Sex dreams decoded: The most common reasons why women orgasm in their sleep.

We don’t talk about women’s sex dreams nearly enough.

Much of the information on the internet is like something out of Jane Austin or Pride and Prejudice. Dreams about romance, and marriage proposals and knights in shining armor, with a little kink thrown in.

But what about the feeling of waking up mid-orgasm and not knowing where the hell that came from? Women have “wet dreams” too. We dream about sexual acts, fantasies, masturbation, penetration (not sounding so romantic anymore, is it?). Sex dreams are pure, natural arousal and here’s what you need to know about them.

First off, some background.

Sex dreams and “sleep-gasms” are normal. A 2007 study of more than 3,500 participants found around four percent of dreams, in both men and women, result in orgasm. Dreams of sexual activity, not necessarily ending in orgasm, was reported in eight per cent of dreams. The most common form of sexual activity in dreams was intercourse. Kissing, fantasy and masturbation were close behind.

Interestingly (but not surprisingly) women’s sex dreams are more likely to involve the pleasure of their sexual partner, while men’s sex dreams are more ‘selfish’. The study also found 20 per cent of women’s sex dreams involved current or past lovers, compared to 14 per cent of men’s sex dreams.

Why do we have them?

When we enter the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep cycle, the central nervous system is engaged and breathing and blood flow increase. This includes blood flow to the genitals. These psychological changes—relaxation, heavy breathing and increased blood flow to the genitals—closely mirror that of being turned on while awake. As dream researcher and a visiting scholar at the Graduate Theological Union in California,Kelly Bulkeley told Women’s Health, “It’s not surprising that these physiological changes often express themselves as an erotic dream.”


A woman’s menstrual cycle also plays a part. Libido, naturally, increases during ovulation. Sex dreams are likely to follow suit.

Team Mamamia anonymously confess to the last sex dream they had, and the person they had it with:

But what do they mean?

Sex dreams can be troubling. They don’t usually represent everyday or “normal” scenarios. Instead, they’re likely to involve your ex, or your boss, your best friend of the same sex, your friend’s boyfriend, a family member even.

Sex dreams like this can leave you feeling weird. Grossed out. Like you’ve done something wrong.

But the meaning of these dreams are typically quite normal, understandable even. For example:


It might be about self improvement.

“In most cases, sex in a dream is not about a physical union you want, but rather [it’s about] a psychological union you need or want,” dream expert Lauri Loewenberg told Elite Daily. “It’s all about having or needing a psychological connection with the person in your dream or merging a particular quality that person has into your own personality.”

Dreaming of being physically close to someone, because you want to adopt a certain aspect of their personality as your own? Creepy, but it’s better than the alternative (particularly if the subject is your boss).

The same goes for having a sex dream (nightmare?) about a mother or father or sibling. These dreams can be extremely disturbing, but Loewenberg says it’s more about you than it is about them. There’s nothing to be worried about.

“These dreams have major “Ew!” factor, but remember, everything and everyone in your dream is usually symbolic of some part of you,” she said.

It could be the sign of a very, very special friendship.

Dreaming about your best friend of the same sex, and this resulting in orgasm, can lead to a whole waterfall of questions: “Does this mean I’m gay? Why am I attracted to women all of a sudden? How am I going to look her in the eye when I see her for coffee next week?”

According to author of Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction, Debby Herbenick, who spoke to Women’s Day, there’s no need to panic if you wake up mid-orgasm after dreaming about your bestie. It’s actually a positive thing.


“Many women dream about having sex with another woman at some point in their lives, even if, in waking life, they’re excited only by men,” she said. “Same-sex sex dreams can also be sparked by the emotional closeness that many women have with their best friends. In dreams, sometimes this closeness may take on a different level but it is unlikely to mean anything about your sexual orientation, unless you also—in waking life—find that you are interested in women.”

It could be a sign your real sex life is in need of a shake up.

The more unconventional or inappropriate sex dreams—for example, those involving an ex, or your best friend’s partner, or someone who is utterly forbidden—might be a sign that you’re in need of a little more IRL stimulation.


“It’s taboo, it’s exciting, it’s totally inappropriate—but those feelings can make it all the more sexy,” she says. “A small bit of research suggests that these extramarital dreams may be more likely to be experienced by those who are in a bit of a sex rut.”

It could be an indication of anger.

Anger is passion. Sex is passion. And if you’re having sex dreams about a colleague you cannot stand, or that guy at the grocery store who always tries to rip you off, or the friend of a friend who you argue with every time you see him, this is completely understandable.

Herbenick says: “Occasionally, women may dream about someone they can’t stand and are definitely not attracted to in real life. Sexual feelings can be sparked by a range of emotions—including rage, which is a type of passion.”


The most important thing to remember when it comes to sex dreams? Enjoy them. And don’t “treat a dream like it’s a Magic Eight Ball,” Bulkeley concludes.

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