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What Do Sexual Dreams Say About You?

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Dreams

What Do Sexual Dreams Say About You?

Why do we have sexual dreams and what do they mean?

Sexual dreams are obviously a good gauge of your overall libido level, and while Freud said sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, he also obsessed in his semi-repressive Victorian times that sexdreams were always about something more.

If you think he’s right (minus the mother/ father oedipal whatever) here’s a quick list of possible ways to decode aspects of your sexual dreams:

Random or series of sexual dreams with strangers. You have a sexual dream about this guy you saw in Rite-Aide (okay, he really was cute) and the next night it is about your professor in your statistics class. Such dreams with strangers or acquintences (guys are more apt to dream about strangers than women do) are usually a good indicator of the state of your libido – your brain is trying to let you know that those physical needs are not getting met. Find a good and safe way to help your brain out.

What sexual experiences are you dreaming about? But wait there’s more: How is your sexual experience in your dream different from the ordinary with your partner? Something a bit out of the norm, some new move kicking off a new level of excitement? If it’s still intriguing in the light of day, maybe it’s time to speak up and ask for what that dreaming is telling you.

Wider relationship. You have a sexual dream but what sticks with you most is not about the sex itself but about the before and after – the romantic dinner or the on-the-couch foreplay, the post cuddling, or open conversation and intimacy. These can be clues to how you may want to be treated — more kindness and consideration, more clarity and honest — or how you need to be — more assertive, more adventurous. Think about it and then speak up.

Old partner dream. So your 3 months into a heavy relationship with some wonderful guy or gal but all you find yourself sexually dreaming about is your ex. There’s a closeness in the dream that has long since faded, but in your waking hours you’re wondering why this old is circling back and not the new. The problem is that your brain just hasn’t switched gears. Sex with the new person likely triggers old neuro patterns taking you back to the past. Over time, as you create new experiences and memories, your brain will create new circuits and your dreams will readjust.

Recurring dreams about your former partner. Of maybe not. Every time you have sexual dream it involves your ex, and there’s always some larger backdrop—a playing out of an old argument, one of you trying to get back with the other, or you find yourself involved in both the old and a new relationship at the same time. This is less about sex and more about grief and loss, the letting go, and this can take years to unravel and heal. Over time as you process your grief such recurring dreams will fade, though you may find that it doesn’t make much for them to get stirred again. You learn that your ex’s mother died, and you have a series of dreams about your old relationship.

If you want to help move the grief / healing process along, or if you particularly notice that your dreams keep circling around certain themes—guilt or regret, for example—you may want to look for ways of getting closure. Try writing a letter or email  to your ex that you may or may not send, but that helps you get out of you head all the stuff you never really got to say. Or if you are really brave and think it is appropriate, go ahead and set up a phone conversation or face-to-face meeting. The aim is not to dig up dirt and reignite old wounds, but to simply say what it is you didn’t get a chance to express.

So there you have it. As you look back over your sexual dream life, you may find other clues that your dreams are telling you about what you need, what you may need to resolve, what you want to pay more attention to. Don’t over-analyze or obsess, but simply be curious, trust your intuition, and if you can, take action.

You’ll always have tomorrow’s dreams to tell how well you’re doing.

[Robert Taibbi]

Bob Taibbi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 40 years experience primarily in community mental health working with couples and families as a clinician, supervisor and clinical director.

Bob is the author of 7 books:

Doing Couples Therapy: Craft and Creativity in Work with Intimate Partners
Doing Family Therapy: Craft and Creativity in Clinical Practice, now in its 3rd edition, and recently translated into Chinese and Portuguese
Clinical Supervision: A Four-Stage Process of Growth and Discovery
Clinical Social Work Supervision: Practice & Process
Boot Camp Therapy: Action-Oriented Brief Clinical Approaches to Anxiety, Anger & Depression
The Art of the First Session
Brief Therapy With Couples & Families in Crisis

In addition to his books, Bob writes an regular online column for Psychology Today magazine entitled Fixing Families http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fixing-families, as well as a monthly parenting advice column for Charlottesville Family magazine.

He has also published over 300 magazine and journal articles, and has contributed several book chapters including Favorite Counseling Techniques: 55 Masters Share Their Secrets which cited him among the top 100 therapists in the country. He served as teen advice columnist for Current Health, a contributing editor to Your Health and Fitness, and has received 3 national writing awards for Best Consumer Health Writing.

Bob is a graduate of Rutgers University and the University of South Carolina, and has served as adjunct professor at several universities. He provides trainings nationally in couple therapy, family therapy, brief therapy, and clinical supervision. He is currently in private practice in Charlottesville, Virginia with Lewis Weber & Associates: weberpsychotherapy.com

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