Many preadolescent and adolescent boys, and even some men, wake up in the middle of the night with wet sheets and underpants. They are probably experiencing something called nocturnal emissions, or "wet dreams." Nocturnal emission is the technical term for the experience of having an erection and then ejaculating while sleeping. There is a difference between nocturnal orgasms and nocturnal emissions, because males can have a nocturnal orgasm (a sexual climax) without ejaculating (an emission of seminal fluids). Females can have nocturnal orgasms as well, but there is no emission. It is important to understand that there is nothing wrong with a person if he or she experiences a nocturnal orgasm or nocturnal emission, as they are normal and healthy experiences. The only potentially negative consequence of a nocturnal emission we can think of is needing to change the wet sheets.
What Causes Nocturnal Emissions?
Starting between the ages of 10 and 12, males begin going through the process of puberty. During this process, they start to produce sperm and gain the ability to ejaculate. It is at this time that most males start to experience nocturnal emissions, sometimes even before they learn about masturbation. While sleeping, the male's genitals may rub against the bed or sheets, or he may unknowingly stimulate them himself. When this happens, the male may become so sexually aroused that he has an orgasm (even if he is not awake to enjoy it!), which may be accompanied by a nocturnal emission.
The First Nocturnal Emissions
A boy's first nocturnal emission tends to cause the most confusion and worry. Many parents don't explain to their sons what orgasms and ejaculations are beforehand. Therefore the first nocturnal emission is something that many adolescent boys are unfamiliar with. He may think something is wrong with his body, or he may fear that he has urinated in his sleep. Most adolescents don't want to have to explain to their parents why there is a wet spot in their bed, and this causes fear as well. The truth is that nocturnal orgasms and emissions are natural, and that wet spot will dry up quickly, though unfortunately it usually leaves a yellowish stain. A potentially confusing aspect of a boy's first nocturnal orgasm is the feelings of pleasure and arousal that he feels if he is awakened by it. If the boy has never experienced an orgasm before (via masturbation or otherwise), these pleasurable feelings are strange, yet at the same time enjoyable. Nocturnal orgasms may indeed lead a male to experiment with masturbation in order to experience those sexual feelings again. Teenage boys typically begin masturbating earlier than girls do, and usually do it more frequently.
Since many parents do not teach their children about orgasms, an adolescent's friends and peers may be the only influences they have on the subject. While hearing his friends joke and tease about these things may help to alleviate some fears in the mind of the inexperienced boy, much of the teens’ stories and information is actually false. Adolescent males going through puberty tend to act like they know everything there is know to about sex, when they in fact usually know very little at all. Therefore if you are a young male and you are afraid of being ridiculed or teased because you "came in your bed," now you know there is nothing wrong with it: More than likely, the boys who tease other boys have experienced the same thing.
Finally, if you haven't had a nocturnal orgasm, don't worry about that either. Not everybody has them, and some males don't experience them until later in life. Don't expect too much from yourself, especially if you are a younger teenager or preteen. Sexuality is something everybody gets to experience, some people just wait longer than others for their time to come.
Last Updated 13 February 2012