How often does, say, George Clooney show up in my dreams, or for that matter in any woman's dreams? Of course, I'm specifically referring to sexual dreams. Unfortunately we don't have any research that tells us about good old George and thee but we do have some hints about the content of sexual dreams nevertheless.
It is often suggested that good dreams occur more often when we are in good health and have had positive thoughts right before we go to sleep. Case in point: I sometimes have bad dreams after I've eaten too much, or too late or have had a bit too much to drink. I try to avoid this because, obviously, I don't like bad dreams!
My dreams with sexual content come after I've had great sex or I've seen a movie with even the hint of great sex in it. Remembering dreams, making sense out of our daily experiences and committing those daily experiences to memory are important functions of sleep. And it looks like great sex can reinforce itself by making good dreams out of the experience too.
In a study completed in 2007 researchers headed by Antonio Zadra, PhD, of the University of Montreal analyzed the dream reports of more than 3,500 men and women. They looked at the nature of the content in both sexes. Of the mixed group eight percent of the dreams involved sexual content of some form. The most common form of sexual activity was intercourse. Propositions for sex, kissing, fantasy and masturbation were the next most common dream content reported.
Some very interesting parts of the research involved differences in the ways men and women experience sexual activity. Both men and women described having orgasms themselves in about 4 percent of their dreams. In another 4 percent of the women's dreams another dream participant had the orgasm but in the men's dreams none reported that the 'other' participants had orgasms. In their dreams, 20 percent of the women's partners where current or past lovers. In the men's dreams, this figure was 14 percent. Multiple partners were twice as likely in men's sexual dreams and public figures were twice as likely in women's dreams. This corroborates the evolutionary idea of men spreading their 'seed'' and women being attracted to 'providers.'
"Observed gender differences may be indicative of different waking needs, experiences, desires and attitudes with respect to sexuality," said Zadra. "This is consistent with the continuity hypothesis of dreaming which postulates that the content of everyday dreams reflects the dreamer's waking states and concerns -- that is, that dream and waking thought contents are continuous."
So does actively and purposefully thinking about sex create more dreams about it and fundamentally lead to more thinking about sex and then acting upon that? I have always believed that if women thought about sexual activities more that they would then have more sex. This is the male model that is seen in research. Would this actually increase desire in women? There is some evidence that women in the last 40 years are experiencing more sexual dreams and that they are more comfortable revealing that they are dreaming about sex. This is probably due to the increased information on the Internet, in magazines and more social interaction many women experience today.
I am wondering if we can actually learn to 'drive' the content of our dreams. Lucid dream experts say we can with some practice. Just thinking about what you might want to dream about right before you go to sleep each night might do the job. Try it for a few nights in a row and see what happens. Collectively we women may be able to exhaust poor , or lucky, George Clooney!
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