Sex and Nightmares

sleep051206_228x259Women have more nightmares than men, and men dream about sex more than women.  Those are a couple of the results of a study conducted by a researcher at the University of West England that delved into gender differences in dream content.  Turns out, there are quite a few. 

According to ScienceDaily, researcher Dr. Jennie Parker was inspired by her own recurring nightmares to investigate the dream question.  From the article:

To discover more about women’s dreams I asked participants in my project to fill out a structured dream diary. The evidence was collected in a very different way to that used in previous dream analysis projects that largely depended on recall after the dream has happened. The participants in my study were all primed to record their dreams before the dreams happened. I took a sample of 100 women and 93 men.

I found that women’s nightmares can be broadly divided into three categories, fearful dreams – being chased or life threatened, losing a loved one or confused dreams.

The nightmares correlate highly with past anxieties in the women’s lives. These dreams (called ’emblem dreams’ in the study) are more emotionally intense than men’s nightmares and are likely to be remembered.

The study also uncovered that women’s dreams contain more family members, more indoor settings, more negative emotion and more physical aggression than men’s dreams. 

Men, on the other hand, are more likely to dream about sex. Specifically, they dream more about actual sexual intercourse, while women dream more about kissing and sex fantasies.  (Previous research has also shown that women are more likely to dream about sexual activity with celebrities, with Bono, Brad Pitt and George Clooney topping the list.)

Link to the ScienceDaily article

1 Comment

Filed under About Neuroscience

One response to “Sex and Nightmares

  1. Men have fewer nightmares; women have fewer sex dreams.

    Is it possible that these results indicate a bias in reporting?

    Men don’t want to admit that when they are frightened, so they underreport nightmares.

    Women are embarrassed to admit that they dream about sex, so they underreport sex dreams.

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