DREAM ON (do men and women dream differently?)

Dreams are something that truly fascinate me!  I have lucid dreams on a regular basis and record these dreams in a journal each morning when I wake up.  For my short blog post I decided to  take a look at the differences between the way men and women dream.  I was curious to find out if men tend to have more violent dreams and if women have more gender stereotypical dreams such as appearance, babies, and clothing.  After doing some research many studies have shown that females dreams involve less aggression.  They tend to dream more about stereotypical girly things, such as physical appearance, talking, and emotions. (This is not true for me).  For the males, 1 out of 4 experience dreams that show aggressiveness in some way.

Women’s dreams-

  • have nightmares more often then men do
  • These bad dreams usually consist of fearful dreams, confused dreams, and losing a loved one
  • Womens nightmares involve more negative self-perceptions and failures compared to males bad dreams
  • Women’s sexual dreams involve more kissing then about have actual intercourse
  • Dreams usually last longer than males and involve more characters (familiar faces from social life or family)
  • typically set indoor or in a place that the woman is familiar with
  • pay closer attention to the physical details of the people in their dreams than men

Men’s dreams-

  • dream about sex more often and more intensely than women do and usually includes an unknown sexual partner
  • frequently include violence, cars, weapons, and work related issues
  • more often the dream takes place outside or in an unfamiliar environment
  • tend to have more men in their dreams

I was curious if this was generally the same for men and women around the world and later in the article my question was answered.

Calvin Hall and Bill Domhoff investigated if these differences were cross-cultural or just specific to the United States. They compared dreams from such diverse cultures as Nigeria and Scotland, from Australian aborigines and Native American Hopi, and many other groups. It seems that it is the same story around the world

I thought it was neat to learn that during a women’s menstrual cycle, their dreams are more violent and filled with images of blood and wounds.  The blood part makes sense to me, but i am curious what makes females dreams more violent while they are on their period.

In this youtube clip Joe Rogan talks about chemicals that are released in our brain every night that we are asleep. I found this very interesting!! http://youtu.be/5r-MXPk1_M0

This entry was posted in Neuroscience, The Unconscious. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to DREAM ON (do men and women dream differently?)

  1. danebohrer says:

    This is very interesting to learn that there are such vast differences in the dreams of men and women. It never ceases to amaze me how complex and unique a person’s brain can be. This blog post sheds light to the fact that while every mind is different, there are certain characteristics and certain parts of the mind that are very gender specific. Seeing that dreams appear to be gender specific, it would be interesting to know how the daily activities affect dreams and how the brain incorperates daily activities differently between men and women.

    • ashleighvanstraten says:

      Hey thanks for the comment! Cool to see that your interested in this topic also. I wish that more research has been done, since so little is actually known about dreaming. I agree that it would be neat to see how, or if a man or a woman’s daily activities would affect their dreams and differ between the two genders.

  2. There are so many interesting ideas going on in this blog post. I had never thought up about it until now, but yes, I do have a lot of violent dreams and dreams where I’m running (away from something or in order to catch something). I’m a pretty laid back guy too, I guess my unconscious has got some steam to blow off from being chill all day?

    The reason I think this idea is so neat is that its posing a genuinely testable research question. I could envision turning this into a cross-cultural experiment. You would think different people, with different values, different gender constructions, would have different dreams. But then if similarities popped up that would be very interesting.

    About the Joe Rogan clip, he was actually the narrator for the movie DMT: The Spirit Molecule, which you can stream over Netflix. I caught it the other night and it was really good. I was trying to get a handle on my experience of floating in a sensory deprivation tank and was checking out the the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (which is full of New College peeps) and the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, and they’re were talking about this movie. Really, really interesting film.

    • ashleighvanstraten says:

      Glad you enjoyed the blog post. I found it funny how dreams tend to be gender specific, because I feel as if I am the complete opposite. My dreams tend to typically fall under the male categories (according to the article I read). My dreams are so vivid and usually very intense, which is why i thought it would be interesting to see if any extensive research has been done on dream differences between women and men or even how they differ culturally.

      Your comment about having a lot of violent dreams while being chilled out all day is something else that could be interesting to know how it is linked to dreams. I would definitely agree with you, that one would think, that people with different values, and gender constructions would have different dream patterns than say a women living in the US opposed to a woman in China.

      Thanks a bunch for letting me know about The Spirit Molecule movie! I watched it on Netflix this weekend and thought it was awesome. I would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t watched this yet. Really cool stuff!

      I also read your blog post called “My Journey Through Innerspace”. Never before have I heard of such a thing as a sensory deprivation tank, and it sounds like it would be something really neat to experience. I thought it was interesting how you tried to convince yourself that you were standing on your head instead of upright, because it sounds like something I would attempt to experiment with if I were in the tank. I also wonder if you have been other times besides this first go around, and if so did you have a better overall experience, with more sound or visual hallucinations?

  3. agreg019 says:

    I loved this post! I am very fascinated with dreams also and I always tend to have weird ones. I usually dream about having some random romantic forbidden lover , and they always seem to occur at a place that isn’t familiar to me in the real world but has occurred to me withing another dream. The way you showed the differences between male and female dreams I can definitely relate to. My boyfriend always has a dream that involves violence, bank robberies, guns, and some chick that always is unknown then randomly turns into me. I think dreaming is so cool and I wish there was a way we could save them on a disk and watch them back the next day!

    • ashleighvanstraten says:

      Hey thanks for the comment. That happens to me also! (where something will take place but isn’t familiar in the real world, but has been seen many times before in dream land). That would be such a cool thing if we could watch them back the next day. Maybe in the future!

  4. kever008 says:

    I thought this article was really interesting. I like how you broke down men and womens dreams, and i think some of the result are really interesting. The comment about how men dream about sex more than women, while women dream more about kissing is interesting. I think this may show that women are more in touch with their feelings, and emotional connection in their dreams. I also thought it was interesting how men dream about cars and violence more than women. In my opinion is shows the priorities of men and women

Comments are closed.