Meaning of sex dream


What 9 Different Sex Dreams Can Mean

Whether you believe it or not, there are many people who are convinced dreams are more important than commonly thought. For some, behind dreams there are untouched emotions, begging for attention. If you get caught up in a sexual fantasy, know that those sex dreams have meaning, and it might be worth it to dig a little deeper to see what you’re feeling. Also, if it’s about someone you know, be cautious, as it could affect your relationship and make things super complicated.

As a certified health coach, I work with clients on becoming fully self-aware, really understanding themselves, their needs, goals, and emotions. It’s hard to be totally honest with yourself, or to even just notice smaller, simple truths, when most of our daily lives are spent in the real world, with a mundane schedule that doesn’t leave much room for reflection. That’s where dreams come into play. When you’re alone in bed, your inner thoughts can break free. If you have a sex dream, it could mean you’re looking for some external desires or answers to a current or potential relationship. Here are 9 different types of sex dreams that might pop up (as they’re actually pretty common). Instead of brushing them off, take a moment to evaluate them and figure out your next steps.

1. Your Partner Cheating On You


You might not always be the star; in fact, you mind find yourself dreaming of other people having sex, like a significant other, for instance. According to Lauri Quinn Loewenberg, a professional Dream Analyst and author of the book Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life, to Bustle over email, if you imagine your partner cheating, it could mean you’re insecure in your relationship and should communicate your issues.

2. Dominating Someone/Being Dominated


According to psychological assistant, Cadyn Cathers, MA, over email with Bustle, any dreams related to control issues (being extra dominant or desiring aggression), can be symbolic of other control issues going on in your life. Think about work, your relationship, and how you feel within your real life surroundings.

3. Sleeping With Someone “Inappropriate”


A sex dream with your partner’s sibling? A work colleague? A best friend? All of these people might appear inappropriate, as your relationships with them shouldn’t be sexual. “It is your mind’s way of releasing the feeling, the temptation, validating it, and processing it appropriately,” says Dr. Nancy Irwin, to Bustle. Then, after ask yourself: “What is the parallel of this image/object/person/event in my life at this moment?” Your mind’s job is to make associations, to connect the dots and make sense of the world, Irwin says.

4. Not Performing Well


While women can have dreams about not performing well in bed, it’s super common for men to feel impotent and insecure in their dreams, says Irwin. “If a man dreams about having erectile dysfunction, it may reflect that he is feeling weak or powerless in another area of his life at the time of the dream….not necessarily a literal reflection of his sexual performance,” Irwin explains.

5. Having Sex In Public


“This isn’t about your desire to be an exhibitionist. Instead, this type of dream relates to feeling vulnerable, self conscious and exposed in front of others,” says ABS Certified Clinical Sexologist and psychologist Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, to Bustle over email. “You may be worried that something embarrassing or secretive is going to be exposed or that others will judge you about something,” Milrad says, and this anxiety could come up in a sexual dream.

6. Having Sex With An Ex


“Sometimes your ex shows up in a dream and you wonder if it’s a sign that they are in fact your soulmate and you should rethink your break up. Most likely, they are in your subconscious because you have had some reminder of them in your life,” says Milrad. Maybe you saw a post on Facebook or are coming upon a date that used to be significant to the two of you, like an anniversary. Here’s the catch though: “If you find your ex has a starring role in your thoughts, then it may reflect something more and you want to take some time to investigate what that is about,” Milrad cautions.

7. Having Sex With Someone Famous


“Sure, you’re obviously attracted to this person and may have even used their image as fantasy during sexual experiences. However, when they show up in your dream as your sexual partner, it isn’t just another layer of having a crush on them,” says Milrad. Unfortunately, “most often, dreams about having sex with someone famous reflect your desire to feel special, important in the world and have people take note of you. This may stem from feeling the opposite in your day to day life,” Milrad explains.

8. Abusive Or Violent Sex


“If you are violated and/or abused sexually in a dream, it is worth considering whether something like this has ever occurred in waking life,” says dreamworker and relationship expert Kezia Vida to Bustle over email. There’s also a big difference between actually being abused in a dream and fearing that you will be. “If you are worried that you may be recovering memories of a trauma, seek support. Often dreams will reflect sexual trauma that we have experienced in an effort to help us process,” says Vida. Also, “even if you feel certain that this violation didn’t occur in your current life, it can be helpful to understand your experience in the dream as a wound you are carrying,” Vida adds.

9. Mind-Blowing AF Sex


Well, here’s a good one. If you dream of ecstatic or bone-shaking sex, that’s awesome right? “These dreams can make for a powerful meditation, especially if you are having trouble accessing your desire in waking life,” says Vida. Also, don’t forget: Whatever you feel in a dream, you are capable of feeling in waking life. Consider exploring how to achieve that ecstasy when you’re awake, Vida says.

If you have any of these sex dreams, consider speaking to a therapist or professional to find some answers and initiate the healing process, when applicable. As for the really good dreams, maybe try spicing up your sex life, bringing those fantasies to life.

What Do Your Sex Dreams Mean?

“All dreams, even sex dreams, can be easily connected to things going on in your life,” says Ian Wallace, the author of The Top 100 Dreams: The Dreams That We All Have and What They Really Mean. “And every character in your dream represents a small snippet of your own personality.”

Wallace explains it like this: When someone pops up in your sex dream, it doesn’t necessarily imply you want to be intimate with this person. Instead, he or she probably possesses some admirable personality trait (such as leadership skills, kindness, or a flair for fashion) that you recognize in yourself but haven’t yet fully developed. “Showing off your talents and traits requires that you open up and become vulnerable and exposed,” says Wallace — just as you do during sex (which is why your snoozing psyche converts it to this extremely intimate act).

The psychologist Gillian Holloway, PhD, author of 5 Steps to Decode Your Dreams: A Fast, Effective Way to Discover the Meaning of Your Dreams, agrees. On her dream interpretation website, she explains that while some sex dreams may simply be “wish fulfillment” (you probably won’t be able to score with this person in real life, so you resort to your dreams), sex dreams are usually more complex, reflecting your personal desires and fears.

Here dream experts offer additional insights into what some common sex dreams may mean.

What It Means When Your Sex Dream Stars…

Your boss Workplace romps may be the most universal sex dream, according to Wallace. But if you and your boss are getting it on in the Land of Nod, does that mean you should cut back on those one-on-one meetings in real time? Probably not. “Sure, you may be sexually attracted to your boss,” says Wallace. “But if you’re having sex with him or her in a dream, your subconscious is probably becoming aware of your own ability to make decisions and act as a leader.” So once you shake that post-sex-dream awkwardness, perhaps you should schedule a date with your boss … to discuss your future with the company.

