Monday, June 11, 2012

Dream with sexual imagery: What do they mean?

Interestingly, dreams with sexual imagery are one of the most common forms of imagery yet very little empirical research was devoted to them. Writers hypothesized, wrote about and pontificated about them with little empirical evidence of why they occur. More recent research has found that about 20% of dreams with sexual imagery are about a sexual relationship and 80% are about a waking day relationship. The waking day information is generally not sexual in nature. For example, discovery about one's spouse (we need to spend more time together), a co-worker (she is the type of partner I would like in my life) or a family member (I need to forgive someone) is the most common form of meaning. Furthermore, discovery is usually not related to the target in the dream but to a waking day relationship. How might this information help clinicians when working with people in therapy?


  1. Megan MacDougallJune 11, 2012 at 8:13 AM

    By using methods such as The Storytelling Method, or the 2A method of dream analysis, and individual will be able to find the meaning behind their dreams and perhaps find the root of what is bothering them or find clarity in a waking day problem. Therefore, a clinician would be able to help someone in therapy by analyzing their dreams and finding how they link to waking day relationships. It can help with couples that are in therapy together find the cause to a particular problem they are dealing with and therefore give the clinician a deeper insight to their life and give him/her a starting point to work from to try and help the couple work through the problem. Moreover, patients may have a difficult time trying to express what it is they are feeling, but by analyzing their dreams with a clinician they may find exactly what they were trying to say but did not know how to say it. Dreams often convey a person’s true feelings and emotions, which can be of great assistance to a clinician when trying to help their patients.

  2. I think the greatest discovery for a person in therapy with regards to the meaning behind his or her sexually oriented dreams is that they are not crazed sex maniacs or something to that nature.

    Owing to the recently popularized term "sex addict", many people who experience a variety of sexual dreams may become fearful that they are one themselves. In people who have difficulty discussing sex and the sexual content in his or her dreams, this may be considerably more alarming.

    Using dream interpretation methods to demonstrate to the client that perversion does not stem from dreams that have been had and that the message in the dream is not one centered around the sexual acts themselves may help to provide piece of mind. Working through the waking day events that have caused the dreams may help the client to better understand themselves.

    1. I think that the main advice that clinicians could start off telling their patients, is how normal having sexual dream imagery is. Also, telling the patient that there is not a direct link between the sexual imagery and their waking life is crucial too. I think this would definitely help in the patient to become more comfortable in sharing their dreams and finding the right discovery through TSM.

    2. Morgan Gail Stykel (0388819)June 12, 2012 at 3:20 PM

      Having reality television shows about "sex-addictions" probably does not help anyone talk about their sexual dreams with clinicians. For example, the Woman's Network recently played a television show that was about a man who was "involved" with his car. I don't think a person would want to be known with the negative connotation terms like "sex-addicts" bring about. This may make anyone less likely to share their sexual-dream-imagery.

  3. Knowing that 80% of dreams with sexual imagery are linked to waking day relationships it would help a clinician to explore relationships of the patient/client while in therapy. This may help the patient/client make sense of their dreams.

    Using dream interpretation techniques such as the 2A method may be beneficial because it includes the emotional aspect linked to dreams.

    Like Jessica above discussed, this knowledge that the majority of sexual imagery in dreams isn't linked to sexual relationships could benefit many patients/clients, especially those who struggle to discuss such an intimate topic.

    -Samantha Lewer

  4. This type of information would help clinicians lead their patients to a better understanding of what their dreams mean and why they are occurring. Even before reaching discovery through one of the dream interpretation methods an individual could consider these common discoveries of dreams associated with sexual imagery and possibly reach an understanding of a waking day relationship they may be experiencing. Also, if someone is feeling bad about having these dreams, knowing that it is common may put them more at ease. This idea relates to Jessica’s previous comment that people who experience certain sexual imagery may feel like it is wrong. However by knowing more about dreams associated with sexual imagery and what is common may help them feel better about what they are experiencing and work through it.

    From a clinician stand point as well, it may help them understand a more wide range of people. That is, considering that 20% of dreams with sexual imagery are about a sexual relationship and 80% are about a waking day relationship, this will help them better understand their clients and be more equipped to help them work through their dreams.

  5. People often believe that when they have a sexual dream about their ex boyfriend for example, it means that they are still in love with him even if they are in a new relationship. Clinicians can help patients understand that this is not necessarily the case. As Dr. DeCicco stated, "discovery is usually not related to the target in the dream". This means that if someone has a sexual dream about their ex, the meaning behind their dream is likely to do with their current relationship, not the ex boyfriend. Clinicians can explain this to their patients so that their patients do not interpret their dreams incorrectly.

