Sex Dreams
August 23, 2019

Sex Dreams: Why They Happen and What They Mean

Are you having steamy sex dreams? Here’s what your subconscious may be telling you.
Written by
Micki Allen
Published on
August 23, 2019
Updated on
What's changed?
Discover a world of pleasure with our handpicked, high-quality, and beautiful products, curated with your trust, discretion and body safety in mind. Shop now at

Some sex dreams can be deeply satisfying while others may just leave you guessing. Have you ever had a sex dream about someone that left you wondering, “Did I just orgasm in my sleep”? Experiencing sex dreams is totally normal, and same goes for orgasming in your sleep. Sex dreams and sleep orgasms are just part of being human, although sometimes they can be vivid enough to make you wonder if there was some deeper meaning behind your midnight rendezvous. Short answer? It’s definitely possible! But first, let’s get all your sex dream questions answered.

What are sex dreams and what do they mean?

Sex Dreams, or erotic dreams, are simply dreams about sex. They can elicit strong emotions, such as deep love, desire and sexual energy. Sex dreams are highly individual, and there’s no right or wrong way to have them.

Some sex dreams are based on the dreamer’s real-life experiences, or on experiences they’d like to have. However, some sex dreams include sexual actions the dreamer has never consciously considered during their waking lives. Overall, dreams tend to be metaphorical, so some sex dreams may not actually be about sex, per se. For example, a person may dream about having sex with their best friend, but have absolutely no desire to initiate sex with them “in real life.” Rather, their dream may simply suggest the dreamer’s desire to be more vulnerable or open with their friend. But because dreams are very personal, interpretations of the dreams are best left up to the individual who experiences them.

If your dream is arousing and you enjoy recalling it, your subconscious may be telling you to explore that fantasy further via daydreams. In fact, many psychotherapists contend that our dreams may actually represent repressed desires. Just keep in mind that if you’re having recurring sex dreams that genuinely cause you distress, you may want to consider speaking with a counselor or therapist.

To learn about some common sex dreams and their possible interpretations, we spoke with Wes Parks, a nationally licensed counselor who works with cis and non-binary clients.

1. Dreams that involves BDSM or fetishes.

It is possible that these sorts of dreams simply represent a curiosity about certain lifestyles. Dreams offer the dreamer a chance to explore in the safest arena possible without the judgment of others. According to Parks, if you are having BDSM or fetish dreams about your partner, “This might be a good time to talk over morning coffee about what could be for dessert that night.”

2. Dreams that involve cheating on a partner. 

Dreams in which you cheat on your partner don’t automatically mean you’re looking to find another partner. It could be that you’ve simply been spending a lot of time with a particular person and they’re foremost in your mind. However, Parks notes, “If the dreams are about a new person in your life and you’ve been spending a lot of time together, you might question if your boundaries are adequate.”

3. Dreams that involve public sex with a partner.

If you dream that you and your partner are having sex in public, it is possible that your subconscious is sharing a desire to be more adventurous. “Maybe sex has gotten a bit boring and this is your subconscious rebelling against the tedium of another night of [the same sex you’ve been having] during a commercial break,” offers Parks.

What is a wet dream, and how is it different from a sex dream?

Wet Dreams, medically known as nocturnal emissions, occur when the sleeper experiences an orgasm during their sleep. Interestingly, wet dreams are not always the result of having an erotic or sexy dream. Without getting too scientific, our nervous system increases heart rate and blood pressure during REM sleep. Increased blood flow to the body’s erectile tissues, like the clitoris and the penis, causes them to become slightly to greatly engorged, depending on the person’s health, age, etc. Essentially, everyone experiences some form of physical arousal during this stage of sleep. Persons with unstable levels of hormones are more likely to have a nocturnal emission (such as the proverbial “adolescent’s wet dream”), but people can have them sporadically or regularly throughout their lifetime, without necessarily having a corresponding erotic or sexual dream.

How can you orgasm in your sleep?

Okay, so REM sleep “wakes up” people’s erectile tissues. REM sleep also happens to be the stage of sleep when people experience their most fantastic and vivid dreams. Imagine the steamy and passionate possibilities when a highly charged dream state is added to a person’s actual physical arousal. When a person’s subconscious mind tries to interpret its body’s arousal, it may incorporate erotic thoughts and intimate images into the sleeper’s dreams. And, voilà, that dreamer may well experience a sleep orgasm!

Actually, some people are able to orgasm during sleep more readily than they do when they are awake. In fact, some people who are unable to climax solo or with a partner may be able to orgasm during sleep. Research indicates that this is because their bodies are being stimulated both mentally and physically during REM sleep cycles, and those who require both mental and physical stimulation are receiving both simultaneously in an altogether carefree state of mind. It makes sense that when a person’s body and mind are completely relaxed and able to fully enjoy pure pleasure that they would more readily orgasm.

Sometimes when people are awake, reaching orgasm during sexy time simply does not occur. It’s the same when people are sleeping. The sexual activity may be present and it may be thoroughly enjoyable, but the “O” itself is elusive. No worries. People who never orgasm still enjoy great sex … and exceptional sex dreams.

Sex dreams and wet dreams, akin to sexuality, need not mirror anyone else’s in order to be healthy and valid. The most important thing to keep in mind if you’re having sex dreams or wet dreams is that you probably shouldn’t over-analyze them. Rather, enjoy them for the pleasure they bring. Sweet dreams!

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

Relationship coach and sex educator Micki Allen bases her work both in sexual technique and Christian values of love, joy, and grace. Micki helps women and genderqueer people enrich their intimate lives and identify needs and boundaries; as a minister, she also assists clients with healing from religious shame and trauma. @themickiallen

Oschool logo

Why shop with us

Shop with us for high-quality, body-safe sex toys that are backed by expert-led education on pleasure, consent, and sexual wellness.

What we stand for

Our commitment to inclusivity and social justice means that your purchase supports causes that matter.

We believe in safe spaces

Your privacy is our top priority, so you can shop with confidence and focus on exploring your pleasure without any worries.

Order Form

We want to help you get the orgasm you desire.
Let's get it on keeps this information totally private and anonymous.