Teen milestones: wet dreams

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Although girls can have ‘wet dreams’, these tend to be more noticeable when boys get them, so what should you do to support your son through this potentially embarrassing time?

There may be lots of different aspects to life with a teenage boy that can prove difficult for a parent, but when it comes to ‘wet dreams’ your son has more self-conscious suffering to go through than you do. So how can you help your son realise episodes like this are just part of growing up?


What is a wet dream?
A ‘nocturnal emission’ is when a man or a woman experiences an orgasm whilst asleep. It is not clear whether men really do experience these more frequently than women or that women are just less likely to notice an episode, but they are more commonly associated with males than females.

They can occur any time after the onset of puberty and it is believed that at least 80 per cent of men have experienced them.

Sometimes the wet dream may result in messy sheets in the morning, but other times a small outburst in your son’s sleep may go unnoticed.


Supporting your son with this body change
The first thing you might notice is that your son’s sheets are turning up far more frequently in the laundry basket or that your son actually starts to do his own washing for the first time ever! Depending on your relationship with your son, either carry on dealing with this change to wash day patterns discreetly or gently enquire if he has anything he wants to talk to you or ask you about. It might instead be a father-son conversation but you will be the best judge of how your son is likely to react to an invitation to have a chat.

If your son shows signs of being upset by the episodes, reassure him that wet dreams are completely natural.

Conversely, if your son asks you or his father about why he hasn’t had a wet dream yet when all his friends have, reassure him that there is no set time during puberty when these necessarily occur and that some men really do seem to go through life never having experienced one.

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