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First Wet Dreams: Do you Remember?

Last year I published a book for girls about their experiences with puberty and getting their periods (The Day Aunt Flo Comes To Visit: An Honest Conversation about Getting Your Period).  In my research, I found that many girls are  nervous as puberty approaches and the majority want more information.  After I completed this study I began to wonder if boys had similar experiences with puberty.  

The hallmark event of male puberty is a noctural emission, or wet dream.  The majority of boys experience a wet dream at some point, although my research has revealed that few remember the event.   There are exceptions – take the one young man who told me that his first wet dream occurred while he was sleeping in the car on a long family trip to Florida.  It’s no surprise he has a clear memory of this event since it was utterly embarassing for him (not only were his older sisters sitting next to him in the car, but he also had to ask his parents to stop so he could clean up).  If you’re a guy, I’m curious about your memories of your first wet dream?  Do you remember?  Were you prepared for the event?  Did you tell anyone?

Some other interesting findings from my research:

– many boys feel unprepared for the changes that will occur during puberty;

– but few are nervous about the inpending changes; 

– boys who reach puberty earlier than their friends feel empowered (interesting to compare this to early-maturing girls who often feel embarrassed and experience a significant dip in self-esteem);

– during puberty the first change most boys experience is an increase in body hair and unwanted erections (both of which caused high levels of embarrassment);

– voice cracking was another common event for boys during  puberty;

– many boys laugh off the unwanted erections and voice cracking – some even calling attention to the erections in middle and high school;

– wet dreams were common and typically the first one occurs around the age of 13;

– most boys believe the first wet dream involves urine, at least initially;

– most boys feel unprepared for their first wet dream, which typically occurs before they expect it to.

Research has found that the majority of family communication about puberty and sexuality occurs between mothers and daughters.  Parents are more likely to talk to their daughters, rather than their sons, about these issues.  Society typically expects boys to figure it out on their own.  In fact, the two most popular sources of information for boys are friends and school. When boys are asked what they would prefer their main source of information to be – they say their parents. 

The bottom line?  Boys need and want to know what’s happening to their bodies (and they’d like to know more about what’s happening in girl’s bodis as well….).  It’s time for us to start giving them the information they need.

    12 Responses to “First Wet Dreams: Do you Remember?”

    Robin Ellwood on July 27,2009 8:41 am

    I had no sexual education/preparation from my parents, and attending a Catholic school, had little or no input there either! I was a late/slow developer so didn’t really notice the changes in my body as they were SO gradual, although I remember having swollen nipples/glands and went to the doctor who was little help. I later came to understand this is pretty normal in a teenage boy.
    A cousin told me about masturbation once on holiday and I tried this at home, but as I couldn’t discuss this with people at school, I felt a bit of a freak and that I must be the only one doing it. It certainly didn’t make me feel any more manly.
    The first wet dream I can actually remember came many years after puberty when I was an adult. I was staying at the house of a particularly religious aunt and awoke to find myself covered in copious amounts of very sticky semen and to make matters worse, the sheets were a deep maroon colour so it was nothing I could really hide!

    Jason on August 1,2009 5:46 am

    Growing up, my parents never gave me “the talk”. But I knew what was going to happen to me from movies, books and health class. So I knew what would happen to me. I knew what a wet dream was, but I really wasn’t ready for how it would feel. I was 12 and one night I had a very intense dream and I woke up just as I was orgasming. And I was very confused cause I never felt anything like that before. I went to the bathroom and changed my clothes.

    Before puberty hit. I think I was like most boys, who wanted it to happen, so you would be older and more grown up. When puberty did hit. I felt a little self conscious when people would point out that my voice was changing or that I was growing a mustache. I was surprised by the fact that I would get erections all the time for no reason. But I wasn’t showing them off. You learn to hide it and most people aren’t really looking. And like other boy, my hormones were raging. And shortly after my first wet dream, I started masturbating on my own, which is a whole other story.

    But I think was prepared for puberty. I think all kids, no matter how much they know will experience some awkwardness and feel embarrassed by it, but I do think the more they know, the better they can deal with it.

    chuck on September 10,2009 9:57 am

    Dr. Carroll –

    I just discovered your site so I’m a little late on this.

    I do not remember my first wet dream (I’m in my late 40’s) but I do have a memorable one.

    I think I was dating my wife at the time. We had intercourse that night and went to sleep. Later that night I had a wet dream. I’ve always thought that was interesting since I had ejaculated a few hours earlier and, it seems, all my previous wet dreams were due to build ups (I would think).

