Sex and dreams

5 03 2014
Freud, Jung and dream symbolism

Freud, Jung and dream symbolism

It was Sigmund Freud, the 19th Century Austrian father of psychoanalysis who said dreams were “The royal road to the unconscious.”

He also argued that even ordinary looking dreams on the surface had a deeper sexual meaning, and that (latent) dream content is driven by unconscious ‘wish fulfilment’ or ‘wunscherfüllung.’

Freud introduces this theory in his 1899 book, ‘The Interpretation of Dreams.

Freud is also credited with the seduction theory, the libido and the psyche which consisted of 3 components namely; the id, the ego and the super-ego.


Dream symbolism

According to Freud the symbolism experienced in dreams was often sexual even in mentally healthy subjects.

For example a phallus could be represented by an umbrella, a rocket, knives or swords, various reptiles including snakes and fish.

Even pipes or fountains with running water are phallic and symbolic themes in their very nature.

Female genitalia symbols include hollow objects like caves, shafts, pits, suitcases, entrances to houses, etc.

Breasts are often characterised by fruits, especially apples and peaches.

Animals often included snails and mussels.

According to Freud himself, the act of being threatening with a pointed weapon, climbing a ladder or stairs, and rhythmic activities like dancing or riding all symbolised sexual intercourse.


Carl Jung rejected many of Freud’s theories, although he expanded on the idea of dream content and unconscious desires.

He mentions that daytime memories can have an impact on dreaming in the form of ‘day residue’ and that dreams themselves were messages to the dreamer.

He came up with his own theory in regard to dream symbolism in the form of archetypes, especially those of the self, shadow, anima and the animus.

Jung is also known for his concepts regarding introversion and extraversion and the collective unconscious


Hall data show that sexual dreams are more prevalent in the young to mid-teens, accounting for no more than 10% of the time, whilst another study (Zadra, A., “1093: Sex dreams: what to men and women dream about?”, Sleep Volume 30, Abstract Supplement, 2007 A376.)  showed men and women’s dreams having a sexual content at 8%.

In some cases sexual dreams may result in orgasms or nocturnal emissions.

The most common emotion experienced in dreams is anxiety, followed by abandonment, anger, fear, joy and happiness.

Common themes include:

  • Being chased or pursued.
  • Nudity or being semi-dressed in a public place.
  • Love or searching for someone
  • Loose teeth
  • Arriving late or missing a train, bus or plane

There are also some sexual taboos which are occasionally experienced in normal non-lucid dreams. Often this can result in a range of emotions and thoughts ranging from guilt to disgust and revulsion felt by the person waking up afterwards.


Sex and lucid dreaming

The million dollar question is “Can you have sex in a lucid dream?”

The short answer is “Yes… of course!”

It all depends (like a bit like waking life, etc) in your level of skill and control, except all without the courtship, flowers, chocolate, foreplay or scruples even between couples.

Sure, a beginner can do it, just like in a normal dream but the excitement is more likely to cause them to wake up… often disappointed!

A sex dream can invoke strong physiological effects in the body – just ask any teenage boy for example.

I think it is a mistake that a beginner oneironaut start his or her quest by yearning for a major desire to have lucid dream sex without first learning all the basics first.

Sure, along with flying, sex in a lucid dream is highly coveted.

Your fantasies can be realised depending on your skill, or luck even, but it should not be your prime mover initially.

Just like in real life you will not be given it on a plate.

Most of my ‘sex’ dreams for example tend to form from typical false awakening ‘bedroom’ scenarios, not necessarily in the ‘visual’ sense.

Interestingly enough I have found that thought alone at this particular time can form into a type of hallucination, especially the tactile-type and auditory sounds, some of which tend to be from actual memories in my case.


Safe sex

I guess in the vast majority of cases then it is pure fantasy.

In saying that I’m not one for violating, demeaning or using unnecessary violence towards your dream characters, although self defence is ok.

Freud might see it where the lucid dreamer who initiates sex with their dream character akin to more like a dog who can lick his own balls.

One might say a problem might arise if you are dreaming constantly about an actual (unobtainable) person like a married work colleague, etc. and you become morbidly obsessive where you try to carry over your fantasy to influence you in your waking life to the point it might affect or ruin your relationship.

Lucid dreaming in general and lucid dreaming sex could be used as a form of escapism, but it depends on the individual and their addictive traits in the real world.

I guess it all boils down to the individual at the end of the day.

One thing for sure with lucid dream sex then you are not going to catch anything or be left holding the baby for that matter.