Sexual Dreams

Straight Talk

The Question

I sometimes have dreams where I am having sex, sometimes with people I know and sometimes with people I don’t know. I am concerned because I take authority over my dreams but I still have those dreams. I don’t understand the dream and I don’t know why it won’t go away.

T. from Houston, Texas

The Answer
Part 1: Remove the guilt

Let’s remove the guilt

I would encourage you not to be so hard on yourself. One place you get a “free pass” from guilt is in your dreams. You can control your thought life and you can control your actions (as you must), but you cannot control what you dream. (There is an exception I’ll discuss later.)

You wonder why you continue to have these dreams and there may be a very simple explanation. At this juncture in life, are you sexually frustrated? The sex drive is normal and natural but if you are not married and have no legitimate sexual outlet, this may be your body’s back-up plan. Even if you are married, depending on many factors, you may have frustrations that are playing out in the dream world.

Clearly you are uncomfortable about this and you’ve tried taking “authority” over your dreams. I would say that probably isn’t going to work unless they have demonic origins and simple sexual dreams do not usually fall into that category.

So what can you do? Relax. Stop feeling guilty. Having sex with someone in a dream does not constitute sin. When you wake up remembering such a dream don’t linger over it but dismiss it, shrug it off and start your day. God is not upset with you but has provided the dream life for many reasons. One of them is for working through what can’t be handled in the waking state.

Now to the exception I mentioned earlier. I said you can’t control what you dream. You can control, however, any activity that would heighten sexual interest such as images or TV shows or music with a predominantly sexual theme. Such materials could fuel a fire that you would rather have die out.

Commit ALL your life to the Lord, including your dream life. If it is your heart to serve him fully, your sex dreams won’t stop you from doing so.

Follow Up Note: I received this extremely helpful note from a Christian psychologist regarding this question and answer and I want to pass it on. She writes that within her field “it is commonly accepted thought that in a dream, sex doesn’t actually symbolize sex; it symbolizes intimacy. So, for example, if a person dreams about having sex with their brother, it doesn’t usually mean that they are physically attracted to their brother. It usually is a symbol that means that they are probably growing closer to him. So for Christians who have a dream where they are having sex, there is no need to feel guilty-they need to simply reflect on what that symbolizes. Perhaps they are wanting more intimacy with a friend, or a husband, a family, or even God.” Her comments are welcome and certainly worthy of consideration whenever sex dreams occur.