The only thing worse than starting your day with a blaring alarm is blinking open your eyes to the realization that said wake-up call interrupted a wildly inappropriate dream. (Fine, the alarm is definitely worse, but immediately feeling filthy, ashamed of, and confused by your subconscious is also hardly the best way to start a day.) While the contents of dreams rarely make sense, when your psyche serves up a sexy scenario featuring your boss/friend/any other equally awk companion, it can leave you feeling bothered…hold the hot.
When I spoke to two sexperts to see if these dreams (or more accurately, nightmares) are actually cause for concern, they assured me there's no reason to feel dirty. Just like so many other innocuous TMI topics, repugnant romps while snoozing is nothing if not normal. "Our dreams are basically a mixtape of our feelings and our experiences, so it would make sense that people you encounter a lot end up in your dreams," says sex-positive psychologist Liz Powell, PsyD. "Sometimes our sex dreams are about people or activities that we actually want; sometimes they're just mixed up parts of things we ran into recently."
Unless you're practicing lucid dreaming on a normal basis, you have little control over what you dream. So if you're feeling yourself (and I mean, ahem, feeling yourself) before dozing off, your mind could attempt to meet your needs while you sleep. "Because our brain doesn't necessarily work logically when we're dreaming, sometimes it'll just fill in blank faces, kind of like filler bodies, to round out the cast of characters and sometimes it'll pick from people we know," adds Powell.
"Our dreams are basically a mixtape of our feelings and our experiences, so it would make sense that people you encounter a lot end up in your dreams." —psychologist Liz Powell, PsyD
Goddess Cecilia—sexuality and pleasure expert with O.School, an online sexuality resource—likens the fragments of our reality floating around in our dreams to drawers. "All that undercover activity sometimes involves bumping into other brain drawers full of memories that bust open to remind you about a specific person. Sometimes, it's a sex dream with Jason Momoa, who you might never meet in your waking life. Though, we can all dream," she tells me.
While it's important to not take your somnolent trysts too literally, Cecilia does say that unpacking the vignettes can be an interesting exercise in dream interpretation. "Dreams in general are often about the feelings they inspire, rather than the specific actions in the dream," she says. (Mind. Blown.) "You might want to ask yourself, 'What is my dynamic like with that person in real life?,' 'Did I feel a specific feeling about what happened, and can I attribute something in waking life with that same specific feeling?'," she continues.
Ultimately, the whole ordeal will only have as much or as little meaning as you assign to it. So skip the self-shame, and move on. After all, it's way more fun to chase your dreams (and desired sexual partners) while wide awake than to dwell so much upon the people who pop up mid-slumber, sans invite.
Speaking of your sex life, you should definitely measure it by quality, not quantity. Plus, here's how to use tantra to kick your steamy moments up a notch.
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