Sexy Dreams(AP Photo)

Have you ever had a sexy dream and wondered where it came from? Ever woken up thinking, "Wow, that was hot - but what on earth did it mean?"

It might be you dreamed of having passionate sex with a woman when you're a: not lesbian and b: not even bi-curious. Or you might have dreamed of sleeping with someone at work who you've never even fancied. In fact, you find them totally unattractive.

There's usually a hidden symbol or symbols in such dreams that your subconscious mind wants you to take note of. But sometimes your sexy dreams make complete sense because you're dreaming of the boyfriend you love, or your favourite soap or pop star who you do find completely fanciable.

Why do we dream?

Just as good quality sleep helps you recharge yourself physically, your dreams recharge you emotionally. That's because during the dream phase of sleep - called the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage - the limbic system of your brain goes into freefall.

The limbic system is responsible for our most powerful emotions and it literally has a cleanout while we dream.

Sometimes, it throws up dreams that make complete sense. At other times it throws up dream images that are both surprising and even shocking - like having sex with the boss who has just told you off that day.

This is because your mind wants to slowly unveil and unwrap the things you feel and think. It offers up images that can make you question your thoughts and start a bit of self-analysis, which can be a very good thing.

How can you begin to interpret your dreams?

Think carefully about your dream images and they can make sense. To help you decipher your dreams I've formulated the Dream (D.R.E.A.M.) Key technique:

D is for detail: think about which detail stood out most in your dream. Let's say there were snake-like things writhing all around you and they made you feel sexy. In a dream like this, such detail can represent your longing for sex. The writhing snake-like creatures represent your inner desires to have a man in your life.

R is for recognition: is there anything recognisable in your dream? Think through the dream images and whether your dream was set somewhere recognisable or featured someone you knew. The more recognisable features there are in your dream, the more it's based in reality. The less recognisable, the more your sleeping mind is trying to slowly reveal a message to you. And so it uses 'veiled' or unrecognisable symbolism to break a message slowly and subtly to you.

E is for emotion: think back to how you felt when you woke up and what was the most powerful emotion in your dream? Did you feel sexual excitement, anxiety, fulfilment, etc? That's important as a guide to what your mind is trying to tell you. Let's say you're having sex in the dream, and you feel very anxious during the sex. That means your subconscious mind is trying to tell you that you need to face any inhibitions you might have.

A is for action/inaction: recall whether you're the one leading the action in your dream or if you're a passive observer - maybe watching someone else have sex. If you're an active participant in what's happening, it reveals that you want to assert yourself or recognise something about yourself - such as recognising that you'd quite like to experiment more in bed. If you're passively watching other people do sexual things it symbolises that you're probably lacking sexual confidence or that you feel you're on the 'outside' in a sexual relationship.

M is for meaning: finally, if you think carefully about your dream can you guess the meaning? Our dreams are there to help us understand more about our deeper emotions and sometimes examining them reveals their meaning to our lives. So relax, think back to your dream, and be open-minded about what the symbolism from your sleeping mind was trying to tell you.

Three of the most common sex dreams and what they really mean:

1: Having hot ex-sex

It can be a big worry when you dream of having hot sex with your ex-partner, especially if you're with someone new. It can cause anxiety but I can reassure you that dreaming of sex with your ex is a really common sex dream.

A typical dream scenario: you dream that you're having passionate sex with your ex - usually in the same way - doing the same things - you would have done when together as if nothing has changed. If you're in a new relationship your new partner, or someone else, might walk in on you two in bed.

The hidden meaning? Trust me, such dreams don't necessarily mean you actually want sex with your ex. These dream symbols usually mean you're longing for something that you feel comfortable with and that's familiar to you. It might be that you feel a bit insecure in your new relationship so your sleeping mind takes you back to a time when you were comfortable.

If your new partner, or someone else, discovers you having sex with your ex in the dream, this is usually a sign from your subconscious mind signalling that you need to sort out how you feel in your new relationship. And that you probably have some mixed feelings about it.

Repetitive dreams involving sex with your ex can spell danger if they keep cropping up. Recurring dreams of this nature show that you're not over your ex, or that sex with your new partner isn't as good as with your ex.

2: Having sex with someone of the same sex when you're not gay

Dreaming that you're having sizzling sex with someone of the same sex doesn't necessarily mean you're bi-curious. You might think it's extremely bizarre but believe me it's common. Men in particular get anxious when they've dreamed about having sex with another man as they think it reflects on their sexuality - but this usually isn't the case.

A typical dream scenario: very often this type of sex dream occurs somewhere unfamiliar - they're usually not set in your own bedroom or home. You're also likely to dream that you're the passive participant and it's the other person who is in charge of the sex.

The hidden meaning? Such sex dreams are more about emotional and intimate curiosity generally, then a desire to try gay sex. It's one way for your subconscious mind to allow you to 'let go' and try something that's new. That's the reason why the setting is somewhere unknown as your sleeping mind's hinting that you need to experiment more - and get out and do something different!

Often the hidden meaning is about being less inhibited in the bedroom. But, again, if this is a recurrent dream theme then it's very likely that deep down you're bi-curious and you'd like to experiment with someone of the same sex.

3: Sex with a boss or colleague who you don't like or fancy

Having a sexy dream like this can completely mystify you. Why would you dream about having raunchy sex with a boss or someone else you don't like?

A typical dream scenario: you probably find yourself in this person's office or in your office having sex. Often it's likely to be active sex and you end up on the desk, on the floor, or basically all over the place.

The hidden meaning? When you dream of sex with someone you don't like it's usually your subconscious mind telling you that you need to take control of the situation. These dreams are more about a 'power struggle' and less likely to be about actual sex. In your dream life your sleeping mind gives you that control by having passionate sex with the person but crucially, in the way you want it.

However, if you're not enjoying the sex with this person it's a big symbol that you really don't know how to handle things with them - whoever they might be in your real life.