No matter how dedicated you are to your partner, you can’t avoid sex dreams. Once your head hits the pillow and your subconscious takes over, you mind will image whatever – and whoever – it likes.
It could be that sexy colleague from work who’s been catching your eye recently. However, once you dream about doing all sorts of naughty things to them, it can be quite difficult to look them in the eye – especially if you’ve got a partner waiting for you at home.
But whether your single or in a relationship, sex dreams are going to happen whether you enjoy them or not.
Now, even from middle school, we’re all taught about how teenage boys can have wet dreams if they get too excited whilst in slumber. But what we’re never told about is how women can also have wet dreams. Sure, they may not be as messy, but they do happen!
The different is, men tend to have them when they’re younger, whilst women have them as they get older. Women are also more likely to have them in between periods, when you’re ovulating and your hormone levels lead to a surge in libido.
But why do we have them? And what do they mean?
Having an orgasm when you’re sleeping can seem like a perplexing thing. I mean, it can take A LOT of effort – so surely they can’t come easily (get it?) when you’re asleep? However, dream analyst Lauri Quinn Loewenberg revealed to Bustle that our bodies can’t distinguish between when we’re dreaming and when we’re asleep.
When we’re sleeping, our prefrontal cortexes are suppressed, and we’re not aware that it is all, in fact, just a dream. For example, when you have a nightmare, you wake up with your heart racing and sweating from fear. Same goes when you have a sexy dream – in fact, we may just orgasm.
Sex dreams are the main cause of wet dreams. Loeowenberg explains how they’re not just physical reactions:
“While dreaming of sexual activity, the brain sends signals to our nerve endings down there that sex is happening. So, it reacts as is it really were happening: blood rushes to the vagina, it contracts and pulsates and eventually — ba da bing! You’ve had an orgasm.”
Most people know when they’ve had a wet dream because the intensity of the orgasm will usually wake them up.
So how often do we have sex dreams? Well, they’re not as common as you may think.
Astroglide‘s in-house sexologist Dr. Jess O’Reilly revealed to Bustle how one study discovered that college-aged men would dream about sex nine times a year on average, and while it isn’t known exactly how common wet dreams are, many people don’t have them at all. (I can honestly say I have never had one. Which is kinda depressing to think I can’t even get laid in my dreams.)
One theory suggests that wet dreams are caused by a increased activity in the dopaminergic system (the brain’s reward center), and a suppression of the prefrontal cortex, which often controls a person’s sexual urges.
But wet dreams may also have more psychological roots – after all, why do you choose that person to have sex with in your dreams?
“We most often dream of having sex with someone we would never touch in that way because sex in a dream isn’t as much about a physical union you want as it is about a psychological union you need.
When you dream of someone in that way, there is very likely something about them you need to incorporate into your own life or into your own behavior. Perhaps they are very laid back and never seemed to be stressed about anything. That may be the quality your dreaming mind wants you to ‘connect’ or ‘unite’ with.”
This essentially means, just because you’re dreaming about having sex with somebody, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sexually attracted to them – it more than likely means you feel a connection with them on some other level.
“For example, you may have recently had a meaningful conversation with the person, or perhaps you united and did a project together for work,” says Loewenberg. “In these cases, the sex dream sort of ‘consummates’ the successful real life connection or meeting of the minds.”
So don’t worry yourselves – if you had a sex dream about somebody you find attractive, then great! But if you’ve been left horrified and confused because you’re never touch them in real life, then don’t worry – it doesn’t mean you secretly do want to do them.