So Absurd, It Must Be True Are spirit spouses responsible for sexsomnia?

My fiancé and I were driving home one evening as he had just picked me up from the hospital where I worked. His office was afew kilometres from mine. He turned on the car radio and tuned to a local radio station. A radio jingle from a well-known church in our city was playing. It was assiduously advertising a two-day deliverance crusade. The less-than-a-minute jingle insinuated that women who were over thirty and weren’t married had “spirit husbands”. It repeatedly echoed, “Come and bedelivered from your spirit husbands and be married within seven days.” It was so ridiculous that I started laughing. I found itabsurd that spirit husbands could be in any way a reason why women over thirty were unmarried. To my utmost dismay, my fiancé seemed to believe in the perception of spirit husbands and he was actually amazed that I had never heard about this phenomenon. He said it was common talk everywhere. So he took some time to enlighten me.

The concept of spirit spouse is a prevalent ideology of mysticism, dispersed through various cultures and religions around the world. Often, these spirit husbands or wives are primarily accused of sexually arousing and harassing their victims while they are asleep which often leads to subsequent ejaculation in men. They wake up to a hard penis that just ejaculated. For women, they are sexually aroused which leads to vaginal wetness and awaking to experience an orgasm.

Oh, really! Men do have spiritual wives too.

I giggled.

Of course, but spiritual husbands are more common. Some women sleep through their climax. The ones who have orgasms while sleeping are not able to say with certainty if they had orgasms during their sleep or not which makes it spookier because their spiritual husband wiped it off their memory through demonic manipulation.

Demonic manipulation?

I interrupted.

Do you truly believe in these kinds of superstitions? Why have you ruled out the thought that this said victim could be having a wet dream or is aroused by his or her mind recreating an event that happened during the day

I jolted his thoughts.

Basically, wet dreams do not occur with manual or spirit stimulation, but instead as a result of natural processes.

I said agitatedly, turning down the radio because the jingle was up again.

Natural as in the you-can’t-stop-thinking-about-how-hot-your-waiter-was-before-you-fell-asleep type of vibes.

Oh, come on! These things do happen and it’s normal. There is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary, supernatural or demonic about sexual arousal in your sleep or even orgasm.

Sexual arousal happens during REM sleep: During the REM stage in sleep, the blood flow in the pelvic region gets boosted. This leads to erection in men and vaginal wetting in women. Sexual arousal can occur when one watches erotic films, masturbates or even after sexual intercourse. A lot of times, many people are brought awake to find themselves sexually aroused or having had/still having a sexual orgasm.

Aaaahhh! You haven’t seen or heard anything yet. These things are more than just wet dreams. I recently watched a video online of a lady making love to the air in her bed at night. She was actively doing every sexual move.

I have been a clinical psychologist for eight years and in all my years of practice at home and abroad, I haven’t heard anything this silly.

Look at you. It’s because you were schooled abroad and practised a few years there before returning. Now you’re practising in one of the biggest hospitals in the city where your clients are mostly the highest social strata. They wouldn’t come to you with the issues of spiritual spouses.

He teased.

These things do happen but there are no spirit husbands in the picture. The lady in question may have a sleep disorder.

Sleep disorder?

Yes sleep disorder. It is called sexsomnia also known as sleep sex. It is considered a type of parasomnia, an abnormal activity, behaviour, or experience that occurs during deep sleep. As with other parasomnias, such as sleepwalking, sleep talking, and sleep driving, sexsomnia could be caused by a disruption while the brain is moving between deep sleep cycles. These disturbances are often called confusion arousals (CAs).

See, the words you used to describe these behaviours were abnormal and confusion arousal yet you say it’s normal. Come off it my dear, spiritual things do exist and some women have spiritual husbands. Our God is not a God of confusion so this behaviour is from the pit of hell, the pit of hell I say.

He growled holding the steering wheel firmly.

Gosh! This is ridiculous. Ok, as a sociologist who has been a bank representative for a few years now and I know you’re a firm believer in Freud’s psychodynamic theories. Freud’s theory of dreams suggests that dreams represent unconscious desires, thoughts, wish fulfilment, and motivations. Even you should know that.

