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Dec 06

Women Have Wet Dreams

We’ve all heard about men having wet dreams – guys wake up to find that they’ve ejaculated during their sleep. Wet dreams for men are very common, and it’s usually pretty easy to tell if you’ve had one. What about women, though? Just because the majority of our orgasms don’t leave evidential stains all over our comforters, does that mean that we aren’t capable of having, as scientists call them, nocturnal orgasms?

Of course it doesn’t. Ladies, we have night-gasms.

Trust me, she’s not as calm as she looks

There’s a wide variety in how women experience sleep orgasms, or even how any given sleep orgasm is experienced by the same woman. Sometimes it’s waking up feeling as though you just had an orgasm (you likely did), sometimes its waking up with a vague lingering arousal, or sometimes it’s waking up feeling inexplicably blissful. If you feel as though you’ve ever had a nocturnal orgasm, chances are you have. In the 1950’s, during his groundbreaking exploration of human sexuality, Alfred Kinsey reported that 37% of the women he surveyed had had at least one nocturnal orgasm. The number is likely even higher.

Nighttime female orgasms have an interesting history, as they were actually used as one of the diagnostic criteria for “hysteria” – the disorder popularized in the 1800s and early 1900s that was essentially normal female sexual expression. This makes sense, as Kinsey reported that an absence of other sexual outlets can contribute to having night orgasms. This does not mean that any woman who experiences a night orgasm is sexually unfilled during her waking hours, however. In fact, the hypothesis is changing to suggest that women who think about sex more when awake are more likely to have sleep orgasms (as we all probably know, we tend to dream about things that are on our minds), but more research needs to be done before we make definitive conclusion.

It is a shame that female nocturnal orgasms are so under-discussed. Kinsey reported that a full 5% of the women he studied had their first orgasms during sleep. A study done in 1986 reported that knowledge of nocturnal orgasms actually predicted whether or not women reported having had one. To me this suggests that far more women than the studies report are having nocturnal orgasms, but simply don’t understand what they are. Other predictors of sleep orgasms are a positive attitude towards sexuality and waking sexually aroused (but not having had an orgasm) from sleep.

Male “nocturnal emissions” get a lot of airtime in sex education – it is emphaized that this is perfectly normal and healthy, presumably because it’s stressful for a boy to wake up covered in fluid that came from his penis. This discussion leaves women out completely, and so we are left to learn from experience. My friend recently had her first nocturnal orgasm, and asked me if it was really a thing. I assured her that it was, having had many of them since I think about sex all the time. But it seems a shame that women aren’t trained to look out for this normal phenomenon. With so many women struggling to have orgasms, the last thing we should be doing is ignoring any facet of healthy female sexual expression.

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1 comment

  1. Internet Staring Victim #1

    Totally a thing. Just like a few other points of debate discussed at length over circles of cards centered around a cup.

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