I sometimes orgasm as I fall asleep. Am I sinning?

Last updated on August 12, 2020


I am a 16 year old male. Sometimes I get an orgasm at night before I fall asleep. I’m not thinking about sex or masturbating, it just happens at that time. I want to know what’s going on with my body and if it’s involuntary or not. Is it a sin? I could really use some help here.


What you are describing is called a nocturnal emission, night wetting, or wet dream. As you sleep, you go through various stages. One part, called REM (Rapid Eye Movement), is the time that you slip into dreams. It is both the first and last stage of a normal sleep cycle. Nocturnal emissions always occur during this phase of sleep. It is even mentioned in the Scriptures. “If there is any man among you who becomes unclean by some occurrence in the night, then he shall go outside the camp; he shall not come inside the camp. But it shall be, when evening comes, that he shall wash with water; and when the sun sets, he may come into the camp” (Deuteronomy 23:10-11). Uncleanness doesn’t mean that act of ejaculating is a sin. Instead, the laws of uncleanness were designed to teach the Israelites about the nature of sin and at the same time give them good rules for healthy living. The equivalent rule for females as the time of uncleanness when they have their monthly blood flow. So, no having an orgasm is not a sin.

The root cause of nocturnal emissions is that men produce semen all the time. The rate of production increases each time you get sexually aroused and it decreases when you are stressed or ill, but your body keeps producing more each day. Also, different men have different production rates. The semen is stored in your seminal vesicles, but there is a limit on how much they can hold. Your body has two methods for disposing of the excess. The first is when you have an erection the pathway to the ejaculatory ducts and the seminal vesicles are opened up. A small drop or two of semen can escape and is then swept out the next time you urinate. For some men this takes care of all the excess, but for others the excess is relieved by nocturnal emissions.

As you start to fall asleep, you enter the REM portion of sleep. During this time, your various autonomic systems become active. These are your body’s activities that occur without thought, such as breathing, heart rate, and, yes, erections. Men have erections during this phase of sleep. Every healthy man experiences four to six erections every night. When your seminal vesicles are full, you become extra sensitive to sexual stimulation. The erection you have as you fall asleep starts a chain of events which eventually leads to orgasm and ejaculation. Some men sleep completely through this, but others are aware or semi-aware of what is happening; you happen to be one in the aware category.

The events are completely normal and automatic. Your body is supposed to work this way. I suspect that men were designed in this fashion so that your body can “train” itself in regards to sexual stimulation, so that when the time comes for marriage and the “real thing” your body know basically which switches and levers to pull to bring about the correct response. The downside is that it can be messy, but it is a part of the male experience. When you get married and have sex regularly, nocturnal emissions fade away since you have another outlet for semen.