Sex advice with Mrs Salisbury
I have always read and heard about the male wet dream but never heard of a female equivalent. Do women experience them and is it common? I have woken often having an orgasm but don’t remember a dream or reason for it. I am single and don’t have a partner. Books say women need arousal to have an orgasm so why would one occur during sleep?
Yes, females do experience nocturnal orgasms, just as commonly as males have “wet dreams”. This is one of the remaining areas where women’s experiences have been made invisible by the language, so good on you for raising this question. We need a new term for this phenomenon – maybe “hot dreams” except, as you identify, they’re often but not always triggered by erotic dreams. Do be aware though that we cannot always remember our dreams when we wake. These sleep orgasms are usually involuntary, they occur most commonly but certainly not exclusively during adolescence. Along with the dream trigger it’s also possible that orgasms arise from the stage of REM sleep, from the body’s response to hormonal surges, from stimulation due to the body’s position in the bed, masturbation during sleep or various other possibilities.
There is some research suggesting that postadolescent nocturnal orgasms are more likely to occur for those who are not having regular orgasms, either with a partner or through self-stimulation.
Some people simply enjoy them once they’ve got used to them happening, others can find them a bit unsettling or even depressing if they generate a letdown feeling of wishing for someone to share this with and being unpartnered at the moment. At least, as a woman, you don’t have messy sheets to deal with! I hope you can celebrate your burgeoning sexuality, continue to ask questions and seek information so you remain open to exploring and getting to know this aspect of yourself as part of maximising all that life can bring. Always remember that your sexuality is, first and foremost, for you.
Resist any pressure to share it with another until you feel ready to and really, really want to. You may have seen my recommendations a couple of columns ago to check out omgyes.com for more understanding of women’s sexual pleasure.