The alarm clock sounds - time to wake up.
Your son or daughter slowly opens his or her
eyes, and tries to figure out which pair of
jeans to wear to school today. But wait,
what's that? The bed sheets feel wet and
sticky. The reality sets in.
For many young people, this scenario is all
too real starting in puberty when hormones
play a major factor in their healthy
development. Although most guys (and some
girls) will at some point experience having a
nocturnal emission - or wet dream - many find
the aftermath embarrassing. But having a wet
dream is nothing to be ashamed of - in fact,
it's totally natural and normal! Read on to
learn more about the physiology behind
nocturnal emissions and some tips on talking
with your adolescent about this common
What's a Wet Dream?
A wet dream is an erotic dream that is so
intense that a male ejaculates in his sleep.
Nocturnal emission is one of the ways the
body gets rid of semen build up. Very often
guys don't remember
the dream. If they don't know what's going
on, they may think they've "wet the bed." As
your child experiences puberty, it's useful
to explain the effect that hormones can have
on their development and prepare them so that
they aren't caught unaware.
Although wet dreams are most common among
teenage guys, many men also have nocturnal
emissions as adults. Some men never have wet
dreams, but most do. Dreams or no dreams -
both are normal. Women and girls have wet
dreams, too. Their vaginas become lubricated
as they become sexually aroused in their
dreams. But there is less evidence of wet
dreams in women than in men because less
liquid is produced or spilled on the bed
sheets. Wet dreams are also more common in
men, because a man's penis gets more tactile
stimulation (physical touch) during sleep
than a woman's clitoris.
What's Going On and How to Explain It
So, what happens from the time someone closes
eyes to the time of a nocturnal emission?
Here's how it works:
Puberty can begin on average at approximately
age 11 for girls and approximately age 12 for
boys. Use a matter-of-fact and relaxed tone
while explaining facts about their anatomy,
hormones and puberty. Parents can help
reassure and prepare their adolescent by
explaining that wet dreams are a normal part
of their sexuality and are nothing to be
embarrassed about. You might want to start a
conversation with something like this - "I've
noticed that your body is beginning to
change, you're really starting to grow up!
You're starting to go through something
called puberty which is a normal
developmental stage of life at your age.
During puberty, a lot of changes happen to
young people's bodies, emotions, hormones,
attractions to other people and ability to
think about things in a more mature way. One
of the normal changes that might happen to
you is something called nocturnal emissions
and I want to give you some information about
it so you won't be surprised if it happens to
you." Then, proceed to give your child some
of the information explained here.
- During sleep, from time to time, our
bodies enter periods called REM, or rapid eye
movement, which last from a few minutes to a
- During these sleep periods, males can
experience several erections, and females can
experience vaginal lubrication.
- If a dream during REM sleep is very
arousing, the sensation of an erect penis
pressed against a mattress can lead to
ejaculation in guys. Girls can also get
aroused to the point where they produce some
liquid from their vaginas.
It's important to stay calm when evidence of
a nocturnal emission is found on the sheets
or if your son or daughter asks you a
question about it. Remind them that most
teenagers have them and a lot of adults have
them too. In fact, many people believe that
nocturnal emissions actually help to relieve
stress. Remember - it's a natural part of life!