What Sex Dreams Mean, And Why They Happen

3 minute read

Ever wake up from a dream where you got ravaged by a sexy person you randomly saw on your way to work? You’ve just had a sex dream! While sex dreams can be fun, they can also be confusing because they don’t necessarily mean you want to be with a person or in a sexual situation in your waking life. Find out what causes sex dreams and why we have them.

What is a sex dream?

A sex dream is a dream that is erotic or arousing. Just because you have a sex dream about someone doesn’t necessarily mean they turn you on in your waking life, however. A sex dream could just be a way for your brain to process other emotions, like stress, triggered by a person or situation.

What causes sex dreams?

There are a few things that can cause sex dreams. Here are just a few factors that may cause sex dreams:  

  • You have a crush. Attraction is powerful and can dominate the mind into our sleep time. 
  • You’re stressed. Life events or complicated relationships can translate to sex dreams as ways of processing feelings and stress. 
  • You’re seeking control. Sometimes having a sex dream about a person you’re not into in your waking life can mean you’re simply processing ways to take control of a situation you don’t yet have a handle on. 
  • You’re sexually charged. A sex dream can be a way to get out your sexual energy or frustration.  
  • You’re feeling creative. A sex dream can be a sign that you’re feeling inspired.
Why do I keep having sex dreams?

If you keep having sex dreams, it could be because you are just processing sexual energy or frustration. It could also just mean you’re processing a life event or a feeling that’s totally unrelated to sex. For example, if you keep having sex dreams about someone you hate, it could just mean you’re working out some inbalanced power dynamics.

What do sex dreams mean?

Sex dreams can mean a number of things. Sometimes, a sex dream simply means you’re horny and subconsciously sublimating sexual energy or frustration. A sex dream can also symbolize something totally unrelated to sex. For example, a sex dream about wanting to dominate someone can mean you are lacking control in other areas in life, like at work or school.

How to have sex dreams

Like any type of dream, it can be difficult to force a sex dream unless you’re a seasoned lucid dreamer. Besides learning lucid dream techniques, here’s how to have a sex dream: 

  1. Before sleeping, concentrate your thoughts on situations or people that turn you on.
  2. Watch porn or read erotica before bed.
  3. Keep a dream journal to track details of your dreams.
  4. Concentrate on the details of the sex dream you’d like to have as you drift off.
  5. Make your fantasy come to life with a partner so you can later dream about it.

When you wake up from a great sex dream, it’s hard not to want to fall back asleep to continue the scenario. Sex dreams happen for all kinds of reasons — not all of which stem from actually wanting to have sex with the person you dreamt about. Whatever the cause, just know sex dreams are a totally normal way for your brain to process emotions and needs.

Louise Bourchier, MPH

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

Louise Bourchier is a sex educator and sex researcher with 8 years experience in the field. She teaches about sexual health, sexual pleasure, and communication in relationships through workshops, live-streams, and with written content. Using a sex-positive approach, a dash of humour, and bag full of fun props, Louise’s style of sex education for adults is not what you got in high school! Since 2011 she has taught over a hundred workshops to a wide range of audiences, from university students, to refugees, to medical professionals, to adult store clientele. She has a Masters of Public Health, and is currently a PhD candidate.

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