Your friend Not again! You’ve been enjoying a completely platonic relationship with someone you’ve known forever or whom you’ve just met or — and suddenly that man or woman has a leading role in your sex dream. What’s going on? You can chalk this up to your pal having a quality that you admire or see in yourself. Explains Wallace: “People often tell me, ‘I have a friend. He’s ugly; he kind of smells — but I keep dreaming about sex with him. Am I mad?” Quit the worrying. He probably has some talent (his karaoke skills?) that your subconscious is working to develop.

Your crush It seems like a no-brainer that the person you’re infatuated with will star in your sex dream — but why you’re fantasizing about him or her in your sleep isn’t as obvious. “It’s easy to assume this means you want to have sex with that person,” says Wallace. “But you’re actually being drawn to one of his emotional or spiritual qualities.” (And you thought you had a dirty mind!)

A celebrity After bosses, celebrities are the most common headliners in our sex dreams, says Wallace. And the University of Montreal study found that women were twice as likely as men to have nighttime fantasies about sleeping with a famous person. What’s going on? Even though a romp in the hay with Selena Gomez or Bradley Cooper may sound like a dream come true, it’s likely your psyche is simply recognizing a talent you have in common with the star.

Your ex You thought you were finally over the person who broke your heart, and suddenly your ex is back in your dreams — naked. Why must our minds torture us so? According to Wallace, if you’re dreaming about an ex-lover, it could mean that you’re unknowingly repeating bad habits from your failed relationship. Consider this type of sex dream a red flag.

Your partner cheating If your beloved “strayed” while you were snoozing, don’t be too quick to worry that it may be going on in real life. This sex nightmare probably has a lot more to do with your own insecurities. “When you dream that your partner is having an affair, it may mean that you’re losing faith in your own abilities or attractiveness,” says Wallace. Perhaps all you need is a confidence boost, and it’ll be you — not an unwanted interloper — starring in your sex dream.

A stranger “When people have sex dreams about strangers, the unknown person is often wearing a mask or has no face,” says Wallace. Who is this mysterious intruder? It’s very likely your subconscious telling you to unmask a talent you’ve been hiding. And according Holloway’s dream interpretation website, it may also mean you’re homing in on qualities you want in a partner — one you already have or one you’re still seeking.

A family member Eek! Having a sex dream about your sibling or parent sounds icky, creepy, and just plain wrong — but Wallace insists it’s completely normal. And once again, it all boils down to your kin’s character. If your brother, sister, or great uncle has some trait that you admire or recognize in yourself, watch out: You may just end up in bed with them … in your dreams, of course.

Bottom line? There’s no need to take that X-rated head trip too literally or start fretting about problems in your real-world sex life. Consider your sex dream simply as a wake-up call to get to know yourself better.

Trigger warning: This piece mentions sexual assault and PTSD.

Sometimes I wake up having an orgasm if I haven’t had sex in a while. And about once a month, despite being in a happy relationship, I get it on in my dreams with my celebrity crush. Perhaps most disturbingly, as a sexual assault survivor, I too often wake up from a sexual nightmare, sweating and in need of reassurance that it was just a dream. Even though we logically understand that they’re “not real,” sexual dreams can have a profound effect on our psyche, causing us to feel arousal, guilt, or fear.

According to clinical psychologist and sleep expert Michael Breus, sex dreams are perfectly normal and even healthy. “Sexual dreams appear to start when a child is going through puberty. This is when testosterone kicks into high gear for boys and estrogen for girls and the attraction to a sexual partner begin to occur,” Breus tells Allure.

While Breus says most people have fewer sexual dreams after puberty, they don’t end there. In fact, somatic psychologist and sex therapist Holly Richmond says that 80 percent of her clients talk to her about their sex dreams. To better understand why we have sex dreams, the different types, and what they mean, Allure spoke with several experts to break it down. Spoiler alert: The brain loves to dream about the forbidden.

Sex Dreams About Your Boss

Often we have sex dreams about those who are off-limits, such as our boss or a coworker. These dreams are very common, says Richmond, but rather than indicating that you’re actually lusting after your boss, the dream is likely about office power dynamics. “There’s a relationship dynamic in which you need to control more, and it’s getting played out sexually. There’s so rarely a real sexual component to this. If you feel yucky when you wake up, trust that. You don’t want to have sex with this person, and there’s some other dynamic,” Richmond says.

So don’t be embarrassed — office-related sex dreams are quite normal. Additionally, don’t waste time wondering if you should sleep with your boss when the answer is clearly no. However, do take the time to assess how you feel at work. Do you feel stifled? Perhaps you want more freedom, trust, and control? Get organized and suggest a meeting to discuss ways to achieve this (and don’t bring up the sex dream).

Sex Dreams About Someone You Hate

Why would our mind waste our precious sleep by having sex with someone we don’t even like? Well, let’s think about actual “hate fucking.” What comes to mind? You probably think of hot sex with someone you don’t like or are mad at, and during sex, you get to expend that energy sexually. Richmond says that like with our bosses, when we have sex dreams about someone we dislike, it’s likely much more about power dynamics rather than actual sex. “Dreams can communicate a lot — it’s just not always a direct connection,” Richmond says.

Sex Dreams About a Celebrity

Sex dreams about celebrities are very common, according to the experts. So what do they mean? Well, the answer here is pretty simple: They likely mean that we are attracted to that celebrity. “These can range from crushes to sexual prowess and agency and feeling like we can get someone who is out of reach. Those are really common, too, and they’re usually an ego boost,” Richmond says. So what should we do about them? Have fun with them; it’s unlikely you’ll ever bang this celebrity in real life (sorry). And no, having sex with a celebrity in your dreams does not count as cheating.

Sometimes sex dreams can feel so real it’s like we really did cheat on our partner. “Another iteration of dreams is fantasy. What we fantasize about is not really what we want to do. There’s probably more context around it,” says Richmond. “Are you fantasizing about that sexual freedom? Or is there something in your life that’s missing? I don’t think you want to leave your partner.” So while you may be craving sex with your middle-school punk idol, ask yourself if you are actually interested in seeking them out or if you’d rather explore ways to try new things in bed with your partner to tap into that part of yourself.

Sex Dreams About an Ex

Sex dreams that involve exes are one of the most complicated to wake up from. Unlike celebrity sex dreams, exes are people we usually have a very complicated history with, and as a result, complicated feelings. It’s these unresolved emotions that give us ex sex dreams. Ex-sex dreams don’t directly translate to wanting to have sex with our ex, but we do usually dream about an ex about whom we have unresolved emotions. “There is some relational dynamic that needs to be worked out. What were you trying to communicate through sex? Do you want a new understanding? Did you want to take your power back? There’s usually unfinished business, and it’s not sexual,” Richmond says.

