Sex dreams: the truth behind them

If you’ve ever woken up confused — and maybe even slightly aroused — about why your dreams were full of steamy sex scenes with you as the main character, you’re not alone. I have erotic dreams from time to time which I find quite pleasant and even arousing. 

Sex dreams are a normal part of life. In fact, it’s relatively safe to say that we all have them at some point — some more than others. It is probably in great connection of how much and often one thinks, reads about sex and/or actually engages in sexual activity. For me it is basically a “professional hazard”, I suppose. Dreaming about sexual activity with someone other than your partner is also normal, and does not make you to become instantly a cheater or unfaithful person. Modern society urges us to practice monogamy, but I am not sure that will work for everybody. It certainly does not for me.

What dreams can tell us?

We all want to know the meaning of our dreams, especially when they leave us perplexed and wondering why a particular theme played out while we slept.

Dream content often relates back to what’s happening in your waking life. So when your days are filled with stress and anxiety, you may end up having some unpleasant dreams. But if things are going well and you feel satisfied, your dreams may take on a different twist.

Dr. Janet Brito, a licensed psychologist and AASECT certified sex therapist, explains that dreams are a way to reveal what is invisible to you. They serve as an inner guidance system, give you commentary about how you’re living your life, and reveal symbolic images for you to explore with curiosity.

The symbols and images in your dreams connect you to your feelings, your wishes, or something that you’re trying to resolve, says Brito.

The meaning of sex dreams

Decoding the meaning behind sex dreams is not a one-size-fits-all process. While you may have the urge to interpret your sex dream literally, Brito says to capture the essence of a dream, it’s best to focus on the symbolic representation.

“When sex shows up in your dreams, break it down into a story that has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and focus on experiencing the feelings in your dream and being curious about where the energy of the dream leads you, specifically of how the dream ends,” explains Brito. “This will reveal to you the emotional need that your sex dream is trying to have you fulfil in waking life,” she adds.

That’s why it’s OK to not read too much into last night’s dream that featured you doing things you never thought you would do with your boss. Even sex dreams that might be considered “taboo” are nothing to worry about. You just have to dig a little deeper to see what your subconscious is saying about your waking life.

Again, it’s important to point out that decoding the meaning behind sex dreams is not a one-size-fits-all process. We all attach a different meaning to each scenario. However, there are some common themes that appear in sex dreams. Here are a few scenarios that might regularly pops up in your erotic dreams.

1. Sex with a stranger or acquaintance

It may suggest that perhaps your libido is high and you’re not getting your needs met.

What to do about it:

Don’t look too much into this dream. It may just be about your active (or overactive) libido. If that’s the case, open communication with your partner is a good place to start. Let them know how you’re feeling and what you want more of, but be sensitive to the fact that they may not feel the same way.

2. Recurring sex dreams with an ex

Depending on how often you’re having these dreams and how long you’ve been split from your ex, they could mean anything from getting used to a new partner to unresolved grief about an ex.

What to do about it:

If you’re fresh off of a breakup, allow yourself time to adjust to having sex with a new partner. However, if it’s been several months or even years since your breakup and you still have recurring sex dreams with the same ex, it might be time to work with a professional through some grief issues around this relationship, or feeling unfulfilled in your current relationship.

3. Sex dreams involving BDSM

BDSM stands for bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism. “This dream may mean that you had an overbearing mother or father, and you are familiarly tantalised by the idea of being tied up and overcome by a love object (person),” explains Dr. Fran Walfish, a Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist. Other possible interpretations include a desire to control or wishing others would take initiative.

What to do about it:

“There is nothing perverted, wrong, or unnatural with this — our sexual experiences are personal and private,” explains Walfish.

When one partner wants to try BDSM or toys, but the other partner isn’t interested, she says to gently tell your partner exactly what you’d like to try. Be clear that you’re completely satisfied with them as your partner, and offer to exchange the favour by trying something your partner would enjoy.

4. Oral sex

This dream could mean that you were raised with direct or covert messages that oral sex is disgusting and unwanted, but secretly, you desire it.

What to do about it:

“Many people are averse to giving oral sex, although some of these folks love receiving it,” says Walfish. That’s why it is best to encourage an open discussion between you and your partner to explore what causes the aversion and if there’s anything that can be done to make it more comfortable.

Your sex dreams don’t need to be rooted in deep emotions or past traumas for them to be a tool to help you get more in touch with your desires and emotions. Even if your dreams are on the lighter side, consider tapping into their meaning to help you become more aware of your feelings and inner desires.

To aid this process, you might want to keep a journal about your dreams to be able to better track them. Write them down in details after waking up and after a few entires do a little evaluation. Look for reoccurring patterns and what the common things are. It might help you to gain a better insight to your feelings and thoughts. 

To sum up: remember sex dreams are a normal part of life. Generally, these dreams are your subconscious working through the last few days.

If the dreams are disturbing to you, and they seem to be happening often, you may want to see a mental health professional to help you unpack what’s going on.

Otherwise, take a deep breath and consider embracing your sex dreams and using them to learn more about yourself.



Nina Rose

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