What to say about wet dreams

If you’re looking for a way to make your preteen lock themselves in their room while shouting “I’ll NEVER SPEAK TO YOU AGAIN OMG," talk to them about wet dreams.

When young people worry about wet dreams, those worries usually fall into one of three categories:

  1. Is this normal?
  2. Will I go to hell for this?
  3. Will I have to talk to my parents about this?

Wet dreams, otherwise known as nocturnal emissions, are a perfectly normal part of puberty. During the REM stage of sleep, penises commonly become erect. Oftentimes, erotic dreams accompany the erections, and result in the ejaculation of semen, thus the term “wet dream”. Wet dreams are involuntary, unpreventable, and totally normal. When a young person begins experiencing puberty, it is important that they have some confidential time with their doctor to ask questions they don’t feel comfortable asking you. If that isn’t possible, perhaps due to the USA’s stubborn refusal to recognize health care as a human right, then show them where to get good answers to all those, "Am I normal?" questions.

Some cultures and/or religions teach that any ejaculation of semen or sexual climax outside of sexual activity for the purposes of procreation or the bonds of marriage is wrong, or sinful. These beliefs can make masturbation a guilt-ridden, complicated issue, but it is important to understand that wet dreams in and of themselves are involuntary. They are not the same as masturbation, which is the sexual stimulation of one’s own body for pleasure. Masturbation is voluntary, wet dreams are not. Not even the Old Testament God would damn someone for something like that.

A person doesn’t have to have a penis to experience a wet dream. Erotic dreams resulting in orgasm are common for everyone, especially during puberty. People experiencing wet dreams may wake up feeling confused because they can’t remember what they were dreaming about, but they're still experiencing strong physical sensations of arousal and/or climax. Other times, people sleep right through it. Both are normal. Both are things teenagers never, ever, EVER want to discuss with their parents.

So, what is a sex positive parent to do, aside from staying in the waiting room at the doctor's office or pointing out good sources of information? What to say about wet dreams? Have no fear, it is really easy to talk to young people about wet dreams without actually saying anything about wet dreams:

  • Step 1: Get two fitted sheets.
  • Step 2: Announce to the young person, “Hey, you’re growing up and your body is changing, so I brought you some spare sheets to keep in your room,” then hold eye contact for slightly longer than normal and wiggle your eyebrows. (Chuckle a little at the young person’s resulting annoyance).
  • Step 3: Teach the young person how to change their own sheets (because you’ve got better things to do amIright?).
  • Step 4: Teach the young person how to do their own laundry (because you’ve seriously got better things to do, like high-fiving yourself for being awesome).

The result is that the young person can solve their own problems (wet sheets) in private, in a way that teaches independence and self-reliance.

 

Thanks for reading! If you liked this post, check out this one about sexuality. You can find me on Facebook, sometimes on Twitter, and always at sexpositiveparent@gmail.com.

 

 

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