If you're fortunate enough to remember your dreams, then you already know dreams can run the gamut and, sometimes, be weird as hell. But dreams can also be sexy.
According to a 2007 study of 3,500 people published in American Academy of Sleep Medicine, respondents reported that roughly eight percent of their dreams are about sex. The study found that most common sex-related dreams are about intercourse, while sexual propositions, masturbation, and fantasies were in there too. But while people are dreaming about sex, it doesn't necessarily mean those dreams are actually about sex.
"Sex dreams are almost never about sex," Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "They are more often about wanting to make a new connection between two parts of oneself that are coming together, or that ought to. Your co-worker or boss represents a part of you, and you obviously represent a part of you. Sex is the physical merging of two bodies, and a dream is a mental projection of that desire — to integrate a certain part of you into your daily life."
But as for what can cause these sex dreams is another story. Here are five things that can lead to sex dreams, according to experts.
1. Changes In Waking Life
"Dreams provide us with an excellent arena for expressing ourselves and our unconscious desires," Dr. Clare Johnson, lucid dream researcher and author of Llewellyn's Complete Book of Lucid Dreaming, and Dream Therapy, tells Bustle. "A sexual dream may be a metaphor for new energy we feel rising in some area of our life, such as an urge to change jobs, embark on a voyage, or simply take up a new hobby."
A perfect example of such a change that would induce sex dreams is marriage. Because marriage is such a commitment and such a huge change in someone's life, it's processed in more than a few ways and one such way, for some, are sex dreams.
2. Lack Of Sex
Although sex dreams aren't necessarily about sex, Dr. Johnson does point out that a lack of sex in one's waking life could lead to sexual dreams. The reason for this is to "satisfy physical impulses." In other words, your brain knows when your body needs a sexual release.
"A person may have a sexual dream due to their blossoming creativity, or their desire to expand into a new area in their life," says Dr. Johnson.
It's no secret that sex and creativity are linked. So it shouldn't be totally surprising that a sex dream might be inspired by new creativity or even the urge to branch and be more creative.
Well, of course! While any dream expert will attest to the fact that sex dreams don't always equate to sex, if you're attracted to someone in your waking life, they're bound to sneak into your dreams at some point. And, if you're lucky, into a sex dream to boot.
"Just as people have erotic fantasies about a particular person (or type of person)," says Dr. Johnson, "so we may have sexual dreams in response to a person to whom we feel attracted."
"When we dream of sex with a particular person, this doesn't necessarily mean we have a crush on them," says Dr. Johnson. "When we unwrap the dream and explore our associations to it, we may find that the person in our dream has certain qualities we would love to have, such as confidence or a sense of adventure. Sexual dreams can point us towards ourselves and what we need at this point in our lives."
Basically, if you keep having sex dreams about your best friend, co-worker, or boss it doesn't mean you want to have sex with them necessarily. It might just mean that you think there's something amazing about them.
Because sex dreams can be caused by something that may have nothing to do with sex, just go with it and enjoy them. And, if you're lucky, you might experience an orgasm too — yes, orgasms while sleeping happen and are wonderful.