Q&A: Do Adult Men Have Wet Dreams?

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QUESTION: I’m an adult male and I just had a wet dream. I masturbated twice yesterday and I had sex with my boyfriend the night before. Usually I masturbate three to four times a week and have sex twice a week. This is already two times in four months that I’ve had a wet dream. Should I be worried?

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unmade bed

Photo: prettywar-stl (flickr)

Some recent research suggests that some men and women may be prone to sexual behavior while they sleep – this has been called sexsomnia and is linked to unusual sleep cycles.

Although many men don’t have frequent wet dreams (also called “nocturnal emissions” in science-speak) after adolescence, some men continue to have wet dreams well into adulthood.

Passing Down Information

As part of my work, I have sometimes given puberty talks to 5th and 6th grade boys who are accompanied by their dads.

During these talks, the boys often ask about wet dreams – after all, a few of them have often experienced them by that age and many of the rest have begun hearing about them from friends. In all the times I’ve given these talks, the dads there have not only reassured them that wet dreams are common and normal when going through puberty, but quite a few of the dads in every group I’ve spoken with have also told their sons that they still experience wet dreams, too, though less often than when they were younger.

To Sex Or Not To Sex?

I mention this because there’s not a great deal of research about wet dreams during adulthood. We don’t know much about what makes them more or less frequent.

Some men find that they have less frequent wet dreams when they have sex more often. Others don’t notice any link between their wet dreams and the sex or masturbation they have in waking life.

When You Sleep

Some recent research suggests that some men and women may be prone to sexual behavior while they sleep – this has been called sexsomnia and is linked to unusual sleep cycles.

If you have reason to believe that you actively masturbate while you sleep or try to have sex with other people, such as your boyfriend, in the middle of the night but have no memory of it when you wake up in the morning, you may want to mention this to a healthcare provider. But if you’re just experiencing regular wet dreams, then it’s not necessarily a sign of a health problem.

If you have questions about your health, we would encourage you to check in with your healthcare provider. However, rest assured that wet dreams are a common experience for men that can extend well beyond adolescence for some men. I hope this is helpful.

Next Question: My Partner Ejaculates On Me

When me and my partner are having sex, he pull outs of my vagina and orgasms on me. Why would he do that?

A common reason why men ejaculate somewhere other than the vagina is because they’re trying to reduce the risk of pregnancy. Another name for this contraceptive method is called the “withdrawal technique” or “pulling out.” Although the withdrawal method is moderately effective in preventing pregnancy, it is not nearly as effective as correct and consistent use of hormonal birth control such as the pill, patch, shot or ring. If you’re not ready to become pregnant together, I’d recommend exploring other birth control options.

Also, some people believe that pulling out before ejaculating means that people cannot pass sexually transmissible infections (STI), but that’s not true. Unprotected intercourse – even without ejaculating inside the vagina or anus – can still result in passing STIs between partners if one or both partners has an STI.

Finally, some men simply enjoy how it looks when they ejaculate and they want to watch themselves ejaculate rather than have it disappear into the vagina, anus or mouth.

If you’re curious about why your boyfriend ejaculates on you rather than in you, talk with him about it and let him know how you feel. Try to keep an open mind about his reasons and see how you can both have a pleasurable sexual experience. Learn more about birth control methods at Planned Parenthood.

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Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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