At some point, we’ve all gotten lucky in dreamland. Whether your racy reverie is red hot (bedding Robert Pattinson) or just strange (knocking boots with the guy who signs your paycheck), there’s a reason why it popped into your head. “Sexual dreams reveal your desires and anxieties,” says Gillian Holloway, PhD, author of Erotic Dreams. “Your subconscious uses these raw, lustful situations to sort out emotions you may not be confronting in waking life.”
Sure, maybe you already know dreams serve as a portal to your psyche, but you might not realize how obscure their implications can be. In fact, your dirtiest scenes often aren’t about sex at all. Oh, and those “innocent” imaginings where you’re flying in the sky or brushing your hair? Loaded with sexual meaning.
While everyone’s nocturnal fantasies and day-to-day issues vary, Cosmo asked dream experts to shed light on the most common sexy shut-eye musings. Get the scoop before bed tonight.
Decoding Your Sex Dreams:
- Getting Passionate With A Wacky Partner
A dream where you’re scorching the sheets with your boss or best buddy? Yikes. Although you may assume this scandalous vision means you harbor hot-and-heavy feelings, the actual implications are generally PG. “You probably admire a quality that person possesses and want to develop it within yourself,” explains Patricia Garfield, PhD, author of Creative Dreaming. Maybe you crave the head honcho’s success or wish you had your friend’s confidence.
On lucky nights, a Hollywood hottie, like Patrick Dempsey, might make a guest appearance. While celeb sex dreams could just be mental candy your brain has cooked up for fun, there’s probably more to it. “To singles, it’s a reminder that amazing prospects are out there, and it also clues you in to the kind of man you want,” says Garfield.
If you’re already one half of a twosome, it may point to a yearning for a trait your guy lacks or—if you’re blissfully content—affirm you’ve scored with a star-quality man. In this case, you’ve found your McDreamy.
- No Place To Get Busy
You’re on a hunt for a place to have sex with your man, but problems arise that make hooking up impossible. “This suggests a loss of intimacy between you and him,” explains Holloway. “Women tend to have this dream before or after a breakup.” Although you’ve struggled to make it work, something—like mismatched goals—has prevented it. However, if you and your man are happily coupled, the dream may indicate that there’s an obstacle you’re trying to overcome—maybe it’s a long-distance issue or even just that you’re unsure what the future holds.
- Having Sex For All To See
Right in the middle of a XXX romp, you suddenly realize you’re onstage or in a roomful of people...with all eyes on you. “If the crowd makes you self-conscious, you could be worried that people are gossiping about your relationship,” says Holloway. Think about it: Are you afraid your pals don’t like him? Did you start dating while he was still with someone else? On the other hand, should being in the spotlight feel deliciously naughty, it means you have a hankering to flaunt your sizzling sex life to the world.
- Cheating On Your Man
It’s pretty unsettling to imagine getting busy behind your guy’s back. “You usually dream of sleeping with someone else soon after taking a major relationship step, like getting engaged,” says Holloway. “Any uneasiness about making such a huge life change can manifest in your dreams.” It doesn’t mean you have regrets; you’re just experiencing normal concerns, like that you’re missing out on other potential mates or you’ll one day discover he’s not right for you.
On the flip side: “If your man’s the unfaithful one, ask yourself if you’re resenting him for some reason,” suggests Holloway. “This dream can expose feelings of emotional abandonment, like maybe he’s working a lot or you’re more serious about your bond than he is.”
Deciphering Subliminal Sex Messages:
- Flying Through The Sky
You’ve had a mind-blowing booty session recently, right? That would explain why you’re soaring in your sleep. “The freewheeling rush you get from whizzing through the air could be a mental celebration of great sex,” explains Garfield. “The thrilling sensations in the dream are similar to the high you experience when you climax.” If you haven’t had a hot hookup lately, the aerial illusions may be related to an intense romantic encounter, like going out with a guy you really like or hearing the L word from your honey for the first time.
- A Man Holding A Phallic Object Appears
Okay, if you dream of a guy, say, with a garden hose in hand or a hot dog on a stick, heads up. “It means there’s a man in your life whom you’re attracted to, but either you’re not fully aware of your feelings or you don’t want to admit you’re into him,” says Holloway. The object of your affection may be someone who is totally not your type or an off-limits guy, like your man’s best bud. And just so you know, the guy you’re secretly lusting after may not necessarily be the hose-wielding hottie in your reverie.
- An Animal Encounter
When a stallion makes a late-night appearance, it suggests you’re getting in touch with your wild side. “Galloping on a horse symbolizes that you feel alive, liberated, and in control sexually,” says Holloway. The rhythm and speed of riding feels similar to the steady tempo of sex (as does any rhythmic motion, from swinging to climbing stairs, notes Garfield), and being atop a huge, powerful animal echoes the exhilaration of being with a man.
Not all animal-related scenarios are positive, though. If scaly reptiles give you the heebie-jeebies, then a snake nightmare (hello, talk about phallic!) points to worries you have, possibly about sex, according to Gayle Delaney, PhD, author of All About Dreams. “Also, most people connect snakes with being sneaky,” adds Garfield. “This dream could signal you’ve subconsciously picked up on the fact that a guy you’ve been seeing is using you for sex or hiding something about his sexual past.” Call it intuition...in fantasy form.
- You Suddenly Have Superlong Locks
Envisioning a Rapunzel-like mane while mid-REM serves as a carnal wake-up call—you have been putting sex on the back burner and are ready to devote due energy to satisfying your erotic drive. “Long hair represents sensuality and femininity, encouraging you to let your natural impulses rule,” says Holloway. So stop snoozing on your sex life and seek out the kind of action you’ve only, uh, dreamed of.