Ever wake up in a sweat after having an, uhm, inappropriate dream about someone in your life you really shouldn’t be thinking about in that way? While we can’t exactly say that it happens to all of us, a study done by the University of Montreal did find that of the 3,500 participants surveyed, about 20 percent of women and 14 percent of men have had sexual dreams about a person who was “off limits” to them in the waking world.

If it’s happened to you before, you know how awkward it can be to have to face the star of your dream in real life — and that uncomfortable moment is only magnified if that person happens to be your boss or your brother in law. But do we have any control over the things we dream about? What’s the catalyst behind these dreams about people in our lives who we know are not viable options? And what does it mean for us when we dream them?

A sex dream about your boss has more to do with how you view yourself.

Here’s a look at our dream process, why certain people appear in these subconscious scenarios while we sleep and a few tips for getting to the bottom of the real life reasons behind them.

How We Dream

Though there’s still much to learn about the way we dream, Dr. A.J. Marsden, assistant professor of human services and psychology at Beacon College says there are a few theories that can help explain what goes on in our heads at night.

“Researchers know that 90 percent of dreaming occurs during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep,” she says. “We have about 90-minute sleep cycles with REM sleep taking up more of that cycle the longer we sleep, which is why we usually remember the dreams we’re having right when we wake up (during longer REM cycles).” In terms of what’s driving the trajectory of our dreams, Marsden says the areas of the brain that are most active are the ones that house our emotions. “Specifically, the limbic system, responsible for dealing with both good and bad emotions,” she says. “The least active part of the brain during our dreams is our frontal lobes, which are responsible for higher order functioning and thought. This might explain why our dreams are often not very logical.”

When we can look beyond the content and explore the meaning underlying our dreams we can use them as a fascinating portal towards self-exploration.

As for how our daily reality impacts our dream’s subject matter, Dr. Harold Jonas, a psychotherapist practicing in Florida, says that though we try to operate within the scope of what we know as “normal” in our waking hours, once we hit the dream world anything goes. “During the day we have restrictions on thoughts and impulses,” Jonas explains. “The majority of us try to ‘do the right thing’ and stay within the behavior patterns recognized as the societal norm. But at night— everything changes. The brain may focus on a particular thought it had during the day — no matter how fleeting — and it potentially becomes a focal point for a dream.” And according to Jones, these instances can really run the gamut. “Did you pass a movie poster of your favorite actor? Did a co-worker’s hand brush yours reaching for a report, did something act as a trigger? Couple that with real life events, such as feeling stressed out by your spouse, not being valued at work or any real world daytime trigger, and you’re apt to start having physical, psychological and even chemical reasons for having sexual dreams which you may feel are with inappropriate people.”

Aside from the dream world offering us a literal escape from the day-to-day restrictions we place on ourselves, Marsden says that sex dreams in particular actually occur more often when we’re feeling confident.

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“Interestingly, we are more likely to have positive sexual dreams when we are feeling good about ourselves or when we are in a general good mood,” she explains. “Dreaming, in general, reflects the person’s waking states, concerns, worries, desires, etc. Our dreams reflect how we are feeling. Our brain also has a way of using our dreams to act out scenarios that are unlikely or unrealistic in our day-to-day lives. An individual who desires someone who is ‘off limits’ may experience sexual dreams about that person because it’s the brain’s way of experimenting with the idea without actually following through with it.”

What Those Racy Dreams Really Mean

In terms of the most frequently reported star of these dreams, the boss scenario tops the list.

“Many experts say dreams about having sex with your boss are the most common — and sometimes the most disturbing,” Jonas says. “After a racy dream you wake up in the morning and have to go to that staff meeting like nothing happened.”

Often people symbolize other people in a dream, and it is really more about the emotions that you are experiencing.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pining after your superior — more likely, it’s the power that he or she symbolizes that you crave. “Before you go thinking that you may subconsciously be secretly sexually attracted to your boss, realize that a sex dream about your boss has more to do with how you view yourself. It’s a dream about your own emerging power, professional abilities and leadership skills. You may be feeling ready to take charge and move your job to the next level compared to where you are now professionally.”

What does it mean when the tables are turned, and you’re the one in the position of authority, seducing your intern or friend’s younger sibling? Marsden says the answer lies in the context of the dream. “Focus on what was happening in the dream,” she says. “Were you teaching them and guiding them throughout the sexual acts in the dream? Most likely, this is our desire to be dominant in bed with someone we would feel comfortable with, someone we know.”

Another common dream scenario that can be troubling is the one where we’re getting it on with our friend’s significant other. But clinical psychologist Dr. Alexis Conason points out that what might be lurking underneath the meaning of this one is actually not an attraction you’ve worked to bury, but rather, a symbol of something else that might be happening in the relationship between you and your friend.

“Often people symbolize other people in a dream, and it is really more about the emotions that you are experiencing in the dream,” Conason explains. “So a dream about having sex with your best friend’s husband may have more to do with a general sense of guilt that you are experiencing about another situation, boundary violations or competition.”

What about if the object of your affection is that best friend, not his or her significant other? Marsden says that because we spend so much time with our close friends, it’s not surprising that they might show up in our dreams this way — no matter how bizarre it can be to experience this. “Most likely, because we spend a lot time with our friends, it is not uncommon to have sexual dreams about them,” she says. “It is our brain’s way of trying it out. If we’ve ever consciously considered what it would be like, we are more likely to actually have the dream. However, sometimes the dreams do come out of nowhere — but that doesn’t mean that your unconscious mind didn’t consider the possibility!”

Using Your Unconscious Mind to Your Advantage

So what can we do, if anything, to try and put a stop to the dreams that are making things awkward in our waking hours?

Dreams are our mind’s way of working to resolve conflicts and issues that we aren’t able to resolve in our waking hours.

Marsden says that taking a hard look at the person who’s showing up in your dream and what they symbolize will help bring insight. “Examine why you think you might be having these dreams in the first place,” she says. “What is drawing you to that person? If you are dreaming about someone else and currently in a romantic relationship, take a hard look at your current romantic relationship. What is missing? What is it about this other person that your current partner might be lacking?”

Conason agrees that digging deeper into the “why” behind the dream scenario you’re dealing with can help. “Dreams are our mind’s way of working to resolve conflicts and issues that we aren’t able to resolve in our waking hours,” she explains. “The best way to stop having unwanted recurring dreams is to accept the dreams, try to view them as important communications from yourself and work towards understanding what they are trying to tell you. Working to resolve conflicts during our waking hours lessens our need to work through them in our sleep. When we can look beyond the manifest content of our dreams (the superficial who, what and where of our dreams) and explore the meaning underlying our dreams we can use our dreams as a fascinating portal towards self-exploration.”