Freud’s theory contains some elements of truth. However, it is not wholly true. All dreams are not direct or indirect fulfilments. There are several counter arguments to Freud’s theories. So you better not

I better not what? You of all people should know better. These conditions are real and treatable but not by deliverance. One must first see a professional and get a diagno…

The car came to an abrupt stop. We were in front of my block of flats.

I love you, and I respect you. Let’s speak about this later when we are both kinder and ready to see each other’s point of view.

I will come over for lunch tomorrow

He said kissing my right hand.

The well-intentioned conversation had grown into an argument that was reductive, pointless and exhausting. So I stopped, stepped out of the car and walked into my apartment quietly.

How did I make the decision that truly mattered?

My journey to hell and back began over a decade ago when I was 22 and wild. I kissed Blake Buckner one night and was to be married to him when I was not quite 23. We had been out at a bar in San Francisco where you could smoke, and then we went to his apartment and drunkenly ate stale bread and butter, and then we made out. I had known him for several months in a friendly way — we lived near one another — but a few days before the bread and butter I noticed, out of nowhere, an insistent desire to be near him.

Everything happened so fast; I was at a short period in my life when I really felt like I had got my acts together. After a protracted gastrointestinal issue, I was finally the level of thin I always really wanted to be. I had two part-time jobs and a condo apartment to myself. I had absolutely no sense of consequence. During this period, I had always craved the attention of men, and it was thrilling to feel that, for once, in such abundance that I could take it or leave it. I was so fleetingly confident in my ability to bend a man to my will, in fact, that when I realized I was pining for the man I would marry, I invited Blake to my grandmother’s 75th birthday party — a bold strategy for courtship. By the time the birthday party came around, we had eaten the bread and butter; I think we were already in love.

Blake’s appearance was very deceptive; no one could ever suspect him to be violent, although he was sometimes plagued by intrusive thoughts and knocked constantly on wooden tables and doors. On a certain day, we went out with some of his friends and he had been drinking all day, and then his old girlfriend arrived. I was upset because she sat on his lap. Then she held his face in her arms tracing his cheekbones with her fingertips and kissed him while he wrapped her in his broad shoulders with me right there; he didn’t stop her so I went to sit in the car. He came bellowing over, so I locked the door. He put his fist through the passenger window then dragged me through it. After receiving a few punches in the head, one of his friends drove me home. At home, I tended to my sore head, scrapes and bruises, but what hurt most was that it happened at all. The next day when he arrived at the flat he was full of remorse – things would be different, he wouldn’t drink and he would never hurt me again.

I believed him; things did improve for a while. Soon I discovered I was pregnant, he seemed over the moon with the news. A few months later, we had a little argument over his leaving the front door ajar upon his return from his drinking escapades. During the argument he punched me in the stomach. I ended up in the hospital with a ruptured cyst on my ovary. The baby was all right. Returning home I gave him an ultimatum – that if he ever hits me again I would leave him. He pleaded with me and agreed to all my terms.

However after our baby was born the drinking continued, and the abuse continued. I stayed, as I could not see a way out. Brief times when he was sober, things seemed pleasant. My way of life became moving from one house to another with him, as people became aware of my situation (the domestic abuse), although I had learnt to hide the bruises and he was good at not leaving them where they could be seen. Over the years I took out several Intervention Orders on him, which I then dropped when he made his promises and sometimes, even, threats against me.

On our child’s birthday he received a gaol sentence of several months for drunk driving and assault on a police officer. I still didn’t leave. During his time in gaol I visited often – he made more promises: no more drinking, no more abuse. When he left gaol, things were great for a while, and I hoped that his time in gaol had changed him. I got pregnant again, this time with twins. When I was pregnant we moved again, this time to be closer to his family, as I was going to need help and support with twins on the way. This was a move I should never have made. His father also had a drinking problem; they were a bad influence on each other. During my pregnancy he abused me again and again. Another time I pulled a kitchen knife on him and he laughed, as he knew I would not use it, then he spat in my face. There were times when he was at the hotel with his parents, I would pray that someone would knock on my door and tell me he was dead, rather than face him coming home. I was trapped; the only people I knew were his family. I had no way out.

