Both men and women dream about sex in equal measure, according to the findings of a Canadian study.

About 8 per cent of everyday dream reports from both genders contain some form of sexual-related activity, according to a study conducted by University of Montreal psychology professor Antonio Zadra.

He presented his findings on Thursday at Sleep 2007, the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Minneapolis.

Zadra examined more than 3,500 dream reports collected from both men and women.

The most common type of sexual dream content was sexual intercourse, followed by sexual propositions, kissing, fantasies and masturbation.

Other under-the-cover revelations:

  • Both men and women reported experiencing an orgasm in about 4 per cent of their sexual dreams.
  • Women reported that orgasms were experienced by other people who figured in their dreams, in about 4 per cent of their dreams.
  • In contrast, men did not report other characters experiencing orgasms in their dreams.
  • Current or past partners were identified in 20 per cent of women's sexual dreams, compared to 14 per cent for men.
  • Public figures such as movie stars and politicians were twice as likely to be the object of women's sexual dreams, while men were twice as likely to report dreaming of multiple sex partners.

"Observed gender differences may be indicative of different waking needs, experiences, desires and attitudes with respect to sexuality," Zadra said in a statement.

"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."

The study discounts previous research that has suggested women are less likely to fantasize about sex in the land of nod.

A similar dream study that was conducted some 40 years ago found that women reported fewer sexually-oriented dreams than men did, prompting behavioural scientists to surmise that women fantasized less about sex.

But these more recent findings may suggest women were simply too bashful to admit they dreamt about sex four decades ago.

Zadra's study was based on interviews with 109 women and 64 men who recorded their dreams over a period of two to four weeks.