Q: I've always considered myself a straight male as I've only had sex with women. But last week I had a very vivid dream where I was making out and eventually had sex with one of my male housemates. Ever since that dream I've have felt kind of awkward being around my housemate. Do dreams tell us something about our sexuality? I feel kind of confused why I would have such a dream.
A: A dream really is just a dream. Dreams occur because we're mentally rehearsing information we've processed that day. So, it's common for us to dream about people, places and things that are familiar to us (such as a roommate). It's also very common to have sexual dreams. When we sleep, our blood vessels dilate to allow nutrients to travel throughout our body more easily, which helps to repair our tissues and organs. This increased blood flow often has the side effect of causing sexual arousal (i.e., an erection). This heightened arousal can easily transfer into our dreams and cause them to become sexual. It's not uncommon for people to dream about having sex with people of the same gender, family members, animals and even inanimate objects. This doesn't mean that a person internally wants to have sex with these things. It's just that they were dreaming about something they had encountered that day and then had a spike in sexual arousal which caused them to begin having sex in their dream.
Despite psychologists' early fascination with dreams, such as with Freud and Carl Jung, most modern psychologists don't put a lot of weight into dreams or their interpretations. Scientists have found that dream content, by and large, is fairly random and that actions in dreams have little to no relation with one's internal drives or personality.
Answers provided by Dr. Ross Avilla
Dr. Ross Avilla has been teaching Human Sexuality since 2013 and has a PhD in psychology from UC Davis. Dr. Avilla is not a clinician and all information and advice offered on this website is for educational purposes only.