Ever wake up in the morning wondering how things got so risqué during your dreaming hours? “Just because you’re not awake doesn’t mean your libido is taking a rest,” says Susan Block, PhD, a Los Angeles-based sexologist and founder of the Dr. Susan Block Institute for the Erotic Arts and Sciences. “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.”

Paying attention to your sex dreams over time can be a powerful way to get what you want out of your life, says Lauri Loewenberg, dream expert and author of Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life. “Writing your dreams down each morning and looking at your journals for patterns over time can help you see what your subconscious is trying to tell you.”

Here, eight common sex dreams, and what you can learn from them.

Having sex with an acquaintance

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Nope, this doesn’t mean you have any desire to cheat on your significant other with the man who lives next door or the person who makes your morning coffee—it just means that you may admire that person and wish you possessed some of their qualities, or whatever qualities they seem to express in your dream, says Loewenberg. “Sex is the ultimate act of union between two individuals, so when you’re having sex with someone in your dreams, it may mean that you want what they have.”

Getting it on with your boss

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Yes, this dream means you want to get closer with your boss—but not in that way. Because sex is so intimate, it may mean you’re feeling especially distant from your boss’s ideas or management style, and may need to figure out a way to get closer (and not in the type of way that’ll make you blush when you run into each other at the copier!)

Trying to find a private space with a partner

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Dreams of having problems finding a place to have sex can often represent a lack of connection between you and your partner in your day-to-day life. Take a look at your calendar: Are you being busy instead of getting busy most days? It may be time to schedule a date night, says Loewenberg.

MORE: 15 Secrets of Seriously Sexually Satisfied Long-Term Couples

Riding a horse

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The back-and-forth rocking movement of riding, the physical connection between you and the horse—are you surprised this is another one of those dreams symbolizing doing the deed? It also may be a sign you want to let go a little more between the sheets. Need some ideas? Try these sex bucket list ideas to shake up your routine.

Having sex in public

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A critical comment about your partner from a friend or family member could spark this embarrassing dream, since being exposed in front of others can be tied to your feelings about how other people see your life and love decisions.


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Being completely free, unencumbered, totally giving into physical sensation…sound familiar? “Flying in a dream is closely connected to orgasm,” says Dr. Block. A dream about flying could be indicative of frustrations regarding the current state of your own sex life, or could simply be your mind playing its’ subconscious highlight reel.

Sex with a celeb

Hey, you and George Clooney can be single in your subconscious, but as good as the dream-sex may have been, it’s not really about him (sorry, George!). Instead, dreams about having sex with a celebrity may indicate that you seek the spotlight in your own life. Volunteer to spearhead a project at work, speak up with friends and family, or take an improv class (hey, why not?).

Dreaming about an ex

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If this happens every so often, it may simply be your brain sifting through its mental hard drive. Maybe his birthday is coming up, or maybe you saw a Tweet from him in your feed, but it doesn’t mean that he’s the one who got away or that you subconsciously want to get back together. However, if you’re dreaming about him a lot, or are pretty sure those dreams sparked from your hour-long deep dive Google searches of his name, it could be a sign that there are issues in your current relationship that need addressing.

CAN you remember what you dreamt about last night? The chances are that you’ve already forgotten or shrugged it off.

The after-effects of my own dream took a little longer to dispel: I woke up convinced that my husband had cheated on me after watching him disappear into a bedroom with another woman, powerless to intervene.

7 Ever had a dream that your husband is sleeping with someone else? It may not mean what you assume it meansCredit: Getty – Contributor

It took a while after I woke up to persuade myself that it hadn’t happened – leaving my poor hubby baffled as to why I was a bit huffy with him.

It left me unsettled for much of the day too, convinced it was a bad sign – something I’m prone to whenever I’ve dreamed about something scary like sitting an exam I haven’t prepared for or finding myself naked in a public place.

My husband takes the opposite view: my dreams are, he says, just a mental dustbin where we deposit our thoughts.

But it turns out we’re both wrong, according to qualified psychologist and dream expert Dr Ian Wallace.

7 Dr Ian Wallace is a dream expert and a top psychologistCredit: Rex Features

He’s interpreted more than a quarter of a million dreams throughout his career and believes that however wacky and senseless – or sometimes downright scary – they may seem, our dreams are a highly evolved, crucial process which helps us make sense of our waking life.

Still, if we’re working out who we are while we catch some shut-eye does my dream mean I am in a state of unconscious panic about my husband’s potential infidelity? Thankfully not, according to Dr Wallace.

Sex dreams

“This isn’t about your relationship with your husband but it is about you feeling a loss of control and power, probably in your professional life,” he says.

“It suggests you are involved in some kind of conflict in that area or are feeling conflicted.”

He’s spookily spot on actually – and moreover it turns out I’m not alone in work filling my head.

A survey from job platform found that dreams centred on work dominate when we finally do lay our heads on our pillows at night.

7 Dreams about sex may actually reflect insecurities about your jobCredit: Getty – Contributor

However, just as my dream of infidelity isn’t what it seems, dreams of drama actually unfolding in the office can mean something else altogether too.

“Believe it or not, around 98 per cent of your daily experience occurs at an unconscious level. We are absorbing information all the time without even knowing it, and our dreams help us unpick all this,” he tells me.

“So dreams about work are not necessarily about the activity itself, but represent our purpose in life and what we are trying to achieve. When we dream about work we are dreaming about who or what we want to be.”

“In essence, dreaming plays a huge part in helping us work out who we are, so when we don’t dream we don’t function very well.

“Since the dawn of time we have taken real things from the real world and used them to symbolise emotional and sometimes spiritual states.

Fascinatingly there are some other perennial themes to our dreams too. Here, Dr Wallace explains all…

Sleep expert Dr Ian Wallace reveals how to always remember your dreams

Being chased

It’s by far the world’s most common dream, but what does it mean?

That there is an issue in your waking life that you want to confront, but you don’t know how – although often, the nature of the pursuer will give you a clue: I’ve lost count of the number of times working women have told me of being chased by a faceless man.

It may seem scary, but their ‘pursuers’ are trying to bring something to their attention.

The man represents traditionally ‘masculine’ qualities like assertiveness and it means you are struggling to identify that part of yourself.

7 Dream of being chased? It may be a sign that you need to confront a tricky issue in your lifeCredit: Alamy

Your teeth falling out

The second most common dream also relates to confidence. You may be surprised to hear that it’s about your teeth falling out.

Often, when people tell me about this they think it represents a fear of ageing or losing your looks. In fact it’s more visceral than that: think about how often you bare your teeth, whether it’s smiling or in anger: teeth are all about confidence and power.

