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My Secret Garden: Women's Sexual Fantasies

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When it first appeared, "My Secret Garden" created a storm of outrage and exhilaration. Women who read it were astonished to find in its pages the hidden content of their own sexual fantasies. More outspoken, graphic, and taboo-shattering than any book before its time, "My Secret Garden" quickly became the classic study of female sexuality. Today, millions of women have ma When it first appeared, "My Secret Garden" created a storm of outrage and exhilaration. Women who read it were astonished to find in its pages the hidden content


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When it first appeared, "My Secret Garden" created a storm of outrage and exhilaration. Women who read it were astonished to find in its pages the hidden content of their own sexual fantasies. More outspoken, graphic, and taboo-shattering than any book before its time, "My Secret Garden" quickly became the classic study of female sexuality. Today, millions of women have ma When it first appeared, "My Secret Garden" created a storm of outrage and exhilaration. Women who read it were astonished to find in its pages the hidden content of their own sexual fantasies. More outspoken, graphic, and taboo-shattering than any book before its time, "My Secret Garden" quickly became the classic study of female sexuality. Today, millions of women have made Nancy Friday's groundbreaking bestseller a mainstay of feminist literature -- a liberating force that adds a sensational new dimension to their sexual fantasies and lives.

18 review for My Secret Garden: Women's Sexual Fantasies

  1. 5 out of 5

    The Scarlet Pervygirl

    Filthy, irrational, pointless, and rather badly written, like all of Nancy Friday's books, My Secret Garden offers what pretty much amounts to a guarantee to get me off. Filthy, irrational, pointless, and rather badly written, like all of Nancy Friday's books, My Secret Garden offers what pretty much amounts to a guarantee to get me off.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Don Juan Quixote

    This book changed my life. As far as I know it is the first book of it's kind ever written. I picked it up while a senior in college at the University of Mn where I was studying Theatre Arts. My idea was to get some kind of clue to what women secretly think about...It taught me that all women have sexy little fantasies that they hide from most people, even sometimes from themselves. 25 years after I read it, I began a similar book using her basic categories, or 'types' of flowers in the secret g This book changed my life. As far as I know it is the first book of it's kind ever written. I picked it up while a senior in college at the University of Mn where I was studying Theatre Arts. My idea was to get some kind of clue to what women secretly think about...It taught me that all women have sexy little fantasies that they hide from most people, even sometimes from themselves. 25 years after I read it, I began a similar book using her basic categories, or 'types' of flowers in the secret garden. I've read all of her books, but this one is still the best. It's fresh, new, and groundbreaking...Just as it was in 1969... My belief now, after years of interviews with various women, is that every woman has inside her a bouquet of sexual fantasies that makes her totally unique from other women. No wonder men have such a hard time understanding and categorizing them...you simply can't. You can only experience each one a beautiful and completely unique individual...Just like flowers.

  3. 4 out of 5

    ❤Marie Gentilcore

    I read this as a young teen, I think I was either 12 or 13. I got my copy in a thrift store. I was always shopping for books in the thrift store back then. I kept it secret because I'd never read anything so explicit before. I'm giving it 5 stars because it made a big impact on me at that young age. I read this as a young teen, I think I was either 12 or 13. I got my copy in a thrift store. I was always shopping for books in the thrift store back then. I kept it secret because I'd never read anything so explicit before. I'm giving it 5 stars because it made a big impact on me at that young age.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Deary Darling

    One thing I will say for this book is that it can do wonders for a person (me) who feels concerned or disturbed about the things that occur in their fantasy life. Chances are you will feel virginal and innocent after reading some of the darker taboos in this book.My first problem with this book was not its subject matter ... it was the delivery. I'm not a psychologist so anything stated here is only opinion and experience. That being said, as Mrs. Friday points out ... women's fantasies tend to One thing I will say for this book is that it can do wonders for a person (me) who feels concerned or disturbed about the things that occur in their fantasy life. Chances are you will feel virginal and innocent after reading some of the darker taboos in this book.My first problem with this book was not its subject matter ... it was the delivery. I'm not a psychologist so anything stated here is only opinion and experience. That being said, as Mrs. Friday points out ... women's fantasies tend to be extremely complex. The setting/situation is often a means to an end be that the removal of inhibition, control, accountability or the shedding of moral/social/gender constraints. I felt this book did a very poor job of representing what these fantasies meant on a personal level to the person relating them and in that sense there was something akin to exploitation about packaging them as a general representation of women who have any one of the given fantasies shared in the book. Ultimately, what I cannot abide, is the inclusion of the admission of criminal activity. If this had been a book of male fantasies and a man had confessed to having molested an 11 year old girl and then marrying her 2 years later, this would not be acclaimed as a treatise on male sexuality. That man would be rightly demonized as would the book, author and publisher. Can anyone say double standard? That poor little boy!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bon Tom