    Also, as previously stated, sexual dream interpretation can be used in couples therapy to discover the root of any issues the couple has in their waking day relationship. The couple can use TSM to discover the event/situation which is at the root of their intimacy problems, for example. Clinicians can use the discovery the patients obtain to understand which issues they need to focus on with the patients in therapy. Clinicians can also use sexual dream interpretation with their patients who have family problems. As Dr. DeCicco stated, discovery of sexual dream imagery can be about needing to forgive a family member.

    Overall, waking day relationships are a huge element discussed in therapy, whether it be couples, family or personal therapy. Since relationships are such a huge part of people's lives, using dream interpretation on sexual dreams can lead to a better understanding of these relationships, which can ultimately improve any relationships which need improving

  6. Since dreams are related to our waking life this could help clinicians explore the relationships of his/her clients and help them gain insight on what their dreams may be trying to tell them about their current relationship. As mentioned in the blogs posted above, The Storytelling Method (TSM) and the 2A Method of dream interpretation would be extremely beneficial because it would help clients find meaning behind their dreams and see if they can relate their findings to their waking life. The clinician can then help their clients work through their issues/concerns.

  7. I suddenly find it a fascinating subject to do interpretation on another dreamer's interpretation of their own dream. I say this because dream interpretation is self-generated (with the exception of the projective method) and therefore seems to say a lot about the beliefs, values and fears of the dreamer doing the interpretation. And I recall the professor noting (during the STM lecture) that true discovery may only be had if the person is willing to accept the meaning of a dream. I find it interesting how this might come into play when interpreting sexual imagery dreams, a taboo subject indeed.

    To address the question, these statistics provided in this blog can provide a lot of comfort and possibility for dream interpreters. I mean that such statistics as "80% of dreams are about a waking day relationship" can allow many clients to delve deep into a dream meaning rather than assume the seemingly obvious "this dream is about sexual desire".

    Sexual imagery dreams may be a taboo subject for many, including individuals in a committed monogamous relationship. By examining these dreams in many different possible lights, clients are allowed deeper reflection into their dreams as well as more comfort. Knowing that you aren't necessarily unconsciously desiring infidelity (a mouthful, I know) can put many at ease, as is proven by some of the previous comments in this blog.

  8. Steffanie PorterJune 11, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    This information would be helpful for clinicians because if there are general patterns, then there is a foundation to build on in a therapy session.

    It is generally assumed by the public that sexual dreams relate to sexual desires. It just seems most logical. If this isn't the case, then clinicians can get to the root of the problem instead of assuming an association that is most likely wrong. It would be a shame if a therapist was helping someone achieve discovery by going down the wrong path.

    In order to experience true discovery, patterns detected by research can be used. If a majority of dreams containing sexual imagery indicate "discovery about one's spouse (we need to spend more time together), a co-worker (she is the type of partner I would like in my life) or a family member (I need to forgive someone," then the therapist can focus on these patterns instead of assumed literal associations.

  9. Many of the previous comments have referenced the following two key points about dreams with sexual imagery:
    1. These types of dreams are normal.
    Many people experience sexual dreams. Sexual dreams do not make you a bad person or a sex addict; they are a normal part of dreaming life.
    2. Most dreams with sexual imagery are about waking day relationships rather than sexual relationships.
    Dreams with sexual imagery can be confusing, startling, and taboo as many previous comments have indicated. People in monogamous relationships may have sexual dreams which include characters other than their romantic partner. These dreams can cause anxiety when the dreamer wonders if they’re not over their ex (as Lauren pointed out) or perhaps they have feelings for another person.

    I think that this is the key information for clinicians to use when working with people in therapy as a form of reassurance that sexual dreams are completely normal. Sexual dreams can be embarrassing, and reassuring that they are normal might allow the client to open up more and share their sexual dreams. This could lead to the use of dream interpretation, and could provide useful and meaningful discovery for the dreamer.

    1. I agree with you Jodi. I said that many people may have a problem reporting on sexual content in their dreams, because they may not feel that it is normal. So clinicians may not be able to help the patient get proper or clear discovery if they are not able to understand how normal it is to have these dreams.

  10. The information that has been developed so far regarding sexual imagery in dreams can be very useful for therapists in helping those who need therapy. As Jodi discussed the main points that have been made are the most important and crucial. First, those who are requiring therapy need to be assured that dreams with sexual imagery are completely normal and typical for everyone. Secondly, most dreams are not actually conveying a sexual message, rather it is a message regarding the dreamers waking day life.
    Therapists can use dream imagery of any form to assist with therapy on individuals requiring the help. Specifically, sexual dream imagery can help with discovery about personal relationships, family conflicts and even incidents at work. By evaluating an individuals sexual dream imagery a new form of of insight can be used in order for the dreamer to understand their dreams.