So when you dream about them falling out, it means something is affecting your confidence in your waking life.

Finding a toilet

The third most common dream all over the world? It’s one that people are often embarrassed to vocalise.

It focuses on the toilet – not being able to find one, or discovering there’s a huge queue.

It’s a very common dream among carers, or those who spend their time looking after others.

Toilets, after all, are what we use to respond to one of our most fundamental needs.

This dream is telling you to look after yourself more.

As I never tire of telling people, dreams don’t happen to you but the opposite – you create the dream and everything in it. They are yours to use and understand.

7 If you’re dreaming about toilet troubles, it’s a sign that you need to look after yourself moreCredit: Alamy

Being naked in public

This one is all about self-image: we choose our clothes to project a particular image and if we are wearing nothing, or missing an item, we feel incredibly vulnerable.

What it means is that there is a situation in your waking life that is making you feel exposed.

In other versions of this dream people are wearing the ‘wrong’ thing – this means that there is an opportunity to display your talents, even if there is a risk of embarrassment.

7 The classic recurring dream, being in the buff in public is all about vulnerabilityCredit: Getty – Contributor

The exam you haven’t prepared for

Exams are how we measure our ability to perform, so this is generally about judging yourself too harshly.

It means there is some situation – often in the workplace, but not always – where you are being too critical of your own performance when what you really need to do is stop the endless introspection and celebrate your knowledge.

Think of how often we use idioms about weightlessness – whether it’s “a weight off your shoulders” or “walking on air” – and it’s little surprise that flying features so often in our dreams.

You usually have this dream when you are released from a situation where they have felt weighed down.

It’s very common at the end of a big work project or event.


When people tell me about falling in their dreams they tend to assume it represents failure when in reality this dream often happens when they are so worried about failure that they are hanging on too tightly and micromanaging a situation.

What this dream is telling you to do is learn to relax and let go a little – rather than being worried about losing control you have to trust yourself and other people and let everything fall into place.

7 Falling in your sleep? You need to let go a littleCredit: Getty – Contributor

Driving an out of control vehicle

Another common dream which symbolises your ability to make consistent progress towards a specific objective.

It’s about not being entirely in control of your route to your final goal.

In real life, if you try to over-control it makes the situation worse.

Rather like the falling dream, it’s about allowing yourself to relax and let your instinct take over rather than over-analysing. Be in the moment and use that to steer the best path.

Many years ago, before trains or cars, people would dream about their horses rearing out of control.

It’s a reminder that while the imagery we use may change in line with our experiences, our underlying fears and hopes don’t.

Finding an unknown room in your house or workplace

Houses are the number one symbol of ourselves and their rooms represent different aspects of our character. So when in a dream you walk into an unknown room or office, it relates to a talent or an aspect of your personality that you were previously unconsciously aware of.

It’s telling you to explore your dormant talents – which may lead to other doors opening in your waking life.

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Being late

Ironically, this dream tends to occur in life’s punctual people – the ones who are never late.

Again, it’s not what it seems: it’s a cue to stop clock watching and seize opportunity instead.

So rather than spending your time constantly planning idealised outcomes, it’s your mind trying to tell you to do something out of your normal timetable or comfort zone.

Dr. Ian Wallace was speaking on behalf of online jobs board totaljobs as part of their campaign to highlight how the “always-on'”culture is disrupting employee sleep patterns and well-being.

Dreaming About Sex

We are all sexually aroused when we dream. Most dreams happen in rapid eye movement sleep (REM), a highly active stage of sleep in which our brain temperature rises, our heart rate speeds up, our body becomes paralysed, and we experience autonomic nervous system “storms” and irregular breathing patterns. As if all of that weren’t enough, our penis or clitoris also becomes aroused.

But does this genital arousal mean we are always dreaming about sex? Not necessarily. One 2011 study entitled “Sex Dreams, Wet Dreams, and Nocturnal Emissions,” by Calvin Kai-Ching Yu and Wai Fu, suggests that erotic dreams are relatively rare. Yet, as with many aspects of human behaviour, there is a huge range of experiences. Clinical psychologist Patricia Garfield has written an entire book, Pathway to Ecstasy, about her own prolific sexual dreams. Others find that sexual dreams pursue them even if they are unwanted: in Mindful Dreaming, I explored the case of a young woman who became scared to have lucid dreams because whenever she realised that she was dreaming, she would experience overpowering sexual energy that seemed beyond her control. The frequency and nature of erotic dreams seem highly individual.

Dream sex is highly realistic
Dream sex can result in actual physical orgasms in both men and women. Research conducted by psychophysiologists Stephen LaBerge and Walter Greenleaf in 1983 recorded the first lucid dream orgasm. Having found a lover in her lucid dream, the subject, Beverly D’Urso, used specific, pre-agreed eye movements to signal the onset of orgasm. Simultaneously, her vaginal blood flow, vaginal muscle activity, and respiration rate all reached their highest levels of that night.

Bringing mindfulness to erotic dreams
We can learn more about our sexual energy, our current relationship, and our overall attitude to sex by paying attention to our erotic dreams. Not all erotic dreams are pleasurable, and some may be downright uncomfortable, invoking feelings of shame or disgust. We can bring mindfulness into any aspect of dreaming by recalling our dreams, writing them down, and working with them artistically or therapeutically for deeper insight. We can also cultivate dream lucidity, this is when we “wake up” inside a dream and recognise when we are dreaming.

Becoming lucid in sexual dreams is a way of becoming super mindful of our unconscious erotic imagery and sexual symbolism. In Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Lucid Dreaming, I noted that “lucidity gives us the option to do dreamwork while in the dream, so that if, for example, we become aware that we’re dreaming while involved in an incestuous sexual act, we can ask the dream what this symbolises or if there is some psychological message for us… Instead of feeling ashamed or horrified, we have a golden opportunity to engage directly with our unconscious content.”

In an erotic lucid dream, we can interact with dream imagery and dream figures to change unhelpful relationship patterns, heal past trauma, and guide the dream into the erotic experience we would most like to have.

Sexual dreams are not always about sex
Dreams speak in a metaphor-rich language so that sexual dreams often act as metaphors for situations or emotions in our lives. Decoding sexual dreams can illuminate how we really feel about something or someone, or reveal hang-ups and obstacles that we need to overcome. For example, sexual dreams in which we do not manage to complete the sexual act may not be referring to our actual performance in bed, but to a project we feel unable to complete.

Dreaming about sex with someone who is not our spouse doesn’t necessarily mean we are keen to cheat on our spouse. It could reflect an emergent desire for something new in our life, whether this is changing jobs or having another baby. Sexual dreams in which we feel violated may point to actual past experiences of a violation, or they may be metaphors for the way we feel violated by our boss’s demands or the maltreatment we are receiving at the hands of someone else in our life.

