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Dreams About Sex – Meaning and Symbolism

Dreams about sex are perfectly normal, although they can leave you feeling confused, excited, or disturbed. This is especially true if you were the main character in the dream and you were with someone other than your partner.  

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However, your sex dream may have a completely different meaning, depending on its context. Here’s a look at what sex dreams mean in general and some of the most common scenarios.   

What Does Dreaming About Sex Mean? 

Dreaming about sex symbolism and meaning

Participants in a study published in 2019 in the Journal of Psychology and Sexuality assessed that 18% of their dreams dealt with sex. This makes it quite a common theme in dream scenarios

Since the 19th-century theories of Sigmund Freud, psychologists and scholars have speculated on sex dreams. According to Freud, dreams are the unconscious and conscious minds arranging themselves as we sleep. While the meaning of sex dreams is unclear, there are a few widely accepted theories. 

Having sex in a dream or dreaming about sex can mean many things. Experts claim that these dreams may involve an energy exchange in which you desire a characteristic that the other person possesses. Additionally, it depends on your attitude toward sex; some individuals view it as pure pleasure or a need to feel desired.  

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Others may interpret it as safety and consistency. It can also signify affection. People engage in sexual activity for a variety of reasons, and dreams are no different.  

Metaphors will pop into the mind, and they are typically in their most rudimentary form, which frequently involves sex. 

Sex dreams are a way for your subconscious to unpack everything that’s affecting your life, and often, dreams about sex aren’t literal. Instead, they could symbolize problems, desires, and hopes in all facets of your life.  

Some believe that sex dreams simply reflect a wish for sexual gratification. However, others argue that there is no correlation between the themes of sex dreams and people’s actual desires. 

While dreams are sometimes about wish fulfillment, in most cases, they can be very random and inspired by something we glimpsed on TV or read in the news or by a long-forgotten memory that our minds have dredged up.  

For some in a relationship, sex dreams could even function as a sort of release valve, making it easier for them to remain faithful in real life. But, inadvertently, dreaming about sex can sometimes be so illogical – like when you dream about sleeping with someone you dislike in real life – that this can mean the dream is not actually about what it seems. 

Common Reasons Why People Have Sex Dreams 

a man and a woman

These are the common reasons attributed to why people have sex dreams: 

1. Attraction 

Just as people have erotic fantasies about a particular person or type of person, we may have sexual dreams in response to a person we feel attracted to. It’s clearly normal that after day-to-day feeling and attraction as emotional beings, the emotions can easily be transferred to our subconscious. This makes it a very common reason why people dream of having sex with people they are attracted to in their daily lives. 

2. Lack of Sex 

Another reason you may be having sex dreams could be because you need to satisfy physical impulses. In other words, your brain knows when your body needs a sexual release, thereby necessitating a sex dream for most individuals. 

3. Changes in the Way of Life 

Notably, dreams provide us with an excellent arena for expressing ourselves and our unconscious desires. A sexual dream may be a metaphor for new energy we feel rising in some area of our life, such as an urge to change jobs, embark on a voyage, or simply take up a new hobby.  

A perfect example of such a change that would induce sex dreams is marriage. This is because marriage is such a commitment and a huge change in someone’s life, it’s processed in more than a few ways and one such way, for some, is sex dreams. 

Popular Myths about Dreaming about Sex 

a couple in the bathroom

A lot of facts are known about sex dreams, but there are also myths, rumors, and baseless ideas about the phenomenon. Here are some myths about sex dreams: 

1. Sex Dreams Only Happen During Puberty 

This is a very popular misconception about sex dreams. While sex dreams are most common during puberty, they can also happen during adulthood. Sex dreams are very frequent during puberty due to the increasing level of hormones in the body of a growing youth. Hormone levels in adults are much more consistent, making it less likely that they will have a sex dream.  

However, this does not rule out the fact that adults can also have sex dreams; it only needs one of the numerous factors to arouse the unconscious mind. Sex dreams are also more frequent during adolescence because younger boys may not frequently be masturbating or having sex, so the older sperm is released during sleep instead. 

2. Masturbation Can Prevent Sex Dreams 

While masturbation may reduce the number of sex dreams a person experiences, it doesn’t guarantee a person will never experience them. There’s no scientific evidence linking masturbation and sex dreams. Evidence linking masturbation and wet dreams is lacking, but a person can experiment to see if it helps in their situation. 

