Monday, March 9, 2009

Sex Dreams: What Do They Really Mean?

A man dreams that he is having sex with his boss at the office. A woman has a recurring dream that she is having sex with her ex-husband. Another man dreams that he is having sex with his wife and then he morphs into a woman. What do these dreams mean? Though writers have been interested in dreams with sexual imagery since the beginning of time, very few have scientifically examined these dreams.

Several authors have examined the characteristics of sex dreams for gender differences, target, dream acts etc., but only very recently was the meaning of sex dreams examined (DeCicco, 2009; DeCicco & Clarke, 2009; DeCicco, King & Humphreys, 2008). Dream interpretation with The Storytelling Method (DeCicco, 2007) was used and some very exciting findings were revealed.

One finding was that 2 major categories of discovery or meaning was found: 1) Sex and, 2) Relationship issues. Dreams that had more body parts, nudity and sex acts yielded a discovery about sex (e.g. I want to have sex with my boss, I fantasize about sex with my ex-boyfriend). The second major category yielded discovery about relevant waking day relationship issues with current partner, past partner, friends, family, etc. (e.g This dream relates to the recent fight with my husband, this dream relates to my ex-husband's feelings for me). All studies had >80% of participants reporting discovery when using The Storytelling Method of Dream Interpretation with a sex dream. This implies that dream interpretation with this method may be a valuable tool for tapping into relationship issues with dreams with sexual content.

This research is now being extended to examine dreams and infidelity, waking day behaviour, and cultural differences. For example, the sex dreams of Italians and Canadians are now being examined (DeCicco, Zanasi, Musolino & Wright, 2009). Investigating the meaning of dreams with sexual imagery promises to yield many important findings in a research area that has been underdeveloped with dreams that are typical, and yet, still mysterious.

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