A fiend or incubus formerly supposed to cause trouble in sleep.
A condition in sleep usually caused by improper eating or by digestive or nervous troubles, and characterized by a sense of extreme uneasiness or discomfort (as of weight on the chest or stomach, impossibility of motion or speech, etc.), or by frightful or oppressive dreams, from which one wakes after extreme anxiety, in a troubled state of mind; incubus.
Hence, any overwhelming, oppressive, or stupefying influence.
The question of sexual dominance can exist only in the nightmare of that soul which has armed itself, totally, against the possibility of the changing motion of conquest and surrender, which is love. James A. Baldwin