Do Women Have Wet Dreams Too?

Do Women Have Wet Dreams Too?

Examining the mystery of nocturnal orgasms for people who don’t have a penis.

Orgasms for people with a vagina might not be as hard as we make them seem. In fact, it’s almost so easy, I do it in my sleep. Literally.

One day in high school, I was with my sister and two of my cousins and we happened to get on the subject of orgasms. I looked at them in all seriousness and asked if they had ever had an orgasm during their sleep. They looked at me with completely blank facial expressions, as though I had just spoken to them in a foreign language.

“You mean like...moaning in your sleep or something?” one of them asked.

“Yeah, how would you even know if you were sleeping?” the others chimed in.

I quickly laughed it off and changed the subject, but my reason for asking hadn’t changed. For quite some time, I had experienced orgasms in my sleep and I wanted to know these experiences were normal.

I was mostly confused because the orgasms weren’t anything over-the-top. I didn’t wake myself up with excessive moaning or screaming, nor was there a rush of fluid left over in my sheets, as I had heard people associate with wet dreams in younger males. I would simply wake up in the midst of sexually charged dreams and immediately feel involuntary, rhythmic contractions tremble throughout my vagina.

It was easy to downplay these sleep orgasms when I was in high school; I would only have them a few times a year. At that point, it didn’t happen often enough for me to question what was going on and why it was happening. Throughout my years in undergrad, however, the nightime pleasure became more recurring, happening at least once a month and even more during periods of a “sex drought.” I finally decided to stop looking toward my peers for answers and see if there was any research on nocturnal orgasms.

What past research shows us:

Though the studies about women’s* orgasms during sleep are limited, there are two studies that tell us most of what we know today about this subject. In 1953, Dr. Alfred Kinsey, the pioneer of sex research, surveyed nearly 6,000 women and 37% of them reported having an orgasm during their sleep at some point in their lives. The women who reported having nocturnal orgasms revealed an average of three to four times per year.

In 1986, a smaller study of 245 female college undergraduates was published in the Journal of Sex. It was discovered that 32% of women by the age of 16 experienced their first nocturnal orgasm with the percentage rising to 88% of women experiencing their first nocturnal orgasm by the age of 18. Further, there was no relationship between one's previous sexual history and their likelihood of orgasm during their sleep.

What a current sexpert tells us:

I had the pleasure of consulting with Dr. Logan Levkoff, an internationally renowned relationship and sexuality expert. I asked her about nocturnal orgasms in women to understand why some women have them, why some don't, and why we focus more on wet dreams with guys as opposed to girls.

Dr. Levkoff told me, “We often don't give assigned females credit for having ‘wet dreams’ because there isn't an obvious byproduct of orgasm, like ejaculate. But there is no doubt that women can experience arousal and orgasm while sleeping.” This explains my confusion on whether or not the orgasms I had been having in my sleep were legitimate considering that there wasn’t a big mess in my sheets as we see with young boys.

“The brain is what allows someone to be fully aroused during sleep. Because you are not insecure or feeling vulnerable or distracted or stressed, your body can fully commit to pleasure, which includes increased genital blood flow and total relaxation,” Levkoff continued. “If you are having an exciting or sexual dream, this can create the perfect orgasm environment.”

And she’s completely right. I can’t remember a time when I orgasmed during my sleep that I didn’t feel completely relaxed right before going to bed. Also, upon waking up, I could always vividly remember my arousing dreams, which makes perfect sense as to why I was still turned on when I woke up.


Dr. Levkoff further explained why some discrepancies may exist between how easily some women climax in their sleep as opposed to their ability to do so during partnered sex. “Relationships are emotional and are impacted by forces beyond pure pleasure,” she told me. It can be easy for our minds to complicate our satisfaction during sexual acts if we aren’t strictly focused on fully being in the moment.
Are you someone who hasn’t orgasmed during their sleep, but wants to give it a try? Levkoff suggested lying on your stomach as the ideal sleep position due to “clitoral stimulation and pressure.” However, this tactic does not guarantee an orgasm depending on how much tossing and turning happens during one’s sleep.

So, what can be learned from the mystery of sleep orgasms? “Everyone must remember that bodies like (and need) pleasure and no matter what your sex or gender, your body (and your mind) will find a way to get it,” Levkoff concluded. If there is something that causes our bodies to miss the mark during sexual satisfaction, our minds will likely be there to fill that gap.


* Note: Not all people with a vagina identify as women nor do all people who identify as women have a vagina. Most existing research references the binary and thus reports the findings as “women” and “men.” Confused? See our Guide to Gender to learn more.

Header image illustrated by Leonor Carvalho

Tatyannah graduated from UNC-Greensboro in 2018. She is now a sex blogger, travel enthusiast and educational presenter with the Center for Positive Sexuality. To stay up to date with her future workshops and presentations about sexuality, follow her on Instagram @taty_kaloni_k.