Ever wake up in the morning wondering how things got so steamy while you were asleep?
“Just because you’re not awake doesn’t mean your libido is taking a rest,” says Susan Block, Ph.D., a Los Angeles-based sexologist and founder of the Dr. Susan Block Institute for the Erotic Arts and Sciences.
Dreams help your subconscious unpack everything that’s affecting your life, Block says, and not all sex fantasies are literal. “Instead, they could symbolize problems, desires, and hopes in all facets of your life.”
Here’s what you can learn from seven common sex dreams.
1. Having Sex With an Acquaintance
This doesn’t mean you have any desire to cheat on your wife with the cute neighbor next door or the barista who makes your coffee every morning.
It just means you may admire that person and wish you possessed some of their qualities, says Lauri Loewenberg, author of Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life.
“Sex is the ultimate act of union between two individuals,” she says, “so when you’re having sex with someone in your dreams, it may mean that you want what they have.”
2. Getting It On With Your Boss
This dream means you want to get closer with your boss—but not in the “meet me by the supply closet in 5 minutes” way. Because sex is so intimate, it could mean you’re feeling especially distant from your boss’s ideas or management style, and may need to figure out a way to get closer.
3. Trying to Find a Private Space With Your Partner
If you dream about struggling to find a place to have sex, it could represent a lack of connection between you and your partner in your day-to-day life.
Take a look at your calendar: Are you being busy instead of getting busy most days? It may be time to schedule a date night says Loewenberg.
4. Having Sex In Public
You might have this dream if a friend or family member makes a critical comment about your partner. Being exposed in front of others can loop back to your feelings about how other people judge your life and love decisions.
You’re completely free, unencumbered, and totally giving into physical sensation. Sound familiar?
“Flying in a dream is closely connected to orgasm,” says Block. Taking to the skies could mean you’re frustrated about the current state of your own sex life, or it could simply be your mind playing its’ subconscious highlight reel.
6. Hooking Up With a Celebrity
Hey, you and Margot Robbie can be single in your subconscious, but as good as the dream sex may have been, it’s not really about her.
Instead, dreams about having sex with a celebrity may indicate that you seek the spotlight in your own life. If you think that’s the case, volunteer to spearhead a project at work, give a toast at a big family gathering, or take an improv class.
7. Dreaming About an Ex
If your ex only sporadically pops up in your dreams, this may simply be your brain sifting through its mental hard drive. Maybe her birthday is coming up, or you saw a post from her in your Facebook feed—but it doesn’t mean you subconsciously want to get back together with her.
However, if you’re dreaming about her a lot, or you’re pretty sure those dreams sparked from your deep-dive Google search of her name, it could be a sign there are issues in your current relationship that need addressing.
The article What Your Sex Dreams Really Mean was originally published by our partners at Prevention.com.