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Wet Dreams

What Are Wet Dreams?

A wet dream is when you ejaculate while you're asleep. “Ejaculate” means to release semen (the fluid that contains sperm) from your penis. You have to have gone through puberty and your testes need to be able to produce sperm to have a wet dream.

Usually, a wet dream happens while you're having a dream about sex, but not always. You may not even remember the dream.

Doctors call wet dreams "nocturnal emissions." Nocturnal means "at night." Emission is another way to say release. They’re also sometimes called “sleep orgasms.”

You don't have to masturbate to have a wet dream. You can ejaculate without touching your penis.

Adults and teen girls can have wet dreams, too. Although girls can't ejaculate, they can have an orgasm during a dream. Girls don't have such dreams as often as boys, though.

Causes of Wet Dreams

When males go through puberty, their body starts producing the hormone testosterone. Once your body makes testosterone, it can release sperm. This means you'll be able to fertilize an egg if you decide to have a baby in the future. It also means you can get a girl pregnant if you have sex.

During puberty, you'll start having erections at different times of the day -- in school, while you watch TV, in the shower. You can even have an erection while you sleep. Semen can build up inside your body. One way that semen gets released is with a wet dream.

Wet Dream Frequency

Wet dreams are a normal part of growing up, but not every teenage boy has them. Whether you have a lot of them or you don't have any, it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you.

Some guys have wet dreams a few times a week. Others may only have a couple of wet dreams during their entire life. (Some research shows that you might be more likely to have sexual dreams if you sleep on your stomach.)

What to Do if You Have a Wet Dream

When you wake up, clean yourself. Wash your penis and testicles with soap and water, including the area underneath your foreskin if you aren't circumcised.

If you feel guilty or uncomfortable about having wet dreams -- or about a certain wet dream that you had -- talk to someone. Sit down with a doctor, parent, counselor, or another adult you trust.

Wet Dream Prevention

There's nothing you can do to control or stop wet dreams, but once you start releasing sperm by masturbating or having sex with a partner, you may have fewer of them.

You also might have fewer of them if you don’t sleep on your stomach.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on July 09, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Center for Young Women’s Health:  “Can Girls Have Wet Dreams?”

American Psychological Association: “The Effect of Sleep Position on Dream Experiences.”

Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center: “You Asked It: What Are Wet Dreams?”

Nemours Foundation: "Boys and Puberty."

MassGeneral Hospital for Children: "Erections and Wet Dreams."

Madaras, L. The "What's Happening to My Body?" Book for Boys, Newmarket Press, 2007.

Basso, Michael J. The Underground Guide to Teenage Sexuality, Fairview Press, 2003.

Columbia University: "Still having wet dreams?"

AVERT: "Puberty and Boys."

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