  11. I have mixed feelings about sexual imagery and the insight it could give to clinicians and patients.
    If patients actually are willing to share this information, than I think it would be a great tool for discovery, as a dream with sexual imagery would be very emotional and I think more memorable for a patient. As humans we are sexual beings and want to feel loved and wanted. So if the patient was actually willing to share this information than it would definitely help to see if there is a relationship, issue, concern, etc in the patients life that needs to be addressed.
    On the other side of this argument, I also feel that dreams with sexual imagery would be of no help to the clinician, as some people may feel very ashamed or embarrassed to share their private dreams. Some cultures may vary in how dreams of sexual content are expressed. As well, some people's personalities are not comfortable giving this information either. So I don't think it would help to give insight or discovery if the dream wasn't shared properly. For example the dream was to do with a man's mother instead of him just saying it was his coworker because he was embarrassed.

    1. Morgan Gail Stykel (0388819)June 12, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      I agree, I think people in today's western culture are taught that thinking about sex is either appropriate or inappropriate... with no grey in between. I believe a patient might lie about their sexual dream to hide any embarrassment they may feel, and I also agree that this may compromise their discovery. However, perhaps if people knew that sexual dream imagery was common, and that sexual imagery was not always related to sexual-relationships, I like to believe that the client might be more inclined to share their dream imagery truthfully.
      I really liked how you mentioned that humans are sexual beings who want to feel loved and wanted; I agree with that statement, and feel it makes dreams with sexual imagery more "real". "Real" in the sense that it is natural and meaningful.

  12. Knowing that sexual dreams are common, and that this type of dream is more often related to waking day relationships could help clinicians to understand the meanings of their own dreams. If they are able to understand the sexual imagery in their own personal dreams, this could help them become more skilled professionals. Without disclosing their own personal experiences to their clients, this kind of experiential knowledge could help the clinician better empathize with their clients. A clinician who has the courage to look into their own waking day relationships through their sexual dreams is better prepared to help guide a client to look at their relational issues. Working through the meanings of sexual dreams could help normalize sexuality for the client. It could help the client clarify their values and identify relationships they wish to improve in waking life. If a waking day relationship is particularly painful for a client, they may have an easier time discussing the dream. Discussing the dream could lead to insight which they may or may not share with the clinician. It could be a starting point for working on larger life issues.

    Lindsay Dixon

  13. There may not be as much empirical evidence about dreams with sexual imagery and why they occur because people are not always willing to share these dreams with others. It may be because they are embarrassed, or they are confused about what the dream is trying to tell them. Since these dreams have been found to be more about waking day relationships and are generally not sexual in nature, clinicians can use this information to make clients aware of this.
    By using this information in therapy, clinicians might help the person to open up about their dreams. Through sharing their dreams with the therapist, the person may be able to make sense of what their dreams are telling them about their current waking day relationships. This could be helpful not only in individual therapy, but couples therapy as well. The Storytelling Method and the 2A Method would be very helpful for these types of dreams when working with a therapist who can help interpret dreams of a sexual nature and relate them to waking life. This information could help the person improve their everyday relationships.

  14. I personally think that dreams with sexual imagery don't necessarily every time have to have an explicit meaning towards waking day life. Although it may have a strong association with waking day life, many a times, it is possible that dreaming about sexual imagery is an 'easier' way to imagine or live out what one may call a 'fantasy' situation that one may consider taboo to discuss in waking life. Using dream interpretation is a good way to discover whether a dream with sexual imagery has actual meaning in relation to waking day relationships. In cases where they are related to waking day relationships, it is possible that dreams with sexual imagery help an individual to understand the kind of relationship they have or would like to have with the person they're dreaming about. This does not necessarily mean it needs to be sexual but could be interpreted with different aspects. In addition, when dreaming about a certain individual in these dreams, is it possible that the dreamer encountered or thought about this person and because fragments of their meeting helped to evolve into the dream.
    Dreams with sexual imagery are a good way to get further insight into an individuals thoughts however, I do personally believe that many a times, it may be simply an easy way fantasize or live these urges in a way and is a normal process.

    -Nabiha Hassan

    1. I agree that dreams with sexual imagery do not always have a hidden meaning; some of them could very well be fantasies playing out while we sleep. "Erotic Dreams and Their Relationship to Waking Life Sexuality" by Schredl, Desch, Roming, & Spachmann is an article that touches on the relationship between the Continuity Hypothesis and erotic dreams. It discusses how research has shown that people are more likely to have sexual dreams if they spend a lot of time fantasizing. The amount of dreams with sexual imagery has nothing to do with the amount someone is sexually active, so I think Nabiha is on the right track here if the dreams were to be taken literally rather than with a hidden meaning; these sexual dreams are linked to fantasies in waking life rather than actual waking life experiences.

