Wet Dreams In Teenagers: Are They Normal?

Can Teen Girls And Boys Have Wet Dreams?

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Ask any parent and you will get the same answer – adolescence is the ‘problem age’. This is the time of the life when teens ponder about their present and future, and these thoughts are convoluted and chaotic. Teenage years are also the time when teens start realizing their sexuality and sexual identity. With the onset of puberty, teens experience several physiological and psychological changes, including hormonal changes, attaining sexual maturity, and development of secondary sexual characteristics. Hormonal changes have different effects on boys and girls.

Puberty-Related Changes In Teens:

Girls start developing breasts and by the time they are about 15 years, most start menstruating. Also, girls will notice their hips getting broader and growing of hair under their arms and pubic region. In boys, the clear sign of puberty is the change in their voice and growth of facial and pubic hair.

Around this time, girls and boys also start experiencing sexual urges. If you are a teenager and have begun developing sexual feelings towards members of the opposite sex, do not feel embarrassed. It is a natural feeling, and part and parcel of your overall growth.

Also, you may find a sticky spot in your underpants when you wake up in the morning. No, you haven’t had a bedwetting episode. This is what is called a wet dream.

[ Read: Physical Changes During Puberty ]

What Is A Wet Dream?

A wet dream is another term for nocturnal ejaculation [1]. Ejaculation means the release of semen in boys. Your penis ejects out semen on stimulation, but sometimes, during wet dreams, this happens without any physical stimulation. The stimulation here is psychological because usually wet dreams happen when you dream about sex.

Before you get all excited, be aware that you may not even remember your dream when you wake up, but your ejaculation is proof that there was some sexual stimulation that resulted in the wet dream. In fact, the first time you have a wet dream, you may get upset and worried, believing there is something wrong with you. It is a normal process, and the frequency of your wet dreams will reduce when you become sexually active or masturbate.

What Causes Wet Dreams In Teenagers?

Teenage years are a very crucial stage in your life. Of course, it is a rollercoaster ride of raging and fluctuating emotions and physiological changes. Nonetheless, puberty is the most significant change that teenagers experience.

In boys, puberty is the time when your body starts producing male sex hormone testosterone. When your body starts making this hormone, it is an indication that you are now capable of releasing sperms and impregnating a woman. This implies that unprotected sex with a girl your age or older could result in pregnancy.

When you reach puberty, you will experience erections at odd times. You may be in school, taking a shower or watching TV, minimal stimulation or thought about sex can cause an erection. This erection can happen even when you sleep and dream about anything sexual.

Semen builds up in your body and the only way for you to release it is through erection and subsequent ejaculation. A wet dream happens when there is semen build-up in your body, and it has found a release route.

Are Frequent Wet Dreams An Indication Of Any Abnormality?

First of all, wet dreams are not always in your control. The fact that you will not even remember your dream most of the times is proof that you cannot control or stop your wet dreams. They are a healthy aspect of growing up. Wet dreams are frequent in your growing years when you are not sexually active. As mentioned earlier, as you start masturbating or having sex, the frequency of your wet dreams will decrease.

If you have wet dreams too frequently, or you have them very rarely, it is not a matter of concern. Some boys experience wet dreams a couple of times a week, and some may have a wet dream just a couple of occasions in their adolescence. Both are normal, and there is nothing abnormal or wrong. So you can cast aside your doubts if you think frequent wet dreams are a sign of some abnormality.

Do Girls Have Wet Dreams?

As parents, we usually associate wet dreams with our teenage boys. Since males ejaculate, we automatically assume it is “boy” thing, without realizing that even girls can have wet dreams. Of course, your princess does not ejaculate, but when she experiences a wet dream, other bodily reactions occur.

Many teenage girls may not even realize that they experience an orgasm in their sleep while others may get up from deep sleep to find they are sexually aroused or have had an orgasm.

So if you are a teenage girl and get wet dreams, don’t feel ashamed of it. It is not solely the domain of boys, and there is nothing wrong with you. Remember you are in puberty and your body is undergoing several changes. Some of these changes will trigger your sexual urges, and if you wake up in the night to find your vagina wet and lubricated, it is because of a wet dream or “sleep-gasm”.

[ Read: Puberty In Girls ]

Do Boys Have Wet Dreams?

Parents and teenage boys should realize a wet dream is a natural phenomenon, but it shouldn’t be the basis for evaluating the physical and sexual health of a boy. There is nothing sinful or bad about having wet dreams. In fact, there are several myths surrounding wet dreams in boys.

Some people believe boys who have too many wet dreams may not perform well when having sex, whereas others claim boys who don’t have wet dreams have not matured physically. These are just myths with no factual basis to them. Also, don’t get taken in by the so-called methods to prevent wet dreams. Till date, there is no proven strategy to do so [2].

Yes, it is a nuisance and embarrassing to change sheets or wash your undergarments without your parents noticing it, but you are going through a normal stage of development, and your parents (hopefully) will understand this.

