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Sexual dreams are not about sex exclusively. Often they are about how we perceive people and how we think others perceive us. To construct a framework for interpreting sexual dreams, it is important to identify who is with us in the dream and how we feel about the experiences being had while dreaming.

Certain dreams are simply romantic. Boy and girl meet in the dream state and find themselves enjoying one another. This scenario commonly involves an attractive acquaintance and a generally pleasing environment. There is no violation of taboo, except for a sense that perhaps things are moving a little fast in the nocturnal relationship. Often, the dreamer has simply acted upon a desire for a relationship with a particular person.

Other dreams begin to press on the boundaries of our taboos. These include dreams with sexual content the dreamer would consider inappropriate in waking, but participates in during the dream. These dreams can be very troubling. One can wake up feeling as though a rape was committed, a fidelity violated, or that innocence has been stripped away. Dreams of this nature may require some more thorough examination.

Identifying the "who" or "what" that has generated discomfort is an important first step. Was it a boss, coworker, friend? Someone much older or younger than you with whom you have an affectionate, but platonic relationship? Or was it the nature of the encounter-coerced, cheating, public, or whatever-that is the most distinct feature of the dream? Who was forcing whom? Was it a stranger who reminded you of someone you know? Representation and displacement relationships are often components of sexual dreaming.

Some of these dreams indicate our own ambivalence about taboos. There is, after all, something exciting about what is forbidden. In other cases, we are expressing our own frustration with a sex life that is not satisfying. Still other times, others have violated our boundaries and we respond by perceiving them as taking unmerited favors from us.

In all of these cases, the dreams are worth noting and studying. By looking into what you may find abhorrent at first, you will see aspects of your personality and the relationships around you that have gone mostly unnoticed. Perhaps most importantly, you will become more aware of the various facets of your personality in those relationships.

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