Just this morning, my alarm woke me up from a great sex dream about an ex — half memory, half fantasy. I hadn’t really thought about him recently, though he'd reached out to me a few months ago (and then promptly disappeared again... typical Sagittarius). In fact, my last thoughts before falling asleep were probably about my busy Monday schedule — not at all erotic. What makes us have sex dreams, anyway?
Likely nothing specific, Dylan Selterman, PhD, a social psychologist whose work focuses on dream patterns and behavior, previously told Refinery29. “I’m not sure that erotic dreams ‘mean’ anything in terms of symbolism or latent content because we don’t have evidence for that,” he said. “Instead, we likely dream about sex because we think about sex while we’re awake. The continuity hypothesis… suggests that dreams mirror our thoughts and behaviors while awake.”
On some level, though, sex dreams could be a reflection of subconscious desires, Hilda Burke, a therapist and life coach in the U.K., previously told Refinery29. “When we are asleep, it’s just the subconscious...the desires and wants. It tends to be the level below.” Sometimes this shows up in weird ways, she explained — for example, if you dream about having sex with your boss, it might mean that you’re inspired by their career… but aren’t necessarily attracted to them.
So, our sex dreams reflect how we think about sex — even subconsciously — in our day-to-day life. But what if you want to try to have a sex dream? Here are a few things you can do.
Have a sexual fantasy
Sure, if we think about sex on the subway, it might appear in our dreams, too… but your bed is really the ideal place to really indulge in X-rated fantasies.
Fall asleep on your stomach
A 2012 study found that participants were more likely to dream about “having a sexual relationship with a big wheel or celebrity” when they slept on their stomachs. Cons: They were also more likely to dream about being smothered, locked up, or unable to move.
Try lucid dreaming
Proponents of lucid dreaming say you can learn to consciously manipulate your dreams at night — you realize you’re dreaming, and then you're able to control your actions in your twilight state. If you’re new to lucid dreaming, start with your hands, Robert Waggoner, president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, and author of Lucid Dreaming - Gateway to the Inner Self, previously told Refinery29. Before you fall asleep, look at your hands and tell yourself, “When I’m asleep, I’ll see my hands and realize I’m dreaming,” over and over again.
Start a dream journal
There’s a good chance you’re already having more sex dreams than you realize — you just forget most of them. The best way to remember your dreams is to try to recall them as soon as you wake up. An easy way to do this is by writing them down — there are plenty of aesthetically stunning dream journals out there, but any notebook will do the trick.