Dreams can be such an interesting part of ourselves to observe, it's no wonder we spend time wondering what they mean. Dreams can feel so intense in the moment, and then miraculously as we wake up, they fade into the background of our minds. But dreams aren't always sunshine and butterflies. The most confusing (and often disturbing) dreams for some people are often the ones that involve sex. The most common sex dreams and what they mean can be tricky to figure out on your own, especially if you don't speak the language of the subconscious mind. That's why I spoke with professional dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg about sex dreams and what they're really trying to tell you.
"The important thing to remember about sex dreams is that they aren't necessarily about a physical union you want but rather a psychological union you need," Loewenberg tells Elite Daily.
So, if you're freaking out about having dreamt about hooking up with your sister's husband, then chill. According to Loewenberg, sex dreams actually play a pivotal part in our quests to become our best selves.
"Spicy or awkward, they show you what you lack," explains Loewenberg. "Typically, there is some aspect of your dream lover you need to connect with and unite into your own personality in order to better yourself. Less often, the sex dream can be the result of you making a connection with that person on some level, after a deep, meaningful conversation, perhaps."
Here are three common sex dreams and how you can interpret them.
1. Sex With A Co-Worker Or Boss
Look, dreaming about people we're attracted to and would totally hook up with if given the chance can feel pretty straight-forward. However, if you had a sexual dream about someone you work with who you aren't usually lusting after, then it's totally normal to feel confused.
"While you may not be attracted to the co-worker you dreamed of hooking up with on your boss's desk, there is some quality they possess that you want for yourself," says Loewenberg.
If you're still scratching your head, then it may be worth thinking about the person you dreamt about and what they might represent on an even more obscure level.
"Ask yourself what stands out about this co-worker to you," suggests Loewenberg. "Is she the one that has the highest amount of sales? The go-to person for tech issues? Or maybe the boss's favorite? Whatever it is, there is something about this person your subconscious is really into and wants you to connect with and unite into your own personality."
If your boss made a special appearance in your head, don't worry. Similar to the co-work tryst, it's all about the reading between the lines. "Remember, sex dreams are not necessarily about the person but rather about what he or she represents," says Loewenberg. "In the case of your boss it is most likely power, authority, management skills, decision making, etc. that you need to merge into your own life."
2. Sex With A Stranger
"I call this the mystery lover dream and it is the most common of all sex dreams," says Loewenberg. "Many of us wonder if this dream is actually a glimpse of our soul mate who might be out there somewhere waiting for us."
But before you start hunting for the faceless bae that rocked your body in dream world, Loewenberg says not so fast. Remember: Dreams aren't always literal.
"Our dreams have a cool way of showing us the different parts of our personality in the form of a person so we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and what makes us tick," explains Loewenberg.
"The mystery lover in your dreams is the embodiment, the personification of the qualities we tend to associate with that gender," says Loewenberg. "Dreaming of having sex with an unknown female would likely mean the dreamer is connecting with and utilizing his female energies: creativity, being sensitive and nurturing in some capacity, etc. And sex with an unknown male would be an indication the dreamer is connecting with and utilizing his male energies: being assertive, taking action, etc."
3. Sex With An Ex
"The Ex is a very popular character in our naughty dreams," according to Loewenberg. "Even though it may be light years since you were with this person, he or she still continues to appear in your dreams, bringing those old feelings back to the surface that leaves you wondering if you still may be holding a flame."
Even though having a sex dream about an ex can be a huge bummer, it could be your subconscious telling you that it's time to "rekindle the excitement in your intimate life," says Loewenberg.
"Once you take action on your dream’s gentle nudging, and continue to change it up and keep it interesting, the ex won’t need to pay you another visit… that is unless the ex still has a role in your life, such as an ex-spouse," says Loewenberg. "If you deal with the ex-spouse on a regular basis then that person is not likely to be a symbol, rather your inner mind is alerting you to an issue with that specific person and, as always, you will need to look at what happened the day before the dream in order to pinpoint the issue."
"The exes we tend to have naughty dreams about the most are our first love, an ex we still have ties to because of children or other circumstances, or the ex that most recently broke our heart," explains Loewenberg. "Dreaming of the ex that broke your heart can be a sign that you are stuck emotionally and have not allowed yourself to move on. These dreams are a clear indication that you have not healed in which case the dreams will continue until you let go and leave the past in the past. It is impossible to move forward while you are still holding on to what is behind you."
Well, now that you can rest easy knowing that your sex dreams don't mean you have secret desires for someone you shouldn't, you can focus on the valuable takeaways. Although it may seem easy to brush dreams off, why not take the opportunity to use them to your advantage by getting to know yourself on a deeper level?
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!