January 30, 2021

Dr. George Kasey Nichols

Sex dreams — what’s the psychology and why do they happen?

Dreams allow for endless opportunities and have the ability to ignite humor, fright, sadness, and other emotions. In fact, sex dreams account for eight percent of all dreams and are likely to leave people feeling both aroused and scratching their heads. Once awake, many are startled to realize that the person they were intimate with during their dreams was a teacher, boss, movie star, or random stranger.

So, what are these dreams trying to tell us? Is a dreaming mind trying to alert the conscious self that you secretly desire a romantic relationship with the star of your erotic dreams? Is a sex dream symbolic of some other subconscious emotions? Or is the sex dream merely a result of the random firing of brain cells? It’s tempting to immediately start interpreting the dream as a manifestation of some Freudian sexual repression. But, this may not be the case.

Sex Dreams Could Correlate to Waking Experiences

Surprisingly, little research has been conducted on why sex dreams happen and what they might mean. However, there are some theories about what sex dreams mean. Sigmund Freud realized that an individual’s dreams often included people and events that they experienced in their waking life. This eventually led to the formation of a theory that articulated this idea called the “continuity hypothesis of dreaming.” This theory states that they are part of your dreams simply because they have been part of our waking experience. The continuity hypothesis of dreaming gives one explanation as to why people you feel zero attraction to when conscious then pop up in sex dreams.

Dreaming of Intercourse May Have Subconscious Meaning

You may be wondering why you’re having sex with this person, not some other mundane activity like walking in the park. While there isn’t definitive and extensive knowledge of human dreaming, many experts in the field believe that dreaming of intercourse or other sexual acts with someone you know may just point to you admiring a part of their personality that you would like to incorporate into yourself. Conversely, taking a more sadistic twist, sometimes we have sex dreams about people in our lives that we genuinely dislike, which may be our subconscious way of dominating or punishing the other person.

Sex Dreams Can Represent Romantic Desires

Those who have sexual dreams about people they fantasize about sleeping with while awake or those they have sex with in waking life, will likely find that they have erotic dreams about these individuals while sleeping. Sometimes our dreams are a real reflection of what we desire romantically when awake.

The bottom line is that there are no hard-cut answers to some sex dreams.  Only they dreamer will ultimately know the meaning of their sex dream. Taking the time to think about the dream and the people in it may give glimpses into innermost desires, or they may end up continuing to scratch their head, trying to puzzle out a dream with little to no real-life meaning.

Dr. George Kasey Nichols is the president of the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association (AzNMA), a professional organization of Naturopathic Doctors in the state of Arizona. The vision of AzNMA is to ensure the growth of naturopathic medicine through recognition and education. Dr. Nichols is a trained physician and specializes in mental health.  His previous work experience includes two years in executive roles as the Director of Medical Operations at a national SUD treatment organization. During the past few years, he has presented to large professional groups, including the Kansas Bar Association on addiction-related issues. For more information about AzNMA, visit AZNMA.org.