Q&A: Adult Wet Dreams – When Will They Stop?

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QUESTION: I'm 25 and still have the occasional wet dream. They are usually quite vivid and wake me out of my sleep. My fiancee hasn't moved in yet, but we usually have sex at least once a week. So I wouldn't say that I'm sexually frustrated; at least not any more than the average 20 something male. Will these wet dreams ever stop?

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The term “wet dream”, also called nocturnal emission, refers to the experience of a man ejaculating while he is asleep. Women and men both may experience orgasm while asleep. For males, this is more common during adolescence than during adulthood but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen to adult men.

As adults, some men find that they are more prone to nocturnal emissions during times of less frequent sexual activity – for example, during times when they are not masturbating very often and not ejaculating from other forms of sex, such as oral sex or vaginal sex.

The fact that you experience nocturnal emissions on a somewhat regular basis makes me wonder how often you might be experiencing ejaculation during your waking life. For example, do you generally masturbate or do you avoid masturbation?

There is certainly no harm in masturbating – in fact, research suggests that ejaculation from masturbation or partner sex can reduce a man’s later risk of prostate cancer. Masturbation is a healthy form of sexual expression and, if you are comfortable doing it and interested in doing it, you might try adding it to your sexual repertoire. Not only might you find it to be pleasurable, whether you do it alone or with your fiancée, but you might find that it leads to fewer experiences of nocturnal emissions.

You also alluded to the fact that your fiancée may be moving in with you. If she does, and if you two have sex more often than once per week, you may find that these wet dreams decrease in frequency over time, too.

All that said, even if your sexual frequency stays the same with your partner and you don’t increase your masturbation frequency, you may find that you have wet dreams less often over time. That often happens with age.

You might consider, too, whether it bothers you that you have wet dreams and, if so, why. Some men feel that wet dreams are a sign of immaturity, since they are so common during puberty, and yet there is nothing about wet dreams that links them to being immature. In fact, many adult women and men enjoy the occasional orgasm during sleep and find that it can be a pleasurable experience.

If you are concerned about what your fiancée thinks when she moves in, you might let her know that sometimes this happens, and that you’ve heard it can happen to other women and men. It may even start a discussion about whether she has ever had a similar experience. Throughout your life, there are bound to be unexpected aspects to sex. Some will be highly pleasurable, others may be surprising, unsettling or even uncomfortable. Learning to talk about them now, early in your relationship with your fiancée, will prepare you both to establish an enjoyable sexual life together.

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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Comments

  • peter

    I have a similar problem. From religious reasons I don't practice masturbation. My sexual life do not exist – I live in celibacy. The nocturnal emissions happen to me very often. I is annoying and frustrating especially when there is no privacy (in somebody else's house or camping). Is there any way to decrease the frequency of these emissions without starting the sexual activity?

  • Adv237

    I am an adult 28 + and sometimes I do have that problem. I generally have that problem when i get overheated. I don't know my answer but cold shower seems to help me a little bit.