[ Read: Puberty In Boys ]

What Should You Do If You Have Had A Wet Dream?

Also, there isn’t much you can do to control the occurrence of wet dreams. Hence, the first thing that you should do is get rid of the embarrassment. Teenage boys and girls either have or are most likely to experience wet dreams some time or the other.

1. Personal Hygiene:

After having a wet dream, when you wake up clean your genitals well. Ejaculation is the release of semen, and like any other body discharge, you need to wash it off. If you are not circumcised, do clean the area under the foreskin while you clean your penis.

Girls don’t ejaculate, but they may have slight discharge when they have an orgasm or a wet dream. Hence, they should also clean their genitalia well. Letting the discharge remain is an invitation to infections.

[ Read: Common Hygiene Tips For Teens ]

2. Forget About Prevention:

Some people may give you a few recommendations on how to prevent wet dreams, but there is no proven strategy for this. There may be times when you feel guilty of experiencing a wet dream. You may have fantasized about a relative of opposite or same gender when you had the wet dream, or you may have fantasized about your teacher. This may make you feel a little uncomfortable and guilty.

You can sit down with an adult you trust to discuss your apprehensions and concerns. A counselor, doctor or your parent may help you here. It is important that you speak out and don’t blame yourself because you have nothing to feel guilty about having wet dreams.

Myths Associated With Wet Dreams:

As we don’t speak about wet dreams openly, it allows you (and your parents) to believe many myths floating around. People have different opinions about wet dreams, and this might overwhelm young minds. Debunking these myths is important, so that adolescents who have nocturnal emissions do not feel ashamed of their body’s reaction.

Myth 1: Wet Dreams Are A Result Of Dirty Thoughts:

Wet dreams have nothing to do with what you think. They can occur without any stimulation and because you experience them in your deep sleep, you have no control over what you dream or think. Also, wet dreams have nothing to do with what you watch, read or talk about when you are awake. So yes, you may talk about sex or read a graphic novel, or you may not do any of it and still have wet dreams.

Myth 2: Wet Dreams Make You A Pervert:

Wet dreams don’t make you a pervert. They don’t mean that you are going astray, or you are not taking your puberty in the right spirit. Many people drill such thoughts into teenagers, and when such teens experience wet dreams, they may start feeling ashamed and guilty. Parents need to discuss this phenomenon openly and reassure the teens that there is nothing he can do to prevent it. The process is part and parcel of growing up [3]. If they feel guilty, it could undermine their self-confidence and even cause them to become reclusive and shun social life. This, in turn, can result in depression, which will require medical intervention.

Myth 3: Wet Dreams Can Be Cured With Home Remedies:

Some people may come up with weird home remedies to treat wet dreams. Remember a wet dream does not indicate anything abnormal that needs treatment. Secondly, if you want to cure wet dreams, you cannot do that by any means except through masturbation. Only when you masturbate, the semen that is built up in your body gets released. Otherwise, you cannot release the semen or stop its accumulation. Don’t get taken up by claims that refraining from watching TV or drinking milk will prevent you from getting wet dreams.

Myth 4: Wet Dreams Have Implications In Future:

Some parents and elders may exert pressure on their teenagers thinking that frequent wet dreams make boys less competent in their studies, or they negatively impact a man’s ability to procreate. Such false claims pressurize teens and can be debilitating for their growing minds.

Facts And Information About Wet Dreams:

Now that you know what a wet dream is, you can tackle the situation in a more matured manner rather than feeling guilty and ashamed. You should also realize wet dreams give you a heightened sense of pleasure and yes, confuse you to a certain extent.

Here are some basic facts about wet dreams, summarizing the above details so that you have a quick checklist with you.

  • Wet dreams are also known as nocturnal emissions. For many young boys, a wet dream may be the first time they experience ejaculation, and this may confuse and bewilder them a little.
  • Just like your voice changes and you start growing a beard, wet dreams happen too. Also, wet dreams do not have any adverse effect on your general or reproductive health.
  • The older you get, the fewer will be your wet dreams. This happens because as you grow up, you may find other ways to release the semen that builds up in your body. You may masturbate or even have sexual relations that cause the semen level to deplete in your body, and hence, your wet dreams reduce. Even if you don’t, you may have better control over your sexual urges, and this will help in reducing the frequency of your wet dreams.
  • There is a general belief that just teenagers experience wet dreams. On the contrary, older men and women also have them.
  • Wet dreams could sometimes be a way of de-stressing by your body. So, these could happen when are feeling pressurized during exams, competition, etc.
  • Wet dreams do not represent your sexual preferences even if you dream of a person belonging to the same gender.
  • They do not occur due to any drugs.

Talk To A Grownup About Wet Dreams:

One of the primary concerns about wet dreams is the confusion you may experience. You may not understand what is happening to you and this, in turn, may result in you feeling dirty or guilty. As mentioned several times, wet dreams are part of growing up and developing healthily. If you have doubts, you should speak to your parents about it. Air your doubts and queries to get the answers you seek. If you are too embarrassed to talk to your parents, you can also consult your doctor or school counselor.