    I’m enjoying the site, I’ll get back to exploring it.

    Thanks,
    Chuck

    Rodgers on April 2,2010 11:07 am

    l have no wet dreams since l was 13

    Marion Habbyshaw on May 7,2010 3:19 pm

    Hi.I ‘m really curious about that.Where can I discover more material about the subject? Any advice?

    Lynwood Rega on June 7,2010 4:27 pm

    I’m optimisitic things are looking up for everybody so they can finally be who they are!

    Wisconsin on July 12,2010 7:56 pm

    I’m a 43 y/o man.

    i’ve done a little research on the web and i’m stunned to read that most wet dreams occur in early teens and then stop shortly thereafter. (most boys only have two?? TWO???) My wet dreams started in teens, i had them for years, with my last one being at about age 35.

    When i was about 13, i learned from a 15 y/o neighbor boy about semen and wet dreams – so i wasn’t surprised when it happened to me. i’m really glad i had that information though – i don’t know what i would have thought if i didn’t understand what was happening to me. i think i also went through Sex Ed class before my first wet dream. i never talked to my parents or any other friends about sex or puberty, which is unfortunate – i believe teens need someone to talk to about what’s happening to them.

    My wet dreams started in teens (I think i slept through 99% of them, and merely woke up with stiff and starched shorts in the a.m. as the cum had dried in my sleep.) and i had them for years, with my last one being at about age 35.

    i had them ALL the time in college, even though i masturbated quite often. ( am i THAT much hornier than other men ??? ) I remember one time when i was about 20, when i had a wet dream every night for six days.

    I’ve had 2 wet dreams in one night. this has happened maybe 2-3 times in my life.

    I’ve had wet dreams right AFTER masturbating before bed – so i’m not sure i buy the whole “pent up fluid that just needs a release” explanation. although i’m sure that’s one reason why nocturnal emissions occur. could it be just the dream that triggers it? the way the penis gets caught in the sheets or pajamas?? ( as far as the “plot-line” of the dream, i remember some of them – and most were sexual. but sometimes i had no memory of any “sexy” dream, just the evidence in the a.m. when i woke.)

    anyway… sorta cool to compare thoughts on this personal subject. It’s not something guys sit around talking about. at least i didn’t.

    John Smith on September 24,2011 2:02 pm

    Awfully helpful bless you, I think your readers may possibly want a lot more well written articles like that keep up the excellent effort.

    max on April 3,2012 9:20 am

    For me dreams have always been more about the way I felt in them instead of any actual plot. This is true for everything from nightmares to wet dreams. In nightmares (or sleep paralysis) it was the sensation of sheer terror that I was always more afraid of and can remember. I can also remember sensations from my wet dreams as well, which were always more interesting than what I saw or did in them.

    During a typical wet dream I become aware of getting an erection, or that it is touching or pressing against something. Perhaps this is why I always seem to have a wet dream when I wear briefs and not boxers. Anyway, during this period I feel my whole body sort of float along without any control. Sometimes the opposite happens, like I become heavier and slightly numb and sink into the bed a bit. All very strange, but I kind of go along with it. At the same time I feel a strong urge to pee, like I have to go really bad, and though it feels like it is going to gush out it does not for several seconds, like it is holding itself.

    For the final part of the dream I feel a few things that seem to happen all at once. First I begin feeling some very interesting and pleasant feelings down there, but very gentle. I can best describe it as a sort of slippery swirling or spinning motion against the underside of my erection, and somehow this will make me pee. My heart begins pounding suddenly and then without any control I feel I have started peeing. But it is odd because it feels like I am not getting empty and the motion of fluid coming out is at the tip only. Hard to explain. In my early dreams I would imagine that I actually was peeing and I felt a warm wetness spreading all over, because this sensation lasted almost a minute it seemed. When this would die down, like I was finished, would come the second part. I would feel like my bladder filled up AGAIN and had to go some more, but this time I could feel my erection get stronger and push outward a bit before the flow would begin again. It was still a bit like peeing, but what would happen is a steady long stream would come out then trickle to a stop, then another would surge again, and this would happen in several rhythmic pulsations.

