HAVE YOU EVER HAD A WET DREAM?

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According to Wikipedia, ‘a wet dream is a spontaneous orgasm during sleep that includes ejaculation for a male, or vaginal wetness or an orgasm for a female’. Wet dreams, which are also called nocturnal emissions by doctors, are perfectly normal and are mostly experienced during the age of puberty.

During puberty, while levels of testosterone are in flux and hormonal glands are developing, surplus production of sexually-related fluids is not an uncommon occurrence. Wet dreams cannot be controlled, as they are an involuntary response. Not everyone experiences wet dreams while growing up, but most people seem to, especially males, whose build-up of semen leads to spontaneous night ejaculation, especially before young boys actually start to experiment with masturbation. It is in fact well documented that once a person starts masturbating or having sex with a partner regularly, wet dreams markedly diminish. Up until then, the frequency of nocturnal emissions varies according to the individual, with some boys experiencing wet dreams twice or more during the week, and others only a couple of times during their entire life.

Although it’s more common for boys to have wet dreams, girls can have them too. In fact, in 1953, sexuality researcher Alfred Kinsley found that nearly 40% of more than 5,500 women interviewed had experienced a nocturnal emission at least once by the time they were 45 years old. Although women cannot ejaculate, it’s normal for a woman to have an orgasm during a dream, however since similar studies find a much higher percentage of boys and men experiencing wet dreams, there is usually a greater focus on male sexuality when it comes to nocturnal emissions.

What do people think about when they ejaculate or orgasm in their sleep? No one really knows. Even though in these cases the dreamer almost always wakes up in the act of ejaculating, thereby ending the dream, only theories exist as to whether there are common factors with regards to the content of the actual dreams involved. What is known is that either before or during a wet dream, there is a higher increase of blood flow in the sexual organs. However, whether the dream is a result of this, or whether this is the result of the dream is not documented.

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A typical wet dream however almost always involves the contact of the sexual organ with another surface. This is usually mirrored in real life, when for example the sleeping adolescent’s penis rubs against the bedclothes or rug while he’s changing his sleeping position in bed. This could also be why certain sleeping positions are known to be more conducive towards nocturnal emissions than others, such as sleeping on your stomach, which is associated with having more intense dreams.

Adults rarely experience nocturnal emissions. It is mostly adolescents who wake up confused and sweaty to find their pyjamas or bed sheets wet, which often creates feelings of shame, denial, fear and guilt. This is why it’s important that parents and society foster awareness when it comes to young people and the physical changes they experience during this difficult age. It is imperative for every individual to learn more about his or her own body, and to realise that normal sexual functions do not need to be associated with feelings of anxiety, revulsion or dread – they are to be accepted as part of the evolving process of growing up.

 

More from Eve: A discussion with Charmaine Borg