What Causes Orgasms In Sleep And Are They Bad?

sleeping orgasmAre you one of the lucky women who has woken up with a smile on their faces from… an orgasm? Rest assured that you’re not alone, and having an orgasm in your sleep is pretty normal. Read on to learn more about this phenomenon.

We’re pretty familiar with a man’s orgasm during sleep. It’s called a wet dream and is especially common during puberty when a boy’s body is overflowing with hormones.  A boy often experiences his first orgasm as a wet dream and wakes up confused. It takes a lot more work for many women to have their first orgasms, however.

Just because women don’t have wet dreams doesn’t mean they’re not capable of having a sleep orgasm. You might be woken up by an orgasm or recognize the sensations you had in your sleep once you’ve awoken. Researchers who have studied women who orgasm in their sleep have noted increased heart rate, heavier breathing, and more brain activity. However, scientists often call this a “nocturnal orgasm” (wet dreams are known as nocturnal emissions [1]).

What Causes Sleep Orgasms

Sometimes, orgasm is a direct result of a sexy dream. You might have dreamed about your boyfriend or the hunk you just met in the bar. If you went to bed extra horny, you might be more likely to have an orgasm as you sleep.

Not craving sex? Learn how to turn yourself on.

But that’s not always the case. Sometimes sleep orgasms are totally spontaneous. There are no steamy dreams to encourage them. Some women who may not be able to climax while they’re awake can experience sleep orgasms. You’ll find women who are questioning themselves on medical forums and other online communities.

They might be able to have an orgasm in their sleep because they’re more physically and mentally relaxed than when they’re awake. The genitals are also known for increased blood flow during REM cycle. This may actually contribute to morning wood and sleep erections for men [2].  Your vagina might produce more lubrication, too.

Did you know that blood flow is necessary for pleasure? Find out more in this post about clitoral erections.

This might leave you wondering whether an orgasm in sleep is something to be worried about. The answer is probably “No.” Enjoy it if you can, and hopefully, it doesn’t reduce the quality of your sleep too much (we’ll touch on that later).

When Orgasms Go Bad

orgasm while sleeping

Usually, an orgasm in sleep is nothing to be worried about. Sometimes people have them, and sometimes they don’t. Women who are sexually satisfied may be more likely to experience an orgasm in sleep, according to one study [3].

According to another study, there may be a positive correlation between feeling anxious and having orgasms while you sleep [4]. Just because you’re an anxious person doesn’t mean you’ll have an orgasm during your sleep, however.

Orgasm during sleep might sound nice, but having an orgasm during sleep can be frustrating if the cause is an unwanted condition.

For example, persistent genital arousal disorder, or PGAD, leaves people in a constantly aroused state that’s distracting. It could lead to uncontrollable orgasms, which are embarrassing to explain to anyone who might be in the room with you.

Another condition that can cause orgasms in your sleep is orgasmic epilepsy. You might be familiar with epilepsy as the condition, which causes people who have it to have seizures. But at least one case has been studied where a woman would have seizures in her sleep, and those seizures were followed by orgasms [5]. These are also known as ictal orgasms and can happen during the waking hours, too [6]. Even brushing teeth can lead to seizing and orgasm [7].

People who have lost limbs can have phantom limb syndrome, where they can still feel the old limb. Something similar can happen to paraplegics. While they may not be able to have an orgasm since their injury (either because the situation doesn’t allow it or because it’s become physically impossible), they can still come during their sleep. One woman who reported orgasm in sleep also experienced involuntary urination and woke up wet [8].

Of course, wetting the bed isn’t pleasant even if you’re having an orgasm. Peeing is a big enough fear that many women don’t want to try to squirt because of the fear that it could be urine. A lined blanket or towel can assuage those fears. But it is possible for unexpected urination or orgasm when your body is totally relaxed as it is during your sleep.

Although having an orgasm during your sleep might mean you were super aroused before you went to bed, you might find yourself less aroused the next day. If you’re having orgasms during sleep that leave you sleep-deprived, you might also have less sexual energy when you’re awake the next day. At least one study shows that when a woman sleeps longer, she’ll be hornier the next day [9].

What If You Want to Have an Orgasm In Your Sleep?

orgasm in sleep

Now that you know orgasms in sleep are possible, you might want to know if you can make it happen. The answer is… maybe. If you’re sexually satisfied, you might be able to. Getting yourself to have steamy, sex dreams might be one way to do it.

We’ve written about how to have sexy dreams before, and you can check out our advice to get yourself to dream about sex.

But if you want the lowdown, it’s all about exposing yourself to sexy thoughts right before bedtime. So listen to a sexy song, read some erotica or watch your favorite sex scene from a movie and see where it takes you. You might even try writing an erotic story yourself to get the mental juices going.

Getting yourself there mentally is a significant factor. If you can think yourself to orgasm, you’ve probably got a leg up. Discover how you can have hands-free orgasms.

Even if you manage to have dreams about sex, you might not have an orgasm. It may help to masturbate just the point of orgasm before falling asleep; although, that’s no guarantee, either. And some people will find it difficult because they would rather come when they’re still awake than maybe have an orgasm during their sleep.

Another method to try might be half waking up and groggily masturbating before drifting off to sleep (you might even try humping a pillow). But if sleep orgasms are due to your body being fully relaxed and going through sleep cycles, you’ll need to let go of control and consciousness to experience an orgasm in sleep.

Unfortunately for some, there’s just no way to make this experience happen. Although, you might have fun trying. It’s okay if you can’t orgasm in your sleep, after all. Your waking hours are ultimately more important for your sex life.

The surprising facts around having an orgasm in your sleep are made only more mysterious by how much we have yet to learn about sleep orgasms. If you experience them — or not — it’s normal, and it’s usually harmless.

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