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My Secret Garden Paperback – February 5, 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 115 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This book caused quite a ruckus when it was released 25 years ago because it directly quotes the sexual fantasies of dozens of women, ranging from the "very common" rape fantasy to lesbian affairs to unusually explicit scenarios that are unmentionable here. While author Nancy Friday maintains that My Secret Garden served to free millions of women from sexual oppression, there's still a need today to get rid of the guilt that millions more still feel when it comes to fantasizing, having orgasms, and making one's sexual wishes be known. "How could it be, you might ask," she writes, "that women today, at the turn of the century, would still think they were the only Bad Girls with erotic thoughts? What kind of prison is this that that women impose on themselves?"

My Secret Garden has the prurient appeal that made it one of the most passed-around books in high school study halls (it boasts chapters titled "Insatiability" and "The Thrill of the Forbidden"), but its premise, underneath the tales of lusty longings, is a serious one. Friday, also author of My Mother, My Self and Women on Top, is appalled at how parents, especially mothers, instill in their children a deep fear of sexual pleasure, and she advises how to do away with this stultifying force. While Friday can get a little histrionic at times ("Women's lust ... could bring down not only individuals, but society itself"), that doesn't make this book any less enthralling. --Erica Jorgensen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Published in 1973 during the sexual revolution, this volume brought women's hardcore sexual fantasies out of the realm of pornography and into the mainstream. Though it no doubt raised many an eyebrow at the time, it doesn't really contain anything that you won't find in an average issue of today's women's magazines. This 25th-anniversary edition contains a new introduction by the author and a few new fantasies. Though tame by 1990s standards, this will still "undoubtedly prove enjoyable to many readers" (LJ 6/1/73).
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; POCKET BOOKS TRADE PAPERBACK EDITION FEBRUARY 2008 edition (February 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416567011
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416567011
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
For years, I used erotica books as surrogate fantasy material, believing that I was incapable of fantasizing during sex, that I had no fantasies of my own and had to use other people's. Reading "My Secret Garden" changed my perception of myself drastically. Those horrid, disturbing thoughts that floated into my brain, that I would shove down quickly as "sick," were indeed fantasies. The brave women who contributed their fantasies and feelings showed me that even if what I was drawn to was "sick," it certainly wasn't uncommon.
I am especially grateful to the women who commented on making the decision to share, or not share, their fantasies with their lovers. This was crucial for me. At a time when my thoughts were to be confessed on demand, I deprived my lover by depriving myself: those weren't fantasies, they were just random weird thoughts that made me uncomfortable. However, after getting out of a bad relationship and realizing that my mind was my own toy, I realized that I could explore those thoughts without fear of exposure to anyone but myself.
One I allowed myself my own secret garden, I found that I could share with myself and my current lovers in a way that previous ones had tried to coerce out of me. Living well is indeed the best revenge, and I thank Nancy Friday for her subversive assistence.
There are sections and chapters. Here's a listing of the section headings:
Introduction: Twenty-Five Years in the Garden
1. "Tell Me What You Are Thinking About," He Said
2. "Why Fantasize When You Have Me?"
3. The House of Fantasy
4. "Where Did A Nice Girl Like You Get An Idea Like That?"
5. Guilt and Fantasy, Or, "Why The Fig Leaf?"
6. Fantasy Accepted
7.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read this book on the shelves of my public library when I was still a teenager, and I'll NEVER forget that first rush. WOW - someone else actually has these ideas going through their head?!
Mind you, that was 10 years ago. I've re-purchased the book many times over, because I keep on losing it or giving it away. This book is a fantastic combination of the psychology behind women's sexual fantasies and the actual fantasies themselves. I'll be honest - I haven't masturbated to these fantasies in years.. although I did constantly when I was still a teen.
This book opened my eyes up to the 'taboo' of sexual fantasy, and helped me understand at a crucial time in my life that fantasy is healthy and a necessary part of anyone's life. I no longer have ANY sexual taboos.. and it's mostly because of this book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"This first of Nancy's books of womens sexual fantasies was a landmark in liberating women from the sexual dark-ages.Despite its age it can still get the pulse racing and opens your eyes to things never dreamt of before.It also provides a fascinating insight into 70s womens fantasies.
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Format: Paperback
I'm probably exactly the sort of person who needs to read Nancy Friday's classic book, My Secret Garden. By which I mean that I was horribly embarrassed by the thought of anyone knowing I was reading it, or having people see me doing so. The fact that people are not comfortable with women's sexual fantasies is precisely what inspired Friday's studies and search for those thoughts. Her project still holds relevance, and indeed, seems to be an on-going one, as there are, in this edition, both updates on ;the classic and her ad soliciting more fantasies. That being said, the book is clearly dated, and most of the material is obviously from the seventies, which makes me wonder quite a bit about what would be the same or different, if a completely new version of the book were compiled now.

I found this book to be sad, fascinating, and moderately terrible in roughly equal proportions. Some of the fantasies fell into the horrifying category, as one might expect, but so did some of the revelations made about the contributor's actual life experiences. The distinction between these categories was consistently defended throughout the work. What women would like to experience, what women think about but would not like in reality, and what they actually were doing each came up, and any overlapping was clearly mentioned. After all, Friday's stated intention to use her findings to help women realize that there is nothing wrong with them for fantasizing, even if the ideas are a bit more perverted. To think can cause action, but to think is not to act, after all. I have to say that some of the things they wished for, or experienced were quite saddening.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first heard about Nancy Friday from "Men in Love", a collection of men's sexual fantasies. I found the fantasies in that book to be fascinatingly deep, thought out, and precious to the men who had them. You could actually see the world the man was building in his head. So when I heard there was a book by the same author about women's sexual fantasies I was very interested to see if they measured up.

I was very saddened by most of these fantasies. The sexual world of women in this book, in my opinion, came off shallow and unconcerned with their partners pleasure. The fantasies seemed to only exist to allow the women to bear through the unsatisfying sexual experiences with their men since time after time the women make it clear these fantasies are used during sex and were always of other men. The beautiful chapters in Men in Love where men talk of getting aroused from giving pleasure are absent from this book since the few times a woman is giving a man pleasure, she is being forced to.

While there is nothing wrong with these fantasies in general, putting so many of them in the book makes the book unbalanced. There are even several chapters dedicated to how a woman's sexual frustration can lead her to these fantasies! While I'm sure there are many sexual frustrated women, it made me sad that a woman's sexual world is put forth as simply a by-product of frustration, not a secret world that she loves, just like a man.

My main issue with this is that in the introduction, the author herself reveals a traumatizing experience where she told a lover about how she was fantasizing about another man as they had sex. He became upset and left.
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