  15. When working with people in therapy a clinician can use these types of dreams to weed in the good and weed out the bad. Such as help the person to decide which people they need in their life and which ones might not belong. It could bring peace of mind to the persons head and help them to understand why some people belong in their life and why some might not.
    This could also help discover the real relationship that people want with each other. Maybe one has dreams about their
    friends in a good perspective and then their boyfriend in a bad perspective. it might tell the clinician that something is wrong with their relationship aka abusive or over
    This may aid in a family counciling session by helping each one address the issues they have with each other which may arise in their dreams without knowledge. It could aid in the suffering of trying to find out what each parent wants and needs and if they are supposed to stay together or not.

  16. There are a lot of aspects of sexual dream imagery that clinicians must keep in mind when working with people in therapy, some have been stated by previous comments, such as the distress that can be caused to patients who don't understand how the dream imagery may be helpful to them. Another item that clinicians have to keep in mind is the type of sexual imagery as related to the gender of the patient. This is because certain types of sexual imagery in dreams are more common for men than women, and others are more common for women than men. In the study by King, DeCicco & Humphreys, (2009) it was found that sexual intercourse imagery was more common with women as compared to men. But men had more the double the imagery of sexual propositions as compared to women. This type of information may be helpful to clinicians because without knowing the norms of dream imagery it can be quite difficult for the clinician to know if anything is abnormal.

    King, D., DeCicco, T., & Humphreys, T. (2009). Investigating sexual dream imagery in relation to daytime sexual behaviours and fantasies among Canadian university students. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 18(3), 135-146.

  17. Jazmine EtchellsJune 12, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    The necessity for more research in the area of dreams and dreaming is evident when considering the topic of sexual imagery in dreams. Few studies have focused on what sexual imagery stems from and how it is connected to a dreamers waking life. Some recent studies done by Clark, DeCicco and Navara (2010) and King, DeCicco, and Humphreys (2009) looked at the relationship between sexual imagery in dreams and variables in waking life. This research found some significant correlations between sexual imagery and jealousy and infidelity in waking life relationships (Clark, DeCicco, and Navara, 2009). By gaining more empirical evidence in what these dreams are conveying will have a profound effect on the therapy for individuals. With a better understanding of what this imagery means will give professionals a more concrete archive to use while helping individuals in therapy. For example, if a young female is experiencing many dreams where her current partner is cheating on her with her best friend, this dream may be reflecting her lack of trust in both her partner and her friend. Knowing this information allows the therapist to better treat and help the individual in understanding, realization, and solving her lack of trust issues.

    Individuals seeking therapy are looking for the guidance that they themselves can’t find. Therefore, therapists are supposed to be able to identify, relate, and resolve the issues of their patients. Having more information about what these sexual dreams relate to in waking life will provide them with a framework in which to help their patients. The empirical evidence that has been gathered so far has provided a beginning in how therapists should approach these dreams. Knowing that most sexual dreams are not directly connected to the people in them allows the therapist to disregard the obvious and seek the deeper meanings the dream is conveying. Emotions in dreams with sexual imagery are important elements in understanding the tone of the dream, as well as, deeper rooted feelings towards particular situations in the dreamers waking life.

    As I have already mentioned more research is critical in understanding the true colors and meanings of sexual imagery in dreams. A more comprehensive understanding of what these dreams stem from in the dreamers waking life will make identifying the issue in therapy sessions easier. The more evidence gathered will also provide a more reliable and accurate interpretation of what these images and sexual dream experiences mean.


    Clark, J., DeCicco, T.L., & Navara, G. (2010). An Investigation among dreams with sexual imagery,romantic jealousy and relationship satisfaction. International Journal of Dream Research, 3(1), 45-50.

    King, D.B., DeCicco, T.L., & Humphreys, T.P. (2009). Investigating sexual dream imagery in relation to daytime sexual behaviours and fantasies among Canadian university students.
    The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 18(3), 135-146.

  18. Christine McAteerJune 12, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    When working with patients who have had sexual dreams the clinician can use the dreams to help them determine things that may be bothing them in their waking lives. The feelings of Sex and sexuality are usually strong so it could be assumed that these problems ir senarios being referred to in these sexual dreams are affected the person on a very deep level.
    A clinician can help a client understant possible outcomes or meanings toward their dreams and narrow it down to situtations that have occurred in their waking lives that could potentially be the underlying issue that is bothering them.
    As mentioned 80% of sexual dreams are not about sexual imagery but about a waking day relationship. so by using the methods that have perviouslt been mentioned (the storytelling method or the 2A method) you we be able tot break down the dream and better understand what could be going on in the clients subconscious and being presented in their dreams

  19. The notion that sexual dreams are very commonplace would be extremely beneficial information in the treatment of many different types of mental illnesses. For example this notion would be very comforting to an anxious person who dreams of an extra marital relationship and could then be reassured by a clinician that in fact it does not mean that they wish to commit adultery (which they could be anxious about) but perhaps instead it is more related to their actual relationship with their spouse.

