Dream studies around the world indicate that virtually everyone dreams about performing sexual acts. This fact shocks those who believe sexual expression is immoral. It may disturb those who fear that erotic dream images indicate that they are dissatisfied with the sexual experiences they have in the waking world, and are lusting after a new, often inappropriate, partner.
However, in most cases, dreams are not to be taken literally. The language of the subconscious is that of imagery, puns, and free association. Some symbols are universal; others are peculiar to the culture and experiences of the individual. Each of us has a private language that only we can interpret accurately. Books and experienced therapists can give us clues, but we are the ones who must follow the trail of breadcrumbs to the moment of understanding.
When Freud began his work in dream interpretation, sexuality was repressed. Even in the unbounded playground of dreams, people would avoid direct expression of sexuality. Dreams about purses and pencils were interpreted as having sexual meaning, and often that interpretation was accurate.
In our modern society, sex is omnipresent ad nauseam. Sexual repression is less common. In modern erotic dreams, sexual intercourse is more likely to be a metaphor for a longing for creativity and connection. The physical union of two bodies breaks through interpersonal boundaries and engenders new life.
The connection between sex and spirituality is ancient and universal. The dreamer who participates in sexual acts mayl be looking for deeper meaning in life, searching for God, or pondering the hazards of creative risk-taking.
The first step to decoding a dream is to write it down as soon as possible after it occurs, with as much detail as possible. Then, try to uncover the meaning of each element by free associating. What do you think and feel? What are you reminded of?
It may help to jot down your impressions, and come back later. If you try to extract an interpretation in the early stages, it will probably be wrong. Remember: your dream is leading you into hidden places where your conscious mind is unable or unwilling to go. If you are unable to decode the message, you will continue to have dreams on the same theme, or the same dream will recur. The cessation of a recurring dream is a positive signal that the issue has been understood by the conscious mind.
Your partner in the dream often represents a concept or concern. If the partner is much younger, perhaps you are feeling anxious about getting older, and would like to re-connect with youth. If the partner has no face, this may represent your feeling that you don't really know someone who is important to you. A big, powerful partner may indicate a need to be less vulnerable. A same-gender partner may indicate a desire to understand your own sexual identity. If you dream of having sex with the members of a symphony orchestra or rock band, you may be wishing that you could get into the music business.
Are there any other people in the dream? If so, what is their attitude towards you and what you are doing? What might they represent? They could be parts of yourself. If your judgmental Aunt Matilda is there waving her finger and scolding you for your behavior, perhaps she represents the negative public opinion you fear if you dare to express your true self.
Where does the dream occur? Are you on a beach, in a mall, in a lovely bedroom, on top of a mountain, in the kitchen? Are there any sounds or smells? Are you and your partner completely naked, or wearing articles of clothing? What other objects can you remember in the dream? Some, like mother's apron, have obvious significance. Others will require some detective work. If you speak more than one language, you may discover some multilingual puns.
If your pondering does not lead to an "aha!" moment of illumination, try to go back into the dream while you are awake, and let it unfold in your imagination. Perhaps it will continue past your waking point, and give you a new insight. If not, try asking the characters and objects questions. "Why are you here?" "Who are you?" "What do you have to show me?"
Erotic dreams address both relationship and the potential for new life. The treasures of insight that they offer are well worth digging for.