    It's a collection of women's sexual fantasies, author collected over the years. Some of them from interviews, the other ones from anonymous letters where women reveal their souls and innermost secrets. If you think you can imagine how that sounds, I would challenge you that you can't. Some of them are from the sphere of usual and ordinary life, because that's where the very material - lego bricks of imagination - comes from (where else), but some... some will knock you out of your shoes. That is It's a collection of women's sexual fantasies, author collected over the years. Some of them from interviews, the other ones from anonymous letters where women reveal their souls and innermost secrets. If you think you can imagine how that sounds, I would challenge you that you can't. Some of them are from the sphere of usual and ordinary life, because that's where the very material - lego bricks of imagination - comes from (where else), but some... some will knock you out of your shoes. That is, if you wore ones while lying in bed in the middle of night listening to this. If you are, it's ok. What you do in the privacy of your mind or your bedroom is your own thing and it's all ok. As long as shoes consent, that is.If you're a man, this book is the most direct glimpse into the "mind of the enemy", that "secret garden" you can never approach to because women keep it hidden and remote even from their very selves, due to their goddamn upbringing or even goddamner need to keep the appearances. You need to earn their trust and if you don't fall victim to emotional ebola or bankrupt in the process, there might be real person for you waiting on the other side. But there's no guarantee. Because, in all likelihood, she's not even aware herself of miracle her mind and body are capable of. And if she is, she's likely caught in mind games thinking she has to be some special, prescribed thing for you to love her, not realizing the only thing she has to do to completely knock you out is stop doing what everybody else is.Of course, asshole men who say they want one thing (lady in public, whore in bed), but actually act all high, mighty and judgemental when they get woman open to sex in all its beautiful shapes and forms because, in actuality, they just can't keep up with sexual dynamo she is, don't help this situation.This book might give you some ideas on riches waiting on the other side of the wall and help you decide if you're really ready for them.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Natasha Walker

    Delicious. Back in the seventies this book proved that women were naughty, dirty and utterly erotic. Anyone sitting at home ashamed of their fantasies now should pick this gem up and be liberated. No matter how obscene your fantasies are Nancy Friday is here to show you not only that you are not alone but that you're not even really trying. There is one sad addendum - if you read later books by Firday you'll find that with the rise of porn, the internet and a general openness in society about ab Delicious. Back in the seventies this book proved that women were naughty, dirty and utterly erotic. Anyone sitting at home ashamed of their fantasies now should pick this gem up and be liberated. No matter how obscene your fantasies are Nancy Friday is here to show you not only that you are not alone but that you're not even really trying. There is one sad addendum - if you read later books by Firday you'll find that with the rise of porn, the internet and a general openness in society about about sex the originality and bizarre nature of the fantasies declines. With freedom, it seems, comes uniformity.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Hope

    NOT for the faint-hearted about sexuality. I was not only surprised, but pretty deeply shocked at some of the fantasies women told for this book. I learned that I am still pretty much a prude AND that my own fantasies are more emotionally and romantic based, than having to do with pure sexuality. Part of me wishes I had not read this book, but part of me is glad that it helped me learn a few things about myself and my morals and boundaries.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cristina

    Great book. It makes you feel like less of a weirdo for your own fantasies lol. And if you're an aspiring erotica writer its a great source of inspiration. Didn't really enjoy her interjections but I just skimmed over them. Definitely worth the read. Great book. It makes you feel like less of a weirdo for your own fantasies lol. And if you're an aspiring erotica writer its a great source of inspiration. Didn't really enjoy her interjections but I just skimmed over them. Definitely worth the read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    BellaGBear