    A second example of its application would be related to the treatment of an individual with a sexual fixation type mental illness. This information would be very reassuring to the individual to help them understand that sexual dreams are not necessarily a subconscious yearning to return to the undesired behaviour but instead are related to a waking day relationship or idea that is non sexual in nature.

    In a more general sense this information is useful in helping individuals obtain the proper insight from their dreams. Once clinicians have this information they can then better assess and help patients make the correct connections from their dreams so that they can then make correct or beneficial decisions in their waking day lives. It is also important, that in the use of this information clinicians still maintain that each patient is different and therefore they must include this uniqueness into their assessment of the patient and in their help of the patient of gaining insights from their dreams.

    Evan Mitchell

  20. Morgan Gail Stykel (0388819)June 12, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    The information, that only 20% of sexual dream imagery are about a sexual relationship, and 80% are about a waking day relationship, may help clinicians when working with people in therapy since dreams with sexual imagery might be hard to interpret at first glance. Knowing that sexual dreams may not reflect a desire for sex with a particular individual may help a person feel more secure with their unconscious mind. For example, if a married man has a dream about sex with a co-worker, he can be assured that his dream does not necessarily reflect his desire for the co-worker; rather it might be reflecting that the two individuals have chemistry together and make a good team. Furthermore, people who are uncomfortable with the idea of sex may be assured that when talking about their dream imagery to a clinician they aren’t being judged as a sex-obsessive. People may be more inclined to open up about sexual dream imagery if they know that 80% of sexual dream imagery is about waking day relationships. Once the dream imagery is revealed, the clinician and the client can work together to find discovery which may help the client grow as an individual and understand his unconscious on a greater level. Having a clinician who is well-read on recent dream research is beneficial for the client because the clinician can feel more prepared and be better at dream interpretation with greater understanding about how discovery can be revealed through imagery examination.

  21. With this information, clinicians can help people in therapy see past the overt dream imagery (i.e., the person/people involved, the sexuality, etc.) and delve deeper into its potential meaning leading to discovery. Clinicians may initiate the exploration of waking day relationships, rather than sexual relationships (as one may assume from their dreams having not been exposed to this information). Clinicians can then help their patients examine possible issues or concerns with a friend, family member, or significant other that may have been represented by the sexual dream imagery.

    By providing this information, clinicians may also help their patients feel at ease about their sexual dream imagery, understanding that it is normal and is not always related to waking day issues that are sexual in nature. The shame or embarrassment that may be associated with sexual dream imagery for some people (married men or women, for example) may thereby be reduced, and the patient may be more likely to attend to and interpret these dreams.

    - Lindsey Martin

  22. Sexual dreams may be able to help clinicians in therapy in the sense that they can help people work through their dreams properly. People always aaume right away that the main picture in the dream is what their mind is trying to tell them, but there is always some underlying information. Clinicians can work with their clients in establishing the true meaning of the dream and help them see what can be worked on or changed in waking life situations.

    Brittney Delves

  23. Regarding sexual dream imagery, I believe that most people would be embarrassed to talk about these types of dreams because they show something that is very private to an individual. Most people do not know that sexual dream imagery does not necessarily directly relate to a sexual relationship. Sexual dream imagery refers to a sexual relationship only twenty percent of the time, and refers to a waking day relationship eighty percent of the time.

    I believe that the first step in making people more comfortable to talk about their sexual dream imagery is to educate people about what sexual dream imagery really means. Clinicians can do this when working with individuals or groups by having pamphlets or some way of informing people at the area when therapy takes place.

    I believe that the most difficult time to talk about sexual dream imagery in therapy would be with that person's partner, especially if the dream imagery is not about the partner. Since most people believe that sexual dream imagery refers to a sexual relationship, this would be very embarrassing for both sides and could cause conflict. If clinicians can guarantee a safe environment and confidentiality in the group, as well as educate them, talking about the sexual imagery may still be difficult at first, but would be a lot easier.

  24. I agree with many of the previous comments. Recognizing that sexual dreams are a typical and normal human experience, patients may experience less embarrassment or discomfort when disclosing information about this personal subject.

    In addition, gaining valuable insight about waking life through dreams is another way in which this sexual content and imagery can be viewed with less anxiety and discomfort. As mentioned earlier, a sexual dream encounter with a former partner could cause many confusing thoughts in waking life. A clinician could help their patient in understanding that this dream does not necessarily mean that they wish to engage in sexual relations with this individual from their past. In contrast, the clinician could giude the patient into realizing their true inner feelings about their loneliness. The sexual dream may be unveiling their desire to establish a new romantic relatinship.

