Your Sex Dreams Decoded: What They Really Mean

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Your Sex Dreams Decoded: What They Really Mean
Learn how to decode last night's steamy imagery so you can enjoy sexier (real-life) sex tonight.

The Teacher's Pet

"A few years after I graduated from college and I was working as a writer, a job I enjoyed, I dreamed I was back in my college thesis advisor's office and we were having great sex," says Stephanie, a 37-year-old mother of two. "Nothing kinky or unusual — just regular missionary position, surrounded by all of his papers and cultural memorabilia — but it was fantastic. I never found him physically attractive, but we had always had a deep intellectual connection and mutual respect. He was one of the first men who made me feel as though my interests and ideas truly mattered."

The expert analysis
Here's another seemingly erotic dream that has nothing to do with sex. "This is about Stephanie feeling competent and accepted by authority figures and realizing it's OK to love her job," Cummings says. "She makes it a sex dream because her work is so fulfilling. It's almost as if she's shocked that work can be so stimulating." Stephanie's advisor was one of the first people who made her feel valued and who respected her interests, so he makes an appearance as a stand-in for those feelings of soaring self-worth. That she was never attracted to him in reality is meaningless. "Very often if we've made a strong emotional connection with someone, we'll dream of him sexually," Spurr says. That doesn't mean we secretly desire him.

What else it could mean
Authority figures from the past can represent a transitional period in a person's life (specifically when you're the aggressor in lovemaking), or they can symbolize feelings of sexual vulnerability (if you're submissive). Being an equal partner, as Stephanie was in her dream, is indicative of contentment and confidence. Don't worry about your choice of sex partners in your dreams: It's not unusual to dream of being intimate with someone you don't think is sexy. The people in your dreams are there because of an emotional or intellectual quality they embody.

Movie Making Out

"I dreamed I was having oral sex performed on me in a theater by a guy I liked, but we stopped before I could climax," says 39-year-old veterinary technician Katy. "I often have hot dreams in which I never actually get to have sex. The foreplay is excellent and I always get close, but someone is always about to discover us or we are interrupted, so I never have intercourse or an orgasm."

The expert analysis
Curses! Foiled again! Although this may be a simple sublimation of not having one's sexual needs met, it could be more far-reaching. "Katy may feel that she's never satisfied in life, even though she's doing everything right," Cummings says. Being in the movie theater (not the bedroom) indicates this isn't only about sex but life in general. Katy should ask herself in what part of her life she feels unsuccessful and figure out what's keeping her from reaching her goals.

What else it could mean
Repeated sex dreams in which you get close but are unable to reach orgasm may also point to a lack of trust in your partner and a fear of sexual or emotional intimacy. Make sure you're keeping the lines of communication open so you both feel comfortable talking about your relationship in general and about what you want sexually. Often, simply taking time to think about your dream and what it means is enough to prevent a rerun.

This article was originally published at Self. Reprinted with permission.
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