Engaging mindfully with sexual dreams can help us to tune in to our creative passion in life. In Mindful Dreaming, one woman shared with me her lucid dream of examining a mummified body and seeing fluid gushing out of the mummy’s vagina. She realised that this unusual dream imagery symbolised the release of years of unresolved trauma related to her mother’s death, and was the harbinger of a new creative world for her. Soon after that dream, her creative life took off and she discovered her passion for art therapy.

The pros and cons of sexual dreams
There are both pros and cons to dream sex; because the vivid dreams we experience in REM sleep are by their very nature inclined to bizarreness, this can result in weird erotic landscapes or sexual partners who may well morph from gorgeous people into uninspiring globs of plastic (perhaps some dream figures literally melt with desire?).

A 2012 research study led by Calvin Kai-Ching Yu reported that the kind of pornography people use influences their dream stories in precise ways. Creating our own sexual fantasy in our mind’s eye before we sleep could also be effective in triggering the kind of erotic dreams we would prefer to experience. Once we become lucid in a dream, we can create our ideal erotic scenario on the spot, and anything seems possible.

Sexual dreams can be emotionally and physically satisfying, and they are the safest sex imaginable. When we engage mindfully with our erotic dreams, we may also have the added benefit of experiencing psychological insights and opening up our creative horizons.

Here’s What Your Sex Dreams Are Telling You

Have you ever woken up in the morning, feeling slightly foggy-brained and definitely confused about why you spent all night dreaming about doing the erotic accordion with a friend who you aren’t even attracted to? Turns out you are not alone. Sex dreams are extremely common! In a 1986 research study by Barbara L. Wells, 85% of women reported having a “nocturnal orgasm” (more commonly known as a wet dream) before turning 21. And wet dreams aren’t just a passing phase of teenage years, they can happen at any time in your life, though they are more common during puberty because of all the *major* hormonal shifts going on in your body.

Like in waking life, sex dreams don’t always end in orgasm (heavy sigh). A “nocturnal emission” or wet dream, is a spontaneous orgasm that happens while asleep, but plenty of people have erotic or romantic dreams that don’t end in climax. And these dreams can be really confusing, especially when they involve an acquaintance, coworker, or pretty much anyone other than your partner. Though some scientists think dreams are just the result of random neurons firing in the brain, others think there is more to it than that, and sometimes our dreams can provide insights into our subconscious needs and desires.

So what do you do if you have a sex dream about a friend, classmate, or coworker? “Do not take your sex dreams literally,” says dream analyst Jane Teresa Anderson. “Dream sex with an unlikely partner – or even a crush – is NOT a message from your deeper self suggesting a sexual encounter with that person in waking life. This is good news for those who dream of sex with a family member or a person of a different gender from their usual choice. These dreams are deeply symbolic, very common, and perfectly natural.”

Sometimes the key to understanding our sex dreams is deciphering what we admire about our sex partner. Dream expert Lauri Quinn Loewenberg provides a formula for figuring out what it all means: “There’s a magic rule to apply when figuring out your sex dreams: First, ask yourself if you have connected with them on some level in real life, did you have a meaningful conversation recently, for example. If not then pick three words that first come to mind when thinking of that person. Of those three qualifiers, is there one that would benefit you right now if you were to incorporate it into your own personality? Voila! That’s what that person represents and that’s why you’re having sex in the dream.”

And those random dreams about your coworker from accounting? Turns out they might not be a sign of true love. “A coworker is a very common partner in our sex dreams. If there is no attraction there (hey, sometimes a cigar is a cigar) then there is something about that coworker your subconscious is attracted to. Maybe he is the one that closes all the deals or maybe he is the problem solver. Whatever it is, there is something about him that your subconscious wants you to incorporate into your own behavior in order to benefit yourself at work… or benefit yourself in general,” says Loewenberg.

In the end, the key to interpreting your dreams is knowing the dreamer: yourself. “Everyone and everything in a dream represents something about the dreamer,” says Anderson. “If you find yourself having dream sex with a dark or shadowy or ‘negative’ character, it may be that you are ready to recognize your shadow side, some negative characteristic you have been denying. These dreams can help you to recognize and accept aspects of yourself, as well as to release them – let them go – if you wish.”

Find more from Jane Teresa Anderson at and more from Lauri Quinn Loewenberg at and @LauriLoewenberg

Feeling worried about your sleep dreams? Don’t. (Picture: Ella Byworth for

If Freud is to be believed, every slip of the tongue or night terror is indicative of some sort of psychopathic tendency.

There’s no denying, though, that when our subconscious shows something we didn’t want to see, it can create an uneasy feeling.

Having a sex dream about your boss, for example, is a surefire way to never be able to look them in the eye ever again. You may ask yourself whether you’re actually attracted to the balding, spits-while-he’s-talking loudmouth that calls you ‘young lady’ in meetings. Surely your waking mind couldn’t be that different once your head hits the pillow?

Or, worse still, you might have had a sexual dream about someone in your family, someone that contradicts your sexuality, or involving things you normally don’t like.

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This cognitive dissonance between two opposing sides of ‘yourself’ is definitely jarring. However, if you can put into perspective how much it actually reflects your desires, you should be able to get through it.

Much of what is known about sex dreams is anecdotal. Although there have been studies into dreaming (including a recent one that found men have more erotic dreams than women) since it’s impossible to see inside someone’s head when they’re dreaming, researchers will always rely on what people are comfortable reporting.

There is also the fact that some people don’t remember their dreams and some studies wait too long to collect results, meaning much of the content of the dreams has been lost.

Delphi Ellis, a Qualified Therapist, Mental Health and Wellbeing Trainer and Mindfulness Practitioner who regularly deals with sleep-related topics said that the most common dreams she comes into contact through her work tend to focus on sleeping with a boss, having multiple partners, cheating or being cheated on, or take on a more disturbing tone and focus on sexual trauma.

Dreaming about someone other than your partner isn’t necessarily an indication you want to cheat (Picture: Ella Byworth for

Lauri Loewenberg, who has been a practicing professional dream analyst for over 20 years, says that she thinks that we’re all having a lot more sex dreams than we let on, and that cheating is by far what she sees the most from her clients.

Would dreaming about cheating mean you have a secret desire to do so? Or does it mean you’re worried about your partner straying? Not necessarily, no.

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‘Although sometimes dreams can be about a sexual fantasy or desire, sex in dreams is often about control. This is why in dreams you might be having sex with someone you never would in real life,’ Delphi tells

The meanings of sex dreams are different for everyone and they’re not always literal. You might have work-related sex dreams as a manifestation of worries about an upcoming appraisal, or dreams might even intensify during periods of increased hormones.