    Therapy that incorporates dream interpretation as a means of gaining a deeper understanding about waking day thoughts, feelings, and choices enables patients to recognize the value of their dreams.

    Alicia Holding

  25. This information would help clinicians when working with patients in therapy because it may help the participant make sense of their relationships if patients knew that 80% of dreams with sexual imagery are linked to waking day relationships, and not strictly sexual relationships. It may help them to open up more to a therapist about sexual imagery leading them to coping/dealing with problems/ situations in waking day, because some people may feel embarrassed opening up about such a intimate topic. By using the story telling method and/or 2A method patients may be able to understand underlying emotions that they have.

    -Amanda Edwards

  26. When people experience a sexual dream that is something that goes against their waking life norms they might feel guilty or that they are doing something wrong. When dealing with patients, clinicians need to explain that dreams with sexual imagery are usually related to a waking life relationship and are not sexual in nature at all. They should explain that discovery is not related to the target in the sexual dream but to a waking day relationship. It is important for people to express their sexual dreams because dream interpretation can be done. Clinicians can help find the underlying meaning to their dream.
    Kristen Thumm

  27. As the previous blogger was arguing, it would be very important for the clinician to make it clear that sexual imagery in dreams does not mean that their dreaming life is playing out a subconscious sexual fantasy in their waking life. When using dream analysis methods, such as the Storytelling Method or the 2A method, it seems crucial that patients understand that sexual imagery in dreams should not be something to be embarrassed about. If the patients understand the real meanings most commonly associated with waking life, they will be less apt to hide those parts of dreams away. Being open and detailed with dream imagery and dream scenes is better for the clinician in helping the patient obtain discovery.
    -Margaret-Anne Warr

  28. Stephanie WottonJune 12, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    Because sexual dreams are strongly related to the dreamers waking day relationships sexual dream interpretation can provide insight into these relationships. Examining these relationships may help to guide the dreamer in their waking day relationships, and may help the clinician to determine the nature of these relationships and how they are affecting the dreamer in either a positive or a negative way. Once the nature of the relationships have been determined the clinician can assist the dreamer to participate in them in the way that most benefits the well being of the dreamer.

  29. I think that more research needs to be done before clinicians can help their patients based off of the sexual imagery of their dreams. As stated in the question, research and knowledge about sexual imagery in dreams is very limited and most of it seems to be a guessing game. I would like to see more studies that show that 80% of sexual imagery relates to waking day life.

    Are we reading to far into what a sex dream is? Does a sex dream really mean you need to forgive someone or need to spend more time with someone? What if a sex dream is just a sex dream? What if there is no deeper meaning to sexual imagery in ones dream?

    I am actually not even sure how a clinician would help someone based on their sexual images in their dreams...I guess if a person is worried about them having sex dream being normal, a clinician could let them know that it is perfectly normal....but other then that, what else could a clinician really do?

  30. Something to add before answering the question, is that it would seem common for people to experience sexual imagery in dreams. After all we are a species that wants to procreate and reproduce. We do that through forming relationships with others. Although the content of the sexual imagery may not be specific to waking day sexual encounters, they may elude to relationships we wish to work on or relationships we wish to have as DeCicco outlined to be two possible discoveries in the question above.

    The dream interpretation technqiues we have used in class would be helpful for gaining insight into the relationship between the dream and waking life. For clinicians, knowing that such dreams are linked to waking day information that usually is not sexually related is important to know. It will help guide their therapy in helping the person focus less on what the dream is about and more upon the characters, the setting, and the emotions. These things will help the dreamer gain discovery on the scenarios in waking life that have facilitated this imagery. For example, perhaps the individual in waking life finds themselves straying from a current relationship emotionally and lacking the same want to be in the relationship as in the past. Through interpretation of sexual imagery in dreams, the clinician can help the dreamer piece together aspects of the dream with waking experiences. Possible insights could be that the relationship is experiencing a rough patch and certain issues need to be worked through to get back on solid ground. Or perhaps there is someone else in the picture the dreamer truly wishes to be with. Using interpretation techniques, the clinician can help the dreamer see past the content of the dream itself and find deeper relevance.

    -Nicole Hinan

  31. Many people take dreams with sexual imagery very literally, meaning that they believe if they dream of a person then the message is related to that person. As professor DeCicco has stated, the target should not always been taken literally. Having a dream with sexual imagery (no matter who the target is) could be about their current relationship. If they dream is fairly pleasant, it could mean that you like how your current relationship is going; however if the dream is unpleasant or aggressive, it may have an underlying message that you aren’t happy with the current relationship. This is something for clinicians to consider when working with patients.

    We have discussed in previous blog posts the continuity hypothesis. This is another thing for clinicians to consider. King, DeCicco & Humphreys (2009) found that men who reported more sexual and orgasmic experiences also reported more sexual imagery in their dreams. If a patient is having a lot of dreams with sexual imagery, then the clinician should consider the possibility that it doesn’t have to do with an analysis of a relationship, it could be because they are simply having more sexual experiences in a time frame.