3. Sex Dreams Shrinks a Penis 

As much as this is a widely known myth, it’s obviously far from the truth. The size of manhood has not been linked to how frequently a man has sex dreams. 

4. Some People Cannot Have Sex Dreams 

The difference might be in the frequency of the occurrence. While some people may have sex dreams very frequently, some experience it once in a while, and some have never experienced it before. This, however, does not make people who haven’t experienced it yet immune to not having sex dreams. 

5. Frequent Sex Dreams Reduce a Person’s Immunity 

Wet dreams do not reduce a person’s immunity. Some people believe that wet dreams can cause a person to have lower immunity to certain ailments such as a cold or infection. This is a myth and has no basis, in fact. However, wet dreams can help reduce excess sperm in the testicles, which is a healthy function for a male’s reproductive system. 

Common Sex Dreams and Their Meanings 

sex word

The meaning of your sex dream can vary depending on the scenario and certain elements of the dream. Here are some of the most common sex dream scenarios and the meanings behind them:  

1. Dreaming of Sex with Friends 

If you dreamed about having sex with one or multiple friends, it could mean that your mind is preoccupied with processing the intimacy of your relationship with them and reflecting it back. It does not necessarily unleash a hidden desire for sex with friends. 

2. Dreaming of Sex with Coworkers 

This happens often if you fall asleep when you’re feeling anxious or worried about something happening in your waking life. While asleep, the anxiety stimulates multiple obligations, which can suddenly transform into dreaming about having sex with acquaintances who are coworkers. 

3. Dreaming of Sex with Someone Other than Your Partner  

If you dream about sex with someone other than your partner, it inadvertently implies that you could be subconsciously looking elsewhere for something missing in your relationship. This could be a red flag, letting you know that something is wrong and that you need to pay more attention to what is going on in your relationship.  

4. Dreaming of Sex Between With Your Partner and Someone Else  

This dream could mean that you’re giving too much of their time and attention to your current relationship, meaning that the relationship could be one-sided. Therefore, if not subjected to a deep discussion, it can lead to the end of the relationship. 

5. Dreaming of Having Oral Sex 

If you dream of having oral sex, whether you’re giving or receiving it, it’s synonymous with an intimate symbolic conversation in real life because the mouth is the organ in action. In addition, it may have to do with having a heart-to-heart talk with one’s partner. 

6. Dreaming of Having Sex with a Family Member  

As repulsive as this dream scenario may be, it’s also an extremely common one. It could mean that the person you’re dreaming about possesses a trait that you admire or have identified in yourself.  

7. Dreaming of Having Sex with Your Ex  

Dreaming of having sex with your ex could be a red flag. It could mean that you’re repeating certain bad habits or actions from your failed relationship. You might want to take a step back and look closely at your current relationship. You may be completely unaware of the mistakes you’re making.  

How to Cope with Having Sex Dreams 

a couple on the bed

One of the best ways to cope with having sex dreams is by developing a healthy relationship with sex, especially for people who are sexually active. Communicate with your partner to maintain a healthy and open sexual relationship that keeps you both fulfilled. Talk to them about what safe sex looks like for both of you. While sex may not stop sex dreams for everyone, it can help decrease your chances of having one. 

Also, consulting a psychologist, urologist, gynecologist, or sexologist can help if your sex dreams are causing you distress. While sex dreams are nothing to be embarrassed about, it’s okay if you feel upset or confused by them.  

Fortunately, a counselor can help put your mind at ease. They can help you understand your feelings and use strategies to deal with them. They will also help you work through the reasons that you are bothered by your wet dreams. 

Alternatively, practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation or biofeedback training, before sleeping. It is advisable to relax in the hours before going to bed so as not to feel stressed. Stress may be connected to sex dreams, though this is not the case for everyone. You may be able to prevent sex dreams by managing your stress and relaxing right before bed.  

Spend at least an hour before bed calming your mind and body. Various research has shown that people who are consistently stressed have a higher chance of having sex dreams since there will always be a need for their subconscious mind to relieve and occupy itself. 

Wrapping Up  

Although sex dreams can be confusing or disturbing, they can help you to learn a lot about yourself. Therefore, try taking a deep breath and embracing your sex dream, using it to understand yourself better.  

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Dani Rhys
Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.