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Yazmajian, R.V. (1967). The Influence of Testicular Sensory Stimuli on the Dream. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 15:83-98.

(1967). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 15:83-98

The Influence of Testicular Sensory Stimuli on the Dream

Richard V. Yazmajian, M.D.


The experimental work of Fisher, Gross, and Zuch (6) and others (10), (11), (21), (22), (23), (26), (27), (28) has demonstrated that neurophysiologically determined full or partial erection occurs before and during 95 percent of dreams as indicated by REM studies. Fisher (5) suggested that physiological stimuli resulting from neurophysiologically induced nocturnal erection affect the manifest and latent content of the dream and that the nocturnal erection is reciprocally influenced by the psychic content of the dream.

Masters and Johnson (19) demonstrated, through direct observation of changes in the genitals during sexual activity, the similarities in the changes that simultaneously take place in the penis and in the contents of the scrotal sac in adults. An increase in blood supply and size occurs in both penis and testicles during sexual excitement. The rise of the penis during erection is accompanied by cremasteric contraction and the elevation of the testicles in the scrotal sac. The testicles diminish in volume after orgasm and descend into the scrotal sac as the penis falls limp.

Psychoanalytic material is offered which demonstrates that the above testicular changes and reflex activity accompany nocturnal

erection. Further, that the resulting sensory stimuli are perceived during dreaming; are emotionally reacted to in the context of the individual's psychology; and are given symbolic representation in the manifest content. These findings indicate that physiologically induced testicular sensory stimuli have an important influence on the dream which both parallels and complements that outlined by Fisher in regard to neurophysiologically induced nocturnal erection.

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