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6 Freaky Sex Dream Scenarios--And What They Mean

Find out what some of your strange nighttime fantasies reveal about your current relationship mindset.

While many steamy dreams are a nocturnal treat (you and the office hottie sharing torrid kisses on a deserted beach, for example), others--such as cheating on your guy or engaging in unprotected sex--are nightmarish. And, since new research from the University of Montreal proves that women are having more racy reveries than ever before, chances are, you've had an alarming erotic experience in la-la land at some point.

But, here's the funny thing about dreams of having sex: They typically have nothing to do with sex--it's just a symbol your brain chooses. So, don't take them literally. "Sex dreams lay bare your deep-seated fears and desires," says Gillian Holloway, PhD, author of The Complete Dream Book. "Things that you don't face during the day yet need to address often surface while you're sleeping."

Find out how these common erotic scenarios can help you identify and rectify an underlying issue.

Dream Scenario #1: Sex With Your Ex

A dream about bedding a former flame may make you question if you harbor feelings for him, but that's likely not the case. "Your ex could be a stand-in for the person you're with now," says Holloway. "Your subconscious tends to substitute an earlier love for any guy you're dating."

That's good if the dream had lovey-dovey overtones, but if the ex you conjured up didn't treat you well, it could be a subconscious signal that your current guy possesses one of his negative traits. "Your psyche might pick up on something you aren't aware of yet," says Holloway. "Look at it as potential wake-up call."

Dream Scenario #2: Girl-On-Girl Action

If you are straight and get it on with a woman in a dream, it doesn't mean you're in denial about your sexual orientation. Often, it's about celebrating friendship. Feeling emotionally close to a female may manifest as physical bonding in a nocturnal musing. "Many sex dreams are related to connecting," explains  Holloway. "So after having a great talk with a friend or making a new buddy, you might dream about having intimate contact with her."

Dream Scenario #3: Cheating

The anxiety and shame you feel when you're two-timing your man in a dream reflect real-life guilt. Perhaps you lied to him or skirted the line of good behavior (like flirting with another guy).

On the other hand, if your man is the one betraying you in the dream, it may indicate that you're insecure about the romance. "In a new relationship, you might not be sure he's committed," says Holloway. "If you've been together for a long time, you may have a dream like this when something pulls his attention away from you." Example: He gets a demanding new job.

Dream Scenario #4: Unsafe Sex

Dreaming you got busy without a condom and have potentially contracted an STD can induce major panic--at least, until you wake up. "Ask yourself if you feel emotionally unprotected in a facet of your love life," says Gayle Delaney, PhD, author of All About Dreams. Maybe you don't fully trust your man, or you're getting serious with a new guy and feel vulnerable.

Dream Scenario #5: A Bizarre Passion Partner

Borat. Your fugly boss. The housewife next door. Why would you have an X-rated dream starring someone you're positively not lusting after? "You may not physically desire them, but you desire something they have," says Holloway. Perhaps you are trying to become a TV personality, want a promotion, or long for a hubby.

"Having sex with the person shows you're aligning yourself with his or her achievements," says Delaney. The good news is, this dream occurs when you're en route to reaching a goal.

Dream Scenario #6: Being Taken Advantage Of Sexually

A dream in which you're coerced into an act (for example, your man pushing your head down to give him oral) belies a sense of powerlessness. "You're worried that if you resist, you'll lose something important," says Delaney. For instance, maybe you never stand up to your guy during an argument because you're scared he'll dump you.

Rape dreams are even more alarming. But provided you haven't been raped in the past, their meaning is often benign. "It usually takes place when you have chemistry with a man but before you've gotten together with him," says Holloway. The dream represents his breaking into your comfort zone. Although you're scared, you like it, too. And this, like most sex dreams, is nothing to lose sleep over.