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Having a wet dream but not knowing what it is can add awkwardness and trauma to an otherwise pleasurable experience. We made this video to give a brief and thorough description of the experience to answer what's happening and what to do about it. Hopefully as we all learn more about sexuality and life there will be less shame and anxiety about our bodies and their pleasure. We'll appreciate wet dreams rather than hiding from them.


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There’s a wet spot on the sheet?

Why? What happened? [WHIP CRACKING, COUGH].

You may have never experienced a wet dream, but most people will at some point during their lives. Some people experience them multiple times a week. They’re common during puberty when hormones in the body are surging, but they can happen at all life stages.

Basically the body experiences some combination of four things while sleeping. 1. Stimulation 2. Dreaming 3.

Orgasm, and 4. Ejaculation Stimulation. If the sheets are soft or bunched up in just the right way, the sensation can turn on your body.

Maybe you have a full bladder, and that’s stimulating. Maybe you unconsciously hump the bed, or squeeze your thighs together, or masturbate with your hand while you sleep. These movements can certainly contribute to having an erection or becoming more lubricated.

That’s stimulation. In the 1800's, doctors and other public figures believed that masturbation would lead sickness, insanity, and death and that wet dreams were a contributing factor of this or an early symptom. As a result, society panicked and inventors responded with all sorts of contraptions designed to protect children and adults from potentially fatal maladies - masturbation and wet dreams: spiked cuffs to wear around the penis, no touchy bondage suits, metal chastity belts, and waistband alarms that could detect an erection and ring a bell so you WAKE UP.

Thank goodness we now know stimulation doesn't lead to sickness or death... Dreaming. It’s not mandatory, but dreaming usually accompanies a wet dream.

They might be non-sexual, they might be sexual about things you wouldn’t consciously like. Most often though, they’re sexy storylines that entertain the mind while the body acts them out: playing with current or past partners, sex with celebrities, being asked for intimacy, anything that’s sexually exciting, kissing, masturbation, breasts.… You might not remember the dreams, but you’re probably having five to eight while you sleep, and according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 8% are sexual and 4% of those are orgasmic. Orgasm.

The next part of a wet dream is the orgasm or climax. Even if there isn’t stimulation or an exciting scenario playing out in your head, you may experience something while sleeping that feels like this:. Like shuttering, clenching, fainting, exploding all at once.

As odd as it may look, orgasm is considered one of the best feelings in the world. And for some people, having wet dreams is the only time they orgasm. Ejaculation.

Ejaculation is when the body expels or squirts out liquid -- the ‘wet’ part of the dream -- the moisture in your crotch -- the spot on the sheet. Clinically it’s a nocturnal emission -- night discharge (even though you can get them if you sleep in the daytime). The fluid - semen, vaginal lubrication, or vaginal ejaculation - usually leaves a pretty small spot that’s easy to clean up with cold water and a towel.

No big deal and certainly not a reason to throw away bedding, pajamas, or underwear. You don’t need to feel ashamed of your body, its functions, and its fluid. Own that dream.

Get up in those sheets and make a proud mess of them. It’s all very human. Stay curious.

And please support us on Patreon.com/sexplanations. Most of the human sexuality textbooks I referenced for this episode had nothing on wet dreams or nocturnal emissions. In other resources I read, “this is a boy thing” or “women don’t ejaculate.” Sexplanations is important to me because it fills in the knowledge we lack and corrects the misinformation we’ve been taught.

Sexplanations is a Complexly production, and if you'd like to learn more about the science of dreams or anatomy and physiology in general, check out our sibling channels SciShow and Crash Course. Anything that’s sexually exciting, kissing, masturbation, boobies... [LAUGHS].