As parents, we shouldn’t shy away from addressing wet dreams. It is important you impart correct information to your teenage son or daughter so that their impressionable minds do not absorb fallacies.

Sex Education To Help Teens Understand Wet Dreams:

It is never comfortable for parents to speak about sex to their kids. However, sex education is essential if parents want their children to have a healthy outlook towards sex and related experiences. While schools do provide sex education, it is important kids get access to unbiased information. Parents can pitch in and ensure the knowledge and information they impart clear up doubts and allay worries and confusion.

It will help a lot if parents talk about sex and matters related to sexuality. This will give the teenagers confidence that they are not experiencing something abnormal that they should be fearful of. It is important to understand that you may be able to satisfy a younger child with a vague response but not a teenager. Avoiding questions that your teen poses to you will fill them with guilt and embarrassment, and they will end up with factually incorrect information and beliefs that can harm their sexuality and outlook towards sex.

Make time to sit with your teenage son and explain about erection, ejaculation and the birds and bees. You should also prepare your son about nocturnal emissions so that when it happens, he doesn’t feel guilty or embarrassed. Remember, if you don’t talk to him, your teen will gather misleading information from his peers. This also is the right time to speak about masturbation and how it is normal for boys to do it in private [4]. In fact, you can inform your son that masturbation is a good way to control the frequency of nocturnal emissions.

[ Read: Sex Education For Teenagers ]

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Do girls get wet dreams?

There is no need to be surprised. Girls too can have wet dreams, though there is more research on boys. Thankfully, one research in 1986 on university students found that 37% of the female participants had nocturnal orgasms, the female version of a wet dream [5].

Researchers say when girls fall into rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, blood flow to the genitals increases periodically. This is similar to what happens when you get aroused. If the blood flow reaches a zenith, it will cause secretions in the vagina.

2. What does it mean when a girl is wet?

When a girl gets wet, it means that her body has prepared to have sex. A girl’s vagina turns wet when her body releases fluids to lubricate the region, and make intercourse easier.

3. How do girls get wet?

Girls get wet when they are sexually aroused. During teenage, sexual arousal in a girl can happen even by a mere thought of kissing someone, or feeling of her private parts.

4. Why do girls get wet dreams?

Girls get wet dreams for the same reasons as boys. Wet dreams are a result of sexual arousal, but girls can have orgasms only when they wake up during a wet dream. If not, such occurrences go unnoticed.

5. What happens when a girl gets wet?

When a girl gets wet her nipples turn hard, and her vagina begins lubricating. These indicate a sexual urge in the teenager.

6. How often do girls get wet dreams?

It is difficult to identify wet dreams in girls as their private parts are located inside, unlike boys. It is more prominent in boys than in girls, because their penis erects, and this is visible. According to the Journal of Sex Research, 85% of women had sleep-gasms by the age of 21.

7. Do All Boys Have Wet Dreams?

Wet dreams are extremely common among boys during puberty. However, it is also a fact that some boys go through puberty without experiencing any wet dream. Both ends of the spectrum are normal.
If you don’t get a wet dream, it is normal too. All teenage boys don’t have wet dreams.

8. When Do Boys Start Having Wet Dreams?

Healthcare practitioners state boys start getting wet dreams 24 months after they get pubic hair. So, as you become physically mature and once you are aware of your sexuality, you will start getting nocturnal emissions.

With boys, sexual arousal happens very quickly when their penis is physically stimulated. This is when they masturbate. But in the initial age of puberty, sexual arousal may also occur without any masturbation or physical stimulation of the penis. A mere thought of anything remotely sexual can also arouse teenage boys.

During dreams, young boys can have vivid dreams about anything that has to do with their sexuality. They may imagine having sex or even kissing someone passionately and this could cause the wet dream.

However, wet dreams do not always mean sexual dream. In fact, more often than not, it is a bodily reaction to the increased blood flow to the penis. The reason for wet dreams in boys is similar to why girls experience sleep-gasms.

9. Why Do Boys Get Wet Dreams?

Wet dreams usually occur during the REM phase of their sleep, when more blood circulates in the genital region. This causes the penis to engorge and then there is a need to release the tension from the erected penis. This happens in the form of ejaculation.

A boy can also get wet dreams if he has a sexually arousing dream during this phase. He is very likely to have an erection followed by ejaculation. Most of the times, you may not remember your dream exactly. There might also be times when you wake up right before ejaculation as you may feel that you are about to wet your bed.

Never treat wet dreams in teens with negativity. People should understand these experiences are a part of healthy growth, and they help teenagers understand their sexuality better. When parents and other adults treat teen wet dreams as a normal, healthy occurrence, it allows teenagers to deal with their experiences positively, without feeling ashamed about their ‘private’ experiences.

How did you react to your teenager’s wet dreams? Did you pretend not to notice it or were you proactive and educated them?

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