    In this book, Nancy Friday collects and orders in themes sexual fantasies sent to her by women. She did that to make the point clear that woman fantasize and think about sex more than is often assumed. In doing so, she also wanted to encourage woman to not feel ashamed to fantasize, but to revel in it. Fantasy is fantasy and whatever it is you don't have to feel guilty about it because it doesn't mean you're going to do it.I liked this book for several reasons. One is that she orders the fantasi In this book, Nancy Friday collects and orders in themes sexual fantasies sent to her by women. She did that to make the point clear that woman fantasize and think about sex more than is often assumed. In doing so, she also wanted to encourage woman to not feel ashamed to fantasize, but to revel in it. Fantasy is fantasy and whatever it is you don't have to feel guilty about it because it doesn't mean you're going to do it.I liked this book for several reasons. One is that she orders the fantasies in themes. As an aspiring scientist, I always like to order things in categories for ease of analysing them. This book serves both as a resource to understand the extent of female sexuality and fantasy, and can also be used if you want something interesting to read before going to bed. Another benefit of the themes is that there will be something of your liking for everyone. Even themes I did not expect to learn anything from but merely be entertained, I read things that helped me to understand my own thoughts regarding sexuality. The idea that my own thoughts are shared with other females helped me to understand and accept them. Another reason I liked the book is that she included the less socially accepted fantasies as well, such as bestiality, masochism and rape fantasies. These fantasies might not put everyone in a sexy mood, but it is interesting to read they are quite common. It shows that for many fantasies is a place to let go and explore possibilities you would never consider in real life. The book is quite old already, it is first published in 1973, but that does not make it less relevant. I don't think the themes Friday identified will have changed much as well. Also, her goal to make people feel less ashamed of their own sexual thoughts is not obsolete. I know this book helped me to accept my own sexual thoughts, and for sure I am not the only one struggling to do that. There is still a lot of shame mixed with sexuality, even in otherwise healthy relationships. I would be curious to hear if other people reading this book had the same experience, or whether most people enjoyed the book because of the wonderful smutty stories.The last point I want to make is that this book is not only for women. As became clear in many stories in this book, men are often completely oblivious about the female's fantasies. This is a shame because instead of using those fantasies to create a better relationship, females repress them. The stories where people share their fantasies couples had a better and richer sex life. So men and woman: read this book, read it together and discuss your own fantasies. It is a good way to explore and embrace your own sexuality more, either alone or together, and that can never hurt. Or read it for the awesome dirty stories to get you in a frisky mood. A lot of the 5-star reviews of this book are because of that exact same reason.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tony

    Always good for us blokes to get a window into a world like this. Have to be in the know... and all that.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    I remember reading this when it came out and being slightly shocked: not because so many women had so many fantasies but because they were so varied and well-developed. I've come a long way since then and I have an idea that women have, too, judging by some of what they've told me and some of the books currently available. I remember the scene in "When Harry Met Sally" where Meg Ryan describes a fantasy to Billy Crystal that seemed so vague when I was reading erotic literature at that time, by b I remember reading this when it came out and being slightly shocked: not because so many women had so many fantasies but because they were so varied and well-developed. I've come a long way since then and I have an idea that women have, too, judging by some of what they've told me and some of the books currently available. I remember the scene in "When Harry Met Sally" where Meg Ryan describes a fantasy to Billy Crystal that seemed so vague when I was reading erotic literature at that time, by both men and women, and wondered where they found someone either so boring or (more likely) so reserved. A groundbreaking book, for men and women.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    My Secret Garden was helpful in opening my eyes to female thoughts on fantasy, and more importantly, female thoughts about having them. Understanding the feminine reaction (guilt, shame, etc) to desire was my main interest in reading this book. Though I am not familiar with the pool from which Friday culled her samples, the feelings of self-hate are pervasive and sad. Why women beat themselves over the head for common human emotions is a question whose answer must be found in society, in the " n My Secret Garden was helpful in opening my eyes to female thoughts on fantasy, and more importantly, female thoughts about having them. Understanding the feminine reaction (guilt, shame, etc) to desire was my main interest in reading this book. Though I am not familiar with the pool from which Friday culled her samples, the feelings of self-hate are pervasive and sad. Why women beat themselves over the head for common human emotions is a question whose answer must be found in society, in the " nurture" side of our behavioral makeup. I don't believe it is our nature, no more than the compulsion to vomit in the bathroom after eating a delicious meal. Women are messed up and confused, accepting shame rather than joy; a practice which bleeds into other situations that compromise true happiness. How can a woman/person make authentic choices when fearful of the reaction of others? Though there are many rational and healthy basis for fantasy, surely this secret world is composed of lives unlived, too.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    It was purely research...no, seriously! I don't remember how I first heard about this book, but I think it was one of the first "erotic" pieces I read. It's a collection of fantasies submitted by anonymous women, at a time when repression was the norm. Some of the fantasies are vanilla, some are a bit scary, and some are quite hot. By the time the author/editor began compiling the later books in this series, women grew bolder in revealing their secret desires, and the later books grow hoter and It was purely research...no, seriously! I don't remember how I first heard about this book, but I think it was one of the first "erotic" pieces I read. It's a collection of fantasies submitted by anonymous women, at a time when repression was the norm. Some of the fantasies are vanilla, some are a bit scary, and some are quite hot. By the time the author/editor began compiling the later books in this series, women grew bolder in revealing their secret desires, and the later books grow hoter and raunchier, but this is an interesting introduction, and in a way a glimpse into the pre-sexual revolution.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carla Acheson

