Sweet Wet Dreams

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Sweet Wet Dreams

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How many of you have had dreams about sex and end up having an orgasm in your sleep? And how many of you have orgasms in your sleep on a regular basis?

Most people know that men start having wet dreams (nocturnal emissions) at puberty. Orgasms (or ejaculations) during sleep are a natural and common occurrence. For men, the terms wet dreams, nocturnal emissions, or spontaneous orgasms are all the same thing. Some men are woken up by their orgasm/ejaculation, while others wake up to find that they have already come and may not remember having had a sex dream. And just because a man masturbates or has regular sexual activity, doesn’t mean that he won’t necessarily have wet dreams. It depends on the man.

What I find very interesting and not often discussed, is that women also have sex dreams that may or may not end in orgasm. As with other aspects of sexual arousal, there may be no obvious, tangible signs (like ejaculation), but she may be woken up by a strong orgasm. In fact, some women report they can have stronger orgasms in their sleep compared to the orgasms they have when they are awake. Some women can even have multiple orgasms in their sleep. Because women usually don’t have ’emissions’ with their sex dreams, terms like nocturnal orgasms, spontaneous orgasms, and sleep-related orgasms are used to describe these instead. Even though Kinsey reported that about 37% of women admitted to a sleep-related orgasm by age 45, and more recent surveys place that percentage much higher, it still seems that many people are not aware of this occurrence, and therefore have a some misunderstandings or guilt about it.

It is important to understand that sleep-related orgasms are a natural occurrence for both men and women that can start around the time of puberty. Some studies suggest that the occurrence of sleep-related orgasms may correspond to relative testosterone levels, both for men and women. Some cultures have been more open in talking about it than others. In fact, there is historical documentation of sleep-related orgasms for women dating back to ancient Greece about women having and enjoying sex dreams. (Gotta love the Greeks!) Despite it being such a common occurrence, it is not really taught in sex education classes, or by parents (especially not for girls). Consequently, many people develop bad feelings or guilt related to having sex dreams and sleep-related orgasms because they think they are not normal, or they are disturbed by the content of their dream.

As a psychiatrist, let me tell you that sex dreams, like most other dreams, are usually symbolic in nature. What this means is that what you are dreaming about usually stands for something or someone else and should not always be interpreted at face value. Many times people become alarmed if they are dreaming about someone other than their partner, or situations that they would usually find offensive or unacceptable. But dreams are tricky like that. They are the unconscious mind’s way of working things out that doesn’t always make sense to our conscious mind. Just because you become extremely excited dreaming about group sex, or some random person you met on the street, it doesn’t mean that is your actual wish. Women may have dreams about sex with other women, for example, as a way for the mind to experiment without real-life consequences. Sex dreams should not necessarily be seen as a reflection of what a person wants when they are awake. Nor should they be seen as a sign of infidelity or desire to be unfaithful. It’s just the way the unconscious mind works.

Sleep-related orgasms are found to occur most often in REM sleep when most other dream activity happens. They can also happen during a REM cycle during a daytime nap. The interesting part about sex dreams and sleep-related orgasms is that for many people, especially women, they can be more intense than what they experience in their sex life. This is because while you are asleep, there is less inhibition and less conscious restraint. Studies of brain scans have shown that there is actually a ‘turning off’ of certain areas in the brain that process outside information, motor activity, and emotion at the time of orgasm. This is very similar to a sleep state, and may help explain why there are less barriers to intense sexual excitation (especially for women) during sleep than when they are awake. Also, during sleep and dreaming, there is the ability to paint an optimal scenario where you get exactly the stimulation you want when and where you want it, which may not happen precisely in real life.

So we see that sex dreams and sleep-related orgasms are natural, healthy, and common. They should not be considered wrong, immoral, abnormal, or perverted. Just take them as they come. Sweet dreams.

Master of Your Domain
Kegels for Men and Women
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