On any given night, I’m probably dreaming that I’m at school. Either college or high school — even though the people who pop up in the dream didn’t necessarily go to school with me — and it’s invariably the end of the semester. I haven’t been to class all semester and I’m in danger of failing unless I ace the final exam. But, of course, I can’t find the classroom. Or the bathroom. As it turns out, this frequent dream of mine may be due to my gender.
On this week’s Stuff Mom Never Told You, Cristen and I investigated gender differences in dreams, and we found that men tend to dream about sex and violence, while women dream about school, bathrooms, wardrobe malfunctions and teeth. Women also tend to have more nightmares than men (or at least, remember them more often), and ladies are starting to catch up to guys in terms of number of reported sex dreams. Dreaming just hasn’t been the same for me since we did this episode!
Our sources for the dream podcast:
- “What Dreams Are Made Of” by Barbara Kantrowitz, Newsweek
- “The Sleep Diaries: Do Men and Women Dream Differently?” by Annie Tucker Morgan, Divine Caroline
- “Typical Dreams: Stability and Gender Differences” by Michael Schredl, Petra Ciric, Simon Gotz and Lutz Wittmann, The Journal of Psychology (available via library database)
- “Women Have Nightmares, Men Dream of Sex,” LiveScience
- “Why Women Have Worse Nightmares Than Men” by Dan Childs, ABC
- “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female” by Alfred Kinsey
- “Sleeping Booty” by William Saletan, Slate
- “Sex on the (Dreaming) Brain” by Coturnix, Science Blogs
- “Women dream about sex as much as men,” Agence France-Presse via Cosmos
- “Lids Together, Dreams Apart,” Psychology Today (available via library database)
Up next: corsets! The corset is quite the controversial piece of clothing, and I must admit that I’d always thought that corsets were a terrible thing meant to keep women from breathing. However, in researching this podcast, I learned that idea was quite mistaken. For example, the practice of tight-lacing (which is exactly what it sounds like) was extremely rare in real-life (though common in certain men’s imaginations). Women were never put into iron corsets, either — those designs were used for wounded soldiers undergoing rehabilitation. And though medical writings of the time urged women to untie their corsets, these tomes were usually put forward by doctors concerned about low birth rates who mistakenly though the corset could reshape the reproductive organs.
The sources we used to cull such fun facts:
- “The Corset: A Cultural History” by Valerie Steele
- “The Secret History of the Corset and Crinoline,” The Victoria and Albert Museum
- “Well-Rounded” by Eleri Lynn, Slate
- “Of Corset Matters” by Christina Larson, Washington Monthly
- “Death and the Maiden” by Jonathon Keats, Salon
What did you think of these episodes, dear listeners? What’s haunting your dreams these days? Have you taken to wearing corsets? Let us know. You can find us over on Facebook and on Twitter, and we’ve also got a spot on the new HowStuffWorks iPhone app.