Let’s look at something usually pleasant in dreams: having sex or making love. At least it should be pleasant, but sadly the reality is often quite different. Even though the dream itself of a sexual union may be enjoyable, even orgasmic, often when we wake we are plagued by feelings of doubt and confusion. “I had sex with who???”
Firstly , let us address some of the common misconceptions about sex dreams:
- Dreaming of sex with someone means that person has secret feelings for me. Uh-uh, sorry, no. Dreaming of having sex with the cute next door neighbour or the pretty girl you see on the train has nothing to do with how they feel about you. This something that is going on in your own mind, and does not in any way give you some secret insight into their feelings about you.
- Dreaming of having sex with someone means deep down I really do want to have sex with them. Chances are, probably not. In some cases sexual dreams may indeed be wish fulfilment, but more often than not we dream of having sex with someone because they represent a certain quality or particular attribute (see my post on “Other People.”) The sex is not about them individually, but what that person symbolises to you.
- Dreaming of having sex with someone is like cheating on my partner. Not at all. This is all going on in your mind, and is about integrating different parts of your self. Remember, these people aren’t really them, but a symbol. Similarly, sex it self can be a symbol of union. So you should not feel guilty about creating a union with different aspects of your own personality.
So what are dreams of making love and having sex all about then? As for any symbol, this can mean multiple things, especially when we consider the complex feelings of guilt, responsibility, commitment, love, enjoyment, power and freedom that get all wrapped up in our sexuality. The first place to start is to look at whether you enjoyed the feeling in your dream. If you did, I would recommend you not plague yourself with feelings of guilt and remorse upon waking. Think of it as the highest form of self love, that you are integrating all the aspects of your personality into a unified whole. As you relax and enjoy your own night lovers, you may realise you feel more relaxed in waking life, and that rather than detract from your waking relationship, these dreams contribute to it. You may feel closer to your partner, you may feel that the extra attention you give yourself in your dreams is enough to reduce demands on your partner so you can enjoy each other more; or these dreams may help you feel satisfied that you are passionately loved, that you don’t need to seek trivial or superficial stimulation with others elsewhere. This could be a simple as not feeling the need to flirt, to actually preventing a doomed liaison.
While a sexual union with a particular person can represent you absorbing some of the qualities that person represents to you into your own life, sex in a dream can also be a symbol for us embracing our opposite. We each have a Yin and Yang; a dark, internal, receptive, emotional right brained side and a bright, outer, active, logical left brained side. In a Jungian approach this could be our anima and animus, the female side that lives in every male and the male side that lives in every female. To dream of making love to a mysterious stranger often represents us becoming more balanced, as our two opposing sides merge in a beautiful union. This is often a sign of great growth and personal development, something that should be enjoyed and celebrated!
So before you blush and squirm at the thought of who you had sex with in your dreams last night, remember, not only is the person likely to be representative of something other than who they are, but even the very act of making love could be more about personal integration than a subliminal fantasy. It is no bad thing to love one’s self.
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