What Are Your Sex Dreams Trying To Tell You? Here’s What To Know

What Are Your Sex Dreams Trying To Tell You? Here’s What To Know

Sarah Regan

Author: Expert reviewer:

March 29, 2024

Sarah Regan

mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor

By Sarah Regan

mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor

Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor’s in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.

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Image by Simon Bcc / Stocksy

March 29, 2024

Certain dreams seem to be somewhat universal. Some common themes include snakesspiders, and, of course, sex.

Not only are sex dreams quite common, but they can also carry valuable information. Here, we’re rolling through the types of sex dreams people often have, what they could mean, and how to stop having them (…if you want to stop having them, of course).

Why do we have sex dreams?

Sex dreams might seem like simply the inner workings of a horny mind, for lack of a better word, but according to professional dream interpreter Lauri Loewenberg, they’re often not actually about sex at all. And not only that, but specifics matter—even the random things.

Usually, the specifics of dreams relate to some aspect of your real life and have messages or lessons woven into their symbolism. And in the case of sex dreams, Loewenberg explains, “The main thing to keep in mind is sex dreams are rarely about an actual physical union you want, but more about a psychological union.”

As she explains, you obviously already know if you want to sleep with this person in real life. “You don’t need a dream to tell you that,” she says—but if it’s someone you don’t actually feel attracted to, there’s likely something about them you admire or want to emulate.

That said, have no fear if you’re happily coupled up and still dreaming about sleeping with strangers or your boss. According to Loewenberg, sex in a dream most often represents a desire to connect to some internal aspect of that person, like a trait or behavior, rather than their physical body.

15 common sex dreams:


Sex dreams about a stranger or acquaintance

If you’ve been dreaming about having sex with strangers or people you barely know, you might be unsure what it is about them that you like or want to embody yourself. In this case, Loewenberg suggests looking at what stands out about the dream character.

“Maybe they’re very muscular, for example,” she says. “If some characteristic or trait really stands out about the person in the dream, that’s what they represent. So, muscles would represent your own ability to be strong, handle tough situations, and muscle through something difficult.”


Sex dreams about a professor or boss

Keeping in mind that sleeping with someone in a dream often represents wanting a quality that person has, dreaming about a boss or professor might mean “you want the qualities of a boss,” Loewenberg says.

“You want more authority, you want to be in charge and make firmer decisions. It could also be that you want to get in good with the boss or connect with them in some way so they’ll respect you,” she explains.


Sex dreams about an ex

It’s not uncommon to dream about your ex, and if you’re sleeping with them, the most obvious reason is that you may simply miss them. “Especially,” Loewenberg adds, “if you’re in a dry spell or your current relationship isn’t doing it for you in that department.”

If it’s an ex that you’re glad to be rid of, she adds, having sex with them in a dream could actually be an indication that you’re coming to peace with that relationship and letting it go. It could also be that you miss some aspects of the relationship, rather than the ex themselves—such as the security the relationship offered, or simply having someone to sleep with on a regular basis.


Sex dreams about your current partner

According to Loewenberg, dreaming that you’re having sex with your partner is pretty common, but you should still look at all the other things going on. “Where were you? Was there any sort of conversation between you, or some other specific element in the dream? Because those details will likely give more information on what you’ve recently connected on, or a conversation you recently had,” she explains.


Sex dreams about a friend

If you dreamed you slept with a friend, no, that doesn’t mean you’re subconsciously in love with them. Rather, Loewenberg says, “It can sometimes be about connecting or coming together on some level psychologically or emotionally,” adding, “Have you recently connected? Did you have an intimate, revealing conversation or discover you share the same POV or have gone through a similar experience?”

This dream, then, would be a reflection of how you connected or, perhaps, how you want to connect.


Sex dreams about a celebrity

We project a lot onto celebrities. And usually, if you’re dreaming about sleeping with one, there’s something they have that you want. “Remember, connection is the name of the game. If it’s [a movie star], there’s probably a quality in the character they played that you desire,” Loewenberg says.


Sex dreams in public

It’s fairly common to dream about having sex in public or outside, and location is important in dreams. As Loewenberg says, “The setting of a dream, no matter what’s going on in the setting, is important to pay attention to because it will typically represent where you are in life or where you are in your heart and mind.”

Having public sex in a dream, then, could represent a preoccupation with status or recognition. And depending on who you’re sleeping with, you might be seeking recognition for the qualities that person has.


Sex dreams in the bathroom

If you’re dreaming about having sex in the bathroom, Loewenberg says you might have “an area of your life where you need to do some cleansing and relieving.”

The partner in this dream “could be a message from your subconscious that if you unite a certain quality of this person into your life, into your behavior, it will help you cleanse that negativity.”


Sex dreams in the kitchen

The kitchen is all about creation and nourishment, so if you’re having sex in a dream there, “that’s typically a good sign something is in the works,” Loewenberg says.

