Sex has always been a big part of dream content for both men and women. One hundred years ago Sigmund Freud concluded that almost all dreams represented some form of sexual repression. At that time sex was repressed culturally and as a result it might have been expressed more frequently by individuals in their dreams.
Freuds' ideas are revealed in the book, The Dream in Primitive Cultures. Freud believed that anything that was in the form of a container was a symbol for the vagina. Some of the symbols representing the vagina were a box, bowl, a room or a tunnel.
Similarly, he believed that anything oblong or suggestive of penetration would represent the penis. Examples would be sticks, knives, pencils and nail files (due to the up and down rubbing). The sex act for Freud was any action in a dream reflecting up and down motion such as walking up and down stairs and ladders.
Some of Freud's ideas about sex in dreams have been disputed while others remain in use today.
Other cultures of the past have had interesting and unique views on sex in dreams. Jill Morris, in her book The Dream Workbook, described the beliefs of two native cultures.
The Iroquois believed in acting out dream content in real life. They believed that it was necessary to reenact it in order to alleviate physical and psychic distress. They believed it was very important to gratify the soul's desire either literally or symbolically. It was therefore not unheard of for a male, after dreaming of a group orgy to request that his dream be acted out with the help of the tribe.
Another native culture that valued dreams is called the Senoi. This tribe was discovered in the mountainous jungles of Malaysia. They had a dream based culture in which dreams played a huge role. The Senoi embraced love and sex in their dreams. Jill Morris writes, " When the Senoi had pleasurable, sexual dreams, they were taught to move toward the loving objects and the enjoy them to the fullest. They were also encouraged to have orgasms in their dreams. It didn't matter who or what the loving object was, it could be a relative, a friend's spouse, an animal or an inanimate object. After reaching orgasm, the dreamer would ask the dream lover for a gift."
The Senoi (as do some of today's dream researchers) believed that all dream images were parts of the self and needed to be integrated and loved. The idea was not to censor yourself because of the object(s) of your desire. There was no possibility of incest or promiscuity because they were all parts of the individual self.
Sexual dream content has been studied in Lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is defined as those dreams in which we are conscious of dreaming. In Stephen LaBerge's book, Lucid Dreaming, he describes research he conducted where vaginal and penile probes were attached to lucid dreamers in order to detect orgasm.
Women reported orgasm in lucid dreams much more frequently than men even though men reported having more dreams about sex overall. Patricia Garfield, who was quoted in LaBerge's book reported that half of her lucid dreams had sexual content and the other half ended in orgasm. LeBerge reported that , "...with a totality of self that is only sometimes felt in the waking state she found herself 'bursting into soul and body-shaking explosions.'"
The Stephen Laberge research was only conducted on a few people but both sexes identified the sex they had in dreams as feeling exactly the same as it did in real life. Physiologically sex in dreams also caused the same reactions to the body as sex in real life. Respiration increased, blood flow increased, and muscles contracted.
Like analyzing regular dreams, studying your sex dreams can also give you great insight into your existing sexual relationships. Your sex dream may have layers of meaning. It might reflect your body's need and desire for sex but at the same time, aspects of the dream might have deeper meaning as well.
Perhaps the most revealing thing to think about when remembering your sex dreams is the emotion you feel or felt upon wakening. Forgotten traumatic memories of real life events can sometimes be trying to get to the surface in the form of dreams or nightmares. If you have a repetitive, distressing dream that you think might be serious, it would be best to discuss it with a professional therapist.
Happily, many sex dreams are simply exciting, fun and satisfying. It is the body's way of dealing with sexual desire in a healthy way. Our main site also provides you with an overview on nightmares and dreams Click Here.