BOOK REVIEW – NANCY FRIDAY – MY SECRET GARDEN 1976 Quartet Books.
An important ground breaking collection and analysis of women’s deepest sexual fantasies.
Nancy Friday compiles a series of largely anonymous fantasies, showing that it is natural for women to imagine sex that transcends what they may actually be directly experiencing in their masturbation and love making activity.
While men seem to have no qualms about using pornographic imagery and imagining themselves seduced by Playboy pin-up girls, it has been assumed that women do not and should not fantasise about making love to male models, or handsome movie stars. Friday set out to use the fantasies women revealed to her to show most, if not all women have sexual fantasies and that they should not feel guilty about doing so.
The fantasies in the collection vary from a desire to meet an Arab Sheik, to elaborate and complex story dramas that Hollywood budgets would struggle to afford. Some women break an extra-ordinary number of taboos by imagining sex with well-hung animals, their own family members 9including mothers and children, and more besides. For some women, the fantasy is there for the times when there is no sex going on with a male partner. For others, the fantasy interacts with an actual strong, healthy loving experience.
Some men are offended that a woman might need to think of something or someone other than he. The author herself confesses that when she told one lover that she imagined she was being penetrated by footballer George Best, her lover got dressed and walked out on her on the spot.
One man contributes a fantasy he shared with his now deceased wife throughout their long and happy lives. She was totally enraptured by Alan Ladd, and her husband invited her to pretend to be Ladd whenever she wished. His gratitude to Nancy Friday for letting him share the story with the World is very moving. This is a wonderful book, showing the diversity and spectrum of sexual thinking and how it often goes way beyond the sex we actually get to experience in the non-fantasy world, unless we are extremely fortunate.
Men have much to learn (about themselves and about women) from this study too, and indeed Friday has produced companion volumes on male sexual fantasies.
© Copyright. Arthur Chappell
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