What are nocturnal emissions?

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 the young teen years. Almost every man at one time will experience a nocturnal emission, which are often called wet dreams, and are considered a normal part of sexual development. Ejaculation during sleep is 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 started.

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

Ejaculation during sleep is often linked to erotic dreams, but like the frequency of masturbation, 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 sleeping completely is just as common. Others may not even get an erection during a nocturnal emission. It just varies from person to person.

While nocturnal emissions are generally considered strictly a male phenomenon, women can experience them too. Just like men, women can have erotic dreams, and they can sometimes lead to orgasms. Unlike men, the evidence for 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 genitalia are generally less susceptible to touch and stimulation while sleeping than male genitalia.

Most doctors and child psychologists will say that a parent should not scold a child for experiencing a nocturnal emission, as they have no control over them. If a child asks about nocturnal emissions, doctors generally recommend that parents explain that they are a normal part of growing up. A young adult entering puberty is often aware of the changes her body is undergoing. They should be reassured that what they are experiencing is not unusual and that others their age are likely to have nocturnal emissions as well.

Go up