How common are sex dreams?

Questionnaire studies indicate that approximately 80% of adults answer positively to the question “Have you ever dreamed of sexual experiences?” with men reporting sexual dreams more often than women. The normative data from the classic HVDC studies indicates that 12% of men’ dreams and 4% of women’s dreams contained sexual content, including having or attempting intercourse, petting, kissing, sexual overtures and fantasies.

However, one study by our group of over 3500 dream reports found no gender differences, with approximately 8% of dream reports from both men and women containing sexually-related activity. The differences with the HVDC data may be partially due to sample composition (college students versus student and non-student adults).

Alternatively, it is also possible that women actually experience more sexual dreams now than they did 40 years ago, or that they now feel more comfortable reporting such dreams due to changing social roles and attitudes, or both.

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