New research has shown that women have nightmares more than men do, but men dream about sex more often than women.
Psychologist Jennie Parker of the University of the West of England conducted this study as part of her doctoral dissertation. She asked 100 women and 93 men ages 18-25 to fill out dream diaries in order to record their dreams as soon as they awoke.
“My most significant finding is that women in general do experience more nightmares than men,” said Parker. “An early study into dreams led to my discovering that normative research procedures into dream research often considered the structure of dreams, but that there is a gaping hole in terms of academic study that investigates emotional significance in the analysis of dreams.”
Parker categorized women’s dreams into three areas: dreams of fear, dreams of losing a loved one, and dreams of confusion. She analyzed their dreams with their real-life experiences and found that anxieties about the past occur many times and are classified as “emblem” dreams.
“It is these emblem dreams that are particularly significant,” Parker said. “If women are asked to report the most significant dream they ever had, they are more likely than men to report a very disturbing nightmare. Women reported more nightmares and their nightmares were more emotionally intense than men’s.”
Parker found that men’s dreams consisted mostly of a sexual nature in which men reported more actual intercourse, while women were more likely to dream about kissing the character in their dreams.
Studies also found that women’s dreams often contained more family members, negative emotions, dreams set indoors and less physical aggression than men’s dreams.