Over the years, science has uncovered a lot about sleep patterns, problems and benefits. One aspect that still remains a bit of a mystery? Dreams. To be specific, sexual dreams. A few things about sexual dream before we dive in:

  • Sexual dream don’t always include sex - they could just be about flirting, kissing or some other sexual activities.
  • Dreaming about sexual activity is absolutely normal and relatively common; over 70% of people have had them. It can even be extremely enjoyable for that matter. You shouldn’t feel ashamed about it or let it get in the way of your daily functions.
  • There hasn't been enough research on the matter of the meaning of sexual dreams. Experts have some theories but there is no exact science to it. The meanings explained in the article could be on the nose or way off the mark. It’s best to take it with a grain of salt; the same dream could have different meanings for different people.
  • If your sexual dreams are troubling you to the point that they’re keeping you from living your life the way you would like to, then it’s best to reach out to a mental health professional so they can help you understand and come to terms with these dreams. You may be asked to maintain a dream journal for this purpose.

(Read more: Sexual health)

Many people assume that sexual dreams are more common in the males; a research study found that not to be true though. A study published in The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality in 2019 found that gender did not dictate the frequency of sexual dreams in a person. Other factors like your upbringing, religious beliefs, mental health status and sexual knowledge do play a role in sexual dream experience. Following are a few common sexual dream people have, what they could mean and how to go about dealing with them:

  1. Dreams about sex with an ex
  2. Dreams about BDSM-themed sex
  3. Dreams about sex with a stranger
  4. Dreams about sex with an authority figure
  5. Dreams about sex in public
  6. Dreams about sex with a friend
  7. Dreams about sex with someone you dislike
  8. Dreams about your partner cheating on you
  9. Dreams about cheating on your partner
  10. Doctors for sexual disorders and issues

Having steamy dreams about having sex with an ex who probably meant a lot to you could send all sorts of alarm bells ringing in your head. But it’s nothing to worry about. Experts say that dreams about an ex are actually one of the most common types of sexual dreams. They don’t have to mean that you still have feelings for them though, especially if it has been a while since your breakup. Initially, you could be working through residual feelings for an ex (a completely normal reaction) and if you’re having these dream years after separating, it could be about what they represent to you - from love and intimacy to passion and desire. Your mind may be nudging you with this reminder to seek out those feelings again, whether you’re single or in a relationship that has become a little unexciting.

(Read more: Side-effects and benefits of not having sex)

BDSM refers to sexual activity that has strong themes of control, dominance and submission. Having dreams about it could mean a variety of things, some that have no sexual context at all. For one, it could mean that you feel like your parents or guardians are too controlling. Alternatively, it could mean that you wish to take or relinquish control over some event or part of your life. If you haven’t ever engaged in BDSM sex and do wish to try after dreaming of it, you could bring it up with your partner. BDSM would require a certain level of trust between the two of you so take your time, do your research and approach it with caution.

(Read more: Tips to make sex life fun and better)

When it comes to unpacking the meaning of sexual dreams, those involving a stranger may just be the simplest. Experts suggest that it could mean that you have a high sex drive as well as a desire to have your sexual needs met. It’s an extremely common dream. Remember, though, if you plan on acting on these urges, practice safe sex.

(Read more: Birth control methods)

It could be a boss, teacher or someone else who is an authority figure in your life - a sexual dream involving such a figure could point to a lack of consistent attention from a similar authority figure (like a father) during childhood. A simpler explanation could, of course, be that you may have a small crush on the person featured in your dreams. Another possibility is there may be a link to the subject they teach - for example, dreaming of an english teacher could mean that you’re seeking better communication with someone in your life. If none of these resonate with you though, it’s alright - there’s nothing twisted about dreaming of an authority figure as long as it’s not becoming a problem in how you interact with them in reality.

(Read more: Common mistakes during sex)

If you’re dreaming about having sex in a public place, the meaning may not lie in the exhibitionism factor of the dream but the location of the act. Say, if you’re dreaming about doing it in your classroom, you may be focusing on your studies extensively and they may be somewhat taking over other aspects of your life. Think about if this is happening with you and, if it is, see if you can change up your schedule so you have more time for other things.

(Read more: Foreplay)

Dreaming about a friend can feel awkward, especially if you’re best friends, but again, it doesn’t mean you’re secretly in love with them - unless, of course, that is the case. So, if you’ve never felt attracted to them in that way, the dream may indicate that you’re attracted to a particular trait of that friend. So don’t panic, think about what traits you associate with that friend and try to think which one of these you would like to adapt into your life. This could even apply to acquaintances or someone else you know whom you feel no sexual attraction to.

(Read more: Masturbation)

We’ve already established that you don’t have to be sexually attracted to someone you have sexual dreams about; it’s also true that you don’t even have to like them as a person - at all. Yes, dreaming about sex with someone you hate can make you feel pretty terrible when you wake up but you have to remember the saying - there is a thin line between love and hate. They’re both strong, passionate feelings that can get a bit mixed up. The dream may be hinting that it’s time to bury the hatchet - carrying around negative feelings about anyone is not great for your mind. Alternatively, as mentioned before, you may just be coveting a trait of theirs - maybe their sense of humour, dressing style, singing ability, etc.

(Read more: What women want in bed)

Of course it's unreasonable to blame your partner for something they did in your dream. But it’s also okay to take pause and not laugh it off immediately. While it’s possible that your subconscious mind may be picking up clues and trying to convey them to you in your dream state, it’s also possible that you’re just feeling anxious about your relationship. Either way, sit your partner down and tell them about your dream and concerns. Open and honest communication is the best way to move forward from this.

(Read more: How to talk to your partner about sex)

Dreaming about cheating on your partner when you’re in a loving and committed relationship can be nerve-wrecking. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to be unfaithful to your partner though. If the person in your dream is of no significance to you, it may just mean that there is something in your life that is drawing away your focus from your partner. But if you’re dreaming of someone you know and are sexually attracted to, you may be feeling unsatisfied in your relationship and looking for what’s missing elsewhere. Again, dreaming about cheating doesn’t actually mean you cheated; whatever the cause of the dream was, you can think about it, talk to your partner and figure out a way to tackle it.

(Read more: Tips for healthy relationship)

Dr. Abdul Haseeb Sheikh

Dr. Abdul Haseeb Sheikh

Sexology
8 Years of Experience

Dr. Srikanth Varma

Dr. Srikanth Varma

Sexology
8 Years of Experience

Dr. Pranay Gandhi

Dr. Pranay Gandhi

Sexology
10 Years of Experience

Dr. Tarun

Dr. Tarun

Sexology
8 Years of Experience

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