Are wet dreams sinful?

Question:

On the site, I read "My wife no longer has a desire for sex. What do I do?" which says something about nocturnal emissions. I never heard of the word, so I looked it up, and it said something about wet dreams. The truth is wet dreams are very sinful. How can that be suggested? There should be a rule that if somebody does not repent of even wet dreams, they go to hell. What do you think of that part?


Answer:

Right and wrong are defined by God and not our own opinions. To understand whether a wet dream is sinful, we have to look at what God said on the matter.

Under the Old Testament law was the concept of unclean. Things that were unclean were not sinful in and of themselves. For example, a pig was an unclean animal (Leviticus 11:4-23). The pig itself was not sinful, but violating the rules of uncleanness and eating pork would be a sin. Having a baby was not sinful, but it did make the woman unclean for a period of time (Leviticus 12:2,5). Children are a blessing from God (Psalms 127:3-5), but the very act of conceiving a child made the parents unclean (Leviticus 15:18).

Many times a person could avoid being unclean, such as by avoiding eating certain meats. But sometimes a person had to become unclean in order to fulfill a law of God. For example, the law required that dead bodies had to be buried within one day (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). However, touching a dead body made a person unclean (Numbers 19:11-13). Thus, those fulfilling the law requiring burials became unclean for a period of time. In still other circumstances there times everyone had to experience being unclean -- it could not be avoided. Women became unclean every month when they had their menstrual cycle (Leviticus 15:19). It did not mean they sinned because they had a blood flow -- that was just the way God designed their bodies -- but while they had their blood flows, women were unclean. Men became unclean each time they ejaculate semen (Leviticus 15:16-17). Again, this can't be avoided because God designed the male body to ejaculate whenever the seminal vesicles become full.

Whenever a man had a wet dream, he was unclean until the following evening. "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). Notice that there is no requirement to offer a sacrifice, but that is because the man had not sinned. A person took care of uncleanness by isolating himself for the prescribed period of time and then getting washed at the end of the period.

We don't live under these laws as Christians, but it does indicate that while God does mention ejaculations and wet dreams in that law, He did not label them as sinful. Acts of fornication and adultery are sinful. They involve ejaculating, but the sin is in the sexual acts with someone to whom you are not married (Hebrews 13:4). Lust for sexual acts outside of marriage are also wrong (Mark 7:21-23; I Thessalonians 4:3-5).

John defines sin as: "Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness" (I John 3:4). Sin occurs when a person chooses to break a law of God, whether willfully, through deceit, or through ignorance. But dreams are something people can't control. I might have a dream about robbing a bank, but that doesn't mean I have stolen anything or that I even desire to steal something -- it is just a dream. For the same reason, in a wet dream a man doesn't make a choice. It is a biological response to full seminal vesicles. Therefore, having a wet dream is not a sin.