    Oh my good God, this book is filthy. A book warped with women's pseudo-psycho sexual weirdness. A book sooo vastly wrong and repellent to the natural karma of human sexual nature, it makes Fifty Shades read like a Teletubby romp. In fact, this book is sooo filthy you will find your hands blushing shamefully, just because you are holding it, they and perhaps other extremities will glow with guilt. Unless, you too, are pseudo-psycho sexually warped you will feel like you need to go straight to chu Oh my good God, this book is filthy. A book warped with women's pseudo-psycho sexual weirdness. A book sooo vastly wrong and repellent to the natural karma of human sexual nature, it makes Fifty Shades read like a Teletubby romp. In fact, this book is sooo filthy you will find your hands blushing shamefully, just because you are holding it, they and perhaps other extremities will glow with guilt. Unless, you too, are pseudo-psycho sexually warped you will feel like you need to go straight to church and repent after reading it. Now let me get this point across clearly. It is sooo filthy that I wouldn't even tarnish my righteous catholic dignity by going into its content publicly, and it is sooo salaciously smutty that I dared not give it more than three stars because then family and acquaintances might assume I had the audacity to enjoy reading it. What? Never! That is, of course, impossible and just well, utterly utterly filthy! :)Retain an open mind if you read this book and never digest content in the presence of nuns or priests.. oh but wait, what page was that fantasy on again?Now lets see.. where can I get the sequel..

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Snyder

    There's a lot to appreciate in this pioneering catalog of women's sexual fantasies. As a sex therapist I found much of the material in this book matched fantasies I hear about in the office. In fact, I ended up using one of Friday's informants' fantasies in Chapter 4 of my book, Love Worth Making. The chief problem with the book is/was methodological. There are so many over-the-top fantasies represented here, that I had the distinct feeling Friday's informants were outdoing each other trying to There's a lot to appreciate in this pioneering catalog of women's sexual fantasies. As a sex therapist I found much of the material in this book matched fantasies I hear about in the office. In fact, I ended up using one of Friday's informants' fantasies in Chapter 4 of my book, Love Worth Making. The chief problem with the book is/was methodological. There are so many over-the-top fantasies represented here, that I had the distinct feeling Friday's informants were outdoing each other trying to make their reported fantasies as thrilling as possible. Power of suggestion, perhaps. If you know you're communicating to someone writing a book about sex fantasies, it wouldn't be surprising if that might stimulate you to fantasize in overdrive -- or at least to claim you did!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    Interesting book. Not shocking to me per say, I can stomach a lot. There's a wide variety of fantasies in this book. From your classic "I want to fuck the post man" to women who want or do, naughty things with their pets. In certain parts, this book just gets downright strange. But, I guess that's the beauty of human fantasy. It's all different and inside a fantasy bubble you can do what you want without being judged. When looked at from a physiological point of view, the book was quite interest Interesting book. Not shocking to me per say, I can stomach a lot. There's a wide variety of fantasies in this book. From your classic "I want to fuck the post man" to women who want or do, naughty things with their pets. In certain parts, this book just gets downright strange. But, I guess that's the beauty of human fantasy. It's all different and inside a fantasy bubble you can do what you want without being judged. When looked at from a physiological point of view, the book was quite interesting.

  17. 4 out of 5

    James K.

    I read Nancy Friday's great compilation of interviews with women back when it first debuted and generate the storm of controversy as well as the legion of women who finally knew they were not depraved for having sexual fantasies. It was a great step forward for feminism, and a libidinal feast for a young male with a healthy interest in what turns women on. It's still great reading for men or women interested in that topic. I read Nancy Friday's great compilation of interviews with women back when it first debuted and generate the storm of controversy as well as the legion of women who finally knew they were not depraved for having sexual fantasies. It was a great step forward for feminism, and a libidinal feast for a young male with a healthy interest in what turns women on. It's still great reading for men or women interested in that topic.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Fifi

    4.5*Absolutely loved this book! The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because I felt that the writing could have been a little better, even another edit of the book would have sufficed as there were some typos and awkward phrasing.Also, I feel like a trigger warning is in order for anyone who is sensitive to the following informarion:1). Rape or rape fantasies2). Violence or violence during sex etc.3). Beastiality! (Not really a trigger warning but I was not prepared for the amount of bea 4.5*Absolutely loved this book! The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because I felt that the writing could have been a little better, even another edit of the book would have sufficed as there were some typos and awkward phrasing.Also, I feel like a trigger warning is in order for anyone who is sensitive to the following informarion:1). Rape or rape fantasies2). Violence or violence during sex etc.3). Beastiality! (Not really a trigger warning but I was not prepared for the amount of beastiality in this book. The first story mentioned involves it and I feel like it should have been placed later on in the book, as Nancy Friday even admits she anticipates some people will stop reading past the first story because of this.)I would also highly encourage men to read this book as a lot of the women felt guilty or ashamed of their fantasies and felt like they couldn't tell their partners about then because they were afraid he would be jealous or angry etc. Regardless of this I feel like it would be interesting for men to read this to see just how much women actually do think about sex daily.Overall, this book was a wild ride (pun intended) and fascinating to read especially since it was published in the 70s!

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