By Layne Dalfen

Why We Dream About Sex

Have you ever dreamt about having sex with your best friend? Or dreamt about sex with a hot stranger, perhaps while lying in bed right next to your partner?! How does this dream make you feel when you wake up? Aroused? Uncomfortable? Guilty? All of the above?

It’s not surprising that of all the dream topics I analyze with clients, sex dreams top the titillation–and confusion–charts. The way we dream about sex can uncover our deepest secrets about ourselves helping us problem-solve and offering critical guidance on important life issues. You just need to know how to deconstruct them. Discovering why you had a particular dream is an investigation. You’ll want to ask yourself questions to solve the puzzle. Remember that in our dreams we are decision-making, testing out different solutions to our problems. We are practicing different behaviors. And all of the possible ways of behaving in every situation we face are there for us in our dreams. Why feel stuck with the same reactions to situations over and over again when our dreams offer us the potential to change our behavior and our lives?

Sexual dreams can indicate that our body needs sexual release. But they can mean so much more. They can give us a chance to understand conflicts or opportunities in our sexual lives. They can wake in us our need for love or nurturing in our relationship. Even more importantly, they can serve as metaphors for nonsexual issues and situations in our personal and professional lives. Sexual dreams can reveal a union between different aspects of our own selves.

The dream reflects a current need or situation

Before I look for possible meanings in a dream, I always like to look at first things first. The first level of your dream always reflects a very specific current issue in your life that you are attempting to problem-solve. We are adept at hiding our feelings from ourselves and we do so easily keeping busy daily.  We may not always be in touch with our needs. Well, your subconscious never lies to you. Dreaming is a form of thinking without the filter.

To attach your sexual dream to the need or situation it is reflecting, the first thing you’ll want to ask yourself is if you need some release. Sometimes a sexual dream is there to inspire you to ask your partner for some loving.  Maybe your dream is just there to make you feel good!

Dreams offer a safe place to practice.

Sarah, who was brought up in an extremely conservative home, had the idea it was a woman’s place to always lie under the man when having sexual intercourse. Recently she had recurring sexual dreams in which she was always on top. Sometimes it wasn’t her husband either! After eighteen years of marriage she was bored with their routine sexual life. Sarah had to admit that her dreams were exciting. At forty-five years old, her dreams provided Sarah with a safe place to let go of her teenage conditioning and practice how it feels being in the top position. When she felt comfortable enough Sarah took her new idea out into her waking life and surprised her husband!

Metaphors for nonsexual situations

Sexual dreams are often also directly related to problem-solving situations in our personal or professional lives. So when literal explanations for your dream don’t seem to ring true, search out a metaphoric meaning. Allan, a client of mine kept dreaming that his wife was cheating on him. When looking first for a literal explanation, I asked him, “Is it true? Do you really think she is cheating on you?” His answer was no. So we began to investigate other possibilities as to the dream’s meaning. The act of doing this is exactly like trying to solve a puzzle. You try one piece, and if that doesn’t fit, you try another. I like to call these puzzle pieces different points of entry into the dream.

In Allan’s case I tried a “feelings” point of entry by asking, “How do the dreams make you feel?” His response was immediate. “Betrayed. Surprised. Saddened. Angry.” I asked, “What situation do you think went on in your life this week that has made you feel the same emotions?” It was in answering that question that Allan clicked on the dream’s meaning.

A client who had been doing business with Allan for many years, who he felt very close to and whom he thought he could depend on, (much like his wife), took some of their business to a competitor. Allan was not expressing outwardly the tremendous feeling of sadness and betrayal he was experiencing. His subconscious using a picture of his wife cheating on him, accomplished its task. The dream gives rise to an emotion that helps you move closer towards the goal. In this case the goal or lesson of the dream, was to get the dreamer in touch with the sadness he was experiencing and to express it. In many situations it is most beneficial if we can express our feelings directly to the person it concerns. But even when that is not possible, the simple act of expressing out instead of holding in can be a great release. You let some air out of the balloon. The dream has served its purpose. Happily it was Allan’s wife who was there to lean on.

Once you have correctly decoded a dream’s meaning (and by that I mean that you have succeeded in discovering what specific problem the dream is addressing), you will be astounded by how precisely it mirrors that situation!

Recapturing your disowned character traits

All the parts of your dreams represent different parts of you. You are the producer, the director, and all the players in your dream. You are the wall, the water, the road, and even the snake. In a movie one person can’t play all the parts! Likewise, in our dreams, we cannot play all the parts. In life I am Layne the wife, the mother, the daughter, the aunt, the friend, the writer, the radio personality, and the dream analyst. I can be giving, selfish, sad, happy, weak, strong, assertive, shy, angry and frustrated, or optimistic and energetic.

In dreams we usually take the role we most easily connect to in our waking lives, and give out the other parts to people, animals, or objects. We use them as metaphors and symbols to say something to ourselves that only we can understand.  So our dreams show us different characteristics we need to be fully ourselves, in every situation and give us the opportunity to reunite these “divorced” aspects of our own character, so that we can move forward through life with a deeper, truer self. When a character trait is “missing” and needed in a particular situation, that trait will very likely present itself in the person’s dreams.

We all have freedom of choice as to how we want to behave and who we want to be. Having the ability to understand our dreams gives us the opportunity to be completely in touch with our whole selves when making decisions.

Steps to take and questions to ask yourself to decode your sexual dreams:

  1. Look for a literal meaning. Is the story of the dream something that really happened? Is it something you really do want to do?
  2. Write down how you felt in the dream. Is there a correlation between how you felt in the dream and something that is going on in your life?
  3. Isolate the symbols. (People, places and things) What comes to your mind when you think about the symbol? Is anyone in your life behaving like that recently? Is it that you might need to adopt that characteristic in your current situation?
  4. Say the dream out loud. Maybe you’ll discover a word play or pun!  For example, a woman who dreamed there were snakes on the floor and said, “I couldn’t put my foot down” was subconsciously referring to an inability to “put her foot down” in a situation with her husband.

Once you find the mirror, look for the solution:

  1. Is the solution in the action or lack of it? Is the action appropriate to the situation?
  2. What behavior or personality type can I take from the dream and use in my current situation?
  3. What strength about my character do I need to tap into right now in my life? An example is a woman who dreams that she falls to her death, gets up and walks away. The dream makes a comment to illustrate how when she hits rock bottom, she knows how to pick herself up and carry on.

Remember, dreams allow us to experiment, try new things, learn, all in a safe way, and then transofrm ourselves in our waking lives. Next time you dream a dream, don’t be too quick to dismiss it– it will often give you the answer to looming questions you’ve been sitting on the fence about in your life.



Layne Dalfen, Dream Analyst

Founder of The Dream Interpretation Center, and author of Dreams Do Come True; Decoding Your Dreams To Discover Your Full Potential, Layne Dalfen has emerged as a speaker and guest on TV and radio programs in the United States and Canada.  She lectures at schools and universities and speaks yearly at  conferences all over the world.

Layne provides the tools needed to decode and understand why we have certain dreams on a particular night, and how that knowledge can potentially enrich our lives.

You can reach Layne at [email protected]

Tell us, do you have sexual dreams? Do you have recurring dreams? Have you had dreams that have actually helped you make a real life decision? Do you remember your dreams or forget them? Share any experiences with our readers.