“To the dreaming mind, the kitchen would indicate that you’re cooking up some kind of idea or project that will feed your soul, that will nourish you psychologically, emotionally, perhaps financially.” And your partner in the dream, she explains, is a clue to the quality or behavior you can integrate into yourself in order to get your project moving along.


Sex dreams about BDSM

If BDSM (bondage and discipline, sadism and masochism) is showing up in your dreams, there are a few ways to look at it: First, consider whether you are the one dominating or being dominated in the dream, and ask yourself how you feel about it.

In some cases, this dream could indicate you’re being too hard on yourself in some way, Loewenberg says. It could also mean you want more control in some area of your life (dom) or alternatively, you wish someone else would take control (sub). And of course, it could also mean you’re simply intrigued by the possibility and want to try it in real life.


Oral sex dreams

If you’re dreaming about oral sex, Loewenberg tells mindbodygreen that these dreams most often have to do with communication, because oral sex is done with the mouth.

“Any mouth-related dream will almost always be connected to how you’ve been communicating lately in real life. So oral sex can be about very intimate conversations,” she explains, adding that it’s important to pay attention to who is the giver and who is the receiver, “because that will be connected to who initiated—or who needs to initiate—the conversation.”

And spoiler, she adds, it’s the giver that needs to speak up.


Masturbation dreams

Masturbation dreams can relate to a few different things. For one, Loewenberg says, you could just be in a dry spell and your body is offering you a release. But beyond that, she adds, it could be that you’re pleased with yourself for some real life accomplishment.

However, if you’re having a lot of masturbation dreams, she notes, it could reflect that perhaps you’ve been a little too self centered lately. “It can also simply be your subconscious telling you that you have to handle something yourself, like at work or at home,” she adds.


Sex dreams about threesomes or orgies

If you’re dreaming about having threesomes or orgies, Loewenberg says that these dreams relate to an area of your life where there’s too much going on and you need to simplify. “It could be simply telling you that you need to focus on one thing right now. You’ve got a lot of things you want to accomplish, so just focus on one thing at a time,” she explains.

And in some cases, Loewenberg adds, these dreams can also relate to indecision, or having multiple directions that you could go. In that case, she says, you need to pick a direction and go with it.


Dreams about missing out on sex

In some cases, you might dream that you’re about to have sex with someone, but then it doesn’t happen (i.e. you get interrupted or the person in the dream walks away).

As Loewenberg tells mindbodygreen, these dreams relate to feeling like something in your real life is out of reach or otherwise unattainable. “It could reflect that you just never seem to have the opportunity, but it could also be connected to some area of your life where you just can’t seem to get satisfaction, such as your career,” she explains.


Dreams about unwanted advances or past sexual trauma

While sex dreams can be fun and even pleasurable, there are, of course, cases of dreaming about unwanted advances or sexual assault, especially if you’ve been a victim of sexual violence in your past.

If you have experienced any sexual trauma, Loewenberg says nightmares about the event can be a symptom of PTSD, and should be addressed with a mental health professional.

However, if this dream doesn’t feel tied to any past real life experience, dreaming about unwanted advances typically relate to feeling “screwed” by a real life situation, or even feeling dominated or pressured by someone who’s trying to manipulate you or force their opinions on you.

Yes, sex dreams are normal

As aforementioned, sex dreams are incredibly common—and yes, they’re entirely normal. Research even shows1 that roughly a quarter of people have a sex dream once a month! And there’s no discrimination among genders—people of all genders report sex dreams and nocturnal emissions.

As sexologist Gigi Engle previously wrote for mindbodygreen, there is no easy way to pinpoint exactly why we have the dreams that we do, “But what most experts agree on is that dreams are affected by both external factors (like temperature, sleeping position, a partner snoring, etc.) and internal factors (such as stress, anxiety, thoughts about the day, etc.).

From watching a steamy romance movie before bed, to even sleeping on your stomach, a host of factors can trigger a sex dream, so rather than worrying about why you had the dream itself, try to figure out what it’s trying to tell you.

Can you stop having sex dreams?

Dreaming about sex isn’t typically someone’s worst nightmare. But, if it’s recurring, intrusive, or you just don’t want to keep dreaming about someone you don’t actually want to sleep with, Loewenberg does offer some advice.

“The best way to make a dream stop is to take action on the message it’s giving you,” she says, adding, “A dream is going to nag you and keep giving you the same message again and again until you listen and take action.”

So, if you keep dreaming about your boss, for example, “Then take the message and run with it,” she says. “Start being a boss in your own life. Start taking charge, and the dream will stop.”

To figure out the message, remember the main thing you want to do is “ask yourself, in what way do I need to connect with this person?” Loewenberg notes, as well as what it is you admire or respect about them. From there, you can start to embody whatever that quality or trait is.

And for what it’s worth, it doesn’t hurt to have a dream journal where you record your dreams, as well as a day journal, so you can go back and look at what happened the day before that might have influenced the dream.

The takeaway

All dreams are mysterious and up for interpretation, and sex dreams are no exception—but rest assured, they don’t always need to be taken literally. In fact, they usually don’t.

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