Investigating sexual dream imagery in relation to daytime sexual behaviours and fantasies among Canadian university students

King, David B.; DeCicco, Teresa L.; Humphreys, Terry P.
October 2009
Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality;2009, Vol. 18 Issue 3, p135
Academic Journal
This study aimed to qualitatively assess the content of sexual dreams and determine their relationship to waking life sexual experience and fantasy. Dream reports were collected from 97 female and 33 male university students with a mean age of 20.6 years who, in addition to reporting their most recent dream with sexual content, completed the Index of Sexual Fantasy (Hurlbert & Apt, 1993), the Sexual Daydreaming Scale (Giambra, 1978), and two surveys to account for sexual and orgasmic behaviour and experience. Reports of sex dreams were dominated by references to clothing and emotion, with the most common targets of sexual relations being friends and/or acquaintances. Aggression was present in 19% of the collected dreams and 8% contained direct references to rape. Men were observed to report greater daytime sexual fantasizing with more frequent reports of multiple partners, sexual propositions, and sexual thoughts in their dreams. Findings offer partial support for the continuity hypothesis of dreaming (Hall & Nordby, 1972) in relation to human sexuality, at least within the current subsample of young men. It is suggested that many sex dreams may serve as an outlet for sexual fantasies and desires. Limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.


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