Wet Dream Volume 

How "Wet" Are Wet Dreams

Complaints that most men (young men and adults) have about wet dreams involve the “messiness”.  Some men ejaculate so little semen during a wet dream than sometimes they may be unsure whether they had a wet dream or not.  While other men may experience heavy wet dreams which may require changing underwear and sometimes even bedding because so much semen was ejaculated. 

 

Based on our study in 370 men, we discovered that just over half of men experience an “average” ejaculation volume.  For adult men this “average” corresponds to about 5ml of semen, leaving a wet spot between 1-3 inches across (2.5-7.5cm).  For reference see the image below that shows underwear with common coins (Euro, Pound, Quarter) which all measure roughly 1 inch (2.5cm) across in addition to a target showing different sizes of wet dream zones.

Target.jpg

One-third of men ejaculate little to no semen during wet dreams, in fact, half of these men experience dry orgasm – the sensation of orgasm with no semen ejaculated.  On the other hand, it was less common for men to ejaculate a large volume of semen with one-tenth ejaculating enough to leave a wet spot about 3-4 inches (7.5-10cm) across.  Less than 3% of men ejaculated so much semen that it would completely soak the underwear and potentially the bedding.  See the breakouts below:

Wet Dream Underwear Spot.jpg

One anomaly we discovered in our research was the volume of wet dream spots in the teen years compared to adulthood and the difference in wet spot size when men were teenagers based on their masturbation habits.  Men who reported not masturbating as teenagers were much more likely to have wet dreams that were 1-2 inches in size.  Men who reported that they masturbated regularly during their teen years had the smallest wet dream spots, with many of these men experiencing “dry” wet dreams.  However, men who reported masturbating as teenagers then stopping masturbation tended to have the largest wet dream spots.  Although this hasn’t been proven, it is thought that young men who don’t masturbate have sexual glands that have not been “fired up” and produce semen at a level that the body eliminates regularly in small quantities.  On the other hand, men who masturbate frequently often clear the reproductive glands of sexual fluids so there is little to no semen  needing to be ejaculated during a wet dream event.  Lastly, young men who have masturbated but are no longer masturbating have “primed” their reproductive glands to produce more sexual fluids.  However, because they no longer masturbate, fluid production clips along at a higher rate than had the young man never masturbated, thus leading to wet dreams that tend to be larger in volume.   See the results of our study below:

Wet Dream Volume by Masturbation History

It should be noted that difference in the size of wet dream spots can sometimes be affected by the fabric the underwear is made from.  Thinner fabric can absorb less semen, so even though the amount of semen ejaculated was “average” the wet spot may be larger.  The same holds true for men who wear underwear that is thicker and more absorbent, where a “normal” amount of semen would leave a smaller wet spot.  However, in most cases the size of the wet spot is largely due to the amount of semen ejaculated.

WET DREAM VOLUME ISSUES/CONCERNS

Disguising a Wet Dream

For men who ejaculate small amounts of semen, hiding the “evidence” and cleanup is fairly simply and can often wait until morning.  However, in men who ejaculate larger volumes of semen, it can be difficult to hide large wet spots when getting out of bed and cleanup is often necessary in order to fall back asleep.  For men who have heavier wet dreams, simply changing to a heavier fabric for underwear can help soak up much of the fluid. 

Disguising the evidence of a wet dream if you share a room with siblings or a roommate may take some advanced planning.  Ideas include wearing a pair of pajama bottoms or shorts over the underwear that can hide wet underwear or even having a spare pair of shorts they keep close by to put on before crawling out of bed.   Some men opt wearing a longer t-shirt to bed that can drape over the crotch in the morning to hide any wet spots.   Although having a wet dream may seem like an annoyance, it is a positive sign that the male reproductive system is working efficiently and well.  In addition, it’s completely natural and normal and nothing to be embarrassed about.  If having wet dreams causes you anxiety, it’s perfectly fine to discuss your concerns with a family member or friend (preferably a trusted adult male that can be a source of reassurance and ideas).

 

 

Cleaning Up After a Wet Dream (Especially Uncircumcised Men)

 

For some men, they feel so tired that they don’t want to clean up right after a wet dream happens but would rather fall back asleep.  There is no “right” or “wrong” way to handle cleaning up after a wet dream.  In fact, there are no problems from a hygiene standpoint if a man decides to fall back asleep and clean up the next morning.  Typically, the semen will dry over a couple of hours.  Some men tend to sleep all the way through a wet dream and don’t actually notice that they’ve had one until they wake up the next morning with a stiff semen spot in their underwear. 

Men who are not circumcised may want to ensure that they pull the foreskin back over the penis after a wet dream and clean under the foreskin the following morning.   

 

 

Heavy Wet Dreams (lots of semen)

 

In our survey, 5% of men indicated that they one of their main difficulties with wet dreams was due to large volumes of semen being ejaculated which often soaked through underwear and even bedding.  This matches very closely the results of the study we performed in a different set of men indicating that wet dreams that left wet spots greater than 4 inches (10cm). 

 

Symptoms such as extremely heavy wet dreams may indicate prostatitis and/or prostatic congestion.  However, for men that have wet dreams infrequently, it may be common for a wet dream to be particularly heavy if it has been weeks or a few months since the last ejaculation.  However, heavy wet dreams that occur frequently, or a sudden change from infrequent to frequent wet dreams or small volumes of semen during a wet dream to heavy wet dreams may indicate something going on with the prostate and may be discussed with a healthcare provider.

Light Wet Dreams (minimal semen ejaculated)

 

Some men may naturally ejaculate smaller volumes of semen multiple times per week.  In this case, their glands may simply produce fluids more quickly or they get a signal to have a wet dream at lower fluid volumes.  As long as semen is ejaculated during a wet dream then there is little to worry about.

 

 

Dry Wet Dreams

 

On the other hand, some men may remember feeling orgasm during sleep then wake up and not feeling “wet”.  Obviously the first reason is because enough time passes between the wet dream and waking up that the semen has already dried.  In addition, some men have small wet dreams and tossing and turning may break up some of the stiffness usually recognized as a dry semen stain in underwear the morning after a wet dream.

However, some men wake up just before, during, or immediately after and notice that no semen has been ejaculated.  If this occurs repeatedly, there may be an issue with anejaculation or retrograde ejaculation (click HERE to learn more).

  

Some of the abnormalities we’ve just discussed can also occur during wet dreams – namely retrograde ejaculation and painful ejaculation.  The causes and treatment for these two conditions is no different for men who ejaculate through sexual activity versus wet dreams.

Images on this page from top to bottom include:

  1. Art_by_Danko/Shutterstock.com, Andrey Lovachev/Shutterstock.com, kavalenkava/Shutterstock.com, & MPanchenko/Shutterstock.com

  2. Original table

  3. Original table