What It Means When You Have Gay Or Lesbian Sex Dreams

Photo: getty
woman with closed eyes laying her head on her arms

When I was 14, I had a particularly vivid gay dream about Helen Hunt.

I know, just go with me on this.

In the dream, she was teaching me how to play the piano, an instrument I have inexplicably always found to be very sexy (but probably because of that one scene in "Pretty Woman"). After I'd performed well, she leaned over and gave me a kiss.

I woke up frantic and confused.

I just had a lesbian sex dream even though I'm straight, I thought to myself.

What does that mean if I have gay dreams? Am I gay?

Because I am who I am, I told my mom in a stone-cold panic that one gay sex dream had turned me into a lesbian overnight (to say nothing of how my appreciation for "Mad About You" would be affected).

My mom, being of sound mind and body, rolled her eyes and told me to stop 1) eating so many weird midnight snacks, and 2) worrying about my sexual orientation.

She had a point, my friends. She had a point.

Because dreams aren't literal interpretations of reality, while it can be disconcerting to have a dream that flies in the face of what you know to be true about yourself, having gay or lesbian sex dreams doesn't mean your sexual orientation secretly changed from heterosexual to homosexual as you slept.

RELATED: What Is 'Heteroflexible'? What It Means To Identify As Heteroflexible

Gay Dreams: What do they mean?

1. They may mean more about your emotions than your sexual desires.

It is really, really easy to let our dreams have us convinced that the fact that we made out with the woman who does our hair means that we are secret lesbians, but that's not the case.

If you dreamed you made out with your own sister and are seeking psychological counseling, tap the brakes. The reason we have such intense feelings about dreams where we have a gay sex encounter is that the feeling in dreams are trying to convey something real about our emotions.

You might not have locked lips with the nun who taught you Latin anywhere but in last night's dream, but you may love her dearly for having had your back when you got caught making out with a boy behind the gym.

"Avoid a dream-dictionary, this-means-that approach to interpretation," says behavior specialist Gregg Levoy. "Dreams are far too subjective for that. Water, for instance, will mean something very different to someone who almost drowned as a kid than to someone who feels more at home in water than the fishes."

2. They may mean you have gender roles on the brain.

This might sound far-fetched, but the brain works in mysterious ways.

If you have been actively thinking about gender roles or actively subscribing to them in your daily life, it isn't rare to dream about having a sexual encounter with someone who shares your gender identity.

Did you recently nurse a friend through their illness? Have cooked a meal for your family? Did you just buy a cute pair of heels?

These distinctly "feminine" experiences are examples of embracing a specific gender identity — and how better could your brain help you celebrate than by showing you footage of yourself French kissing Angelina Jolie in your dreams?

4. They might mean you're pregnant.

By the same logic, if you're a woman who keeps having dreams about sex with other women, it might actually mean you are pregnant.

Dreams of having sex with another woman are commonly reported among pregnant women (and dreams of having sex with another man are also common among expectant fathers).

"Now that you're pregnant, you're going to be very focused on your body," sex therapist Sallie Foley reveals. "And your dreams may reflect the fact that you love the new life your body is creating. You're discovering that a woman's body is pleasurable, exciting, and powerful in ways you've never experienced before."

It makes sense if you believe that gay sex dreams are conjured by embracing your gender identity. What's more "female" than growing a human inside of you (in cisgender-normative terms, at least).

4. If you wake up from a gay or lesbian sex dream feeling uncomfortable, it could mean you're feeling insecure.

While dreams cannot predict the future, they can give you insight into the things that are currently on your mind.

"If you are uncomfortable with homosexuality in your dream," say the folks at Dream Moods, "then it suggests some fears or anxieties about your masculinity (if you are male) and femininity (if you are female). You may be experiencing some insecurity in your relations with the opposite sex."

5. They may mean you're questioning your sexual or gender orientation or identity.

You might live your waking life as a straight person, but not be an entirely straight person.

Sexuality is not black or white; it's not even or all gay or straight. There is a spectrum of human sexuality and gender, and not everyone feels certain where they fall along the continuum at every single stage of their life.

While having a gay sex dream in and of itself doesn't mean you are definitively gay, it could mean you've been giving some serious thought to your sexual orientation or gender identity.

That said, I once dreamed I was an eight-foot-tall owl terrorizing the streets of Brooklyn. I don't have unresolved owl issues; I just ate too much cheese that day.

RELATED: What I Learned After Coming Out As A Lesbian Later In Life

Common types of gay sex dreams people have:

1. The obvious gay sex dream — even when you're straight.

These dreams really just have a line of curiosity under them.

2. Exhibitionist sex dream.

These dreams usually occur as a fantasy or internal desire you want to be filled. Exhibitionists dreams can also occur when you are feeling sexually neglected by your partner. 

3. Person you dislike sex dream.

These dreams happen because you don't like them. This person gets under your skin. The dream is a way for your subconscious to gain control or power over that person.

Whichever sex dream you had, it doesn't mean you are gay.

straight person can have gay or lesbian fantasies and gay or lesbian sex dreams — and that still does not mean they are gay, lesbian, pansexual, bi... or anything else in particular. It means they are human beings.

If you're curious, here are some questions to ask yourself after having a gay sex dream:

1. What happened in the dream?

2. How did the dream feel?

3. Who's the woman you're having sex with?

4. What does it feel like to be with her?

5. How does the sex go?

Like dreams of all kinds, gay and lesbian sex dreams have a variety of meanings, and I'm here to fill you in on five of the potential messages your brain may be trying to send you.

RELATED: What It Really Means When You Dream About Your Teeth Falling Out

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's the Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, and true crime.