the dream he had given a student instruction concerning Grignard’s reaction, in which magnesium is to be dissolved in absolutely pure ether under the catalytic influence of iodine. Two days before, there had been an explosion in the course of the same reaction, in which the investigator had burned his hand.

Dream I. He is to make phenylmagnesium-bromid; he sees the apparatus with particular clearness, but he has substituted himself for the magnesium. He is now in a curious swaying attitude. He keeps repeating to himself, “This is the right thing, it is working, my feet are beginning to dissolve and my knees are getting soft.” Then he reaches down and feels for his feet, and meanwhile (he does not know how) he takes his legs out of the crucible, and then again he says to himself, “That cannot be…. Yes, it must be so, it has been done correctly.” Then he partially awakens, and repeats the dream to himself, because he wants to tell it to me. He is distinctly afraid of the analysis of the dream. He is much excited during this semi-sleeping state, and repeats continually, “Phenyl, phenyl.”

II. He is in ….ing with his whole family; at half-past eleven. He is to be at the Schottenthor for a rendezvous with a certain lady, but he does not wake up until half-past eleven. He says to himself, “It is too late now; when you get there it will be half-past twelve.” The next instant he sees the whole family gathered about the table—his mother and the servant girl with the soup-tureen with particular clearness. Then he says to himself, “Well, if we are eating already, I certainly can’t get away.”

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