    Kristin Vieira

  32. Janine LownsbroughJune 12, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Sexual imagery in dreams could potentially contain valuable insight into a persons relationship. As mentioned in previous comments, if one were to have a dream with sexual content in it with an individual that is not their current partner, they may feel guilty. Clinicians would be able to help the person interpret and understand that the person appearing in their dream may not mean that they want to cheat in their relationship, but lead them to a discovery that some aspect of their relationship in waking day needs to be altered.

  33. Having a dream that is sexual in nature about a family member or coworker can be distressing. However, knowing that the individual in the dream is not necessarily to object the emotions are directed towards in waking life can be useful to help find discovery. Clinicians can help individuals focus on the feelings triggered by the dream imagery as opposed to focusing on the imagery itself to help relieve some of the stress as well as potentially gain some insight about waking day relationships through discovery.

  34. Sexual content can be very difficult for people to discuss; therefore it is important for the clinician to create an atmosphere of safety, confidentiality, and one that is free from social and cultural stigma so the client does not feel judged when revealing the content of their dreams.

    The information that only 20% of dreams with sexual imagery are about a sexual relationship is very important to convey to the client. It would be important to explain that the other 80% of sexually-related dreams have another, deeper meaning. This may encourage clients to be more open and sharing with their dreams. It may also encourage them explore their relationship with the person in their dream deeper; if they know they are having a dream of this nature about someone.

    Ann-Marie Harris

  35. I think this is the perfect example of why it is so important to use a scientifically tested method of dream interpretation and to follow the steps of that method exactly as described. Dreams about sexual imagery can easily be misinterpreted or taken as literal. As stated above, only about 20% of dreams with sexual imagery are actually about a sexual relationship. The other 80%, though initially appearing to be about a sexual relationship, are actually about a waking day issue that needs to be solved. If the right interpretation method is used, the meaning behind this type of dream will become more obvious to the dreamer.

    Knowing that dreams with sexual imagery are actually about waking day circumstances can help clinicians make their patients feel more comfortable and at ease when talking about and trying to make sense of these types of dreams. These types of dreams may be embarrassing or confusing for the dreamer. If it is known and understood that the meaning behind these dreams is about something that has nothing to do with sex at all, clinicians can better guide those that are in therapy in interpreting their dreams and get meaningful discovery that can apply to all aspects of one’s life.

  36. I agree with Chealsie that, "Dreams about sexual imagery can easily be misinterpreted or taken as literal. As stated above, only about 20% of dreams with sexual imagery are actually about a sexual relationship. The other 80%, though initially appearing to be about a sexual relationship, are actually about a waking day issue that needs to be solved. " I believe that many people in todays society take sexual imagery the wrong way and people are misinterpreting what a dream may mean. If a dream occurs where you are having intercourse with a co-worker it does not necessarily mean that you have secret feelings for them or that this is someone you should pursue. Sexual imagery in dreams can mean a great variety of things to the dreamer and in most cases as stated above are in regards to a waking day life issue.

    The sexual imagery for each individual is specific to their life circumstances and waking day life. The dream could be a representation of an ongoing issue in their waking day life that has nothing to do with sex. This is why dream interpretation is so important to pursue. Without using the proper techniques to analyze your dream you could be misinterpreting a dream you had or you could be leading yourself down the wrong path in your waking day. Dream interpretation can help with sexual imagery as it will help to explain what the dream means to the dreamer and represent discovery through waking day life connections.

    ~~Abby Ross

  37. This type of information would help clinicians so much by helping them to inform the patients with their waking life. After completing my research assignment (dreams with sexual imagery) most of our sexual dreams are due to the fact of our waking life. We will depict certain imagery from the actions and experiences we have with others during the waking life. For example, relating to sexual imagery and relationships where able to realize that when relationships are experiencing positive satisfactions than their sexual imagery will be positive and for the most part the person will end up dreaming about their partner. Though the same can be said when negative feelings or events are occurring in the relationship than the person will dream about their partner being jealousy or committing infidelity, Therefore, for clinicians it’s important that there therapy helps those to understand that their sexual imagery are reflection of their waking life and if they are positive or negative it’s a correlation with what’s occurring in their own lives. Clinicians should use methods of TSM, 2A Method, and The Projective though I would feel The Projective method would be open and might make those uncomfortable to share their sexual imagery dreams though if they are able to express their dreams more openly they might have better understanding what their sexual imagery may mean or what types of arousals they may be experiencing.

