Had a sex dream about your ex? Don’t panic! It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re still in love with them, or that you want to get back together. Psychologists and a dream analysts say that dreams about an ex-lover or partner – even someone who you may not have seen in years or decades – are super common, and it’s normal for those kinds of dreams to leave you feeling rattled or annoyed. The good news is, those dreams have more to do with YOU than the ex you’re dreaming about.
Our Fascination with Dreams
People have been trying to rationalise their dreams for centuries. The ancient Egyptians thought of dreams as a different form of ‘seeing’, and enlisted the help of trained dreamers to help plan battles, while the Greeks and Romans believed dreams were equal parts predictions of future events and visitations by the dead. Sigmund Freud considered dreaming an expression of repressed conflicts or desires, which were (no surprise) often sexual in nature. He described dreams as the "royal road" to the unconscious, and suggested that by studying the obvious content of dreams, we could bring our hidden and unconscious desires to light.
Today, some experts suggest dreaming serves as a sort of data dump, where your brain clears out the day’s useless memories while caching of the valuable ones. Others believe dreaming is the brain’s way of problem solving, with the sleeping brain continuing to work on jobs the waking mind handled during the day, while dream interpreters theorise that dreams are the subconscious mind’s way of allowing you to express yourself while channelling powerful flows of emotion.
Ex-Sex Dreams are Normal
Your ex always ruined everything, and now they’re ruining your REM sleep. If you’ve ever woken from a sex dream featuring an ex-partner, you’ll know that unsettled feeling of questioning, why?! Lauri Loewenberg – a certified dream analyst who has analysed and researched over 75,000 dreams from people across the globe – says dreaming about an ex is very common.
“Everything within a dream is there for a reason to provide a message to you, from you, about you, to improve you… even though there may be elements in your dream from your distant past (such as an ex), there is something about it that the subconscious feels is relevant to you now.”
It’s Not Actually About Your Ex
Marion Frank, a psychologist specialising in dream analysis, says we should think of the people in our dreams as ‘vessels’ for our emotions. She believes dreams help us process emotions because – although what we experience in our dreams might not always be real –the emotions attached to these experiences are. Seriously, it’s not really about your ex. After all – YOU’RE the one who created your dream.
Dreaming about a long-ago ex — especially your first love — is incredibly common. That ex becomes symbolic of passion and uninhibited desire, and these dreams are your subconscious mind’s way of telling you that you want more spice in your life.
If you’re dreaming of a recent ex, it might seem like your subconscious is trying to sabotage all the hard work you’re doing in your waking hours to get over this person. In fact, dreaming about sex with a recent ex can actually be your subconscious trying to help you heal, process how you’re feeling and move forward.
There are tons of free resources available online to help you explore the specific symbolism of your ex in your dreams, including a clever Dream Interpreter AI.