Sex Dreams Equal 8% of Adults' Dreams

Study Shows 8% of Men's and Women's Dreams Involve Sexual Content

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on June 14, 2007
From the WebMD Archives

June 14, 2007 -- Sex dreams make up 8% of men's and women's dreams, a University of Montreal researcher announced today.

Antonio Zadra, PhD, asked 109 women and 64 men to keep a dream diary for two to four weeks. Participants were about 30 years old, on average.

According to Zadra, only two other studies have probed the frequency and content of sexual dreams, and both of those studies were done more than 40 years ago.

In Zadra's study, participants jotted down every dream they had, whether it was sexual or not. All in all, they noted 3,564 dreams. Of those dreams, 292 included sexual content.

"Sexual intercourse was the most common type of sexual content, followed by sexual propositions, kissing, and fantasies," Zadra writes.

For men and women alike, sexual dreams accounted for 8% of all reported dreams. Zadra also notes that "masturbation accounted for approximately 6% of both male and female sexual dreams and an orgasm was experienced in approximately 4% of all sexual dreams."

However, there were some gender differences in sex dreams.

"Men's sexual dreams were more likely to take place in public or unknown settings, to have the dreamer initiate sexual contact, and to involve unknown characters or multiple partners," Zadra writes, adding that "gender differences in the content of everyday sexual dreams may reflect people's waking needs, experiences, attitudes, and concerns with respect to sexuality."

His findings were presented today in Minneapolis at Sleep 2007, a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.

  • Do these types of dreams cause cause strife between you and your partner? Tell us your experiences on our Sexual Issues: Member To Member message board.

Show Sources

SOURCES: Sleep 2007, the 21st annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, Minneapolis, June 9-14, 2007. News release, American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

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