Once our new babies were born, things remained the same. I looked after the children; he went to the hotel or to smoke dope with a mate. Life was tough and often there was no money for food. I stopped eating so what we had would go further. As long as he had his beer he didn’t care. He would complain when the babies cried and tell me `to shut them up or else.’ Every day I lived in fear, never knowing what his mood would be.

One day I left him to care for the twins, so I could collect our eldest child from daycare. I returned home to find one of the twins was cold and shaking, I was horrified. It turned out they had a dirty nappy and he had put them in the bath with a cold shower running, in the middle of winter. A few weeks later when i wanted to breast feed one of the twins; I went to her cot and found a blanket over her, a shirt was wrapped around her head and shoved in her mouth. Quickly I removed it and she gasped for breath. I was shocked and angry. How could he do this to his own child? I confronted him and rang his parents for help. When his parents arrived, his father was drunk, saying `it’s alright son, I know she’s bullshitting’. He swung a few punches at me, then left to go to his parents for the night.

I was distraught, frightened, and knew I had to protect my children. I found the phone book and looked under ‘Domestic Violence’ in the front. I got several phone numbers; I started with the first. The first few refuges I rang were full and asked if I could wait. Finally I rang a Salvation Army refuge, and an elderly man answered; I don’t know how he understood me through my many sobs as I tried to tell my story. He said `not now, tell me when you get here, do you need help, how soon can you get here?’ my reply was` we are on our way.’ I grabbed my box of photo albums, a garbage bag of clothes for the children and myself, and took my dog, which had been a loyal friend for many years, and we left.

Driving early that morning, I was a little scared of the future, but not like I had been every day for the last five years. The eggshells I had been treading on were gone, my children could cry and I didn’t have to shush them. I was determined to turn my life around.

I spent a week at that refuge before moving interstate. I changed my name, and began to rebuild my life. A few months later, I moved into a housing commission house, got part time work, and had started making friends for the first time since leaving school. Life was great.

Fourteen months later, after I trusted the wrong person, Blake contacted me. He pleaded with me to believe that he had changed, he been to counseling, anger management etc. etc. He was real convincing – the old charm was back. I agreed to give it a trial, but said that things would have to go slowly. He could not live with me. And no more alcohol. He saw us once a month to begin with as he lived a long way away. Soon he moved to the town where I was living.

One weekend he was staying with us, he started drinking. We were having a conversation and at some point it escalated and I asked him to leave. I walked over to the door, opened it and said we could have the conversation another day. He grabbed me by the hood of my sweatshirt, threw me out my door and got on top of me and started choking me. I managed to break away and ran out the front door. He caught up with me at our front lawn, pushed me to the ground and started punching and kicking me. I thought he was going to kill me. Our neighbour’s voice called out that she had called the police and he fled.

A few days later, Blake Buckner was apprehended by the police for assaulting his estranged wife. The only problem was that Blake had already been arrested for the same crime days earlier, and records showed that he was currently serving his six-month sentence in prison. They checked. He was still there.

Before the time-travel division could be called to untangle the apparent paradox, though, my mother in-law came and cleared everything up: Blake had a twin named Jake who had a habit of going to jail for his brother’s crimes. In total, Jake says he voluntarily served four sentences for Blake, simply because he loved his brother and believed he wasn’t ready for prison life. Since Jake was serving time for his brother’s crime I never met him.

She explained; “It all started in the ’90s when Blake signed up for the Army and went through months of training, only to decide at the last minute that he didn’t want to be shipped off to Iraq to serve as a helicopter mechanic. Jake said, “What the heck, I’ll go for you” — he’d fixed a few cars in his neighborhood, so how hard could a helicopter be?”

“Since no one caught them (Jake became a crew chief in Iraq), the twins kept pulling the ol’ switcheroo every time Blake got into trouble. Jake had some run-ins with the law himself and insisted that his bro was too soft and delicate to spend time in prison … despite the fact that Blake was a violent wife-puncher just like his dad who repeated abused his wife and children,” she cried.

