Why is There so Much Sex in Dreams?

Many people do not want to talk about or write about their dreams because a lot of them are X-rated. Even when I write about my dreams for public reading, I edit out sex scenes in order to avoid getting weird emails or lawsuits from those I dream about. But I do write about it unedited in my personal dream journals.

Do you dream about sex a lot? You’re not alone. Sex featured so prominently in the dreams in Sigmund Freud’s time that he made the rather rash assumption that most dreams stemmed from sexual issues or desires. He wasn’t alone in that assumption. There are still Freudians that place large emphasis on the sexual interpretation of dreams.

The Body During Sleep

Although the body is asleep, the central nervous system keeps on firing away. The body goes through various stages during sleep as brainwaves change during sleep. D-sleep is the stage where genital stimulation occurs. Men may awaken with an erection even if they do not have an erotic dream. Women can sometimes wake up wet. Why?

The brain sees dream images as real images. It signals the blood to start pumping in response to these images. The brain also keeps the sense of touch wide open. The brain stimulates the nerves around the mouth, in small muscle bunches and in the genitals during D-sleep, when the brain produces Delta waves, the slowest of brain waves during sleep. It’s also the time when we are most deeply asleep. The body’s temperature may rise slightly and the dreamer may begin breathing more rapidly. The brain enters D-sleep before it begins REM and dreaming.

Why Bother?

But just why does the brain stimulate the genitals during sleep? We really do not know why, although there are many theories. One theory is that a filled bladder may stimulate the body, which somehow gets translated by the brain as sexual arousal.

Another theory, put forward in Sleep, Dreaming and Sleep Disorders: An Introduction (University Press of America; 1993) is that people do not dream about sex so often but are able to remember sex dreams better than “regular” dreams because, well – they’re more interesting.

Perhaps the most popular theory is the “use it or lose it” theory. The sexual muscles don’t get much of a regular workout for many people and so dreams keep the muscles in tip-top shape just in case the body ever gets a chance at reproduction.

In Conclusion

Dream sex is the best sex ever. You don’t have to worry about performing any painful gymnastics and there is no cleaning up involved. More importantly, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about, even if you dream about taboo sexual situations, such as having sex with a family member. Not everyone suffers from the Oedipus complex (or Electra complex in women.)

Writing about your sexual dreams can help you stimulate your creativity and helps you communicate with your subconscious. You are under no obligation to tell anyone about your X-rated dreams.


Sex Dreams. Carol Cummings. Fair Winds; 2004.

Sleep, Dreaming and Sleep Disorders: An Introduction. William H. Moorcroft. University Press of America; 1993

Psychology World. “Stages of Sleep.” 1998. http://web.mst.edu/~psyworld/sleep_stages.htm

DiscoveryHealth. “On Dreams and Dreaming.” Patricia Garfield, Ph.D. http://health.howstuffworks.com/mental-health/sleep/journal/on-dreams-and-dreaming.htm

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