Sex Dreams and The Meaning Behind Them

Intimacy dreams (sex dreams) is a very popular topic with my patients and anybody who finds out that I’m a psychiatrist.

Intimacy dreams or sex dreams, and what do they say about us and our relationships?

Well, they say quite a lot. However, what they say is not literal. All studies have shown that you are not so much in control of your environment and what you do as your unconscious is. Your unconscious is playing a more significant role in your life than you know or maybe care to admit. It’s there, and it’s very active, and that’s what comes out in our dreams.
Your dreams are your unconscious talking to you. It’s a wonderful source to get to know yourself better if you can listen in a certain way. That’s why us Shrinks love dreams and not just night dreams but daydreams too, they are also really informative.
Your unconscious is very important; it’s telling you about you, it’s typically a side of you that you don’t want to admit. Usually, it’s stuff that’s been shoved down, and it wants attention or to be recognized. And for some reason, your conscious has either thought it not important or has some problem with it; so it gets relegated. My patients know I call it the basement, it gets shoved in the basement where it causes lots of issues.
Dreams are symbolic, not literal. People come to me worried that they had sex dreams about somebody else and wonder if that means they’re a cheater. No, it’s not that simple, it’s not be taken as real and literally, necessarily. There’s one exception, there’s something we call a residue dream, where you dream about something that happened during your day. That does happen, but typically, dreams are symbolic, and they are wish-fulfillment. So again, if you dream about cheating on somebody, does that mean you wish to cheat? Not necessarily, again, not literally. But we have to realize there’s probably a wish under there that we haven’t recognized or haven’t given attention to.

How do we figure that out? If it’s not literal, how do we figure it out?

Let me give you some examples.
Let’s say you have a dream about being sexually attracted to someone who you consciously have no sexual attraction to whatsoever.

Dreams don’t forecast the future you’re not predicting the future in your dreams. If you have a dream about being attracted to somebody else, does that mean you’re going to cheat or be attracted to that person? Not necessarily. When you dream about someone intimately, there’s a trait about that person you may want to incorporate, or you wish you had. Remember, having sex with somebody is as close as we can get physically with another person.

So sometimes it means it’s a trait that that person has. Such as, maybe they’re resilient to the boss’s criticism and you wish you were or perhaps they’re super kind to strangers and you wish you were. That would be the way the wishes and the symbolism of you wish you had that trait, not necessarily intimacy with that person.

The same thing with the opposite gender, let’s say you’re having a dream about the gender you’re not attracted to in waking life. Does that mean you’re going to change or you’re bi? No, not necessarily. Again, maybe there’s a trait that that gender embodies for you. For example, a lot of people think women are carefree and easygoing, and men are strong. So, if you wish you were more carefree, or you wish you were more strong, then you may start dreaming about having intimate relations with that person.

What about cheating? What if you dream about cheating on your significant other?
No, you’re not a cheater, and no it doesn’t mean you’re going to cheat. But let’s look at it symbolically, it may mean that you don’t want to face something that your significant other is bringing up in you recently. For instance, if he did something annoying, but you don’t want to have that talk, that you know you need to have. You may want to run away from that difficult emotion and difficult conversation.
Or maybe there’s something that you wish would happen if you were to leave. Such as if someone in the family is ill, and he’s gone away, you may be avoiding having a difficult conversation, where you tell him it’s time to come back. Because you feel guilty about feeling that way, for some reason, it’s a wish not to have a particular emotion and to leave that sticky situation.
Dreams are all that and then some. This is our contribution from Freud; no one knew there was unconscious before Freud mentioned it, we got to give him credit where credit is due. Dreamwork has become much more interesting, and we’ve learned a lot about ourselves from the unconscious and dreams.
How can you help yourself with this?
What I typically recommend is journaling with a cause because Lockett recommends journaling, but journaling by itself isn’t that insightful. If you’re journaling with a purpose, it can be insightful. In other words, to figure out the symbolic meaning behind something, you have to do what we call again in a Freudian term, free-associate. You have to be able to take the filters off and let your mind roll. Where does it go?
So in our example about the gender, for instance, you having sex dreams with another gender that you aren’t typically attracted to, you would put that in a dream journal. Let yourself either write or on a recording, free-associate to males or females and see what you write down. What adjectives do you come up with, what phrases, what terms do you associate with that gender? Just keep on writing without filtering or speaking without filtering. Then go through the list and check if there is something on there that you have wanted to embody? Or something you have wanted to have but somehow feel you shouldn’t, or couldn’t get.
It’s quite an amazing experience to have someone do that with me. Sometimes people bring their journal into a session or they’ll free-associate on the couch. Then all of a sudden, they’ll go, “Oh, that’s it!” It’s gratifying.
You can learn a lot about yourself if you free-associate. Go through the list and see what’s there, you’ll be surprised.
Do this and let me know if it helped you! Email it into dabneyoffice@gmail.com because I’d like to hear about it and it’s a lot of fun!
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