    When that stopped I would lay there all hazy until I slowly came to and would panic for a second and check to make sure I didn’t wet the bed. But it was a wet dream.

    max on April 25,2012 8:17 am

    Yes, I remember my first wet dream very vividly. I was unprepared for it and I told nobody. I think I was 14 and it was also the first time I ejaculated, so I was completely clueless. I was so embarrassed that I hid my wet underwear in the back of a drawer, which was a mistake since later it had dried into a very hard crusty spot that could not be washed out. Well, it was soft again after but the outline of the stain was still very visible, so my advice is wash them as soon as you wake up or at least before it dries.

    Like you said, my first wet dream I thought involved urine. In fact, as I was slowly waking up afterward I was convinced that I had just finished peeing for the longest time so I expected to find myself soaked in a flood from it. I guess this is because I never felt those feelings before and best my dream could make sense of it was to dream that I was peeing?

    The dream itself was interesting but unusual. There was no sex in it but there was a mystery girl. She sort of just appeared and I could not make out who she was because I could not clearly see her face which was blurry. Without any talking we suddenly were hugging each other. I remember a very vivid and warm peaceful feeling of the whole front of my body being in contact with hers, but there was no movement. The embrace became VERY weird when at one point it felt like we actually melted into each other. I seriously have no other way to describe it. It was both a nice feeling but also strange and I noticed that my heart began pounding at this point all of a sudden.

    Then there began this water theme. I felt as if as we lay there I felt water flowing gently over me, like pouring over my head and going down my neck and back and buttocks and legs. Very soothing. At one point I realized I must be under water but somehow could still breathe, and this did not freak me out. The last part of the dream I remember was that I “became” part of the water and flowed with it. All of this was not what I saw but simply the story I imagined was happening based on all these strange and amazing sensations I was having. I don’t remember too well if I had an erection at the time but I definitely remember having to pee REAL bad, like I had been holding it forever and really had to go. There was just so much tension building up inside me, and somehow this watery dream helped it happen, but also made me not worry about it since I thought I was in water already so nobody would notice. But the decision to start peeing was not mine since it started automatically. It was extremely relieving and seemed to go on for a whole minute. But the odd thing I will always remember was when it finally trickled to a stop I felt a second wave of being full and suddenly another surge of pee seemed to automatically flow out of me. This seemed to happen a few times and of course felt very nice but at the time I thought it was urine. I even “heard” it because by this point I began slowly waking up and becoming aware of my sleeping position on my stomach in my bed. So each new pulsation of “pee” was accompanied by a distinct “pssssshhhhwwww” sound (which I assume was in my head and part of the dream?) and I felt a wet warm feeling spreading all over me down there. I lay there several seconds more before it dawned on me: wait, I’m actually in bed, and I just ALLOWED myself to wet the bed!!! That was my last though before jumping up completely freaked out. Then came the investigation of this mysterious sticky wet patch a few inches wide, an attempt to clean it up, and then figure out what happened, which I eventually did.

    As a footnote, though I had several more wet dreams, none were quite like this one, though sometimes they might feel like urinating. Recently I received a confession from a younger neighbor friend who is 13 or 14 I think. Somehow the conversation turned to strange dreams, nightmares and stuff and he admitted recently that he wet the bed, dreaming that he was sitting on a toilet peeing. When I asked how he was able to hide it or clean it he just said he just got changed and went back to bed. I said hold on, you have to do more than that after wetting the bed, how much was there? He described a small spot which didn’t even get on the sheet below him (he was sleeping on his back). I realized what probably happened for real and said “dude, you just had your first wet dream.” He was quite surprised to hear this and was obviously more clueless than me to think he actually peed rather than having a wet dream. I even asked if it was sticky and he said a little, and if when he was dreaming of peeing if it seemed to come out in several flows, not all at once in a steady stream and he said “how did you know that?” So yea, I solved his wet dream mystery, and only because I had had one similar a few years before (though it seems my dream was more interesting than just sitting on a toilet.)

    Michael on July 31,2012 2:42 am

    Dr. Carroll,

    I don’t agree that first wet dream is the key event. Only about 60 percent of males ever have a wet dream. Overwhelmingly, boys’ first ejaculation is caused by masturbation. So I would say that first ejaculation is the key event. It isn’t fair to tell 40 percent of males that they never experienced the key event. It doesn’t even make sense.

    The web site HealthyStrokes.com has a page about wet dreams: http://www.healthystrokes.com/wetdreams.html

    Apurv on August 11,2012 8:01 pm

    I remember the night when i had my first wet dream, it happened when i was of 13 and a half.

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