“Is it normal to have wet dreams?”

Puberty is an important developmental stage during which your child’s body goes through a series of changes to become an adult’s body, capable of reproduction. For boys, it usually happens during the ages of 9-14. For girls, it can be anytime between 8-13 years old.

As boys undergo puberty, their testicles will be able to produce semen. Wet dreams may therefore occur as the body’s way to release excess semen. Parents can help their teen boys understand and deal with this occurrence by talking to them about it.

Before your son goes through the important developmental stage of puberty, prepare him for the changes that are going to happen to his body, so that he knows what to expect. Share with him some of the physical changes his body will undergo: an increase in height and muscle mass, the growing of pubic hair, the deepening of his voice, and the enlargement of his penis, testicles, and scrotum. Explain to him that his testicles will start to produce semen from puberty onwards.

If you have not already broached the subject, this is a good opportunity to start talking to your son about what an erection is, how and when it can happen, e.g. a full bladder, sexual arousal and even during sleep. Assure him that erections are a normal part of being a guy, and not something to be embarrassed about. Fathers may wish to share with sons how to manage erections when they occur at inopportune times, and also encourage them to ask any questions they may have.

If you think your son may find the discussion awkward, find a time when you both are engaged in an activity, and then broach the subject with him. A relaxed atmosphere can help him to listen more openly to what you have to share, as well as make him comfortable enough to ask questions as well.

As puberty begins for your teenage son, you can begin to talk to him about the possibility of wet dreams. If you have set the groundwork in your son’s earlier years, this can be an easier continuation of the conversation, building on the earlier topics with him.

Explain to him that as his testicles are growing, they are also beginning to produce semen. This means that his body is preparing him to be a father one day—the sperm in his semen is able to fertilise a woman’s eggs to create a baby. This chat is a good opportunity to talk to him about what it means to be a man, husband, and father. What does your family believe and cherish about each of these roles? What thoughts does your son have about them and what types of traits does he want to cultivate in himself as he becomes a man?

Prepare him for the possibility of wet dreams. Share with him that now that his testicles are producing semen, he may experience emission of semen during his sleep. Assure him that that is normal and it does not mean that he has done anything wrong.

Teach your son how he can clean himself, his underwear or boxers, and bedsheets if he wakes up discovering he has had a wet dream. Help him to understand the importance of good hygiene in caring for his body.

Be relaxed and factual in talking to your son. This will help him to understand that the subject is not something to be ashamed of – and that he can approach you with questions at any time.

At this age, you can have a deeper conversation with your adolescent son. Whether you choose to initiate the conversation with your son, or only when he comes to you with concerns, it is good to also address with him the “dreams” in the term “wet dreams.”

If he has been getting wet dreams, ask him what these dreams are like. Some of them may be sexual in nature and some may not be. He may feel embarrassed about the sexual ones, and it is important for you to assure him that he is not doing anything wrong just by having these dreams, because they are not within his control. Explain that it is simply the brain’s way of getting the body to release excess semen that the testicles have stored up. If he has been experiencing feelings of guilt or shame, do talk this through with him, for his emotional well-being.

However, do also help him to understand that what he comes across during the day may have an impact on what he dreams about at night. If he has been encountering sensual or sexual images or videos, that could contribute toward him having sexualised dreams.

This could also serve as a good opportunity to talk to him about the importance of media discernment. Help him to realise that he is responsible for the types of content he comes across and how these can have an impact on his emotional and intellectual development, as well as the relationships he forms with others.

© 2019 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.


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