Whoa! Some super attractive person is kissing your neck! You have literally no idea who they are, but you like it! You grab that booty, they’re into it! You both get naked! There’s… also a flying turtle singing “Hallelujah?” But never mind that! You’re about to get laid!
No… no, wait, suddenly you’re on the side of an active volcano and that super attractive other person is now a can of Chef Boyardee Beefaroni and now you’re blearily opening your eyes in confusion, and Goddammit, this always happens, life sucks and what the absolute shit.
Sadly, being “dream cockblocked,” whether by an abrupt shift in scene or simply waking up, is a common occurrence — so much so that the phrase even has a definition on Urban Dictionary: “When someone or something wakes you up from a dream where you’re about to screw a hot chick.”
There are also several Reddit threads complaining about this phenomenon. “I often get these dreams where I’m flirting with a girl I have a crush on in the real world,” user c-blocked writes (sic). “Finally, we end up getting naked. I’m ready to go — and bam! — we’re interrupted by some weird reason, which is absurd most of the time. WTF? It literally happens like two or three times a month.”
Similarly, user funeralpallor explains that they never get the opportunity to penetrate during their sex dreams (sic):
“Just recently, I had a ‘sex dream’ in which I was kissing a girl — groping, licking and what not — but the dream unfortunately ended right before we were going to start on the main act: Penetration.
“I’ve been having these types of dreams ever since I was in my early teens, and more often than not, they left me feeling extremely sexually frustrated first thing in the morning (which isn’t a very good feeling). I usually fantasize an ending to the dream and masturbate like hell until I climax or until I’m satisfied.”
Underneath these threads, some commenters speculate as to why this happens. “It could be that you get too excited and prematurely wake yourself up because of that,” redditor Zallkar writes (sic). Fellow comment RenaKunisaki suggests, “Maybe your subconscious is saying it’s not ready or doesn’t know what to do next.”
To try and find a conclusive answer, I reached out to Terry Cralle, certified clinical sleep educator and author of Sleeping Your Way to the Top: How to Get the Sleep You Need to Succeed. “I have no idea off the top of my head,” she told me. “But you can be damn sure I’ve thought about this when I’m often just seconds away from a good time with Bradley Cooper.”
I then discovered a video featuring renowned sleep expert Colin Espie, who explains that nightmares can provoke our fight-or-flight response and encourage the release of adrenalin. When that adrenaline is released, it typically shocks the body awake.
Sex can motivate the release of several hormones as well, including epinephrine (the adrenaline hormone). You can imagine, then, that your body might release a surge of adrenaline right when you’re about to hit peak dream sex, which unfortunately causes you to wake up (or inspires a change in venue). In other words, that one Reddit user who suggested we get too excited — and that wakes us up — was probably more or less correct.
In other words, your body gets too excited and you blow it. Sound familiar?