Whether we admit it or not, we all have love, sex, and relationships on the brain. Whether we're a CEO superwoman, a stay-at-home dad, or a tree-hugging hippie chick. If you have a pulse, you have an unconscious longing for belonging. As much as some of us would like to think of ourselves as lone wolves who can brave the wilderness of life alone, the truth is we need each other. At a core level, what we care about most is merging with or relating to our fellow humans. And our dreams are our secret weapon to help us do this.
If we pay attention to our dreams, we'll also discover they are helping us to explore our own personal pleasure principle so we can become the most healthy and balanced version of ourselves we can be.
According to Antonio Zadra, Ph.D., of the University of Montreal, who deduced in his 3,500 person study that 8 percent of (admitted) dreams are sexual. However, those in the know believe that if people told the naked truth about these dreams the numbers would be more like 25-30 percent.
Why do we have sexual dreams?
In addition to the healthy need to blow off steam, sex in dreams represents intimate connection -- not necessarily lust as one might assume. Sex with someone in a dream, whether or not it actually results in intercourse, symbolizes a merging with the qualities that person represents to us. The driver of our sexual dreams is the experience of wholeness/personal power (not just orgasm).
Sexual dreams are the ultimate "Hall Pass."
The late, great father of psychotherapy, Carl Jung, said (and I paraphrase) there is no promiscuity in dreams because everyone and everything in our dream is an aspect of ourselves... whether we dream of sex with the boss, neighbor, favorite celebrity, next of kin, wild animal, or an alien.
Enough foreplay, let's get to it. According to my experience working personally with dreams for nearly 50 years and professionally with dreams and dreamers for nearly 20 years, I discovered the following to be the top 10 most commonly remembered sexual dreams. For a deeper dive into this topic, check out my latest book, The Love, Sex & Relationship Dream Dictionary):
1. Cheating on a significant other
Ever wondered why when you say you want your cake and eat it too, people say, "In your dreams!" That's because in your dreams you can have sex with everyone, in every position, in every exotic locale and still wake up in the morning wrapped in the stability of a monogamous relationship. However, this dream could indicate dissatisfaction in your relationship and a desire for variety, adventure, and sexual stimulation that you're not finding in your present love affair. This dream could represent your internal struggle with loyalty, guilt, shame, and commitment issues. You might be thinking that the grass may be greener on the other side. This dream may help you process your feelings and get a clearer perspective before you do something that you might regret.
If you dream of your lover cheating on you, you are processing feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, and how you might weather the storm should it actually come to pass in waking reality. Remember, seldom are these dreams literal; they should prompt you to ask yourself, "Where am I cheating on me?" Consider whether or not you are dishonoring yourself in this relationship and ignoring your intuitive guidance, needs, and desires. Have you settled for less than your worth, or have you dismissed your own inner guidance? This dream might be a message to face your insecurities and embark on the path of self- discovery and healing. Though this dream is best viewed symbolically, it might reflect your fears about your relationship, so consider whether those fears are founded in reality.
2. With an Ex
If you dream of sex with an ex, it doesn't necessarily mean that you long to belong with that person. Such dreams are often an attempt to retrieve energy, power, or an important aspect of yourself that you may have left behind with your ex, perhaps a part of your heart you feel is missing. Consider that your ex represents an aspect of you (your anima or animus), and it is now time to embrace it.
3. An orgasm that feels real
When you have a wet dream, you are simply giving yourself permission for pleasure (lucky you!). Sometimes when you dream, you are more receptive than you might be in waking reality to explore beyond your typical sensual delights. Thus, a dream sexual experience can be incredibly diverse and satisfying. Take note of the scenario that provided the release, and consider it a window into what turns you on. This may or may not come as a surprise to you, but such self-awareness will no doubt lead you to a deeper understanding of your own pleasure principle.
4. With the boss
If you have steamy dreams about your boss or other coworkers, take heart in knowing that these sleepworking dreams are quite common, especially if your job is important to you. It doesn't necessarily mean that you're the type to sleep your way to the top. Dreams of sleeping with your boss could represent that you are craving an intimate connection with the leadership aspect of you. By incorporating the energy of this dream, you will be one step closer to that raise and to empowering yourself to take charge of your career.
5. With a celebrity
Sex dreams starring you and a celebrity as your leading man or woman may be helping you to celebrate yourself. Sexual celebrity dreams can mean you are connecting deeply with power, influence, and glamour. Consider the qualities you ascribe to this celebrity; they may reveal an aspect of yourself you should embrace in your own life you are slated to embrace, in order to walk the red carpet of my own life with confidence and grace.
6. In an adventurous place
Dreams of having a sexual encounter in an adventurous place could be a message to see sex, yourself, and your loved one from an out-of-the-box perspective. They may be a prescription from the dream realm to add spice to your relationship, go outside the boundaries of your normal comfort zone, and learn a new trick or two.
P.S. This dream would be a good one to share with your significant other. It's dreams like this that can add fuel to the flame of your romance.
7. With someone of the same sex
Dreams of a homosexual nature represent an intimate joining with the feminine or masculine aspect of yourself. Because we all contain masculine and feminine energy, regardless of our sex, this could signify your seeking balance, unresolved issues with your opposite-sex parent, or the freedom and self-love to explore beyond the boundaries of society's parameters. Such dreams reflect your level of self-love and acceptance about your masculine or feminine energy. They could also reflect high self-esteem or feeling free to come out of the closet to share your signature expression of love. You might consider this dream symbolic of deeply connecting with the sensual god or goddess within, fulfilling a need for nurturing and gentleness (female) or power and potency (male).
8. With a family member or close platonic friend
Remember that dreams are symbolic and not literal. Did you recently have a fight with this family member or friend? Joining with him or her in your dream could be symbolic of reconciliation, empathy, or merging with and understanding their point of view or the qualities they represent.
9. With a friend's significant other
In dreams you can explore secret attractions without having to act on them and face the consequences of those actions in the waking world. Remember, when you see this person and blush crimson, you have nothing to be ashamed of.
P.S. Unless your friend is enlightened, I'd keep this dream under cover. They might not understand the symbolic nature of dreams.
10. Sexual problems (inability to perform or sexual deformity)
In addition to dreams of sex being symbolic of intimacy, the sex act can often be symbolic of power and potency, or lack thereof. You may have had this dream because there's an area in your life where you feel impotent, powerless, helpless, or ineffective to implement the changes you'd like to see. Or you may be expressing frustration at not being able to rise to the occasion and embrace an opportunity recently presented in your life.
In addition to the specific meaning of any one sexual dream, most of the time sex dreams are proof that you are a warm-blooded human being. Sex dreams are a natural way to release pent up desire that may not be appropriate to express in waking reality, based on your moral code.
Think of your sexual dreams are an opportunity for the inner caveman/woman to run wild--so that he/she may awaken in the light of day as the balanced, civilized, upstanding citizen you are.
The bottom line (pun intended) is that your nighttime escapades are nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, you should be quite proud of all the aspects of self you embrace in the dreamtime that makes you a more whole and powerful being.