What Having Taboo Dreams Can Tell Us About Our Health

Waking up after a vivid dream about having sex with your boss could invite panic into your morning, particularly if your significant other remains blissfully asleep. The images remain with you as you head into the office and have to talk to your boss about something. You might hide your face and any nonverbal cues that could reveal what went on in that taboo dream. Other taboo dreams might involve violence, like killing something or someone innocent. And who hasn't dreamt about being nude in public?

Psychologist Carl Jung believed that our dreams can tell us about what's going on deep within our minds and help us navigate some of our current situations (via Psychology Today). Obviously, killing someone in your dream doesn't mean you want to kill that person in your real life, but taboo dreams can often point out something we're repressing in our lives (via Tuggeranong Square Medical Practice). Rather than interpreting the literal circumstances of the dream, it's best to see taboo dreams as metaphors for what's currently going on in your life (via Vice). To better understand what your taboo dream might mean, you can look at the key emotion behind the dream and your dream's main co-star.

What is the key emotion in your dream?

We dream during the REM cycle of our sleep. During this stage, the emotional centers of our brain are firing wildly while the frontal lobe — the logical part of our brain — is least active. That's why the door of what we consider illogical and abnormal opens up while we sleep. Social norms and our moral codes will control us during waking life, but the brain will store a thought or emotion from our day to serve as the center of our dream. It could also collide with some repressed emotions or situations we aren't willing to face (via NBC News).

The key emotion of the dream — whether it's guilt, embarrassment, or hatred — could be something you're feeling deep inside. Consider how this emotion might somehow be connected to something that's going on in your life (via Vice). For example, a recurring dream about killing someone might indicate something you want to "kill" in your life, like bad behavior or addiction (via Tuggeranong Square Medical Practice). If you're the cheater in a taboo dream, it might mean you're dividing your energies into too many areas of your life, according to Healthline.

Who is your dream's co-star?

According to Vice, the other actor in your dream — whether it's your boss or your spouse's best friend — could give you some cues about the dream's meaning. It might be less about who the person is and rather what they signify to you. For example, if you dream about your boss, consider what your boss means to you. If you admire a particular quality in your boss, such as power, your taboo dream might tell you that you desire that power for yourself (via NBC News).

Sometimes your dream's co-star could symbolize someone or something else. If this person really doesn't have much significance to you, consider what they represent. It might point to a conflict in your life that's been unresolved (via NBC News). 

Dreams are unique reflections and consolidations of what's going on in your waking life, so someone else's taboo dream will mean something much different to them than what it does to you. Choosing Therapy suggests discussing your dreams with a therapist to help you make the correct associations to improve your life.