A Sex Dream About An Ex Might Be Confusing, But Here's What It Really Means

If there's any kind of dream that you'll wake up from feeling distressed, it's definitely a sex dream about an ex. Your brain dredging up a hot-and-heavy make-out session with your ex will probably bring a flush to your cheeks. Or maybe you'll wake up wondering about your ex-boo going down on you in a dream and the fact that you really enjoyed it. If not embarrassed, you'll probs just be disgruntled that your ex always ruins everything, even REM sleep.

The first thing to do — after dabbing your brow and taking a cold shower — is to remember that sex dreams involving exes are normal. So, don't panic! As sex therapist Dr. Stefani Threadgill previously told Elite Daily, sex dreams don't necessarily indicate sexual attraction (although sometimes it is just that). "It could also mean that you have some untapped desires or fantasies that you might want to discuss or explore," Threadgill said.

Life coach and wellness astrologer Stephanie Gailing often analyzes dreams for clients. When it comes to approaching a sex dream about an ex — or any dream for that matter — it's crucial to look at the entire picture, she says. The answers don't just lie in "dream you" riding your ex or collecting hickies. They lie in how that dream sex made you feel.

"It’s also, of course, important to take into consideration your current relationship status," Gailing says. "Are you single? In a partnership? In numerous relationships? And what’s the status of your sex life?" Here's the low-down on what different types of sex dreams about your ex might mean.

The dream sex felt pleasurable

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If your sex life with your ex was poppin' IRL, your dream might just be nostalgia. "Perhaps a way that you are expressing your desire to connect with your ex," Gailing offers.

Dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg told Elite Daily, "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." A dream about that last kind of in particular could be a sign that you're still a bit stuck on your ex and haven't, in fact, moved 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," Loewenberg warns.

On the other hand, possibly to your relief, a dream about your ex killing it in the bedroom might not have anything to do with your feelings for your former flame. It could just be a sign that you're craving someone you can be intimate with — the way you were with your old bae.

"The dream reflects a longing for sex or a re-opening to intimacy. Again, what it may reflect depends upon where you are in your life right now related to these aspects," Gailing says. Maybe you're single and longing for companionship. Maybe you feel like your current partner(s) need to grow in certain areas. Whatever the case may be, reflect on whether there's a void in your life that begging to be filled.

Deep down, you'll know what kind of pleasurable sex dream it was based on what it made you feel: Longing and regret, versus joy and excitement. "The feelings that a dream inspires are key to further understanding what it is that your subconscious is revealing to you," Gailing says.

The dream sex wasn't pleasurable

If dream sex with your ex wasn't lit, even if your IRL sex life was, it can be a sign that something has changed in you, Gailing explains. That "something" can be your values, your desires, or your needs.

And if sex with your ex wasn't great to begin with, start by asking yourself what you think brought this dream on. What in your waking life reminded you of the not-so-bomb sex you had with a former partner? The reasons may vary, Gailing says. But it will probably be related to why previously accepted a sex life that didn't prioritize your pleasure (and why you may not want that in the future).

What does means if the dream sex felt neutral?

Liliya Rodnikova / Stocksy

Similar to the shift in values, desires, and needs Gailing mentioned before, a neutral sex dream could reflect that you're gaining distance from your ex. Just like the hookup in the dream, you're now feeling more neutral or indifferent toward them.

Another take Gailing has is that this neutral dream may not actually be about your ex. Maybe it's your ex signifying "the role of someone else" or "perhaps something from your past, an opportunity had or missed." Ask yourself: Is there anything from your past that's being represented here? This could include the academic program you were in, where you lived, the job you were working, or the social scenes you were hanging out in while you dated your ex.

What does it mean if there were feelings involved?

You'll be pleased to know that if your dream involved sweet sex or something that felt like love-making, it doesn't necessarily mean you're still in love with your ex. For example, if ex sex IRL was fueled by pure lust and your dream was filled with tender make-outs, this could, again, signify a switch-up in priorities. "This may reflect how your sexual and intimacy needs are shifting — how you may want intimacy that marries a heart connection with passion," Gailing explains.

A example of this can be found in the concrete details of your dream, which Gailing recommends writing down when doing any analysis. "Let’s use an example: lighting. Was it light or dark in the room?" Gailing asks. Having the lights on in a sex dream about your ex might not seem like a big deal. But if you never had sex with the lights on IRL, Gailing says, "Perhaps the dream is reflecting the desire for a shift in your approach to sexuality, or perhaps it’s reflecting that you are seeing something more clearly."

What should you do about it?

Again, don't panic. Instead, take this dream as an opportunity to re-evaluate your desires, and how they look in your past and present. As Loewenberg said to Elite Daily, an ex-sex dream might just be your subconscious saying now is the time to "rekindle the excitement in your intimate life." This dream is likely the result of a certain need of yours not being met in waking life. You just have to figure out what it is. "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," Loewenberg explained.

As perplexing or aggravating as it was, the dream should just be guidance moving forward. "I think dreams are so rich and valuable when it comes to our gaining more awareness of ourselves, [and] to live with more clarity, consciousness, and empowerment," Gailing says. At the end of the day, you're in charge of your waking life. You've just got to tune into what your dream world's trying to tell you.