PSA: You (Yes, You!) Can Experience A Wet Dream

You don’t have to be a teenage boy to experience ’em, mmkay?
PHOTO: istockphoto ILLUSTRATION: Mixi Ignacio

Forget everything that you think you know about wet dreams, because, hi, they don’t just happen to young boys. The end. That’s the story. Goodbye.

Just kidding: It gets way deeper than that. Scientifically, wet dreams are actually called nocturnal emissions. They’re the dreams that create sexual arousal—and, as a result of the arousal, can sometimes end with ejaculation and you waking up from said dream, well, uh, wet, says clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly, PhD.

“Basically, wet dreams do not occur with manual stimulation, but instead as a result of natural processes,” says Manly. (Natural as in you-can’t-stop-thinking-about-how-hot-your-waiter-was-before-you-fell-asleep type of vibes.) And if I didn’t make it clear enough in the intro, yes, these wet dreams can affect you too. 

Wait, so women get wet dreams?

Yuuuup. “Women do get wet dreams at some point in their lives—many before the age of 21,” Manly explains. “Research found that by age 45, 37 percent of women had a sexual dream that resulted in orgasm.” But regardless of the research and studies, there’s really no “common age” that you may experience a wet dream because they can happen *Shakira voice* whenever and wherever (well, wherever you’re snoozin’).

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Why do wet dreams happen?

“Women tend to have wet dreams as a result of dreaming of erotic material—whether sexual acts or other dream material that is arousing,” says Manly. “When whatever’s happening in the dream is sufficiently erotic, a woman’s body may naturally respond by producing vaginal lubrication—and if she is sufficiently stimulated—an orgasm may result too.”

Are wet dreams normal?

Totally, girl. But on that same note, it’s also absolutely normal not to have a wet dream and/or not to remember having one, says Manly. But if you are experiencing them: “There is no reason to be concerned about a wet dream—even if they are quite frequent—as long as the wet dreams feel healthy and natural to the dreamer,” says Manly.

Although, if your dreams start making you feel uncomfortable or traumatic—particularly if there is any history of sexual trauma or a psychological issue‚ reach out to a professional ASAP, says Manly.

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Why are they more commonly associated with boys?

One big reason: When boys orgasm, they produce semen—which is a tangible, seeable liquid that means, okay, yeah, they just orgasmed. But women? Not so much. “Male ejaculate is far easier to detect than female vaginal wetness,” Manly says. Therefore, it’s more obvious if a boy had a wet dream versus if a woman did.

“In addition, until fairly recently, the subject of female orgasms were fairly taboo—particularly in regard to adolescent females. Due to all these factors, wet dreams are more commonly associated with younger males,” adds Manly.

To end on a positive note: “Although sexuality issues can sometimes be unfamiliar and worrisome, it’s important for women to embrace their sexuality with self-responsibility, compassion, and awareness,” says Manly. TL;DR: You’re not weird AF for having a wet dream as an adult woman. It’s just that, in this case, dreams may really be better than reality.

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.

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