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."
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