erotic dreams

Erotic Dreams: Why They Happen and What They Mean

For a long time, sleep and dream activity have been intriguing subjects for scientific research , as well as representing the basis of various theories formulated to decipher the psychological sphere.

From this point of view, however, erotic dreams are uncharted territory, despite the fact that many therapists and psychologists have developed hypotheses about why they occur and what their meaning is.

Erotic dreams: 5 things to know first

  • Every night we spend an average of two hours dreaming , but we rarely remember the dreams we had.
  • Much of what we know about sleep and its effects comes from the analysis of brain electrophysiological activity .
  • Most dreaming occurs during rapid eye movement sleep, although it can occur at any point in the sleep cycle. In the REM stage, dreams are more elaborate, intense and highly articulated ; thoughts are more illogical and bizarre than those realized in other stages of sleep. During slow wave sleep (NREM), thoughts are more logical and with less emotional content than during REM sleep; dreams are poorly detailed and often include vague sensations and images.
  • Dreams impact well-being , both positively and negatively: they can be calming, comforting, frightening, or confusing; dream activity can also affect sleep.
  • Sleep changes significantly throughout life, and several studies point to its crucial role in cognitive functioning . Similarly, mental activity during sleep tends to vary with age . Dreams can be considered an expression of brain maturation and cognitive development, showing relationships with memory and visuo-spatial abilities. Adults dream quite frequently, but not everyone has erotic dreams.

erotic dreamsThe narratives and fantasies that accompany us during sleep are always fascinating. Erotic dreams are just one of the many expressions of dream activity that occurs during the night, although sometimes they can be vivid enough to cast doubt on whether there is a deeper underlying meaning.

What Are Erotic Dreams?

Erotic dreams ( or sexual dreams ) are extremely subjective oneiric experiences which are expressed in particular conditions during sleep and may reflect ( but not always ):

  • Real life situations or memories


  • Fantasies or experiences that the dreamer would like to have.

The formation of oneiric images is often not rational, but improbable (we remember that it occurs above all in the REM phase); some dreams include sexual actions that the dreamer never consciously considered while awake. These “oddities” emphasize that the dream is absolutely not about what it appears to be, but represents something else . Overall, in fact, dream experiences tend to be metaphorical, so some erotic dreams may not be about sex .

Example :

  • A person may dream of having sex with his best friend, but has absolutely no desire to have sex with him “in real life.” Rather, the dream may simply suggest the dreamer’s desire to be more vulnerable or open with his friend.

Why Do You Dream About Having Sex

Although the neurological aspects of dreams are well studied, little research has been done to explore the content and meaning of various types of dreams.

That said, there are many theories about the role dreams play in the human psyche:

  • Cognitive functioning : On the one hand, dreams are thought to allow us to enact potential scenarios or help our brain map and store memories;
  • Emotional regulation : on the other hand, considering the role of dreams in emotional processing and regulation, the available literature suggests that dream activity is a way to cope with traumatic or stressful events.

As anticipated, most dreams occur in REM sleep, a highly active phase in which the heart rate accelerates, the body’s muscles lose tone, and we experience autonomic nervous system “storms” and irregular breathing patterns. As if all this were not enough, even the penis and clitoris can experience a momentary state of excitement.

But does this genital response mean that we always dream about sex? Not necessarily. However, as with many aspects of human behavior, there is a wide range of experiences .

Dreaming about having sex is not what it seems

A fundamental aspect to understand erotic dreams is their alleged correlation with sexual desires. Do we dream what we subconsciously desire during the day? Most of the time, no.

SEXUALIZATION OF A DREAM is often a defensive strategy of the mind, which is implemented to make a need more acceptable or to express a need in the present . This mechanism has nothing scabrous: erotic dreams become a way to glimpse a vulnerable part of one’s psyche . More simply, eroticism and sexuality are easier adult dimensions to deal with than identifying with a person asking for help or recognizing a problem. These needs emerge during the night because when we are awake, on a conscious level, we are often unaware that we have them.

Decoding erotic dreams can illuminate how we truly feel about something or someone; reveal blocks and obstacles that we have to overcome or even highlight a more “trivial” need such as the desire to receive protection or attention from a person we feel affection for.

For example, sexual dreams in which we fail to complete the sexual act may not refer to our actual performance in bed, but to a project that we feel unable to complete.

To know

Some people are able to control their dream life and have lucid erotic dreams.

Dream Sex can also be realistic

Erotic dreams can be emotionally and physically satisfying and can lead to actual orgasms in both men and women. Research conducted by psychophysiologists Stephen LaBerge and Walter Greenleaf in 1983 recorded the first lucid dream orgasm.

Erotic Dreams: Are They Normal?

Dreaming about having sex is completely normal and the same is true for orgasming during sleep .

The frequency and nature of erotic dreams seem highly individual, but according to several studies over the years, more than 70% of people report having experienced a dream of a sexual nature at least once in their life.

Dream About Having Sex: What Does It Mean?

Questioning the meaning of a certain dream in search of who knows what message from our subconscious is a process that we all go through sooner or later. When we have an erotic dream, curiosity increases, as the matter is more intriguing.

Unfortunately, scientific research into the meaning of wet dreams is limited. This is mainly due to the fact that they are difficult to study, since they are subjective for the person who experiences them and, upon awakening, they are not always easy to remember.

However, psychologists and researchers have been theorizing about erotic dreams since the early 19th century. Sigmund Freud believed, for example, that dreams depend on the organization of the conscious and subconscious during sleep. While there are no clear answers as to what sex dreams mean, some theories (explained in the previous paragraphs) are shared.

Always remembering that SEXUALITY :

  • It can take on different meanings for the individual
  • It is profoundly influenced by specific individual experiential paths

We might conclude that, from a scientific point of view, there is no direct link between a wet dream and meaning in waking life .

Common Sexual Dreams

As anticipated, everyone experiences different dream experiences; however, some themes are commonly present in erotic dreams:

  • Sex with a former partner : It is common for those in a relationship to dream of current or previous partners. These types of dreams can be part of processing a current relationship or a past one. Single people looking for a relationship are less likely to dream about people they have dated.
  • Sex with a Stranger : Dreaming about having sex with a stranger can simply be a sign of a healthy libido and normal sexual arousal. Dreaming that you sleep with a stranger is not necessarily indicative of cheating or a desire to cheat.
  • Cheating on your partner: While dreams involving infidelity may not be a direct reflection of your waking life experience, they could correspond to feelings of jealousy or lack of intimacy in your current relationship. If so, it may be helpful to discuss potential issues with your partner.
  • Sex with an Authority Figure: Dreaming of having sex with a person in authority could indicate that you are seeking approval from someone.

Understanding Your Dreams

Reporting the characterizing aspects of the dream in a diary can help to recognize recurring patterns and significant frames, offering a perspective on one’s daily life and on the general attitude towards sex.