Can women orgasm in their sleep?

Most people are aware that men have nocturnal emissions (aka wet dreams) – the evidence in the morning is pretty clear. But do women have wet dreams?

You bet!

Although we may not be left with sticky sheets, we can most definitely experience orgasm during sleep - so yes, women have wet dreams!

In a landmark study in 1953, Alfred Kinsey found that by age 45, 37% of women in the sample had experienced a dream resulting in orgasm. (We like those odds…) And it wasn’t just a one-off (ha!) experience: women who experienced these “sleep-gasms” did so three or four times per year. Interestingly, a more recent 1985 study found the same percentage of the women involved – 37% - had experienced nocturnal emissions.

What is a Sleep-gasm?

It is an orgasm.

No, really.

Orgasms that occur during sleep are essentially the same as orgasms that occur during wakefulness.

Typically, orgasms occur during “deep” sleep stages and REM sleep. That makes sense: during deep sleep, blood flow is directed towards the muscles – increased blood flow to the genital region mimics what occurs when you get turned on.

And in fact, the increase in vaginal blood flow that occurs during some REM events is identical to the increase in vaginal blood flow that occurs during erotic stimulation when awake.

That also means that nocturnal emissions may not be the direct result of a sexual dream – it could just be the body reaching a physically aroused state during REM sleep, and using orgasm as a natural release of that arousal. That being said, typically sleep orgasms occur during sexual dreams.

The vagina may lubricate, which may be the only evidence that an orgasm occurred during sleep. Some women report that the orgasm wakes them from sleep.

Why Am I Having Orgasms in My Sleep?

Some evidence suggests that

“Positive attitudes toward and knowledge of nocturnal orgasms, sexual liberalism, and waking sexually excited from sleep (without experiencing orgasm) were the most important predictors of nocturnal orgasm experience”

So having sexy dreams that result in orgasm doesn’t mean you’re unhappy with your sex life, or that you’re not getting enough sex.

It could just be the result of your sexually liberal brain in REM sleep!

Either way, it’s a very common phenomenon. (And not to worry if you DON’T have sleep-gasms – they aren’t the rainbow unicorn of sex.)

Happy dreaming.

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