APSS: Dreams Frequently Contain Sexual Themes

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Men and women dream about sex more than 8% of the time, revealed diaries.

MINNEAPOLIS, June 15 -- Men and women dream about sex more than 8% of the time.

So revealed 109 women and 64 men who recounted nearly 3,600 dreams in diaries, reported psychologist Antonio Zadra, Ph.D., of the department of the Universite de Montreal.

About 45% of men said they'd had dreams about sex as did 41% of women, he said at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies meeting here. "There really is no gender difference between men and women offer who dreams about sex," Dr. Zadra said.

Contending that this was the first study in four decades to evaluate sex and dreams, Dr. Zadra and colleagues said that the diaries had been conducted for studies that did not involve sex.

In all, the participants reported a total of 292 sexual dreams (8.2%).

Sexual intercourse was the theme in 53% of the sexual dreams of men. About 36% of women dreamt about sexual intercourse during sexual dreams. In about 40% of sexual dreams men dreamt about sexual propositions compared with 27% of women. In 4% of sexual dreams men and women "experience" orgasms. However, only women - in about 4% of their sexual dreams - remember their partner having an orgasm.

"It appears," Dr. Zadra said, "that men are more selfish in their dreams than are women." The average age of the men and women whose diaries were studied was 30 years.

For men, about 44% of the sexual dreams are positive expressions of sex, but only 34% of women found the sex in sexual dreams positive in nature. Men dreamt more about sex in public places, and both genders dreamt more about having sex with an unknown partner - as opposed to friends, spouse, or a film star. Less than 10% of each sex dreamed of having sex with a celebrity during sexual dreams.

Dr. Zadra said the study of sex in dreams is important because it "is consistent with the continuity hypothesis of dreaming which postulates that the content of everyday dreams reflects the dreamer's waking states and concern - that is, that dream and waking though contents are continuous."

Overall, it appears that when compared to studies in the 1960s that women are now dreaming more about sex. Dr. Zadra said he wasn't sure it that meant there was a fundamental change in women's dreams or that women feel freer now to express what might have been considered a generation or more ago.