Nancy Friday’s amazing book “My Secret Garden” was in no small part the inspiration for this website. So before I go into more detail about the book, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Nancy and all the courageous women who took part in it’s creation. It might be forty years old but the book is still both relevant and profound and we have Nancy and the ladies who contributed to thank for that.
First published in 1973, the book is a collection of female fantasies collated and commented on by the author. From one-line fantasies to stories hundreds of words long. The contributors anonymously shared, through letters and interviews the fantasies they experienced both during masturbation and sex. At the time it was released, a book like this had never been published and it was considered by many as a groundbreaking piece of work in the field of female sexuality.
Before reading the book it is worth paying attention to the context in which it was created. The world of 1973 was a dramatically different social environment for women. The feminist movement whilst helping to make significant improvement to women’s lives was by no means totally successful in doing so. Sex and sexuality, were still repressed to a much larger extent than they are today. Women in particular were held to account against puritanical and judgmental standards that very few men felt obliged to live up. One final point to bear in mind about the era in which this book came to life, was the (now staggeringly hard to accept) belief that women didn’t have sexual fantasies! Female fantasy is now accepted (rightly so) as fact. But in the Western world at this time it was widely assumed that only men had sexual fantasies. I don’t think it is any exaggeration to say that “My Secret Garden” played a significant part in eradicating this harmful and repressive myth.
Women’s fantasies shared and explored
It is perhaps in the context of this sexual repression that makes this book so (potentially) shocking and profound. The women whose fantasies were shared in the book were remarkably honest mostly due to the lack of fear at being judged (all the women’s identities remained anonymous). What this honesty revealed is the huge range of female fantasy, the surprising and potentially shocking content of these fantasies and the fact that all this was very often kept secret from partners, lovers and society in general. In other words the book unveiled an otherwise hidden world, one that when reading even forty years later I found it in places both shocking and disturbing.
Side note – As the joint creator of this website it will come as no surprise to you that I am no prude. Also I hold firm in the belief that a non-judgmental attitude to the fantasies of others is the only acceptable approach to human sexuality. However with both those points taken into consideration, I still found the fantasies shared in this book staggering to say the least.
What was it that shocked me so much? The two biggest shockers for me personally were the repeated occurrences of incest and bestiality amongst women’s fantasies. Again I want to make it clear I am not making a value judgment on the private lives of these women but this type of content and its popularity still surprises me as I write this review. I had no idea that women commonly held sexual fantasies about either of these subjects. My gut instinct is that the occurrence of such subject matter must to some extent spring from some sort of trauma or sexual repression. Perhaps I’m wrong but could it be that if these women weren’t sexually repressed, would their fantasies be less potentially damaging and lie so far beyond the “norms” of acceptable sexual behavior?
The Book is Full of Revelations
One other recurring fact that I found surprising and have to admit I wasn’t 100% comfortable with, was the frequency with which women admitted to fantasizing about other people whilst having sex with their current partner or lover.
Personally when I’m having sex I prefer to concentrate on the woman I’m sleeping with and it was a revelation to think that many of the women I’ve sleep with in the past might not have had the same idea. Still I’m not going to lose any sleep over it, the book has opened my eyes to this and I think the best way forward is, where possible for couples to share their fantasies and use them as a tool to add to the sexual bond. So, the book both surprised and educated me on many levels. I have bought all of Nancy Fridays other books and plan to read and then review them all on this site.
If you have any interest in sex, sexuality and sexual fantasies, I highly recommend you read My Secret Garden it is a highly thorough, provoking and interesting read and well worth checking out.
For more reading on the subject and to read contemporary fantasies from both men and women check out the fantasies community section of this website. You will find an open minded, non-judgmental community of like-minded individuals sharing their fantasies and exploring their sexuality. Who knows, you might even feel like sharing some of your own secret desires..?
Have a good one!
PS – For more on Nancy Friday, check out her Wikipedia page here…