Lauri tells us: ‘The dreaming mind uses the act of sex – which is two separate individuals joining together as one – to represent the connection or merger you are experiencing in waking life. This is why your dream lover may sometimes be someone you wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole!

‘It’s not about a physical union you want but rather a psychological union you need. So having a naughty dream about that creepy coworker doesn’t mean you secretly want him but rather some quality he possesses.’

How you should react to these dreams really depends on how it’s affected you, but figuring out their meaning is usually the first step.

‘Pinpoint that quality your sex dream partner represents then work on incorporating that into your own life or your own behavior,’ says Lauri, whether that’s the sales expertise of the coworker you had a sleeptime tryst with, or the caring nature of your bus driver you dreamed of.

Delphi recommends keeping a dream diary to get a good idea of the patterns and themes that regularly crop up.


She says, ‘Often once people recognise the meaning of why they have the dreams they do, the dreams take a different form or become less disturbing.’

What your different sex dreams mean, according to Lauri

Sex with an unknown man or woman

‘I call these the mystery lover dream. The thing you must keep in mind when figuring out your dreams is that everything and everyone in your dream is symbolic of some part of the self or something that affects the self.

‘That being said, an unknown man in a dream typically represents qualities we associate with that gender: assertiveness, being a go-getter, having “balls” and standing up for oneself.

‘An unknown woman will typically represent qualities we associate with the female gender: compassion, creativity, sensitivity, the ability to nurture, etc.

‘To dream of having sex with an unknown person of either gender suggests you are merging their respective qualities into your behaviour. For example, sex with an unknown man is about taking on a more assertive role or attitude. Sex with an unknown woman may indicate you are becoming more compassionate or creative.’

Sex with a co-worker or boss

‘These dreams can make it very hard to go into work but remember, as embarrassing as these dreams can be, they are good for you because they are showing you – in their weird way – what you can do to improve yourself.

‘The boss dreams are most often about taking on that authoritative, decision making role somewhere in your own life.

‘The co-worker can be a little trickier to figure out. If the co-worker you are dreaming about makes your heart beat a little faster and your palms a little sweatier, well then… sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!

‘But if the thought of being intimate with that co-worker makes you cringe, then there is a simple formula to figure it out, and you can actually apply this formula to any sex dream.

‘Ask yourself what 3 words best describe your co-worker. Not his or her looks but rather his or personality. Now ask yourself if any of those qualifiers would benefit you in your life right now if you incorporated it into your behavior. For example, perhaps the co-worker you are dreaming of is the one that cracks all the jokes in the office. In that case, he may simply represent humour and that is what your subconscious wants you to merge into your own behavior or attitude. Lighten up, have a sense of humor about things.’

Cheating on your partner or your partner cheating on you

‘If there is infidelity in your past, then these dreams reflect the distrust or guilt that is still there and are nudging you to continue to work on it rather than be complacent about it. But if there is no infidelity in your past and these dreams seem to be coming from left field, then you need to figure out what it is that feels like a third wheel in the relationship.

‘Usually it is work that is taking up too much of your or your partner’s time. But it could be anything such as golf, fantasy football or even a new baby that is causing you or your partner to feel “cheated” out of out of the time and attention they feel they should be getting. These dreams are shining a spotlight on the issue so you and your partner can figure out how to get more quality time together.’

Sex with a celebrity

‘When it’s one of your favorite celebrities… well, duh! But if it is a seemingly random celebrity, such as one you are not a fan of or one you haven’t seen or thought of in years, rest assured there is good reason your subconscious chose him or her to cameo in your dream.

‘Celebrities in our dreams often represent some part of ourselves we want recognition and applause for.

‘To figure out what that is, use the same formula: what comes to mind when you think of that celebrity? Is it a song? The meaning for you may be in the title or the lyrics. Is it a movie or TV show? Then you may identify with that character or with the story line.

‘For example, I had a client who was having sex dreams about Lenny Kravitz. She wasn’t necessarily a fan so she couldn’t figure it out. I asked her what first comes to mind when someone mentions him to her and she said, The Hunger Games movies. Turns out, she was desperately trying to lose weight. Her dream was using Lenny to show her that, if she wanted to get down to the weight she was aiming for, she would have to incorporate hunger into her life… and that is not a healthy game to play.’

MORE: How to ditch alcohol and keep your friends

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5 Unexpected Things That Can Cause Sex Dreams, According To Experts

If you’re fortunate enough to remember your dreams, then you already know dreams can run the gamut and, sometimes, be weird as hell. But dreams can also be sexy.

According to a 2007 study of 3,500 people published in American Academy of Sleep Medicine, respondents reported that roughly eight percent of their dreams are about sex. The study found that most common sex-related dreams are about intercourse, while sexual propositions, masturbation, and fantasies were in there too. But while people are dreaming about sex, it doesn’t necessarily mean those dreams are actually about sex.

“Sex dreams are almost never about sex,” Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. “They are more often about wanting to make a new connection between two parts of oneself that are coming together, or that ought to. Your co-worker or boss represents a part of you, and you obviously represent a part of you. Sex is the physical merging of two bodies, and a dream is a mental projection of that desire — to integrate a certain part of you into your daily life.”

But as for what can cause these sex dreams is another story. Here are five things that can lead to sex dreams, according to experts.

1. Changes In Waking Life

Ashley Batz for Bustle

“Dreams provide us with an excellent arena for expressing ourselves and our unconscious desires,” Dr. Clare Johnson, lucid dream researcher and author of Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Lucid Dreaming, and Dream Therapy, tells Bustle. “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. Because marriage is such a commitment and such a huge change in someone’s life, it’s processed in more than a few ways and one such way, for some, are sex dreams.

2. Lack Of Sex

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Although sex dreams aren’t necessarily about sex, Dr. Johnson does point out that a lack of sex in one’s waking life could lead to sexual dreams. The reason for this is to “satisfy physical impulses.” In other words, your brain knows when your body needs a sexual release.

3. Creativity

Ashley Batz for Bustle

“A person may have a sexual dream due to their blossoming creativity, or their desire to expand into a new area in their life,” says Dr. Johnson.

It’s no secret that sex and creativity are linked. So it shouldn’t be totally surprising that a sex dream might be inspired by new creativity or even the urge to branch and be more creative.

4. Attraction

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Well, of course! While any dream expert will attest to the fact that sex dreams don’t always equate to sex, if you’re attracted to someone in your waking life, they’re bound to sneak into your dreams at some point. And, if you’re lucky, into a sex dream to boot.

