What are Nocturnal Emissions?

J.L. Drede

Nocturnal emissions are ejaculations and orgasms that occur while a person is sleeping. They can happen to men of all ages, but are most common during the early years of puberty in young adolescence. Nearly all men at one time will experience a nocturnal emission, which are often called wet dreams, and they are considered a normal part of sexual development. Ejaculations during sleep are most common during puberty, between the ages of 12 and 18. For many young adults it is one of the first signs that puberty has begun.

Women can have erotic dreams that lead to orgasms, just as men can have wet dreams.
Women can have erotic dreams that lead to orgasms, just as men can have wet dreams.

Most scientists agree that there is no set trigger that causes a nocturnal emission. While increased masturbation does seem to have an effect on the frequency of wet dreams, the correlation between the two is not absolute. Many young men masturbate frequently and still experience nocturnal emissions, though they usually have fewer occurrences. Conversely, some men rarely have them even if they don't regularly masturbate.

It's common for a person to sleep through nocturnal emissions without waking up.
It's common for a person to sleep through nocturnal emissions without waking up.

Ejaculations during sleep are most often tied to erotic dreams, but just like masturbation frequency, there is no direct link between the two. Some men will have vivid erotic dreams that lead to a spontaneous orgasm, while others will regularly have erotic dreams but never have a nocturnal emission. Some may wake up during their nocturnal emission, but it is just as common to sleep through it entirely. Others may not even achieve an erection during a nocturnal emission. It simply varies from person to person.

Nocturnal emissions are most common in boys during adolescence and the early years of puberty.
Nocturnal emissions are most common in boys during adolescence and the early years of puberty.

While nocturnal emissions are generally thought to be strictly a male phenomenon, women can experience them as well. Just like men, women can have erotic dreams, and they can sometimes lead to orgasms. Unlike men, the evidence of a female orgasm while sleeping is less obvious, and therefore not discussed as much. Also, women tend to have fewer wet dreams than men because their genitals are usually less susceptible to touching and stimulation while sleeping than male genitals can be.

Children entering puberty may experience nocturnal emissions.
Children entering puberty may experience nocturnal emissions.

Most medical doctors and child psychologists will say that a parent should not scold a child for experiencing a nocturnal emission since they have no control over them. If a child asks about nocturnal emissions, doctors usually recommend that the parent explain they are a normal part of growing up. A young adult entering puberty is often self-conscious about the changes their body is going through. They should be reassured that what they are experiencing is not unusual and that others their age are most likely having nocturnal emissions as well.

Nocturnal emissions are most common between the ages of 12 and 18.
Nocturnal emissions are most common between the ages of 12 and 18.

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments

anon1003049

I had my first wet dream about 11, holding it in as long as I could since my parents told me never to masturbate. Then one night, I dreamed of my girlfriend and me naked and I guess I was making noise in my sleep because my stepfather came in just as I began orgasm and pulled me out of bed and woke me up so I was standing there in my underwear hard as a rock and spurting in my pants, and my penis head poked out the top of my underwear and it pumped out. He was yelling about me making noise and I tried to stand still but my body was quivering in orgasm and doing little humps when it stiffened and squirted.

anon996669

I really need the cause of nocturnal emission. I've been experiencing it for a while.

anon263545

All I do is if I feel an erection in the morning, is get up and go to the bathroom and go back to sleep and the erection goes away.

anon149560

After an erotic dream, I was awakened with a powerful orgasm. For the next hour, I had one every one to two minutes and stopped counting after 50. I finally made myself get up and use the bathroom. As good as it felt, I had to get some sleep! What's going on? I am 60 years old and have not been sexually active in over ten years.

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: