Sex ad­vice with Mrs Sal­is­bury

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - ADVICE - Robyn Sal­is­bury is a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist. Email ques­tions to MrsSal­is­[email protected]­ther­

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 om­ for more un­der­stand­ing of women’s sex­ual plea­sure.

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