“Just as people have erotic fantasies about a particular person (or type of person),” says Dr. Johnson, “so we may have sexual dreams in response to a person to whom we feel attracted.”

5. Admiration

Hannah Burton for Bustle

“When we dream of sex with a particular person, this doesn’t necessarily mean we have a crush on them,” says Dr. Johnson. “When we unwrap the dream and explore our associations to it, we may find that the person in our dream has certain qualities we would love to have, such as confidence or a sense of adventure. Sexual dreams can point us towards ourselves and what we need at this point in our lives.”

Basically, if you keep having sex dreams about your best friend, co-worker, or boss it doesn’t mean you want to have sex with them necessarily. It might just mean that you think there’s something amazing about them.

Because sex dreams can be caused by something that may have nothing to do with sex, just go with it and enjoy them. And, if you’re lucky, you might experience an orgasm too — yes, orgasms while sleeping happen and are wonderful.

Interestingly, 1 in 25 men have dreamed about being pregnant, whilst one in five have been dream-cheated on.

What does psychologist and dream expert, Dr. Keith M. T. Hearne, make of these intimate dreams?

Sex dream meanings

Credit: Loop Images RF / Getty

Dr. Hearne, who conducted the world’s first sleep-lab research into lucid dreams, explains: ‘Dreams, especially those that wake you suddenly, are probably best understood – not literally – but as symbolic messages, and verbal puns, from your wise unconscious. The emotion left on waking is probably the best indicator of whether the dream portrayed something good or bad.

‘Our unconscious is very knowledgeable and is like a friend, guide and protector. It can encourage and prod us if we’re not achieving things it knows we can.

‘We dream for around two hours each night, and most are actually about mundane things. However, strong emotions sometimes intrude. We can anticipate that the topic of sex, in particular, could be driving these powerful dreams.

‘Of course, many sex dreams simply reflect a wish for sexual gratification, but sometimes they are so illogical – you may really dislike the person (from real life) with whom you are making love in the dream. This factor, of strangeness, points out that the dream is not about what it seems to be. A switch has occurred.’

Danny Richmond, Managing Director of Bed SOS, said: ‘We all hope for a restful night’s sleep, and the environment we’re in – a cool, quiet room and a comfortable bed for example – can have a big impact on the duration and quality of our sleep.

‘Most people dream and sometimes they can be surprising or uncomfortable, and it can be a bit unnerving if you don’t know the meaning behind them. Hopefully our research with Dr. Hearne will help put the nation’s conscious and subconscious minds at ease!’

Here’s Dr. Hearne’s take on sex dream meanings…

Sex dream meanings – being cheated on

‘Sometimes such a dream is indicating to the dreamer that cheating is indeed happening. The subconscious is sensitive to subtle clues (e.g. pheromones) that go unnoticed consciously, and the dream is just about the only channel of communication to the consciousness. But equally, a person who is lacking in trust may project that issue into their relationship. If the dream occurs in each relationship, the cause is more likely to be the latter.’

Credit: Westend61 / Getty

Sex dream meanings – sex with a co-worker

‘It is not unusual for human beings to be attracted to each other. In the generally friendly long-term situation of a work-place, little fantasies and flirtations often occur. Most dreams are about our daily lives, and in REM (dreaming) sleep, a main feature is that males have a full erection, and women experience clitoral engorgement, so any friction can trigger such a dream. Freud would have said that a part of our personality (the Id) which seeks basic gratification, would be responsible. In dreams it is safe to happen and can remain unspoken.’

Sex dream meanings – being naked in public

‘The ‘metaphors in motion’ description of dreams often suffices to understand the real meaning. In this case, a feeling of embarrassment and shame probably accurately reveals the essential emotion, and the content symbolically displays the cause of the dream. The dreamer should focus on what they have done or said to ‘show themselves up’. It may be a rebuke from the unconscious of unacceptable social behaviour. If, however, the feeling is of exhilaration, it may represent perhaps a new-found sense of freedom.’

Sex dream meanings – sex with an ex

‘In a relationship a sort of addictive sexual behaviour builds up over time. In fact, it is a powerful activity that promotes emotional and psychological closeness. Should the relationship fail, those features of the initial sexual attraction can’t easily be dropped, and dreams can regress us to earlier times, so it is not unusual for people to experience this dream for a while after a relationship, especially if there is sexual frustration.’

Sex dream meanings – sex with another woman

‘Sexual orientation is more open to discussion these days, so in some cases these dreams may be developments of those conscious thoughts. But in dreams there is so often a deeper level to consider.

‘The ‘other person of the same sex’ may actually be representative of you, the dreamer. Dreams can provide us with wise insights, such as – are you too self-centred? Or do you need to love yourself more, and build self-confidence? Meditation on the topic of oneself may enable you to attain self-truths.’

Sex dream meanings – sex in public

‘Some people are highly exhibitionistic, and the dream-world is a safe place for such fantasies, but that superego part of you is more likely to be intervening to warn that you’ve been exposing yourself recklessly about aspects of your life and made yourself vulnerable to social criticism. Nudity is one thing, perhaps revealing a wish to be free, but public sex may indicate a neurotic desire to shock other people – an extreme attention-seeking behaviour.’

Credit: Tara Moore / Getty

Sex dream meanings – men dreaming of being pregnant

‘Sometimes, men can feel great empathy with their partner and even experience symptoms of pregnancy. So in some cases it is a wish-fulfilment dream. Now that the strict bi-polarity concept of the sexes is easing, this kind of dream becomes more comprehensible. In the symbolic, metaphorical, language of the subconscious, another possibility is that it positively represents some much-loved and developing project (say, a business idea, or a building plan).’

Sex dream meanings – sex with someone you hate

‘Dreams progress along visual and verbal associative pathways, and the overriding law of all dreaming is that what you think you will then dream. What happens here is that the dream’s pathway at some time leads to a dream thought, about the person you dislike. That point acts as at trigger. Feeding on the negative emotion, the dream thought comes into metaphorical play.

‘Significantly, verbal puns are very powerful directors of the dream content and can take over a dream – switching the dream to the context of the dream thought. The underlying dream thought can be colloquial and even crude. Should the disliked person have scored some victory over you, say in an argument (and the encounter may have had nothing to do with sex), the essential unconscious descriptive thought about the episode might have been ‘I’m f***ed’.

‘But that phrase in the dream thought evokes powerful images of the sex act, which is then automatically displayed to the dreamer, along with the offending person. It is merely a projection of the dream thought. The discrepancy can be unsettling and puzzling to the dreamer on waking. What was happening in the sex dream is important for the interpretation – were you active or passive? That will reveal if you were emphasising your success in the encounter, or reliving the humiliation that you suffered from the individual.’

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