    1. We live in a society where being open about sexuality is still discouraged. Dreams are the most private forum for sexual thoughts, desires, and reliving of past experience.
      While only a small percentage of our sexual dreams are directly related to sex in our waking lives, it is important for clinicians to help their patients debunk the cultural norms of repressing their thoughts of desire and passion. Allowing the client to reveal their dreams in detail, without witholding important details may provide valuable insights into their waking lives.
      Providing a comfortable, supportive and open environment when providing therapy will help patients to relax and reveal details of their dreams that might be confusing and even repulsive to themselves. The clinician can then help explicate the relation of those images to the dreamers waking life.

      Shauna Conway

  38. There are many good points given above by my colleagues. First that the methods we have used in your labs, like the story telling method and the 2A method could be used with a clinician to find discovery. Discovery could indicate who these sexual images are pertaining to, and the strong chance that they could be about a relationship in waking life, that is not necessarily sexual.
    Second, I agree that commonly when an individual experiences a dream with sexual imagery and a familiar person, it is thought that there are sexual desires towards said person. Now knowing that 80% of these dreams are just about relationships as a whole, a clinician could encourage an individual having these dreams to not be embaressed or uncomfortable around them as they may not have anything to do with sex at all.
    Lastly, dreams with sexual imagery should be treated like any other dream, and not be hidden because society is uncomfortable about the topic as stated above. These dreams can still lead to discovery, and therefore have a positive influence on waking life. They should be encouraged to work through just as much as any other dream.

  39. This information might be helpful to clinicians when working with people in therapy in several ways. As the previously mentioned blog replies, the labs that we have completed such as the Storytelling Method as well as the 2A method would be beneficial to them. For patients, I think that the 2A method would be of more help because it will easier to sort out emotions and conflicts. This way, they can help their waking day relationship. It is important though that the dreamers find the discovery pointed out, or else the dreams will recur. I don’t think group therapy would help for dreams with sexual imagery as many people I would presume do not like to talk about their dreams with sexual imagery. Safety and confidentiality for the dreamer is very important.

  40. Through the Storytelling Method, clinicians could get their patients to find discovery in their dreams with sexual imagery. By telling the patients that this type of dream is common and does not necessarily relate to their waking life, they might feel more comfortable to share these dreams and not feel judged or like they are alone in having these kind of dreams. If people understand this kind of dream and realize that they are common, more patients would open up about them.

  41. In addition to the previous blogs, I also beleive that the main reason why sexual imagery has little emperical evidence is that sexual feelings and relationships are typically not diclosed publicly to society, and are moreso interpreted privately amongst the individuals involved. However,it was noted that 80% of sexual imagery is connected to a waking day relationship not sexual in nature. This large statistic can aid clinicians in encouraging their clients to be open with every form of dream imagery, as sexual dream imagery can lead to great discovery of a waking day relationship, without any sexual aspects whatsoever. By allowing the client to feel comfortable in disclosing their sexual dream imagery, this may open up the door to society to realize that sexual dream imagery does not need to be something that is hidden, but instead embraced and interpreted to discover the true meaning of that dream.

    Emily Nyboer

  42. This information can help clinicians in the sense that 80% of dreams that contain sexual imagery are linked in some relation to their waking day experience. It would help the clinicians to observe current relationships the individual is having that could relate to the sexual imagery in the dream. This can also be seen and be helpful to clinician in using the TSM method or the 2A method as this can show discovery and emotional discovery in relation to sexual imagery at its relationship in the clients waking life. Looking into this emotional attachment can help clinicians with sexual imagery at their emotional attachment with their waking life relationships with others or situations in their waking life. Sexual imagery is not usually literal when it in dreams this can help clinicians to look deeper and to see what emotional or other situations are going on in their waking life in relationships or other factors in their life. As the previous poster has mentioned, making the client feel comfortable when talking about sexual imagery clients may be more willing to disclose their sexual imagery in dreams. This can help the clinician in determining what is going on in their dreams sexually and how this relations to situations in their waking life.

    -Erin Hillier

  43. Jennifer Cheznowski 0376917June 17, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    Many feel embarrassed to talk about their sexual dreams, because they think people with
    judge them or take their dream the wrong way. Since many sexual dreams have nothing to
    do with sex in waking life, people don't need to be as ashamed about their sexual dreams.
    Knowing this, it makes telling others such as clinicians easier. When clinicians have a patient
    who is telling them about their sexual dream, they can interpret the dream and relate it to
    their waking life. Clinicians can help people to understand where the dream came from, and
    why it happened. To many, the sexual dream is misunderstood, but a clinician can help
    reveal the confusion and help develop a greater understanding for the patient. When
    patients understand that their sexual dreams are not something to be ashamed of, they
    may feel less hesitant to open up about them to a clinician. This can help a clinician to be
    able to completely interpret the patients dream and help them to relate it to their waking
    life more efficiently. The clinician can reveal things to the patient that can help in therapy.