When a judge told her to cut that shit out and sentenced Blake to six months in jail, Jake once again stepped up and turned himself in, pretending to be his brother. Apparently they didn’t bother to check his fingerprints because they didn’t know he had a twin, never mind one stupid enough to take his place.

Who should wear the Diamond Ring?

diamond Ring

Our lives are full of countless distractions which interfere with opportunities for good family time. It is challenging to find meaningful, trans-generational experiences that bring family and friends together to create wonderful memories.

Bengina and I spent three nights with some of our friends at Lebombo Lodge, and in this beautiful environment we shared the most perfect times together. We did special things apart from the more obvious routine of game drives in open vehicles. Most memorable was a walk at dawn that started along the top of a ridge that extends from the edges of the Lebombo mountain range, from there a clamber down the rocks to the N’wanetsi River  bank and then under the canopy of the riverine forest beside the river. With the early morning sun rising over the trees and under the expert direction of our accompanying guide and tracker, we saw signs of the nocturnal activities of the night before. The track of a civet, the hop marks of a grey tree frog, fresh elephant dung and the distinctive shuffle tracks of hippos.

We had the excitement of seeing two uncommon species of bird and listened to many different bird calls in the fresh morning air. Our walk took us past caves in the cliffs along the river where white-rumped swifts were returning from their annual intra-African migration and we watched them swoop in and out the caves as they check out and lay claim to last year’s nests.

 While we were watching the swifts we realized that there was a constant hissing noise in the background and further investigation revealed a pit filled with the most colorful but venomous vipers we had ever seen. Emilia felt panic begin like a cluster of spark plugs in her abdomen. Emilia Spice was ophidiophobic; she had a morbid fear for snakes. Tension grew in her face and limbs, in her bid to take flight wriggling her fingers in disgust; her 23 carat white gold solitaire engagement ring fell from into the pit.  Clipper her fiancé was devastated; he didn’t know which to go for; his 15,000 dollar or his beloved Emilia.  Suddenly Colette – a lady who had joined our morning hike because she missed her trip a day before jumped into pit.

Everyone went quiet and took steps backwards unconsciously. She landed in between more than a dozen snakes. She was still for a few seconds evaluating the state of the snakes. Then she slowly eases away from them, making no sudden movements. She tiptoed in between the slithering vipers to get to pick up the ring. Suddenly, she mistakenly alerted three vipers gliding on their bellies over parched soil and stones. One of the snakes drew its head and body back in an S curve. It seemed ready to strike. There was another snake stretched out to her side; its gaze was fixed on Colette, a dark tongue flitting into the air every few seconds, tasting the fear, the cologne, and the sweat. In those heads the size of a hand like thin fangs, they were ready to inject a fatal amount of venom deep into her muscles. Emilia found her escape route through a couple of other vipers slinking away from the intruding scent towards a dry twig. She hurriedly climbed up a boulder and pushed upward gaining a foot hold on the sandy pit wall; she pitched forward and tumbling over her back. She gave the ring back to the Emilia; Clipper was stunned – first by her bravery then by her beauty even though she was covered in dust.

“Thank you so much” Clipper said warmly with a smile.” That was a brave thing you did down there.”

 We applauded, celebrating the hero.  We were glad everyone was safe. It was a terrifying scene to watch.

We were  quiet as we walked pass the natural spring nearby where fresh water bubbles directly from the earth flows down to create a life sustaining pool in the otherwise dry river bed. It was a beautiful sight but we were already exhausted from the life show Colette had put up.

Hours later, while we were having dinner under the stars I sat numb in an array of thoughts. I breathed the fresh air, torn between my loyalty and my desire to tell the truth.  Emila has been cheating on Clipper with Paul – my colleague at the fire station for over three years now. She even recently got an abortion for him. All these years I was hoping Clipper would see the signs but he was just too blinded by his love for Emila; his first love.

I stared at the diamond ring seated upon Emilia’s finger, welded to a strangling band of the purest gold. “Should that ring belong to Emila? She has done nothing to deserve it. Colette risked her life to get the ring; I guess she would make a better owner,” I thought – maybe not as a band of love but as spoils for a warlord. I wrapped my arms around Bengina in a moment and I let my head rest upon her chest. I wished to clear my head and not terminate the cheer in the air.